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Amity police chief responds to Reach the Beach ticketing incident

Posted by on May 23rd, 2011 at 4:23 pm

“Officers attempted to educate the riders by issuing traffic tickets since all other attempts to educate the riders have failed… It is unfortunate that such a great event and fundraiser should be tainted by such a widespread disregard for the laws.”
— Dan Brown, City of Amity Chief of Police

This past Saturday during Reach the Beach, hundreds of riders rolled through Amity, Oregon, a small town in Yamhill County about 45 miles southwest of Portland.

When many of them rolled through a stop sign without coming to a complete stop, Amity police officers began pulling them over en masse and writing out $317 citations. As we shared on Page Two this morning, one person who was ticketed sent a message to a local email list titled, “Amity Police Bully Reach The Beach.” The man who wrote that message says he objected to the ticketing because he alleges there’s no way the officer could have actually observed all the people he told to stop (because he was busy writing tickets).

Here’s an excerpt from the email:

“I am personally a bit outraged regarding this violation of my civil rights and would love to litigate Amity into bankruptcy. At a minimum they should communicate better with groups that wish to bring tourists into their town.”

We contacted Amity Police Chief Dan Brown to ask for his side of the story. Chief Brown said he’s a big supporter of the event, but that he gets many complaints from Amity residents about traffic law violations during the ride. He shared an open letter with with us and included the note, “Perhaps with your support, the biking population can improve their reputation in this part of the state.”

Here’s the full text of the Chief’s letter (emphasis mine):

On Saturday, May 21 the “Reach the Beach” fundraiser bike ride came through Yamhill county with a checkpoint/startpoint in Amity. This is a great event, and we support the event and the fundraising benefits.

My first official experience with this event was eight years ago when I was hired as Chief of Police for Amity. For days after the event, I fielded complaints from citizens about all of the traffic violations committed by literally hundreds of riders that had descended upon this community. Most of the complaints can be narrowed into two groups: Riders not stopping at stop signs, and riders riding 4-6 abreast taking up the entire lane, and in some instances, more than one lane.

The next year I contacted the event organizers and asked that they convey to all the riders that they must obey traffic laws. At the same time, I worked with the local volunteers that help with the program to provide information to the riders at the checkpoint at the high school. We also posted signs at the checkpoint that hi-lighted several pertinent traffic laws so the riders would be aware and perhaps would choose to obey them. Still, the complaints came in for days after the event.

Each year the event coordinators instruct the riders to obey the traffic laws. Each year we have tried to educate the riders as they pass through our community. And, every year the laws are ignored. This year was no different, except that officers attempted to educate the riders by issuing traffic tickets since all other attempts to educate the riders have failed.

It is a shame that so many of the riders openly disregard the traffic laws. It gives the event and the riders a very bad reputation. I wish I could say it was just a few riders, but it seems to be the majority of the riders that disregard the traffic laws. It is unfortunate that such a great event and fundraiser should be tainted by such a widespread disregard for the laws.

Chief Brown tells us his officers wrote a total of 15 tickets.

Reached via phone in Seattle a few minutes ago, American Lung Association President and CEO Renee Klein said she’s aware of the incident but hadn’t “gotten to the bottom of it” yet.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I heard about this during the ride but did not see it in person. It’s unbelievable that they would do something like this to riders as part of an organized fund raising event that brings business to their town. Reach the Beach should alter the route next year to bypass Amity.

Steven
Guest
Steven

No. It is believable. I thought the chief’s letter emphasized his patience over years of trying to handle the situation differently. Laws are laws. Break them, and you give cyclists a bad name, period. The Idaho stop law failed. As a cyclist, I say 15 tickets is totally fair. Amity’s citizens will be happy to avoid being on the route, I’m guessing, if it means they won’t have to deal with those who continue to give cyclists a bad name. I see them every day on my own commute. they just suck, that’s all. Laws don’t change during event rides. If someone dumps parade trash in your yard, do you say, Hey, cool! It’s an event, so the trash is totally fine? Of course not. It’s just littering.

Brewcaster
Guest

Thank you! Now prepare for all the hate for those who think us cyclists are “special” and should be allowed to define our own laws.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

i hope you remember that next time you drive over the speed limit, lawbreaker.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Yeah, what I was going to say. This debate is endless and goes round and round. No matter what you “drive”, no one thinks the rules apply to them. What’s 10 MPH above the speed limit or a stop sign between friends, eh?

