It's hard enough being a cyclist or a pedestrian having to deal with a world full of cars, but it gets even harder when the police clearly put themselves behind the wheel in their attitudes.
You can't walk your kids to school in Cumberland County.
Kaid Benfield of NRDC Switchboard describes the scene in Cumberland County, Tennessee, where the school district wants everyone to line up in their cars to pick up their kids in an orderly fashion.
So, when dad Jim Howe showed up on foot to retrieve his kids after school was out but before the line of cars had done its thing, he was told he had to wait in line like everybody else; never mind that he wasn’t driving a car. When Howe asked for his kids to be released to him, the deputy sheriff apparently took it as a challenge to his authority and, to make a long story short, handcuffed Howe and put him in the back of a law enforcement vehicle.
Kaid says "It’s almost a parody of how things can go wrong when we insist on having a nation of essentially unwalkable schools." More at NRDC Switchboard.
Charlotte grandma cited for letting kids ride bikes on the street
Clearly they have a thing about bikes in Tennessee; and in fact about just about anything that gives kids a bit of exercise. Victoria Mathis got ticketed for letting her grandkids ride their bikes on a residential street in a quiet neighborhood. According to the Dixon Herald,
Charlotte Mayor Bill Davis said it was “absolutely” true that in Charlotte kids can’t ride their bike on roads owned by the town; a resolution passed by the town in 2003 states that no one can “ride an all terrain vehicle, skateboard, roller blades, and roller skates or conduct similar activities on the city streets, in the city park or on the Court Square of Charlotte.”
Noting that this list doesn't include bikes, the mayor said "it’s implied in the language “similar activities.”" The mayor goes on that kids playing in the street is a big chronic problem.
“Underage and unsupervised, yeah, I’ve got a problem with that,” he said. “We get a lot of complaints, little kids 5 years old playing in the street on these little bitty mini-bikes and some of these little pedal carts, and some of the neighbors have been afraid they were going to get run over. You just can’t let kids be out there unsupervised.”
In DC Streetsblog, Sara Zimmerman of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership complains about this.
Communities should tread very carefully when they start enforcing rules against normal, healthy activities,” she said. “Not only is it a bad idea to discourage people from being healthy and make it hard for kids to act like kids, but there are dangers for the towns themselves too. They risk being held up to ridicule by the country at large, and if they are going beyond what they are actually authorized to enforce, they may be inviting legal trouble as well.
In New York, they ticket you for riding in the bike lane
There is a bike path on the Willis Avenue Bridge connecting Manhattan to the Bronx. Just don't ride on it; you will get a ticket. Streetsblog writes:
NYPD is at it again, handing out tickets to cyclists for riding on a bike path. This time, the 25th Precinct was handing out sidewalk-riding summonses to people riding the shared bicycle-pedestrian path on the Willis Avenue Bridge between East Harlem and Mott Haven.
A victim notes:
Rienti says the officer told him that the precinct had received complaints about cyclists using the path. Rienti told the officer that it’s a shared-use path where cyclists are allowed. ”He sort of just shrugged his shoulders and wrote the ticket,” Rienti said. ”I thought he was going to give me some sort of warning.”
In London, man carrying kids in cargo bike gets stopped by cops
After six cyclists were killed in two weeks in London, the police started a safety blitz. The trouble is, they don't really know the rules. According to the Evening Standard,
Ben Watson, who was taking his two children to school in a “cargo bike” this morning, was stopped near Euston Station before being released after it was decided he had done nothing illegal. The 57-year-old, who criticised the officer for not knowing the law, said: “This policeman called me over and said ‘is that bike legal?’ I thought ‘well you’re the policeman surely you should be telling me whether its legal or not’”.