Report: Somerville bicyclist arrested after running red light, refusing to ID herself to cop

Somerville Patch reports on the incident in Union Square.

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    I am a Somerville Cyclist

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    And I obey the rules of the road. I stop at red lights, and I wouldn't get indignant if I was rightfully stopped by a police officer. I am glad that the cop pulled over the red light-running cyclist because she broke the law.

    How's that?

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    Disappointing...

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    your common sense, and ability to adhere to reason disgusts me, sir!

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    Hallelujah

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    I saw a dweeb wearing a body camera run a red light today on Atlantic. It was the definition of the cyclist mentality. I have a camera in case YOU break the law, but in the meantime i running this red light because IM above the law.

    Off topic.... A lot on USNorthCom guys at South Station setting up mobile communication hqs.

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    yeah

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    I just went into the conf room to see (I can see SS from my suite)

    Yeah you're right lots of trucks out there, along with the Blood Mobile.

    I wonder whats going on.

    another one?

    By on

    wasn't a guy arrested in Union about a month ago for running a stop light?

    Before folks start calling

    Before folks start calling the ACLU panicking, in MA you can legally be arrested for refusing to identify yourself to a police officer (or giving false information) if questioned by an officer while you are operating a bike and violate a law.

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    anywhere in the USA you can

    By on

    anywhere in the USA you can legally be arrested for refusing to identify yourself to a police officer (or giving false information) if questioned by an officer while you are breathing, or not.

    Fixed that for ya.

    No, you broke it

    Stop and identify statutes

    At any time, police may approach a person and ask questions. The objective may simply be a friendly conversation; however, the police also may suspect involvement in a crime, but lack "specific and articulable facts"that would justify a detention or arrest, and hope to obtain these facts from the questioning. The person approached is not required to identify himself or answer any other questions, and may leave at any time.

    That's not the situation in the red-light running, but your assertion that everyone has to identify themselves whenever a cop asks, regardless of whether he has probable cause is wrong.

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    That must have been INFURIATING for the officer

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    Hmmm, do I continue to arrest this woman, or should I let her go and start arresting the people pointing their camera phones at me, an officer of the law? Well I'd better not do that knee-to-the-back-of-the-head thing while people are watching, even though this criminal scum is resisting arrest.

    Damn, stop filming me so I can do my job the way I want, you mere citizens!

    Hey, could I just start firing on everyone? No; they're all white. Ooo, except that guy. Wait, he's more than 15 feet away, I'd never land that shot. Sucks, I could use a few weeks of paid time off.

    Considering

    The officer appears to have acted by the book, I bet he didn't think any of those things. Please continue to troll, though.

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    Okay, now that we have the

    Okay, now that we have the opinion of paranoid weirdos who think all police officers want to murder minorities for no reason, let it be known that is completely legal to film a police officer as long as it does not interfere with the law enforcement action the officer is currently engaged in.

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    We'll never get this story to

    By on

    We'll never get this story to 200+ comments with that attitude, mister.

    Hey this happened pretty close to Market Basket... hang on, let me think about this for a bit. Get your bingo stamps ready.

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    Probably not

    By on

    If it is the officer that is typically pulling over bicyclists (myself included that one time) in the area, then he's awesome. And I bet he wouldn't have even written her a ticket if she had been reasonable.

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    Why ? There is nothing I am

    By on

    Why ? There is nothing I am aware of that would prevent her from biking in the future, after doing her time of course.

    Maybe she had a warrant out

    By on

    Maybe she had a warrant out for her arrest so tried to flee instead of owning up to it. Either way, she's not very smart.

    Sounds like a stellar use of resources...

    By on

    I hope he scooped up some jaywalkers while he was at it. I feel safer already. And before you unleash the wrath of "my grandma was severely brushed by a speeding bike messenger!!" know that I get as pissy as anyone about scofflaw cyclists--I just wish that traffic resources were focused more intently on the bad drivers who make our streets so hellishly dangerous for ped's, cyclists and other drivers. This just doesn't seem like a priority unless she was actually endangering pedestrians.