I hope these same concerned citizens also contact the police about rampant stop sign rolling by cars, that is pretty universal.

brewcaster
Guest
brewcaster

I drive the speed limit. What makes you say I don’t?

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

“I hope these same concerned citizens also contact the police about rampant stop sign rolling by cars, that is pretty universal.”

But I ALWAYS come to a complete stop. I also ALWAYS signal 500 yards before an intersection and starch my fruit of the loom underwear.

ralph
Guest
ralph

Yeah yeah yeah, I’m going to use other peoples bad behavior to justify my own.

Since people commit murder I guess it’s okay for me to commit assault.

The thing is that anyone who breaks the law is subject to penalties if caught.

Everyone who rides, drives or walks, weighs the risk of breaking the law against the penalties if caught.

As a cyclist I roll stop signs because the risk of getting caught are low, but the risk is not zero, if caught I’ll own up to the infraction and take the punishment,

rider
Guest
rider

Next time there’s a parade I want to see all the floats stop at all the red lights. Laws are laws right? No need to ever make any exceptions.

If this was really an ongoing problem then the Chief should have contacted the ride organizers and requested they pay for a traffic control cop to manage the one intersection in the city. The Chief didn’t, which is why I’m calling shenanigans.

Brewcaster
Guest

I believe it works the other way around. The organizers would need to seek police assistance in traffic control. And most likely pay for it.

NT
Guest
NT

Irrelevant. Parade organisers have a permit to use the street for the duration.

Harvey
Guest
Harvey

Parades have a little thing called a Parade Permit. The ride was conducted on open public streets, thus they have to obey the laws.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

There were thousands of riders traveling through Amity in the period of just a few hours. We were often in very large groups, to the point where stopping at all stop signs would have created a large backup, disrupting traffic.

The only thing his letter emphasizes is his bias towards cyclists. We were not creating a hazard for anyone, and I question how many complaints were actually received, based on what I observed on Saturday. I recall waving and saying hello to happy residents as we passed by, not being yelled at by “concerned” residents for rolling through stop signs.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I’m impressed with the Amity police chief’s letter. When I read about this incident a few hours ago on pg. 2, I hadn’t any knowledge of Reach to the Beach’s co-ordinated efforts with the town of Amity to foster good relations with town residents and cyclists, and avoid conflict with certain of the event cyclists failure to comply with the town’s stop signs. Now, thanks to the Chief’s letter, Maus’s reporting, and comments from event participants, a lot more info is available relating to how cyclists participating for the event were informed about pertinent traffic laws prior to the start of the event.

If accurate, according to statements in the Chief’s letter, the city and Reach to the Beach’s organizer’s have actually made considerable efforts to get ride participants to straighten up and ride right, yet many ride participants apparently are disregarding specific instructions provided to them that would keep them from being issued failure to stop citations. Cyclist participating in the event apparently rolled through the stop signs after they were specifically instructed not to.

Cyclists rolling through the stop signs in Amity, apparently have no valid excuse and no one but themselves to blame for receiving the citations they did receive.

Maybe Barney’s suggestion at 4:58 pm, is the way to solve this problem. Let event participants pay cops to flag them through the stop sign if they’re unable comply with it on their own.

This is a small town of 1,480 residents; Something about small towns I’ve heard, is that all the residents generally know what’s going on in and about town. Word of mouth in such a setting is strong, so if the chief of police is just making up a bunch of baloney as an excuse to write up 15 traffic tickets on a Saturday, the town’s residents would probably know about it. Especially if they weren’t supportive of the action.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Sadly, I agree. Except I think maybe they could have come to a compromise to close the street and stop sign that was 1 freaking block from the rest area. I mean, c’mon. I was waiting in line for 30 minutes for my bike to get fixed (bless River City bikes!) and I saw the cop giving out tickets.

rider
Guest
rider

For days after the event, I fielded complaints from citizens about all of the traffic violations committed by literally hundreds of riders that had descended upon this community.

