Pulled over for being "privileged" - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
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    I had an interesting experience last Sunday. I live in California where it is legal for motorcycles to "share" traffic lanes and where it is legal for all vehicles to make a right turn after coming to a stop at a red light if it is safe to do so.

    So on Sunday I was returning home and as I was riding my motorcycle on the 4-lane section of Highway 1. approaching the intersection to the 4-lane collector street in my city that would take me home, there were about 5 cars in each lane stopped in font of me and waiting for the traffic light to turn green so that they could continue driving north. Not wanting to delay my trip home or be in the way of other vehicles heading straight, I filtered between the stopped cars in the lane nearest the highway shoulder and the adjacent white "fog line" indicating the shoulder area of the highway (which you are not supposed to enter except in an emergency). I had plenty of room to get pass the cars so that I could make my right turn as the lanes there were at least 12 feet wide and I had about 4' to pass by without any drama.

    The second I made the turn I was pulled over by a CHP motor officer (who was on a BMW "Authority" motorcycle) who yelled at me to stop, get off of my BMW and take off my helmet. He then proceeded to rant about motorcycle riders thinking that they were "privileged" and could do things that auto drivers couldn't. He asked me if I felt I was "privileged" and would I have filtered by those cars if I was driving a car. I told him that I was just sharing a lane with the stopped cars and hadn't entered the shoulder area. My reply went right in one ear and out the other and the cop continued to rant about motorcycle riders thinking they were "privileged" like me.

    Since he didn't have his ticket book out and hadn't asked me for my license and registration, I decided that the best thing to do was to put up with his lecture, keep my mouth shut, continue to insist that I didn't feel "privileged" and to promise that I wouldn't do it (whatever it was) again. After the cop finally finished his 5-minute speech, he walked away saying "ride safe" and rode off, likely to the nearest doughnut shop. After that I rode the three miles home and spent the rest of the afternoon wondering what had just happened and why?

    What this has taught me is to do a better job of keeping an eye out for cops when sharing lanes and riding anywhere near a highway shoulder area - which apparently is sacred to the California Highway Patrol.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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  3. #2
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    Unfortunate situation for you, but I have to wonder what his life was like just a few minutes before. They are real people, just like the rest of us. I couldn't put up with the stuff they encounter for a single day, let alone a career.

    In too many places, the police are told they are the bad guys, and "we" need to defund them. Then those same politicians and social elites hire security (i.e. police) for themselves. And the police who couldn't quit or move to a different locality are told that with their hands tied behind their backs, they are supposed to stop crime.

    I'll bet if you met up with him later and could buy him a beer or coffee, he'd tell you that wasn't one of the finest moments of his life.

    Forgive and forget.

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    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    Any time they just yell at you is mo bettah than the citation and court time you hope they don't show for!

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    Not a pleasant experience. He was clearly out of order whatever sort of day he's had and as an officer of the law should be able to control himself. If I was a teacher and let rip at the kids because I wasn't feeling good, or a nurse who offered sloppy care because I'd just been verbally abused, that would be equally unacceptable. Many public servants have a crappy time and are treated badly. Also, they don't get paid enough for the service they give. but it doesn't make that behaviour okay. At worst it's an abuse of position and authority. I'd like to think anyone carrying a weapon was a model of self-constraint. Just another point of view

    But I agree. You did nothing wrong. Draw a line, forgive and forget.

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    I tend to agree that he was likely having a hard time that morning. Perhaps he witnessed a motorcycle rider in an accident or doing something stupid and just wanted to get his frustration off of his chest. I told him that I had been riding for 60 years without an accident and the last ticket I got was 40 years ago. However, he seemed to have a prepared speech that he wanted to relate to me, so I just gave up and let him finish. Interestingly, after he was done with his lecture he finally noticed my reflective MSF vest and commented on that and that I should know better than to take chances. Then he just walked away saying "ride safe". I replied "thank you" and then got on my bike and headed for home. Listening to a 5-minute lecture was better than getting a ticket for something - like wearing earplugs in both ears, which is technically illegal in California.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    The ear plug thing, what have they got against trying to avoid hearing loss?

