How bike unfriendly is the Dayton PD?

I woke up at 5:30 am today- looking forward to the bike summit. A mecca for people working to make Dayton a leading, functional cycling environment. About the same time, my housemate, on his way to work, on my mountain bike- wearing dress shoes, slacks, dress shirt and tie- was being pulled over on Buckeye Street by not one, but two Dayton Police Department cruisers.

The offense- ostensibly, ignoring a stop sign. The kicker- lack of a functioning head and tail light (I don’t have them).

This isn’t the first instance I’ve written about cops playing hardball with bicyclists. It also happened to one of my employees at 6:30 pm when the sun was still out: It’s 6:30pm, do you know what the Dayton Police are doing?

My housemate is bi-racial. The cops said something about some woman had complained about being hassled on the West side.

He let my housemate off with a warning. I now have $32 invested in lights to protect me from cops- since they do zilch to stop idiots on cell phones from hitting me. Now we know bikes without lights are critical reasons for cops stopping bicyclists and making them late for work-

I’m going to end this the same way I ended the other post.

Do you feel safer?

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35 Responses

  1. Sherri August 15, 2009 / 3:15 am
    Hey Dave –
    Interested to know if there are laws in Dayton regarding bicycle safety equipment?  We have a huge bike population out here and virtually everyone has a light on their bike.  So many people use bikes as their primary transportation.  Doesn’t stop the madness – even though it’s now illegal to talk on your phone and drive, whenever I see a cyclist with the light flashing on the front of their bike I see them…
  2. bill August 15, 2009 / 7:50 am

    Great point…..Bicycle safety laws. They used to be rules of safe bicycling, and should have always remained as such. Safety should be one of personal choice, however I am sure it all ended with an unlit bicycle causing a fatality somewhere??? We live in an area where laws are made, without being well thought out or evenly enforced. Perhaps with no thought to our individual rights…….
    It seems that these frugal laws seem more of a distraction, from the police attending to the real crimes of Dayton. Of course much of this can be attributed to lack of leadership. This lack of leadership has limited the ability of Dayton to meet the needs of business and the business went away…………………..
    Seems so very clear now!

  3. David Lauri August 15, 2009 / 1:14 pm
    Driving while black isn’t just for cars.  A co-worker of mine has a black friend who faced similar harrassment by Dayton cops while bicycling, and my co-worker, who is white, has never been stopped on his bike for not having lights or for running stop signs or for riding on the sidewalk, etc., etc.
    Can anyone say, “racial profiling?”
  4. David Esrati August 15, 2009 / 3:07 pm

    @David L

    My former employee who was stopped- is white.

    I’m sure we have more important things to worry about. Considering we can barely get DPD to write traffic tickets- the interest in bike lights is odd.

  5. Jeff August 16, 2009 / 9:17 am

    Below you will find a link to Ohio DOT dealing with the laws that apply to bicycles. Do I think they are all necessary, no. The law is the law and we should expect the police department to enforce those laws, that is there job. They shouldnt be selective in which ones they enforce, they should enforce all of them. Let’s not try to taint the water by tossing ‘race’ into this. The officers, by your own account of the incident, had every right to stop your friend, it doesnt matter if he is bi-racial, red, yellow, or green the fact is he wasnt obeying the law. He didnt get cited and now you and your bike comply with the law. Lesson learned.

  6. Ice Bandit August 16, 2009 / 11:26 am
    Darn Dave, between scrapping with neighbors, interloping with rifle-totin’ west siders and running stop signs on your 10 speed you’ve become a menace to society. Wouldn’t be surprised to see your mug shot on TV next Saturday with John Walsh describing your crime spree and advising all to “approach this individual with caution.” Fact is, in this bankrupt city, the po-po long ago abandoned their role as civil guardians and became ersatz tax collectors. Ya’ ever see that bunch that live at the old Samu Hotel at Filth and Wine who rode their skateboards to Sinclair every day for years? Saw the constabulary writing them up just recently. And ask any cab driver, who must pay fines to maintain their special licenses, to relay some horror stories about the petty reign of terror that they endure for burned out license plate bulbs. You were the victim of profiling David, insofar as your shirt, tie and demeanor screamed “I can pay this $125 citation, so please give me one for any infraction major or minor.” Perhaps if you had worn your ghetto rags you may have escaped the hammer. Please, Dave, forego the early payoff  and go to traffic court, as I did recently. You will be absolutely amazed at the volume of  people there, and the absolute pettiness of the infractions. When the little old lady in the electric wheelchair tried to appeal to the judge about her jaywalking ticket (without success), the Old Bandito knew this town no longer had soul nor shame………..
  7. David Esrati August 16, 2009 / 11:43 am


    It twasn’t I who was riding my bike-

    it was my housemate.

    @Jeff- the laws are well and fine- however, all of those laws protect whom? We require all these safety devices on a bicycle in Ohio- yet you can ride a motorcycle without a helmet?

    My point is- cops need to be working on other things- stopping people on their way to work for warnings about bike lights is not a good use of our resources.

