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Old 06-06-2011, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Lake Norman, NC
7,182 posts, read 11,204,939 times
Reputation: 30736

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I have a simple question... We often hear and read that bicyclists must observe the same rules of the roads as cars do.

The other day I was in downtown Davidson and I observed several infractions being committed by bicyclists, including; disregard of redlights and riding bikes on the sidewalk (against traffic) even with a plainly marked bike lane available on the asphalt. This was by the college on Davidson-Concord Rd.

My question is... what happens to a bicyclist if a cop chose to enforce a traffic law? Do they get a ticket? Obviously one doesn't need to carry a drivers license to ride a bike. What's the bite?

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Old 06-06-2011, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Matthews, NC
14,693 posts, read 23,087,382 times
Reputation: 14332
Good question. I wonder how many cops would even bother to stop a guy on a bike. Most of them do follow the laws, but the rest create a hazard for everyone.
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Old 06-06-2011, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Charlotte
83 posts, read 189,809 times
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I don't ride on the streets as much as I used to, but one weekend I was doing some "sprint training" uptown, basically racing the cars from light to light, minding traffic etc, when I hit a light with no traffic and thought about blowing through it. Just as I neared the intersection I noticed two bike police (officers on bikes) sitting near the corner. I locked up my brakes, stopped before the line and then decided to go find out if they would chase me... meaning I went and asked them.
Their response was "no, we wouldn't chase you. But if you caused on accident or a car hit me because I ran the light, I would be held responsible."
So, in that case from those two officers, no, they wouldn't chase you down, but the moment you are the cause for any one else getting hurt or in a wreck, you would be held liable."

That said, I did know a guy I went to school with years back in IL that actually managed to get a DUI while riding a bicycle. So they can ticket you. If you don't have a license on you they will figure out who you are, or you sit in jail until you feel like telling them.
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Old 06-06-2011, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Matthews, NC
14,693 posts, read 23,087,382 times
Reputation: 14332
You can get a DUI from operating any form of conveyance while over the legal limit. Lawnmower, bike, horse, boat, Segway, etc.
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Old 06-06-2011, 05:01 PM
 
Location: Lake Norman, NC
7,182 posts, read 11,204,939 times
Reputation: 30736
Thanks for the answers! Funny how some things make you go...Hmmm. So I figured that I may as well ask on here.
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Old 06-06-2011, 05:45 PM
 
Location: Charlotte
1,764 posts, read 2,740,125 times
Reputation: 1160
I wish they would give tickets to cyclists blowing through red lights! For stop signs, though I have a different perspective. If you can see that there are no cars, I see no problem riding cautiously through without stopping or rather with a rolling stop. Imagine riding up a steep hill and having to stop at a stop sign with no car in sight. Not necessary! Interestingly Idaho has a law allowing cyclists to treat stop signs as a yield, and stoplights as a stop sign!
Boise Street Smart Cycling

Oh and by the way, according to the City of Charlotte bike coordinator, it is allowed to ride on sidewalks with the exception of uptown. But I do not know about Davidson.
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:59 AM
 
184 posts, read 508,815 times
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Yes, I've got a ticket for running a stop sign years ago, and believe it or not, speeding (36 in a 25). Both tickets were in another state, but as a general rule you definitely CAN get a ticket :-)

I guess its like most police, its not the mode of transportation, but the mood of the cop :-)
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:56 AM
 
777 posts, read 2,273,440 times
Reputation: 489
One thing to think about when you see cyclist running red lights is that most lights in CLT are the "triggered" lights (especially turning lanes). If no one is behind you, you can wait all day and the light won't change until it senses a car is there. I rode early morning on Memorial Day and had to "run" multiple lights because there was absolutely no cars on the road and I hit every red light and none would turn. This is legal under the NC "Safe Red Light" law.

Now for cyclist that go through red lights in busy traffic, I yell and curse at them as they give all cyclist a bad name (and I see it way too often) and create unsafe conditions for everyone.
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:20 PM
 
515 posts, read 906,584 times
Reputation: 269
Depending on the circumstances I may roll a stop sign or go through a light. It depends on the traffic and the intersection. I many situations, I do it to avoid being a PIA for cars.. say for example when I'm on the right side of the road and a car is looking to turn right...he would have to wait for me to get going before turning. If the intersection is clear I'll often go through just to get out of the way....
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