A of all, I call BS. I doubt so many of the citizens don’t recognize this as a special event that doesn’t really warrant complaint. And also, for any public official there is usually a recognition that some in the public will find a way to complain. These members of the public should be listened to politely, given consideration, but be generally ignored. I think this was just a revenue generating scam for the city.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Sounds like a ride that should realign to other roads to prevent any funds going to Amity in the future…

Could actually be helpful for future pushes for Idaho Style as many legislators think that there is no need for a law change since tickets aren’t really being written for this, and that when they are it is because of some sort of dangerous behavior resulting in a near miss, not slowly rolling through an intersection with no other traffic nearby.

Suburban
Guest
Suburban

RTB raises money; with crime. This could be the straw that could qualify Amity for some federal anti-gang task force monies.

BURR
Guest
BURR

get a permit for the event from the city of amity, that way you would get police support, instead of harassment.

Barney
Guest
Barney

I rode this event a couple of years ago and enjoyed it. Based on my experience during the ride I’d say this is a legitimate complaint by the locals, but….. This kind of behavior is common at most large bike rides like RTB, STP etc and should be expected by the organizers. Riders at events like this are often given right of way by course marshalls or local law enforcement officials at different parts of the course and often come to expect it. I would say the best solution is to hire local law enforcement to provide traffic controls at key intersections and other areas with saftety concerns. No-one will complain if a LEO flags a group of riders through an intersection. The scofflaw issue is solved, law enforcement is happy and the riders are happy. Everybody wins!

DougTheBug
Guest
DougTheBug

How about just following traffic laws? Could it be that simple?

Schrauf
Guest
Schrauf

Actually, no. A large group ride with hundreds or thousands of riders causes significantly more traffic disruption if every single rider in the group stops (separately, as required by law) at an intersection. Do you realize the backup that would occur? Not just for the people on bikes, but other vehicles as well? Large group rides would not be possible. As for special permits or police control, how expensive would that be for dozens or hundreds of intersections?

I’m all for ticketing people who go through controlled intersections without yielding to pedestrians or cross traffic with right-of-way. But that is probably not what happened here. Rather, we have a cop who does not understand practical traffic control. Probably because there normally is not any traffic in Amity.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Super-legal RTB; see how chief Brown’s citizens like that.

michweek
Guest
michweek

You go ride 200 miles and stop at every damn stop sign along your supportd route. Sheesh, there are thousands in that ridegetting some serious mileage in. It’s a supportd route that closes streets, not unlike Sunday parkways. Just need better permitting and policeparticpation in intersection safety control.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

I agree with others that the solution should be a better permit/planning by ride organizers. Heck, why not get a full parade permit? Or, yeah, just pay the officers to work the intersection like they do at Sunday Parkways.

What’s clear is that the current practice isn’t working.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

I’m not a big participator in group rides.
I’ve been on a total of 3 in Portland in the last several years.
My most damning observation, from the saddle of my bicycle in a group ride, was the complete lack of regard for traffic laws that large groups have whether there was police traffic control or not.

I understand the pull of group psychology and the ease of falling in to the behavior of group think but why should we expect that ANY TOWN should allow us to disobey all laws of traffic, laws of common decency and the “Share the Road” mantra that cycle advocates are constantly chanting?

marshmallow
Guest
marshmallow

Reach the Beach organizers haven’t updated their route to avoid unnecessary travel through Newbrg. Instead of having the riders turn right at the roundabout to get to the high school without stop signs, they must travel along heavily trafficked springbrook, right on haworth, blast 3 stop signs and then to the high school. The routes should be changed to less trafficked roads with few stop signs to avoid the impression that a town is being invaded by a horde of lawless bicyclists. This is the organizer’s fault.

Chris
Guest
Chris

It strikes me as even more ridiculous than the Amity cops’ behavior that operators of 20 pound bicycles are subject to the same fines as operators of 3000 pound motor vehicles.

Harvey
Guest
Harvey

When a cyclist runs a stop sign, and gets killed as a result, hit by a car obeying the law, the driver of the car is the victim, as they had probably had no desire to kill anyone that day, and they get to live with it for the rest of their life. Seems like a good reason to treat them the same to me, most traffic laws are for safety, safety is about lives, and no one deserves the burden of killing someone if they obey the laws.

davemess
Guest
davemess

There was a problem exactly like this in CO a year or two back. Charity ride, with a ton of stop sign tickets. Apparently the cops there were persistent in cyclists putting a foot down. Even if then could track stand, or even roll backwards.
There is following the law and then there is just ridiculous.

marshmallow
Guest
marshmallow

A large number of riders blasted through stop signs as if going for a win in a sprint. It was entertaining to watch but I was just waiting for a nutcase driver to “punish” the unlucky rider.

marshmallow
Guest
marshmallow

And the crossing guards. Where are the F’in crossing guards?

