Police do not like it when people drive scooters right at them

Boston Police report a local man reached ramming speed as he raced toward five officers on mountain bikes - all in bright yellow uniforms - at Quincy and Clarkson streets in Dorchester around 10 p.m. yesterday. They got out of his way, radioed for help:

... The suspect continued to speed through several intersections, disregarding traffic lights and swerving across lanes, causing dangerous situations for both other motor vehicles and pedestrian traffic. An off-duty officer and another Boston Police unit were able to catch up to the suspect who then got off the motor scooter and fled on foot. The suspect was then observed in a yard off of Mt. Everett Street by officers, who placed him under arrest. The suspect then told the officers that the motor scooter was not even his and exclaimed, "All this for a f******* scooter." ...

Kahrie R. Hinson, 20, now faces a variety of charges. Two years ago, the Globe profiled him as a teen receiving training for "counseling other teens in his South End neighborhood on how to avoid violence and resolve territorial disputes without resorting to bloodshed."

Innocent, etc.

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yeah, that's useful

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Boston Police report a local man reached ramming speed as he raced toward five officers on mountain bikes - all in bright yellow uniforms

How useful to have five of them hanging out together. Has it occurred to our illustrious Boston Police department that it is more effective to spread them out? Perhaps the MBTA has been collaborating with them, as the 39 busses also like to roam in packs.

Or, did someone run into HQ and say "Hey, anyone wanna go ride bikes together? We can get ice cream!"

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Maybe is was simply the

Maybe is was simply the combined gravitational mass of the 5 officers together that caused the scooter to accelerate towards them.

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Toroidal gravity field?

Sorry - just had to make the obligatory donut joke.

It sounds like the only real attraction was some sort of mayhem impulse on the part of the scooter rider, though.

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Lycra tights

They were too exciting for the cop ... he got the tingles and had to cover through a thoroughly thuggish assault before his buddy noticed.

Bloomberg see this yet? He cycle commutes.

I wonder when they will start harassing and attacking people taking part in the daily Critical Mass Drive, which chokes the streets and inhibits the free movement of traffic?

It's also known as rush hour.

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NYC bike thing

Was this ride sanctioned by the police? Because taking up an entire street in Times Square could really f**k up traffic around the area, and tick off a lot of people. I don't know what their cause is, but creating a traffic nightmare isn't really the solution.

But yeah, either way, it's pretty freaky what that cop did.

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Long Court History

I think Gareth's link covers it.

Critical Mass Rides aren't organized, they are announced. Courts have repeatedly slapped down attempts to declare them "parades" or ban them otherwise.

Which makes sense when you consider that they are simply a traffic jam. Nothing more or less. If you go after these rides, you also have to make traffic jams have a permit, too. All the "can't do that" aguments boil down to "bikes can't do what cars do every evening", which has no traction in the courts.

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Don't wanna start a big discussion

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I'm not looking to get into all of Critical Mass's benefits or failures here, but corking intersections to maintain a group cohesion is illegal...unless you're an organized, permitted parade, which CMers don't want to be classified as. They want to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to which laws they choose to abide by and not abide by. Until they rectify that, then they'll likely continue to be arrested by whichever officer feels the need. In Boston, the police take a "didn't see it, don't care" attitude towards corking, but will arrest someone blocking traffic at a green light if they choose to do so. Clearly the way it was handled in Times Square Friday was completely and incomprehensibly incorrect.

There are alternatives to Critical Mass in some areas that generate the same desired effect on the commute, but abide by all rules of the road in doing so.

So, just wanted to point out that they're not always just a "traffic jam" but that they do sometimes go out of their way to disobey the rules of the road whether you agree with their doing so or not.

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Blocking intersections

Seems to be a favorite sport of motorists around here, and the cops don't seem to care much either.

In fact, if you don't, I've seen people lean on the horn, nudge up to the rear bumper, etc.

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Ive never purposfully

Ive never purposfully blocked an intersection so other cars could go through.

