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Am I allowed to ride on PA state routes?

Hello, I just joined because I got stopped by a policeman who told me I was not allowed to be biking on Route 51 and that I would be given a citation if he saw me again. I have biked on Route 19 and route 51 for a long time. Am I in the wrong? I thought I was allowed to bike on state routes. I have to bike on route 51 and Route 19 to get to work. I am now worried that I will get fined. Can some one tell me what I should do?
2014-12-20 05:44:15
I suppose there's two approaches, informal/soft and formal/confrontational. Informal/soft would be to call the police chief, tell him what happened, explain cyclists are allowed and you'd like the chief to spread the word. Formal/hard would be to call a bike lawyer (mark reiman) and have the attorney call the chief.
2014-12-20 07:54:21
What borough was the cop from? I think a couple of people ride on 51 ever so often. I've ridden on it as well, but not in years. I do ride on 885/887 almost every day though. Bicycles aren't allowed on interstate highways (like 376) without written permission, which I think is where the confusion comes from from some cops, but that's not applicable to just regular highways like 51.
2014-12-20 08:21:04
Yes, I concur..... Bicycles are considered vehicles under PA Code, and have all the rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles......including the right to use any public roadway, with the exception of Interstate Highways (although a bicycle IS permitted on certain segments, which are clearly signed as such.). There are a few roadways on which bicycles are specifically prohibited. These are well signed. I do not know of a section of Route 51 on which bicycles are prohibited.
2014-12-20 08:36:55
Where were you on Route 51 at the time?
2014-12-20 08:37:23
You have to stand up for yourself and other bikers in situations like this. Make the cop give you a citation and then fight it in court.
2014-12-20 08:44:59
I never thought about calling the police chief. That is a good I dea. This Mark Reiman I think I will look him up and call him to have him notify the bourough police dept. I did not see what bourough the policeman was from it could have been dormont I think. If other people are biking on state routes like Pierce is then The cop is just misinformed also like Pierce said.
2014-12-20 09:22:40
Also Swalfoot I knew I saw that law. I have also never seen a motorized vehicles only sign on 51. for those curious about where I was at on 51 I was at the intersection in the left lane at the light waiting to turn left up Crane Avenue. I just turned right off of Warrington Avenue from Mt. Washington. I am only on Route 51 just a little bit until I turn up Crane. I sometimes take West Liberty Ave (Route 19) jonawebb you are right I thought that if I got a citation I would fight it but that would take money wouldn't It? Either way there is no way I can avoid being on a State Route Like 51 or 19 and commute to work and home. I feeel like I have a right to be on the road as well.
2014-12-20 09:28:00
It's going to cost money to have Reisman call the police chief. I and others would kick in to help you.
2014-12-20 09:31:17
I think you are better off just calling yourself. You ran into an uneducated cop, but there is no need to elevate the situation. Just call the Chief and tell him what happened. If there is any resistance then you can elevate it yourself, but you may find the Chief apologizing and he will take care of it promptly. No need to run to an attorney just because one mistake was made by an officer. Be nice on the phone and show your concern as people should do. You will know if you need to call an attorney after that.
2014-12-20 09:53:34
I had a similar situation happen to me on Old Perry Highway in McCandless a few years ago. If the cop hassles you, you can just try and explain the bit about it being Interstate Highways and that you need to use the road to get to work, and with any luck, that will be the end of it. That's kind of what happened with me after I asked the cop to pullover so I could explain why I was where I was (and that I was allowed to be there) He initially was trying to argue with me while we were both on the road
2014-12-20 10:41:06
That section of road would be City of Pgh. and is located in police zone 3 You can try talking to the commander of zone 3 first (I'd do it in person if I could) then escalate as necessary. This is also in Natalia Rudiak's district 4 city council district & I have had great experiences working with her and her staff on bike/ped issues so you might want to consider contacting her office too. In my experience it is pointless trying to confront a police officer on their misunderstanding of bicycle law. I carry both a copy of the PA bicycle manual and a copy of the PA vehicle code with me - and I have yet to have a cop willing to look at or even listen to THE LAW. It's better to get the cops name, politely say thank you and then take the matter up with their superior later. Good luck.
2014-12-20 10:41:30
To be pedantic, Title 75 says no bikes on "freeways" (not interstate highways), and defines freeway as a "limited access highway to which the only means of ingress and egress is by interchange ramps". So PA Route 28, for instance, would be prohibited for bikes, even though it's not an interstate highway. But PA Route 51 isn't a limited-access highway, so bikes are allowed unless there are signs saying different. Some tunnels under Mount Washington have such signs, but I don't think there are any on the stretch you were using.
2014-12-20 23:55:18
I really liked what @gg said. (and everybody else, too) You don't necessarily need to become the Cherokee Schill of Allegheny County.
2014-12-21 09:18:15
I think I am becoming the Cherokee Schill of Allegheny County, FWIW, though I haven't been cited yet. (For those who came in late, here is a good description of her situation, which we have discussed at length on this message board here.) As to @tomatocat's current situation, yes, I think @gg's suggestion is right on the mark. Yes, you can ride on PA51 from Glenbury all the way down to the West End Circle, in the travel lane. Whether it's a good idea is another thing, but there is no question as to its legality.
2014-12-21 10:18:25
There are state routes which are also normal streets. Like Penn ave. Well, OK, Penn isn't normal. But you get the picture. I'd call or go in. Be nice.
2014-12-22 09:14:18
Penn dot needs to stop constructing every road within their purview as if it's a highway.
2014-12-22 10:03:51
+1 Steven's pedantry
2014-12-26 18:47:43