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    Quote Originally Posted by notacop View Post
    The ear plug thing, what have they got against trying to avoid hearing loss?
    Apparently the state legislators wanted drivers to hear emergency sirens and other sounds outside of their cars that might be important to their safety. But motorcycle riders were not specifically exempted from that vehicle code law. That law also applies to "ear buds" playing music or receiving phone calls. But if you are listening to music via helmet-mounted speakers, that is apparently OK.

    I should add that the officer that pulled me over never mentioned that what I did was a violation of the vehicle code. He apparently felt that it wasn't fair for a motorcycle rider do something that a car driver couldn't, which was an approach that seemed odd to me. Also, he seemed to have a memorized speech and didn't want to be interrupted until he was finished with his lecture.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    I hear better with -26 dBA ear plugs than without. Without, after 30 minutes at 60 MPH I am deaf am deaf for the rest of the day. With ear plugs I still hear most near speech even through the helmet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by notacop View Post
    The ear plug thing, what have they got against trying to avoid hearing loss?
    I believe earplugs are illegal in NJ too. Classic case of legislating without understanding - or bothering to take the time to speak with the people who do understand.
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    I would like to hear the Police officers side of this one sided story, which can often be very revealing as to what actually happened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mh374 View Post
    I would like to hear the Police officers side of this one sided story, which can often be very revealing as to what actually happened.
    Well, he had his chance for 5-minutes while he was lecturing me. All I said was "yes sir" and "no sir". I guess he thought that what I did was unsafe, but the details of why that might be didn't come across very well. About the only advice I was given is that if I couldn't perform a movement while driving a car I shouldn't do it while riding a motorcycle.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    I like the quote from the Count of Monte Cristo.
    Abbé Faria: I’m a priest, not a saint.”
    The LEO is human, not a saint. I'd give him a little grace and move on in life. None...none...of us here can do what he or she is asked to do.

    While I was looking up the quote above, I found this one too.
    “Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.”
    ― Alexandre Dumas, ‘The Count Of Monte Cristo’.
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    I think one of the underlying issues here is that many of the right hand lanes do not have a painted line to indicate where the shoulder is, and it IS against the law to ride on the shoulder. Even if you had that line and stayed to your side of it, he may not have seen or noticed until after he initiated the stop, unless he was right behind you. Either way, most officers will pull you over for riding the shoulder to make a right hand turn if you're not within 'x' feet of the intersection. Same for splitting between the left lane and the lane going straight, it's just not safe. Legal or not, there is language in the law to allow them to stop you for splitting in an unsafe manner, and they get to decide what is and isn't safe.

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    In the UK here, we had a scheme called Bikesafe run by the police. I'm not sure if it's still running. You could sign up for £30 for a day's safety training. You spent a couple of hours in the classroom with the signed-up riders and a group of police motorcyclists. Then you spent three hours on the road, one police biker to two riders. The session I attended in 2010 was excellent. We were asked, 'why have a queue-jumper ticket and not use it?' - in other words, there are things you can do on a bike that you can't do in a car, so as long as they are not strictly illegal, do them. This included 'filtering' in traffic and making use of an empty left or right turning lane at a junction/roundabout to go straight ahead, out-accelerating the other traffic, if it is safe to do so.

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    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    Wow, Phil, using the turn lane to out gun the cars going straight. Sounds like you'd really upset the American drivers. But once a practice is in place and folks know the rules, what the heck. Like watching the videos of the Oriental rides all pulling up in front of the cars at intersections. Looks like a melee but it works for them.
    On the Freeway I've followed LEO's lane splitting and at other times I've had them follow me. Just at speeds that aren't crazy.
    On a tour out West my riding companion used the edge of the pavement to ride up the the front of the line at a road work site. The guy doing the traffic control gave my friend an earful.
    Some places just have no sense of humor!

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  27. #16
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    Thinking about it further, I now suspect that the officer that stopped me just did not agree with the recent state law that made splitting/sharing/filtering lanes officially legal, even though the CHP concurred with the law and provided guidelines for motorcyclists performing that activity, which I was following. I think he felt that it is an unsafe thing for civilian motorcycle riders to do, even though the CHP rides next to each other all the time. My guess is that he wanted me to not split lanes in the future as he felt that would be a safer course of action, even though it is legal to do. I stayed clear of the shoulder and he did not say that filtering pass stopped vehicles to make a right turn was illegal. I think he likely thought it was unsafe, though. Unfortunately, his presentation left something to be desired as far as I was concerned.

