Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 27th, 2007 at 7:58 am
On Friday, a friend of mine was riding into downtown via the Hawthorne Bridge. As he approached a red light at First Street he came to a stop, but his feet did not leave his pedals (this is known as a track stand).
When the light changed he rolled away and was nabbed by a police officer who claimed he did not come to a complete stop.
The cyclist was pulling his three year-old son in a trailer and insists that he came to a complete stop. Now he is frustrated over his $242 dollar ticket and is confused as to whether or not track stands are legal,
“I’m curious whether other people have had similiar experiences. I guess since I didn’t have a foot down, I wasn’t at a “complete” stop, but there was no way I would have run through the light while towing a trailer. I’ll fess up if I run a light, but that was not the case here. Is “track standing” illegal?”
I have heard of others receiving tickets and/or warnings about track stands, but according to former Traffic Division Commander Bill Sinnot, they are legal. In an article I wrote about this in November 2005 he said,
“Trackstands are fine. The law requires the wheels to stop moving in order to be considered a stop. However, it’s very rare for a police officer to cite someone just because the wheels don’t “completely” cease movement.”
I’m worried that a lack of consistent enforcement around this and other situations like enforcement missions (also known as stings), the fixed-gear saga, and most recently the dust-up surrounding the OMSI construction zone enforcement, is causing an increasingly acrimonious relationship between some cyclists and Portland’s law enforcement professionals.
The comment below, from the cyclist in the above situation, echoes similar sentiments I have heard recently,
“I’ve lived all over the country and in Europe and was a messenger in Washington D.C. a decade ago and this was the most arbitrary run in with a police officer I have ever had. There really seemed to be an agenda guiding his actions. Portland has a lot of perks for cyclists, but with crackdowns like this I’m liking bike riding in this city less and less.”
I’m not convinced of coordinated “crackdown” against cyclists but I do think this issue merits more attention, discussion and cooperation, especially in a place that calls itself, the “most bike-friendly city in America”.
UPDATE: The person who received this ticket has just left a comment which adds more information to this story.