KGW News
Guest
KGW News

we’re doing a story. looking for witnesses. Will you talk? call 503-226-5111

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

So long as you don’t take the point of view that cyclists are all scofflaws who all run stop signs and block traffic and disobey laws. Make sure you talk to enough people to get a nice balanced story.

marshmallow
Guest
marshmallow

That post might have been directed at me. And NO I won’t talk. Doping has and always been a part of the peloton. Even in the early days where bull testicles were eaten for the testosterone boost.

Case
Guest
Case

I just can’t believe people didn’t see this coming. As I headed toward the sign I saw a few people rolling that stop sign at 15mph or so, not really an Idaho stop. all in all, 15 tickets in that event isn’t something I’d call a police action or anything, just cops making their points.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Some cyclists probably did deserve it. I (and my group) slowed down to almost a dead stop at the empty intersections, but some riders blew through without even slowing down.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Almost dead stop would be the key there.
Almost is not stopping.
Almost is a ticketable offense.

Marc
Guest
Marc

Not defending the breaking of the law but is it realistic that large groups of cyclists individually stop at a sign? How well would that work with 20-30-40 people? That logistical problem alone should have had the organizers deploying additional traffic control to avoid such situations.

On a personal note – I (and many others) know that you NEVER speed through Amity as their law enforcement is famous for even +5 over the limit. It’s been that way for 20 years that I’ve known.

marshmallow
Guest
marshmallow

They can take their tickets to kangaroo court.

kgb
Guest
kgb

Bikes stopping or Police helping out. It’s a freaking charity ride for crying out loud. How many stop signs are we talking about? One?

I have a really hard time believing there would be enough Amity Residents around their stop sign to a). Witness the bad behavior and b). Complain to the police. There are only 1400 people there. Break the law pay the price but I call BS on the Police Chiefs explanation.

notsurprised
Guest
notsurprised

Agreed. I call BS too. They’re just cranky people who want to stick it to the cyclists. There is no excuse for breaking the law. But I agree the police chief is full of it on this one.

newbiker
Guest
newbiker

Talking about 6 stop signs, and I need to figure out if we were unnecessarily routed through extra stop signs on purpose so they had more chances to ticket people, BTW, I wasn’t ticketed, I heeded the warning of the guy when we entered the town.

VanWaCx
Guest
VanWaCx

I’m certain that the police chief was truthful about the number of complaints received following RTB each year. I’ve been on organized rides too and I know that stop signs are often treated as option.

However, even if every cyclist had obeyed traffic laws, there would have been almost as many complaints. The Amity police response was unfortunate in that it primarily served to antagonize the cycling community. The police wanted to make an example of a few cyclists to 1) make them feel good about demonstrating that failure to obey traffic law has consequences and 2) demonstrate to the community that they take their complaints seriously.

We can try to lay blame here and find traction in more than a few places. But that isn’t going to do anything to address the gulf between cyclists and non-cyclists. If the police chief wanted to use his resources in an effective manner, laying a stop sign trap was rather ineffective. Outreach and prevention would have been much better.

griffinorama
Guest
griffinorama

I agree that it’s the organizers fault. Get a permit and you can block the intersection all day if you want. Local police will probably even be on hand to help. I know it’s a fund raiser and permits everywhere along the route would be expensive, but maybe a local business would be willing to sponsor these permits “Your ability to sprint through this Stop Sign sponsored by Bob’s Burgers – yeehaw!”. This is a solvable problem. That being said, unfortunately, I also think that ticketing/stopping en masse is inappropriate and very possibly dangerous. The officer needs training.

marshmallow
Guest
marshmallow

In Newbrg, there were a group of kids slapping high fives to passing RTB’ers and shouting “get there by dinner.” There would be more cheering fans if townspeople knew the tour de france was coming through town and would help offset criticism. As such, it’s like the problems at Sunday Parkways where clueless residents wonder why there’s suddenly a horde of spandex blocking the roads.