Im fine with a mass bike thing IF they obey the law while doing it, which they dont seem to do. Even if bikes ruled the world we would need signs and lights in busy areas.

If its legal in Massachusetts for me to cross a street, and if in this state the pedestrian has the right of way with any traffic, then why is it I would get arrested for blocking the street with a thousand other people? Its the same thing, its a protest if they are blocking the streets during normal light schedules.

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Too late, Kaz

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That horse is out of the barn.

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So it seems

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Oh well. It is definitely a discussion-worthy video however.

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Traffic

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See, bikes are traffic. Critical mass rides don't disrupt traffic, they are traffic. They only disrupt cars.

When's the last time you saw a policeman bodily attack motorists for filling up a street with cars?

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Maybe they do, maybe they don't

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Maybe they scream and yell, maybe they drop bubble gum in the street, maybe they have terrible body odor. I don't know, and that is neither here nor there.

I am only disagreeing with the assertion that bicycles disrupt traffic. As Swirly said, a study could be done to determine whether they improve traffic.

In the video, they appear to be moving more people down the street more quickly than an equivalent number of cars would.

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Just seems to me

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That if you claim you're in the right because you are traffic, but then don't have to do all the things that other traffic has to do, you're not really convincing me you're legit traffic in this case. Which has nothing to do with bubble gum.

I'll bet cars could move pretty fast down Broadway, too, if they cut off every side street, didn't stop for pedestrians and ran every red light.

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Space per person

One reason cars choke streets is the space they require per occupant. Vehicles that take less space keep moving, even when obeying traffic laws, because they don't occupy as much area.

Cyclists accellerate faster to a low speed than cars do, too.

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It's not about me

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It's not about me; I don't participate in this.

If there are bicyclists blocking streets that have the right of way / green light, or running red lights where that is against the law, then those bicyclists should be ticketed. I just learned from googling "corking an intersection" that some of these folks do that on purpose, and I agree that's not proper.

What I saw in the video, however, was just heavy bicycle traffic, with one nasty and unjustified assault by cop.

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Fair enough

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And I am on on the side of the bike riders, for the most part.

I just bristled when I saw the "we are traffic" post, because no, they're not, when they're doing things like that. And if Critical Mass' purpose is to make people even angrier and less accomodating to cyclists, then they're doing a great job.

And I agree that the cop in question should be fired if not jailed.

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The video

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Yep, NYPD has a particular bug up its rear when it comes to Critical Mass. The particular cop in the video was a frosh who likely just decided to get in on the action he'd heard his dad (a detective) talk about before. Basically, if they can stop a biker, they'll apply a litany of manila charges depending on the particular biker (intentional traffic disruption, helmet law, correct lighting, etc). Unfortunately, this cop wasn't too bright and got videotaped tackling a biker to then later claim that the biker tried to run him over. Not wise.

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look closely at the video

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Unfortunately, this cop wasn't too bright and got videotaped tackling a biker to then later claim that the biker tried to run him over. Not wise.

I see a cop hustle across the street, and then get nearly rammed by a cyclist who, if you look at the slow-mo, turns his front wheel TOWARDS THE COP as he approaches. And how did the bicyclist end up going from the middle of the road to the edge like that? Hmmmmm.

A lot of bicyclists get rises out of cutting in FRONT of pedestrians, and this guy looks like he thought he'd get a rise out of a cop. Said cop saw him coming and knocked his indie ass off the bike. If the guy wasn't looking for trouble, he would have cut BEHIND the cop.

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Look closer

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You'll see a cop standing there until a certain moment when he fixes on a cyclist. Then he runs three steps towards that cyclist and shoves him over.

The bicyclist went from the middle of the road to the edge in order to avoid the cop, who was standing in the middle of the road, until he ran at the bicyclist.

Your description is based on wishful thinking or bad eyesight.

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Hmmph

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So, cops abusing authority are bad...unless they're abusing that authority in order to thump on "indie" (sic) bicyclists.