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    She ran a red light. Do we

    She ran a red light. Do we want cyclists that break the law punished or not? Of course either way on the internet, the police always lose no matter what happens apparently.

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    Why yes--yes, we do.

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    All I'm say in is that in the grand everyday CF that is Boston traffic, a cyclist running a red, unless they are egregiously creating a dangerous situation, is low down on the safety priority list as far as I'm concerned. Texting while driving is illegal--I'd like to see every texting idiot ticketed too, including the half-wit we drove behind on Route 9 while she wove from lane to lane with iPhone in hand. But guess what--that's not going to happen. Neither is a crackdown on the dirt bike riders who are infesting my neighborhood and actually endangering people and themselves because hey--too difficult. Easier to go after a loan female cyclist who, no doubt, acted like an idiot. Low hanging fruit.

    I just saw a male cyclist being

    By on

    written up for a ticket last week. Why do you qualify the sex of the cyclist? It should not matter. Either you broke the law or you did not break the law.

    And, honestly, this lone "female" cyclist sounds like a real B_____.

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    Were there police around to

    Were there police around to catch the people committing these incidents? Probably not, in this case there was. Nobody is ignoring incidents or letting people off.

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    I agree

    Enforcing the law is a good use of police resources.

    Whenever it's suggested that auto drivers might behave a little more considerately towards cyclists, what's the number one complaint you hear?

    "Those guys run red lights all the time."

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    Wrong again (still?) Sal

    Do this red light crap enough and odds are eventually you'll get hit. If you're a biker you're more than likely dead. I think the entitled dummy might think twice the next time, and maybe it'll save her life.

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    Well,

    By on

    I just recently joined Hubway via a corporate membership. So now I ride almost every day from South Station to Kendall (am) and from Kendall to Back Bay Station (pm).

    Most of my fellow cyclists stop at red lights. Most of the cars also stop at red lights. However, if I had a handy clicker (ala Swirls), my clicker, unfortunately would register, for the three weeks I have been cycling, a much higher volume of cyclists going through the red lights as opposed to cars.

    I have seen police ticket cyclists as well as those in cars who break the law. So I believe that the traffic resources are focused where they are needed at the time they are needed: if a cop sees a bike breaking the law, boom, ticket. If a cop sees a car breaking the law, boom, ticket.

    It has nothing to do with priorities but whether the law has been broken as observed by the police officer.

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    When I got pulled over by

    When I got pulled over by this guy for "running" (stopping at the light, seeing an empty intersection during a 30 second all-ped phase), I asked if there were going to be any other stings on drivers that say, block the box during rush hour.

    he didn't like that, and I had to talk my way out of a ticket back down to a warning.

    I do na theenk tha word means wha you theenk it means

    By on

    "Sting"? That means there was an entrapment, or at the very least a deception, on the LEO's part. That doesn't seem to be what you are describing.

    To wit:

    - Get off your bike and walk ped xing during walk light = no ticket.

    vs.

    - Ride vehicle across intersection against red light = ticket.

    Unless the cops were holding off traffic further up the road and setting the light to stay red super-long whenever cyclists approached the intersection, then...

    No enticement = no sting.

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    When I got pulled over by

    When I got pulled over by this guy for "running" (stopping at the light, seeing an empty intersection during a 30 second all-ped phase),

    Why the quotation marks on "running"? You ran a red light. It's not less illegal if you stop first.

    I asked if there were going to be any other stings on drivers that say, block the box during rush hour.

    That's funny. I found out when I was about 17 that cops don't generally react well when you tell them how to do their job.

    he didn't like that, and I had to talk my way out of a ticket back down to a warning.

    Oh, I guess you did, too. Learning is fun.