Ticketed
Guest
Ticketed

Interesting debate. I was one of the “lucky” 15 who got a ticket. I approached the 4-way stop slowly and looked both ways before proceeding. The only thing I did wrong was not putting my foot down – I didn’t think that was a requirement. Also, I thought that office Stickler, who was standing in the middle of the intersection, was there to assist us cyclists in getting to the rest stop. I felt mislead as to what he was doing. I don’t think it is SOP for an officer to be located in the middle of an intersection unless directing traffic.

Furthermore, the two officers on site did not ticket all riders who didn’t come to a complete stop. A large group approached the intersection, as I was waiting for my ticket, and the first few riders stopped and the rest followed without stopping. Because there were 10 of them they were let go with a warning.

I am all for ticketing cyclists who break the laws, but pick an appropriate place to do so. Cherry picking riders at the rest stop by placing an officer in the dead center of the intersection seems a little like entrapment.

Andy
Guest
Andy

I thought that if there is an officer is standing in the intersection you are to ignore the traffic control device/sign and follow direction from the officer. If that is where he was and you were ticketed, that does seem wrong. I’ll bet if you went through an intersection on a green light with an officer directing traffic in it who didn’t motion you on, you would get a ticket.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

If he did not tell you what to do he was not there directing traffic.
He was obviously there to catch you fools running the stop sign. And it appears he did.

And in most places stopping on a bike legally actually requires you to put your foot down. You can argue it in court, but by law they can ticket you for it.

Just pay it and drop it.

Mike Fish
Guest
Mike Fish

I’m pretty sure you just have to come to a complete stop, whether your foot is down or not.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Your knowledge of the law is impressive…

Do you have to put your foot down in a car? No. The law is the same for bikes and for cars. Your wheels need to stop rotating (the scientific definition of “stopping” a vehicle, as the state law does not specify). You and this officer are both clueless.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Your foot needs to be on the ground.

In Portland it has been shown that track standing is a stop, but that is here.
Is once again dumb to assume it is a legal stop anywhere else in Oregon or beyond.
Because we know that it is not a legal stop.
Especially when a police officer is STANDING IN THE ROAD in front of you!

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

Sorry, Dabby, but I believe you are incorrect.

I have not found in the ORS or OARs that a cyclist must put their foot down at a stop sign. The law merely states that a motor vehicle or a bicycle must come to a complete stop.

If it’s there, please cite it so I can learn something today.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

I think this subthread has devolved to the distinction between what is written in Salem as opposed to how that law is enforced on the street. I’m pretty sure that Dabby has first-person experience with cops who want to see a foot go down even though that is not explicitly stated in the ORS.

colin
Guest
colin

I got ticketed for running a stop sign at Park and Mill streets in SW Portland and asked the officer if I need to put a foot down and was told no. He said that the motorcycle cops don’t put their foot down, they just slow way down and then continue. It may be different in Amity and as always it depends on the officer.

BicycleDave
Guest
BicycleDave

There is no requirement to put a foot down. Do you see people in Autos opening their doors and sticking their feet out at stop signs?

daisy
Guest
daisy

Motorcycles are required to put their foot down and come to a complete stop.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

That is how some cops enforce the law, but can you provide the actual ORS section which requires that?

captainkarma
Guest
captainkarma

Last time I rode RAGBRAI, 10000 riders rolled through all the stop signs and the only tickets were for the beer garden.

BURR
Guest
BURR

RAGBRAI has its local detractors as well, and there has even been a movement started to ban cyclists from certain county roads in rural Iowa. IMO, these type of complaints typically come from locals for whom any out of the ordinary inconvenience is a cause for bellyaching, doubly so when it’s a bunch of ‘scofflaw’ cyclists all decked out in lycra

Charley
Guest
Charley

Bypass Amity, and don’t give it a second thought. If cyclists aren’t wanted there, they should drop their dollars elsewhere.

colin
Guest
colin

This isn’t a good solution. It really sounds like the ride organizers dropped the ball here. If they’d been warned in previous years about breaking traffic laws they really needed to either make it clear to the riders that laws needed to be followed or they needed to pay for traffic cops to block off streets.

Say a Harley motorcycle group came through town every year and just decided that because there was so many of them they didn’t need to obey traffic laws. Where would you come down on them breaking the law?

why
Guest
why

Bikes on the road need to follow the same laws as cars. I believe this would happen. The event organizers need to take a permit out with the city and hire the police department to flag the stop signs to allow the riders to ride through it.

marshmallow
Guest
marshmallow

Did no one have a donut on hand?

