Saturday, August 15


I've gotten honked at twice now by police in marked vehicles since I started my new commute back in April. Once was in Keller, as noted here. The second time was by a pickup truck with "Fort Worth Police" lettering on Westport Parkway, a road shown here. In both cases, I was riding safely and legally. In both cases, there did not appear (to me) to be any emergency that would have caused any special action by the police. In the second case, pulling over could have caused a fall due to the very poor road surface (though I was VERY careful moving over after waving to the following police vehicle). For those of you that have never heard a police vehicle honk, their honk has a VERY distinctive and attention-getting sound, which makes sense. In both cases, I moved far right, and then moved back into the lane immediately after the police vehicle passed. In neither case, did the police appear perturbed about me moving back into the lane after they passed. In retrospect, I'm conflicted about my "move over" response to those two honks.

I know that ChipSeal has a policy about how to stop in this sort of situation and it does NOT involve pulling off the road, but rather in stopping in the lane, much as a larger vehicle would.

I do NOT want to get at odds with the local constabulary, but this police horn honking seems a little over the top. I'd normally ignore motorist honks, but these are emergency vehicles, and I don't really have a way to know if there might be some reason I'm unaware of that they need to get by quickly.

In a prior episode with the Fort Worth Police, reported here, I was unable to get anyone to return my calls. Advice?


Doohickie said...

Do what you think is best at the time. Yeah, maybe Chipseal is right and you don't have to move over, but I always make it a policy to comply with the fuzz. The policy hasn't let me down yet.

Eliot said...

I'm surprised that an emergency vehicle really needs a cyclists to move over to get by. Did you try motioning with your hand for him to pass without changing your lane position?

Very strange situation!

Rantwick said...

Hmmm. I think you do have to move over in case they really need to get somewhere, but its a pisser if they're just mis-using the authority they've got.

ChipSeal said...

Unless they are flashing red lights, I have no legal obligation to move aside. If they are not on an emergency call, their right to the public space is equal to mine.

I resist yielding my right of way to bullies, no matter what vehicle they are operating.

A note of caution, however- If an emergency vehicle is approaching, or if you must pass by where emergency vehicles are responding to, look out! Motorists become very error prone and fail to pay proper attention to their driving.

I am annoyed at some folk's expectation that a particular vehicle type is supposed to get out of the way of faster vehicles.

twister said...

So, what kind of honk was it, a long and angry type honk or a short beep trying to let you know they were wanting to get by? Police are usually young men and young men are generally proud and egotistical, anyway. Put a badge and a gun filled holster on them and it can be a recipe for an ego run amok. I'm inclined to agree with Doohickie on this one. I read somewhere once; Only by pride comes contention.

Steve A said...

Neither was a long and angry honk. It was more of a "get over" short honk. I didn't consider either really more than businesslike, other than the lack of an evident real business purpose.

Because of the element of doubt, I think I agree with Doohickie as well - I'll move over, and deal with the conflct afterwards. If I've got time, I may try to get a license number. If I make an issue of it then and there, I'd likely wind up worse off and I'd really feel bad if some bad thing happened because the police were underplaying the seriousness in deference to me.

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