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    I don't get it

    Even if you're in the right, which you clearly weren't, why insult the police officer when he is doing his job?

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    Why the bashing?

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    I'm not really sure I get the point of all the anger towards bikers here. I drive and bike. I've seen drivers be assholes and bikers be assholes. I've certainly been an asshole while participating in both modes of transportation. I'm from Boston...what do you expect.

    I would like to think that we can get away with running red lights on bikes...and that we should pay the consequences for doing so, whether that be injury or fines in Somerville/Cantabrigian suburbia. Why is everyone so obsessed with making rules about everything? I would also like to think that we don't arrest people for moving violations or demand identification when someone is on a bike.

    Can someone clear up the identification for me? You only have to identify yourself if the policeman can show reasonable suspicion of a violation correct? And even then, you aren't required to carry papers on a bike or on foot, so in the case that the policeman has reasonable cause to stop you, you would only need to provide a first and last name?

    Um,

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    "Why is everyone so obsessed with making rules about everything?"

    Because you and I live in a society, Mr. R. And our society has deemed that rules are necessary to protect the interests of its citizens.

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    The point isn't anger towards

    By on

    The point isn't anger towards bikers. The point is anger towards bikers that flagrantly break the law and hurt the public image of all other bikers.

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    Seriously?

    Do you also think that cars should just go around running red lights too? As a biker it seems like you would be in quite a bit of danger if all drivers took this attitude.

    What if a biker runs a red light and causes a car coming through a green to stop short, thus getting rear ended by vehicles behind it? What if a semi-truck was behind the car, couldn't stop and killed the people in the car, just because bikers should be able to run red lights?

    How about everyone, bikes and cars, just follow the traffic laws, since they are there to protect people.

    And how about cops enforce those laws on anyone, bikes and cars, they see breaking them.

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    Must provide your full legal name, and address

    Can someone clear up the identification for me? You only have to identify yourself if the policeman can show reasonable suspicion of a violation correct? And even then, you aren't required to carry papers on a bike or on foot, so in the case that the policeman has reasonable cause to stop you, you would only need to provide a first and last name?

    If you're riding a bike, and an officer thinks you committed some sort of traffic violation, you have to provide you legal name and your address. It can be verbal; you don't have to provide a license or ID card.

    https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter85/Sect...

    If you're driving a car, they can demand to see your driver's license.

    MA is not a "stop and identify" state, so in most other situations I think they cannot demand identification.

    Though ...

    By on

    ... if you mis-identify yourself in any circumstance and things get complicated, it's something you'll want to correct before you are arrested.

    I ride my bike a lot in

    By on

    I ride my bike a lot in Boston and I definitely understand why people get mad at the morons who fly through red lights and like to weave into oncoming traffic. While riding I definitely go through my fair share of red lights. The difference between myself and the wannabe bike messengers is that I slow down/stop and look, first to see if there are any oncoming cars/pedestrians and secondly to look for cops. If I see any of the three then I wait for the green.

    As bicyclists we are all fully aware that running reds is against the law and cops enforce it more in different areas (Brookline and Sommerville). Even as a person who has a huge disdain for cops, I find it hard siding with the woman who got pulled over. She didn't look and she got caught, life sucks wear a helmet.

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    Are you

    trying to imply that because you look for cops before you break the law that somehow makes it better?

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    Of course not. I look for

    By on

    Of course not. I look for pedestrians and cars so I don't get into an accident and I look for cops so I don't get caught.

    ticket/arrest dangerous drivers

    By on

    Cops can't and don't enforce all posted rules and signs. It is possible to break the rules, exceed the speed limit by 20 percent or more and still be operating safely in a lot of circumstances. And most of us do. If you've ever sped, you shouldn't be posting here unless you think you deserved a ticket every time you went 65 in a 55. Police should use discretion and ticket people that are operating blatantly unsafely, there are enough of them to meet the quota...they don't generally need to be stopping people for technical violations of the rules only.