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

These little towns are well known for speed traps on their little slice of state highway. Some, like North Plains have that extended to bikes and stop signs.

I’m not sure why people can’t manage to think, “I have left the farm fields behind, there little houses, I better pay extra attention to my speed/stop sign stopping.”

Ride management should realize this and either work out traffic control, maybe remind people on the cue sheet, “PAY ATTENTION AND STOP” or route around as many problem areas as possible.

marshmallow
Guest
marshmallow

North Plains was a problem because Chief Whitehead(who abruptly quit a few months ago) was forced by city council to ticket everybody to replenish funds being pilfered by the town’s clerk. She stole at least 200,000 yearly in cash from the ticket program, nearly half of its revenue, for a decade.

J-
Guest
J-

I was on the ride, I think it was ridiculous that they had a stop sign sting operation there. At the same time, if you are not aware enough of your surroundings to see a police officer and stop for a clearly posted sign, then you probably deserve a ticket. I did a trackstand at the sign and proceeded with no problem. But Jonathan’s point is right on about engaging proactively with the police and community.

At the finish line the Pacific City police were there directing traffic and even closed off an auto travel lane to make it easier for riders to finish together. They also provided safety on the left turn across hwy 101. People collectively probably spent tens of thousands of dollars combined at restaurants and hotels in Pacific City over the weekend. In Amity, the event presence was just a stopping point located at the local school. I doubt any rider bought anything in Amity, as all the food was provided at rest stops. Clearly there was no coordination with the Amity police, and paying for their time for a few hours to direct traffic would have been money well spent for the organizers and build more goodwill int he community – and probably be less than the time and money that the participants will put into fighting these 15 tickets.

marshmallow
Guest
marshmallow

Yeah, the lawyer has already declared holy war on Amity. Maybe the organizers should just pay Yamhill County sheriffs to marshall the ride since it passess through that county mostly.

notsurprised
Guest
notsurprised

What the police chief seems to not understand is that some people just don’t like bikes, for whatever reason. All they need to see is a cyclist, and they’ll claim he/she didn’t stop. I can sit at a stop sign for hours and not see a single car come to a complete stop unless they have to wait for cross traffic. Otherwise they roll through. Anyone willing to look can see this at any intersection in your neighborhood. Not to mention the extremely rare person who actually drives below the speed limit. No, the complainers complaining for “days afterward” aren’t upset about cyclists running stop signs. They’re upset about cyclists period. Just enforce the law, and give tickets to people you actually observe breaking the law.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Yeah, but we were outsiders. The residents are their constituents, who they must answer to.

Oliver
Guest
Oliver

What the police chief “pretends” not to understand.

notsurprised
Guest
notsurprised

A civilized policeman would have been directing traffic to ensure everyone made it safely and efficiently through the intersection, not giving everyone tickets.

daniel
Guest
daniel

Are there any cycling rides/groups that actually make a point to not break road laws?

It seems to me that groups of riders always devolve into behaving at the level of the most dumberest, stop-sign running / jackass idiot / cycling newb within the group.

captainkarma
Guest
captainkarma

The Ride of Silence downtown this past week attempted to obey all laws etc, so as to not give motorists any ammunition against a solemn event. However, it pretty much messed up the ride even though it was less than about 150 riders. No police help or hindrance encountered.

Lester
Guest
Lester

Chris I May 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm made an interesting point. I wonder how much of a backup would actually be created if everyone stopped. Seems like if 4 bikes per lane stopped then proceeded it wouldn’t be so bad, but hard telling without everyone trying it.

If they used temporary paint to mark say two or three rows of staging rectangles for riders 4 across perhaps that would help. Much cheaper than manning intersections with police getting overtime. Advertise the stop sign protocol in the event materials.

Just an idea.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Since its technically illegal to ride 2 or more abreast, single-file cyclists would probably take 3+ hours for 3,000 cyclists to progress through a stop sign. Normal low-speed collector streets have a capacity of, I believe, less than 1,000 vehicles/hour. Stop signs would really jam things up.

Ironically, having large bunches of cyclists just “go for it” in large groups offer the most efficient traffic flow: could you imagine driving a car and having 200+ cyclists in single-file line each individually stop at the stop sign? You would be there so long anyone would be pissed.