    If you could see how some motorcyclists split lanes in California you might very well agree with him. Some riders really do stupid things when passing cars in the same lane and he likely had witnessed such behavior recently. So perhaps he had my best interest at heart.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    Headed out there in November to see our new grandchild. I'll be extra careful but probably won't be abs to lane split in the rental car Last time I was in San Jose I was passed multiple times by bikes lane splitting, don't see what the problem was with what you did. Maybe he felt you weren't lane splitting bing on the right side of the right hand lane but like you said you had space.

    Around here drivers are nuts and really ignore and don't see motorcycles - I tend to not ride on most busy streets and highways. Its much worse since COVID, think those who got the virus and those who didn't lost their ability to drive.

    Got pulled over a number of months ago for a hooligan move, officer was nice and gave me a warning. We actually had a great conversation about stuff like a rental Grand Marque at a track day. I've been more careful where I let the beast loose since then. Last June was riding thru Encampment WY and stopped for gas. The entire fire department was filling up so while waiting wound up talking to the Chief of Police. He was the image of a wester lawman down to the hat and a great fella. I knew it was a ways to the next gas and he told me exactly how far - as I recall 73 miles. Encampment is a small town in southern Wyoming between the Snowy Mountain range and Battle Pass - some great mountain roads and good scenery.

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    This reminds me of when I lived in France, England, Germany, and (many years ago) Switzerland. Automobile drivers are trained to give way for motorcycles when stopped. The first time I lane-split on the M25 in England while traffic was moving (10-20kph) completely messed with my Amurkin sensibilities until it became apparent how incredibly sensible it was. I remember many times threading through traffic in France with other riders: Car drivers would pull over a little if they had room to do so.

    It is sad how many people become entrenched in an it-was-always-this-way attitude.

    It is sadder that police are frequently among that group.
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    Latest thing in these parts is Red light Cameras,,.
    They Started with red lights cameras in hi accident intersections and now they have added speed radar,,. How many here have feathered up the acceleration to clear an intersections as the light is going from green to yellow,,. Well thats $200.00 now thankyou very much,,. Started at busy intersections on the main roads,. Yesterday I was in a small town 100 Kms from the city and they had one set up,,. My new Garmin on the GS warns me otherwise I wouldn't know it was there,,. There everywhere now,,. A real revenue grab IMHO,,!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lag View Post
    Latest thing in these parts is Red light Cameras,,.
    They Started with red lights cameras in hi accident intersections and now they have added speed radar,,. How many here have feathered up the acceleration to clear an intersections as the light is going from green to yellow,,. Well thats $200.00 now thankyou very much,,. Started at busy intersections on the main roads,. Yesterday I was in a small town 100 Kms from the city and they had one set up,,. My new Garmin on the GS warns me otherwise I wouldn't know it was there,,. There everywhere now,,. A real revenue grab IMHO,,!!
    The city that I used to work for set up automatic red light cameras, owned and operated by a private contractor, at a number of major intersections. The city paid the contractor a flat fee for installing and maintaining the cameras and got a cut of the fine action (what was left over after the state, courts and special districts got their share of the ticket fee). After about 10 years, the city council killed off the cameras and told the contractor to take them back. it turned out that the city was loosing money every year as their share of the traffic fines wasn't paying for the cost of the cameras. That was when everyone realized that the cameras were there more to make money than they were for safety reasons.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    We had it here as well. 20 years ago,,. Moving camera cars run by a private contractor, for speeding, points and all,. It was a money maker and people who never had a ticket in 15 years were getting 3 or 4 in a row and having there license's lifted, paying thousands of dollars just for going to work and back the same as they always had,,.
    Finally the courts through it all out, so I don't know what the difference is now except this looks like a city thing in stead of a provincial deal as before?

    If I was running a small town on a busy hi-way I would set up a couple of these and easily ring in millions every year, get the back lanes paved, build a new skating rink or pool for the kids, easy money,,!!

