Please be warned that Pasco sheriff's deputies will be on the prowl this weekend looking for bicyclists who do not come to a complete stop at road intersections in the San Ann-Dade City area. They have already stopped several groups recently.
This comes via my good bicycle pal Ellen Pierson, who is part of the Grupetto-USA group and a recent e-mailt was sent by Jim Wagner. He passed on some comments from Ruth Holmberg, a Suncoast bike club member:
Jim wrote, "This came to me from Ruth Holmberg, a member of Suncoast. We all need to
read and obey. Manny of UBC has already stressed this point, let's not give
cyclist a bad name."
Jim passed this along from Ruth:
"Just a warning to let anyone who is planning on riding up in San Antonio
this coming Saturday (or anytime, for that matter): the rumors about the
Pasco Sheriff's Department pulling cyclists over for violations are true.
"On last Sunday's MS 150 training ride up in San Antonio, my group was "made
an example of" for not strictly adhering to the traffic laws. I have heard
that other groups of cyclists were pulled over that day as well.
"No fine or ticket in our case, just a fairly long lecture and discussion. I
performed a "rolling stop", albeit an extremely slow one, at the corner of
Bayhead and Bellamy Brothers when I saw that there was no traffic coming
from either direction ... and that is not what the laws says vehicles have
to do. Unfortunately for the group, they all followed my lead!
"A sheriff's car pulled us over with full lights and siren less than a
quarter mile up the road, took identification from those of us who were
carrying some, and went to his car (after asking if there was any good
reason why we didn't stop for the stop sign).
"I began to briefly explain the slow rolling stop (one foot unclipped, looking twice in each direction), but he interrupted and said, "Is that what the law requires?" The officer was absolutely correct: the law requires a full and complete stop, and we all know that it does. While he was on the radio (or just pretending to be - not
sure if he even called it in), another patrol car pulled up to assist (it
was five or six dangerous bikers to one officer, after all!).
"Then came the 20-minute lecture/discussion about why they're out there
patrolling cyclists, how angry some of the locals are with cyclists, etc.
Both officers made some very good points (including how angry motorists get
when they are required to comply with the laws but cyclists seem to get away
with not fully complying).
"As many of you know, I used to be a real stickler about stop signs and other such situations ... but like most of us, I have become slack about obeying the laws. That puts us all in potential danger, most importantly of getting hurt, but also of being cited.
"Anyway, finally they let us know how much a ticket could have cost us, and
also that those who had no identification with them could have legally been
hauled off to jail (?!?! - not sure on that point), then warned us to obey
all the laws and let us go. They also asked us to spread the word that they
are going to continue to watch all cyclists in the area and if behavior
doesn't improve, they WILL begin writing citations."