Charley
Guest
Charley

Right on. Now THAT would be annoying! This ride should do that next year. Then the police would hurry them through, just trying to get traffic moving through again.

Kevin Wagoner
Guest

Threatening a small city into bankruptcy is rather ridiculous.

marshmallow
Guest
marshmallow

I agree. Ticket everyone and the organizers next year. They obviously promoted stop sign running. Let’s see how ridiculous it can really get.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Yes, and laughable in this case, but it is excellent for enhancing the perception of cyclists as whiny, self-entitled elitists. I hope that guy isn’t representative of OBRA.

sabernar
Guest
sabernar

Damn. What a bunch of crybabies. (I’m referring to the cyclists.)

PeacePlease
Guest
PeacePlease

I was there and saw the officers giving out the tickets. I understand their point of view (ie there is a law and everyone must follow) however $317 is way too much.

What about a warning on the first offense and a ticket if it happens again?

Mark Hashizume
Guest

Good Sport Promotion is the ride organizer. Jonathan Maus have you contacted them on this?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Yes, Good Sport is contracted by the ALA to organize the ride and yes I contacted them. They referred me to the ALA CEO whom I quoted in the story. If warranted, I can have a more lengthy discussion with Renee Klein to hear more from ALA’s perspective (I spoke to her only briefly for this article).

Mark Hashizume
Guest

I think that is passing the buck by Good Sport since they are the ones responsible for setting up the route, easing the way of the bicyclists which would mean to me they would be responsible in insuring good traffic control and relations with the locals – law enforcement and the residents.

Plus if this was so much a problem, especially in Amity, I would expect Good Sport would be emphasizing that to all of us riders before and during the ride which they did not.

At Monster Cookie, we had local police direct traffic at key intersections where they would stop car traffic and wave us through stop signs.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Suck it up Buttercup and pay the tickets.

Sound like they should have written up about a thousand of them, not to mention fines for the organizers.

Perhaps you should sign up for a ride that properly takes care of crossings and intersections?

Perhaps you should stop at the sign/ light regardless of what the masses are doing?

We ( you know it is true, we all California stop all over the place) do not always fully stop at stop signs and lights.
Not in a car and not on our bikes. We know when we are doing it, we make that choice.

But we are always liable for our choices, so pay the damn tickets and drop it.

So stupid to think since you are on a big ride with so many people you are above the law.

So dumb….

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

brewcaster
I drive the speed limit. What makes you say I don’t?

That’s not what I saw a few weeks ago.

Mike Fish
Guest
Mike Fish

Sounds like the organizers have some logistical work to do. Definitely sounds like the police were being pains in the butt though.

JJJ
Guest
JJJ

brewcaster
I drive the speed limit. What makes you say I don’t?

You mean the same speed limit sent by the 85 percentile rule?

Why not use the same logic when it comes to bikes and stop signs? If 85% of cyclists do not stop, then the law should be changed.

Just like with cars!

Tourbiker
Guest

Something you deal with when you ride distances.
not every town is as bike friendly as PDX.
Just the same, It would be a classy move for all those ticketed to show at court at the same time.
Have a chat with the judge..or better yet, the ride organizers collect bails and appear on their behalf.
If the town is genuinely concerned, or merely wanting to “stick it” to cyclists as some of you believe, It will show in how they administer.

Harald
Guest

VanWaCx
We can try to lay blame here and find traction in more than a few places. But that isn’t going to do anything to address the gulf between cyclists and non-cyclists. If the police chief wanted to use his resources in an effective manner, laying a stop sign trap was rather ineffective. Outreach and prevention would have been much better.

Excuse me, but did you even read the article? There was a whole lot of outreach and prevention done by the organizers, but that didn’t seem to have much impact on rider behavior.

Each year the event coordinators instruct the riders to obey the traffic laws. Each year we have tried to educate the riders as they pass through our community. And, every year the laws are ignored. This year was no different, except that officers attempted to educate the riders by issuing traffic tickets since all other attempts to educate the riders have failed.