You are a real piece of work.

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It looks to me

like the cop was walking across the street, despite bikes riding quickly towards him, and this bike tried to AVOID the cop. I can see how the wheel would be unsteady just before hitting someone, out of the rider's nervousness. If the cop stood still, the bike wouldn't have swerved. I'm glad the thug cop was caught on cam

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No!

Biking in itself does not typically disrupt traffic (although I'm not looking at getting into that semantic argument as to running red lights is okay), but an entire group of people taking up an entire busy street in the biggest American city to make a point is totally not okay. If they had rode in a singal file line, fine. But blocking an entire street, taking up all lanes just doesn't seem reasonable in my book.

Again, that doesn't excuse the cop knocking somebody off their bike, but to me, it doesn't help their "cause" by causing vehicular anger.

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Keep your Place!

but an entire group of people taking up an entire busy street in the biggest American city to make a point is totally not okay

Unless they happen to be taking up a lot more space per person, are equipped with internal combustion engines, and pursue the common goal of getting out or through the city.

This is why legal challenges have failed. There is no "car privilege". These are vehicles - if their operators break the law, they can be held responsible. Otherwise, their very existance and presence is not subject to special rules just because "bikes are slow" (they are not) and "but I have a car" (so what).

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There is a road near my

There is a road near my house that bans horses. Not sure how a horse would get up on that highway, but gosh darnit the sign says he shouldnt be there.

I thought there was a law saying your couldnt impede traffic? Doesnt going considerably slower than the speed limit and blocking intersections during red lights while other bikers raise their bikes in the air qualify for impeeding traffic?

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Cars at Rush Hour

I don't know if you spend any time in Cambridge where there are bike lanes, but it ain't the bikes that are moving slowly, blocking intersections, jamming up, or impeding traffic.

In fact, the bikes are moving much faster.

Huge difference between a city street and a country lane.

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Im in Cambridge right now, I

Im in Cambridge right now, I will report back on my way out...

Thats the first time I ever heard of Chelsea being refered to as even remotly having a county lane... Thats where the sign was , on Rt 16 no less!

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Horses in Chelsea?

We have "yield to horses" signs in Medford, but the horses are long gone.

Bikes travel considerably faster than horses and take up less room. Only their riders get spooked.

When the speed limit is 20 or 25, bikes typically operate at a good percentage of that - commuters range from 10 to 20mph or more. I get really annoyed when cars cut me off, honk at me, try to push me out of the lane, etc. when I'm moving at/over the limit and/or at the same speed as the vehicles ahead of me because "I'm impeding traffic" or, "bikes are slow".

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Yeah the signs kind of old,

Yeah the signs kind of old, Im assuming there must have been one guy with a horse who said "but theres no sign!" back in 1954 or something.

So they put up a sign

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Passing

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Passing "those people" on the right at the next light and then leaving them behind at the next yellow makes my day. It really does.

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Kind of Pathetic, really

It is even more fun to have the same pathetic driver stomp the pedal to dramatically accellerate around you and then hit the brakes hard at the backup at the next red light, only to just whiz by again and again until you finally lose him or her in the unbeatable traffic quagmire.

I've noticed much less of this silly "look at me! My calf muscle works!" behavior since fuel prices skyrocketed. It doesn't take much to understand how much fuel is wasted racing and stopping racing and stopping.

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Blocking the lanes

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Then I do not see your justification. With the exception of very very few jurisdictions (you can count them on one hand and neither Boston nor NYC is one of them), bicyclists are allowed to ride tandem in a lane. Furthermore, they are allowed to pass on the left just as if they were the driver of any other vehicle. When they are running 6 wide, it is due to them stacking up as they are passing other riders. Some people incorrectly believe that bikers are required to stay single file, etc, but that is not the case. They are allowed to pass other bikes on the left, just the same as any car would be able to if the way were clear.