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    The story was that in LA the private contractor that was managing the red light cameras was cutting down the yellow light length below the state standard of 4 seconds by a second or two in order to catch more people and apparently to generate more fines. Some years ago a newspaper did an investigation and found out what they were up to. Once the word got out, the public went nuts and the traffic light maintenance guys started to change the yellow intervals back to where it should have been. After that the money dropped off, the legislature got involved and many cameras were taken down around the state by popular (voter) demand.
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    Plenty of other research found fewer in-intersection collisions which was more than made up by the increase in rear-ending due to panic baking. But traffic light camera proponents ignored the inconvenient data.
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    One other thing worth discussing is the CHP and other CA LEO's riding attire. Most of the CHP officers, including the one that pulled me over, are dressed in nothing but a short sleeve fabric (no doubt expensive) fabric uniform and fabric pants. The wear thin leather gloves, leather boots and an open-face helmet with no sort of face shield other than dark sunglasses and this year a black fabric mask. To my eye, not much in the way of protection against the elements or the pavement. They really must have more confidence in their skill to stay upright and out of an accident caused by other vehicle drivers on the highway. Talk about not wearing all the gear - like I was. Wearing ATGATT was one lecture that I have never received from an LEO.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by N4HHE View Post
    "by the increase in rear-ending due to panic baking".
    Especially on a motorcycle in this age of electronic gadgetry,,. Id take an impaired driver any day over a cell phone addict,,!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard230 View Post
    Well, he had his chance for 5-minutes while he was lecturing me. All I said was "yes sir" and "no sir". I guess he thought that what I did was unsafe, but the details of why that might be didn't come across very well. About the only advice I was given is that if I couldn't perform a movement while driving a car I shouldn't do it while riding a motorcycle.
    You seem upset about it. If you think you were stopped illegally, you can always complain to his supervisor. If you KNOW the stop was illegal, you can file a written complaint. Was there badge cam?
    We found that once we told them we had video of it, they would not to swear out an affidavit.
    No one likes to be lectured to but it is better than a ticket.
    I recently came across an officer that was out of line and he had a recruit. There was very little professional courtesy and when he stated he could take me to jail, he didn't appreciate it that I told him to go ahead and do it. He was also wrong about the penalty. He said it was a felony and it was a misdemeanor. I was guilty of it though.
    Police hire from the human race. I saw way more asshats as violators though than police officers.

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    I don't know if I was stopped illegally, but I doubt it. I was just surprised regarding the implication that because I was riding a motorcycle I must have feel I was privileged for doing so and could ride in a way that an auto driver couldn't. If I wanted to carry on the discussion, I might have mentioned that I did feel privileged for riding a motorcycle for a number of reasons. Like being out in the fresh air, having excellent visibility, having better performance than most other vehicles, getting better gas mileage, getting a break on insurance premiums and other things, including the ability to legally share lanes with other traffic and to filter through traffic jams, in accordance with state law and the rules established by the CHP. But having a conversation like that by the side of the busy coast highway on a late Sunday morning didn't seem like the smart thing to do. So I kept my mouth shut and didn't pay any attention to the officer's badge number or if he had a camera. Sometimes it is just better to just stay cool and go on about your day.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

  42. #28
    Lag's Avatar
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    The guy is clearly a Drama Queen, bin watching to many CHiPs reruns and couldn't find a real life drama so he was trying to make one up,,!!

  43. #29
    Daboo's Avatar
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    I had a funny situation with a Utah LEO yesterday. He was on the other side of the road and I was looking for gas in a resort town...and finding none. So I pulled across the road and as I'm trying to stop so I can talk to him, my radar detector is going crazy. I finally unplugged the power. He was getting a good laugh out of the situation. Extremely nice guy.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

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  45. #30
    aeronberry72@gmail.com's Avatar
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    Just read through this thread. Have to say I think you handled the situation just right Richard

    At to privilege, totally agree it’s a wonderful privilege to ride a bike, something that I often reflect on riding into London each day enjoying the freedom from the long traffic jam the cars are all stuck in. The thing is, it’s a privilege open to car drivers if they wanted to - nothing to stop most getting a bike license. But then there’s the cold and wet days, the criticality to be 100% focused on the road, and most of all the higher risk factor. Bottom line, bikes and cars have different pros and cons - you pays your money and makes your choice.

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  47. #31
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    Far as I know you must pass cars only between the lanes and not on the sides adjacent to the outside white line or inside solid yellow line. I guess we can always ask for more privileges at motorcycle riders?

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