    Bottom line for me is you're a lot less of a safety hazard to others on a bike than in a car. You can also jaywalk and cause an accident...but honestly you're putting yourself at risk more than anyone else - probably why there isn't much ticketing of jaywalkers. It's not much different for bikers; the incentive to operate safely is always there, because you are the one that will be hurt or killed if you cause an accident.

    By the way we should be encouraging biking over driving, since bikes are not detrimental to the environment and cars are in the extreme; and cars are so hazardous that bikes are essentially harmless by comparison. I feel this is an obvious point that any rational person should be able to consider and accept. Bicyclists should be given some credit including in their interactions with traffic police for making a transportation choice that is less detrimental to society as a whole.

    I drive in Boston and don't bike but can't remember I time when I felt threatened or endangered by bicyclists. I have also witnessed a few incidents where a biker was nearly killed by someone in a car who was not paying attention and driving unsafely. Not sure what the other experiences are but have to wonder if the anger is more about the me vs. them mentality and feeling of power that being behind the wheel of a dangerous machine often seems to provoke.

    This.

    By on

    Thank you. Yes--it's a given that everyone should obey the rules but priority should be given to the violations that pose the greatest hazard to public safety.

    No.

    That's like saying every police officer should only investigate murders because, hey, at least rapists leave you alive. Or better yet, they should all be assigned to anti-terrorism because a terrorist attack has the most potential for mass damage.

    Traffic rules are there to make everyone safer. Knowing that police could be sitting just out of sight on 495 will keep a percentage of drivers from doing 80 in a 65 zone and that makes the roads safer in general. Knowing that you have a chance of getting ticketed for running a red light on a bike will make a percentage of cyclists more likely to stop at lights and thus reduce the potential for accidents.

    So, you are placing

    By on

    the onus on cops to weigh violations they may come across, in a any given day or night, "that pose the greatest hazard to public safety?"

    Seriously?

    Why is this so freaking hard to understand?

    By on

    As I said the first time around, I have no problem with scofflaw cyclists being ticketed AND that this woman clearly acted like an idiot. But yes--priorities. You're all talking as if there's some magical Solomonic, all-seeing sky judge meting out justice when as we know, there's a very limited number of cops, traffic and otherwise, keeping their eye on things. Would you rather Cop X give out fifteen jaywalking tickets on a given day or catch four speeders and two drunk drivers? Three cyclists going through a red light at 12mph or one guy in a semi going through it at 40mph?

    I drive in Boston. I don't

    By on

    I drive in Boston. I don't bike because it terrifies me! And while I don't typically feel "threatened or endangered" by cyclists, there have been multiple times when I have had a green light and been going through and intersection and have had to narrowly avoid a bicyclist running the red light at top speed. I've also been in a car accident where the other driver hit me because he ran a red light. In each case the other person was doing something illegal and I support the police enforcing the rules of the road.

    Speaking of being obvious and rational.

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    As I said, I just joined Hubway and I am enjoying riding 'round the city. However, as a rational person, I understand that not everyone is capable of riding a bike (due to age, disability, fear, living many miles from where they work, for example).

    In the aggregate, yes, bikes are great for the environment (and you get a bit of exercise) but to even think that most folks are going to ditch their cars and hop on a bike is, well, in my opinion, not-rational.

    Being a pedestrian (or cyclist for that matter) that gets hit by a car is usually bad. But cyclists can also do damage by hitting human beings (as my co-worker who received a bad concussion can attest to). So to say that cyclists are "essentially harmless" is, well...

    This:

    By on

    This:

    But cyclists can also do damage by hitting human beings (as my co-worker who received a bad concussion can attest to). So to say that cyclists are "essentially harmless" is, well...

    is very true, whyaduck. Years ago, I read a rather heart-rending story about an 85-year-old woman who was killed by a cyclist who was going much too fast, on a Venice, CA boardwalk, no less.