Clumping bikes adding to traffic (they are traffic just like the cars) may cause road rage due to drivers not accepting bikes on the road, but that's exactly the point these events are trying to make.

What *is* counter-productive is the failure to follow the lights and other driving infractions. One such frequently heard response is that it prevents them from being an even *worse* traffic problem by keeping them as a single group instead of multiple groups. I say make it even worse then since that is part of the goal, just as long as the rules of the road are followed, then I am happy to see them do it.

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Apology

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Sorry, I misread something I was reading earlier which discussed the states that have single-file laws. You are correct; Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Virginia are the only 4 states with single-file requirements at all times. Only 2 others (CO, MT) have specific situations that require it. In the case of the video from NYC however, there is no single-file requirement.

That also having been said, you can pass in the same lane as another cyclist. It would be up to the officer to prove that you were not passing at the time.

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Kaz and Swirly

I respect both of you and your eloquence in making arguments (and I'm being genuine, not sarcastic, promise). But I think you missed my point.

Taking up all lanes of an entire busy street makes bikers look like dumb hippies to drivers caught behind them, even if that assumption is incorrect (I'm a dumb hippie on a bike myself). It's not about bikers' rights, it's about a passive agressive means to anger and frustrate drivers, and it ends up hurting their cause.

And if you qualify bikes as vehicles, should we not also allow segways, handicap scooters, or motorized wheelchairs to take up entire lanes of traffic? Those are vehicles.

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NYC

If you have ever been in that area at rush hour, you would know that the cars aren't going anywhere fast anyway.

If the bikes can get people through more efficiently, one could argue that the cars should be banned.

In fact, some major cities have restricted certain arterial streets and portions of arterial streets in congested downtown areas and reserved them for buses, bikes, and light rail lines because cars cause congestion and are inefficient use of the facilities.

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Yes

I have indeed been in that area during rush hour, and yes, I do know that traffic tends to inch along. But again, I think you missed my point, that this kind of thing is just adding to the chaos and frustration, and makes bikers look like idiots. Remember, I'm pro-bike (again, being a dumb bike hippie), but that doesn't counter the reasonability of my ire at dozens of people taking up an entire city street during rush hour to protest, causing inconvenience for vehicular traffic.

I say we just drop this, and agree to disagree.

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Hmmm...

Given that Times Square is a traffic nighmare of a typical weekday evening, critical mass ride or no, I wonder if anyone has done any traffic counts and occupancy counts to see if the actual per-person throughput goes up during these rides?

From the video, the bikes were coming through at a fair rate of speed and relatively high density. As they take up less space than cars, that might mean more people get through there than do in cars on a typical night.

Or maybe not - it would be an interesting undergraduate study/report.

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uh...

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Look at the bicyclist's wheel. And the angle the bicyclist approached at. He cut over to the side of the road, then as he got really close to the bike, turned his wheel to the right (at the cop.)

He was doing what asshole bicyclists do: "buzz" pedestrians.

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Ms. Brett of Simi Valley

You learned well from your stint as a juror in the Rodney King police abuse trial.

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Great googlie mooglie!

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That's appalling. The video, not the cop being stripped of his badge, that seems mild.

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Critical Mass is childish

I'm an avid cyclist, doing all my riding out in the burbs, and have always regarded Critical Mass rides as childish tantrums. Their expressed purpose is to be a pain in the ass and to piss people off. Great, that's all we cyclists need is another reason for people to hate cyclists and to be more aggressive towards us. Not the best way to gain respect.

Again, their sole purpose is to fuck up traffic, which just results in pissing people off. Yes, cyclists have a right to the road, but cars also have a right to the road. Critical Mass is like kids teasing each other - they do it to evoke a reaction, and it happened in Seattle. No way am I defending the motorist's actions, but it's to be expected, sad to say. But, a childish action results in a childish response.

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5 fellow officers

I wouldn't be standing around by myself on a corner in Dorchester in uniform or not..... find me four brothers in blue and that's where I'm heading.

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Location