Thursday, November 12, 2009

OMG: Boston Police Cite Bicyclist for Improper Lighting

I am always amazed when the police in any town or city in eastern Massachusetts cite a pedestrian for jaywalking or crossing illegally, an automobile driver for opening a door into traffic, or a bicyclist for failure to stop for a stop sign or red traffic light. These infractions just seem never to be enforced, although they should be.

Which is why I offer a tip of the hat to the Boston Police, working out of Jamaica Plain's E-13 station, for citing a bicyclist for "Riding a Bicycle without Proper Lighting."

State law requires a red light on the rear of the bicycle and a white one on the front whenever in use at a time more than 30 minutes past sunset (until 30 minutes before sunrise). They also require some kind of reflectors, although these can often be provided by the cyclist's attire.

Why did the police ticket this particular bicyclist? It has something to do with riding erratically at 2 am and unlawful possession of a firearm that had its identifying numbers obliterated. I guess that's the threshold for a citation about unlawful bicycle operation.

Image of Red Bike Reflector by sillygwailo provided through a Creative Commons license.


Paul said...

I regularly jaywalk and run stop
signs and red lights on my bike.
I've been doing this for most of
my 52 years. I always make sure
I safely yield to oncoming traffic.
So far no problems.
Bikes are not cars. They should not
be subject to the same rules as cars.
In fact some progressive areas have
realized this and changed the laws.
It's silly and petty to enforce these
laws. I agree that reflectors and bike
lights are a good idea.

jeffreyfidler said...

A little constructive criticism: Don't use the acronym "OMG" in your title (the first thing you wrote) or anywhere in a news article or blog. It sounds so juvenile and effeminate.

Cops should pull over and ticket bicyclists who don't have proper lighting, reflectors on their bikes. I'm 26, in my second year living in Brighton, and I occasionally drive my cousin's car through the city. It amazes me how all these indie, hipster bikers cruise through red lights, cut drivers off, and take up the lane. It's amazing more of them aren't hit. They think they can do whatever they want because they're on a bike, really working for their transportation and not polluting, congesting Boston. In actuality, they need a good shave, multiple laser tattoo removal, a whole makeover so that they ditch their trendy, soulless hipster attire, and a complete course in road etiquette. They scare the hell out of me and all the other drivers with their careless, selfish, pompous biking.

And you end your article:
Why did the police ticket this particular bicyclist? It has something to do with riding erratically at 2 am and unlawful possession of a firearm that had its identifying numbers obliterated.

Work on your layout and follow up investigation. That's the real story.

pondering said...

Most likely reason for the citation was probable cause. They may have know the perp and used the unsteady riding without proper equipment to effectuate the stop. On a know perp, its more than likely they will find all sorts of other goodies.

JohnT said...

In Paris they will cite you for riding the wrong way on a one way street. If you want to continue, you have to walk your bike the rest of the way.

Michael Pahre said...

@jeffreyfidler: Oh. My. God. I can't believe you just wrote that. It's, like, you know, so, like... gnarly. Juvenile? Effeminate? That's so, like... gag me with a spoon.

marc said...

If you're really concerned about public safety, let's do something about cars that constantly run every red light in town. Then you can take on the drivers that refuse to yield and turn left at traffic lights, cutting off oncoming traffic. Follow that with clamping down on drivers that sit in intersections during light changes and cause gridlock. Bicycle infractions are truly an insignificant part of Boston's traffic problems.

Down 3 Blocks said...

Marc, all of those things you mentioned are enforced, but not every instance can be caught. Now look at people on bikes, not even close. People that ride bikes want all the protection of those that drive cars (reference that stupid new bikers rights bill).
People that ride bikes in the city are usually rude, and think that they always have the right-of-way, which is NOT true. Serves them right if they get hit by a car. Ever seen a person on a bike fly through a crosswalk while the pedestrian has the walk signal? Yeah, sure, of course you have not. Give me a break.

Mark Frommelt Photography said...

I got an idea, let's reduce the police force by half everywhere. Cops don't keep us safe, all they are is uniformed "tax" collectors for the town/states they work in, Meter Maids with guns. Reflectors are a good idea if you're interested in you own safety, but if you're not interested in your own safety I don't think the state should do it for you...Just like smoking laws, Nutrition Info regs..Sat Fat Bans and everything else the government wastes our time and money on...If people don't take care of themselves we'll force them too..and if they don't listen we'll take some of their money!!

Jillian said...

That's funny, I don't see the Boston Police cite cars often enough for nearly mowing down bicyclists EVEN WHEN THEY'RE IN THE BIKE LANE.

Quit whining, seriously, if you're driving a car in an urban environment, YOU are the problem.