And with regard to effectiveness: don’t you think next year’s rider will think twice before blasting/slowly riding through that stop sign again? I sure would.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I take issue with the article and your blind allegiance to the idea that riders were notified. Please take a look at the website:
http://action.lungusa.org/site/TR/BikeTrek/ALAMP_Mountain_Pacific?sid=1074&type=fr_informational&pg=informational&fr_id=3050

As a rider in this event, I can tell you that we had no special notice about stop signs in podunk towns. I’m not saying that we need them, but the idea that they were warning people is completely false.

are
Guest

jonathan quotes the police chief as saying the ride organizers were notified. whether the ride organizers notified the riders is another question to which i do not see jonathan implying an answer yet.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Sorry but you should look at the site again, it said in there that riders should follow all applicable traffic laws on the rider packet, — That includes stopping at stop signs (it was small print, but you are responsible for reading it)
Maybe you are not aware in this state, Bicycles are considered vehicles and must stop if on a charity ride or not, unless a cop or safety person waves you through.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

As a participant it is your responsibility to read the packet and obey all laws, whether the people next to you are or not.

I would bet a wad of cash that it clearly says in the packet to obey laws and stop at stop signs.

ron
Guest
ron

Inbreeders complaining about people on bikes….

efairlay
Guest
efairlay

We should obey the laws. We should also get together to pass the Idaho Stop Law.

jonny a
Guest
jonny a

brewcaster
I drive the speed limit. What makes you say I don’t?

that’s hilarious. As soon as you drive a block in a car you’ve almost certainly violated at least 3 laws. take your self righteous crap elsewhere.

Brewcaster
Guest

I don’t understand how this is true. But in the same vein as the argument here, if I were to break the speed limit or roll a stop sign, I would not be bitching about receiving a ticket if caught. Man up.

Shelley
Guest
Shelley

I was on the ride. I passed through Amity without ever seeing a police officer but got lots of “Good Mornings” and friendly waves from people watching the ride from their front yards or on their porches with morning coffee.

Riding back through on Sunday, I stopped and spent money at two businesses there… Both talked about how happy they are that their town is part of such a great event. One of them even told me about other rides that pass through Amity during the summer in hopes that I would want to come again. Apparently, they open their business early (or stay open late) to make sure the cyclists feel welcome in spending their money with them.

The “bad cyclist running rampant through town” doesn’t seem to be the picture held by the businesses who cater to all the new customers the ride brings to this tiny little town.

Paul
Guest
Paul

I was on that ride as well, and I saw way too many people not obeying the rules that Reach the Beach organizers told people to obey. So If you ran a stop sign and were ticketed, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I question the 15 tickets. I saw at least ten while waiting for mine. I saw police standing in an intersection as riders rolled through. I assumed they were directing traffic as they were elsewhere on the route, so I rolled through, slowly, in a large group. They picked me out of the group to receive a ticket. I saw one rider stop, track stand for a fraction of a second, then roll through. He was ticketed. Yes, if I blow through a stop, I deserve a ticket. But police are standing in the intersection with significant bike traffic congestion, directing riders where to go (off to the side to receive a ticket, not through the intersection, but I didn’t know that), it’s reasonable to assume they were directing traffic through the intersection.

single track
Guest
single track

to everyone that got a ticket, LOOK for the cop before you blow a stop sign. you have yourselves to blame, regardless of whether you were in an organized ride. You ultimately control yourself and dictate whether to receive a ticket.
ps- i roll stops too, just not in front of 5-0

Brett M
Guest
Brett M

Let’s look at this another way. What if the ‘event’ in question were a motorcycle rally or, say, an antique car rally. Just because it is an organized event with a large group of people that happen to share a similar passion (albeit engine related instead of bicycle related in this example), should the laws be waived for them? If you were biking through an area and had a group of 100 or so vehicles roll through a stop sign in front of you, wouldn’t you be upset by their display of entitlement?

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

There is no rule other than mob rule.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Brett M
Let’s look at this another way. What if the ‘event’ in question were a motorcycle rally or, say, an antique car rally. Just because it is an organized event with a large group of people that happen to share a similar passion (albeit engine related instead of bicycle related in this example), should the laws be waived for them?

Yes, of course, in accordance with the terms of the permit that the event organizer obtained in advance. With eight years of RTB history with Amity and 3000 riders registered for the event, why didn’t Good Sport Promotion obtain such a permit?

BTW, if Amity was strictly interested in “educat[ing] the riders” as Chief Brown says, as opposed to funding its own coffers, the judge could accept payment of the traffic fines to ALA in lieu of to the city.