Spring crackdown on Pgh bicyclists?

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edmonds59
Participant
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I haven’t seen this elsewhere on the board, so starting a thread. I’m seeing on other social media that it sounds like there is somewhat of a “crackdown” on bicyclists in the Oakland area. Is anyone else hearing this, and does anyone have first-hand knowledge of this? If this is indeed true, I’m really wondering if this is from the Peduto administration in origin, from neighborhood complaints, from the PPD, or just some cops who decided they need to save Pittsburgh from “bikers”.


Benzo
Participant
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Might want to avoid any maneuvers that are questionable in legality that might otherwise be done for safety purposes, such as using an all-way pedestrian signal to cross an intersection. I’ve heard this was one of the items being enforced.

I know I see a lot of folks who do this, sometimes to make a left turn which may otherwise be difficult.


Gordon
Participant
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I’ve been wondering about crossing the all-way pedestrian signal. Would I be allowed to cross with one foot on the pedal and another foot on the ground for propelling, like riding a kick scooter? I could argue that my speed is so slow like a pedestrian that I don’t pose much safety risks.


jonawebb
Participant
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Well, according to https://www.cordiscosaile.com/faqs/who-is-considered-a-pedestrian/, someone on a scooter (which you are imitating) is not a pedestrian:

Who is not a pedestrian in Pennsylvania or New Jersey?

Skateboarders: Skateboarders (and other road users) on self-propelled vehicles, e.g., rollerblades, push scooters, are not pedestrians because they are not “on foot.” They must also yield to pedestrians and follow pedestrian control signals.

So, that probably won’t work. I think you’d be OK if you dismounted and walked across the intersection, though. Or just waited.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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I think you’d be OK if you dismounted and walked across the intersection, though. Or just waited.

“Just waiting” is, of course, how Susan Hicks died.  It’s not the most common way to get hit by a car, but you can’t exactly fault a rider for not wanting to hang out in the middle of an intersection when they don’t feel safe.

I’d dismount and walk across, if you’re worried about both hits from behind and police activity.


jonawebb
Participant
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It’s definitely not the most common. I feel pretty safe waiting at a traffic light with cars behind me; but that’s just how Susan died, as you said.
Statistically, Susan’s death falls into the range of freak accident, I think. Not that that’s any comfort, or any excuse for the lack of bike infrastructure in Oakland.


Benzo
Participant
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If it’s legal to ride on the sidewalk (say you’re not in a buisness district, like possibly bigelow / parkman / ohara), is it legal to cross at an all pedestrian crosswalk signal if you originate from the sidewalk to another sidewalk?

What about sidewalk to street or vice versa?


edmonds59
Participant
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@ Benzo those are excellent questions, about which I don’t think the rank and file law enforcement officer will give a rat’s.


Steven
Participant
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I don’t know of anything in Title 75 that even considers the possibility that a cyclist legally on a sidewalk might want to then use a crosswalk to reach another sidewalk without dismounting first, or transition between sidewalk and street.

In fact, several regulations assume that only pedestrians will be on the sidewalk. For example, if a car stops to let a pedestrian cross the street at a crosswalk, other cars approaching from the rear may not go around the stopped car (Title 75 3542c), but if a car stops to let a cyclist cross the street on that same crosswalk, nothing prohibits traffic from going around the stopped car.

I saw nothing in Pittsburgh’s municipal code to address this either, but I did learn that § 541.02 prohibits any vehicle (and “vehicle” includes bicycles under the law) from stopping or standing on the sidewalk. (“Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or to protect the safety of any person or vehicle or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic control device.”) To be clear, you can park a bicycle on the sidewalk. You just can’t stop on one.

You’re also not allowed to stop, stand, or park your bicycle on a bridge in Pittsburgh. And “except in an emergency”, making repairs to your bicycle is prohibited, not just on sidewalks but, from what I can tell, on all public property.


Benzo
Participant
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@edmonds59 – Rank and file might not care, but a judge might just let you off a ticket if you make the case since the law is ambiguous.

Though I understand that the sausage making process that is legislation would not work without allowing this ambiguity, as a majority couldn’t agree on specifics enough to pass a law.


paulheckbert
Keymaster
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I’m not biking in Oakland frequently, lately, but today I was biking the wrong way on a one-way section of Melwood St between Centre and Bayard, and a cop car driving the opposite direction on Melwood passed me, and said and did nothing. So in this case there was no crackdown.

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