  8. Ice Bandit August 16, 2009 / 3:57 pm
    Hey Dave. Re-read your post and you do mention that it was your housemate who incurred the wrath of the law. My error. As the Old Bandito ages, he finds that his eyes, his comprehension, and other parts of his anatomy don’t work as well as they did a couple of decades ago. Nevertheless, methinks we are in complete agreement as to how this city should best use its’ cops……..
  9. David Lauri August 16, 2009 / 4:06 pm
    they should enforce all of them
    ROFL.   There aren’t enough police officers, nor will there ever be, to enforce all of the laws.
    And, it seems, police officers themselves don’t follow all the laws.  Driving down Shroyer this morning I witnessed a Dayton police officer change lanes without signaling, and he was driving about 42 MPH in a 35 MPH zone, which I know because I was keeping up with him and going that fast.  He wasn’t on his way to apprehend a suspect or intervene in some emergency — he’d have been driving even faster than that if he were and if he were he should have had his sirens on.  If he’d been behind me and I’d done that, he’d have been within his rights to pull me over, lecture me, slap cuffs on me if I gave him any attitude, etc., etc.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if, in addition to “enforc[ing] all of [the laws],” police officers followed all of them themselves too?
  10. Jeff August 16, 2009 / 7:55 pm
    Lauri ROFL,

    ROFL. There aren’t enough police officers, nor will there ever be, to enforce all of the laws.

    I sure you meant there are not enough police officers to prevent and catch all the law breakers. Last I checked, It only takes one officer to enforce all the laws. One officer or a thousand officers they are all responsible for enforcing the same laws. Just keep on rollin on the floor…..

    And yes, officers should set the example when on the street

  11. David Lauri August 16, 2009 / 8:43 pm
    So set your officers to stopping jaywalkers and catching people bicycling without headlights and helmets and see how much time they have to prevent drug deals and break-ins and assaults and murders.  “Sorry, dispatch, can’t go take care of that rape until I finish writing this kid a ticket for riding his bike on the sidewalk.  Gotta enforce each and every law I see being broken, don’t you know?”
  12. Larkin August 17, 2009 / 8:17 am
    Just to add a note of absurdity here . . . one evening last week we were driving down Stroop when one of the Kettering gendarmes stopped us. My husband was driving. The offense? He was driving too slow. (30 in a 35 mph) I know the officer wondered if the driver was drunk, but honestly, driving too slow? (No, he wasn’t ticketed. I think even the officer realized how ridiculous it sounded for him to encourage my husband to “drive a little faster.”)  Why in God’s name hasn’t the State Patrol set up a sting operation through the construction zone on I-75. Are they still waiting for fatalities?
  13. Gene August 17, 2009 / 8:23 am
    They enforce the laws that they see broken…… and he really did not enforce the law, he let him off with a warning.

    When did we turn into a bunch of babies. You break the law you should take responsibility in owning to the fact that you failed. Pretty simple. Liberals think it is someones else’s fault. HE BROKE A LAW – sure, it was not murder. And if a violent crime did occur when writing a ticket he would say .” your lucky day, gotta go……” and leave the biker alone.

    Grow up folks. Part of why our society fails is bc we have people who can not man up and take responsibility for their actions. Cry baby central. Hell, you don’t want them to write tickets or people to get rich or fathers to actually father their kids or people to get jobs or people to obey the laws, etc. Grow up. Act like an adult. He broke a law. He got off with a warning. He should consider himself lucky and this should be part of the “service” you always talk about David.

  14. X. Republican August 17, 2009 / 8:05 pm
    “Liberals think it is someones [sic] else’s fault”? You need to re-read the post, Gene, instead of using it as an excuse to paint your political enemies with a broad brush. Where’s the part where David said anything was someone else’s fault? All he said was that the cops aren’t bike-friendly, i.e., not riding bikes themselves, yet hassling cyclists over minor infractions, and he gave two examples: one in which his intern was warned for harmlessly riding on a bike path without lights when it was still daylight, and one in which his housemate was warned about having committed a traffic offense by cops who mentioned a woman had reported being hassled, which indicated that it wasn’t really about the traffic offense at all, they just wanted to get a hold of this biracial guy and see if he was up to no good / had warrants or whatever. So if we’re going to stereotype liberals & conservatives here, then I would think you would be having a freak-out about cops wasting taxpayer money on trivial incidents like this, but apparently you’re alright with any injustice as long as you can say it’s somebody else’s problem. This may come as a shock to you, but profiling is real. It has happened to me and it happens all the time in much more serious ways than this. Cops will use any infraction, no matter how minor, as an excuse to shake down anyone they don’t like the look of. This is profiling even when the infraction is real and has nothing to do with how much responsibility someone takes for the offense. Concluding that the cops aren’t bike-friendly or that they’re profiling isn’t shifting the blame for the infraction; it’s just calling a duck a duck. In fact it seems you’re trying to shift blame and make excuses for profiling by saying their bike-unfriendliness and profiling is the fault of the person who they targeted. Go fail with your dismissive platitudes somewhere else.
  15. Gene August 17, 2009 / 9:48 pm
    5:30 am….. I am sure the cop could not tell if he was white or black. According to DE, he be boff..

    HE RAN A STOP SIGN, HE HAD NOT HEAD OR TAIL LIGHT. That is in violation of the law, last time I check. He was blaming the police. He laid fault on them for doing their job. Heck, the man did not get a ticket.

    Cry babies. Seriously. He broke laws. Again, not huge laws, but picking certain infractions over other would show favoritism in a liberals mind. You can never win with liberal thought. Either way liberals bitch.

    Not sure how pulling someone over is wasting tax payers money. It cost me, the tax payer, the exact same when he pulled him over or if he had let him go. Heck, write a ticket. I hope the write tickets to the super libs. I, unlike most, am happy to pay a ticket when I break the law. I am an adult, not a crybaby.

    I profiled all the time – profiled as a successful adult. Not white. Not gay. But, yes, successful. And you love to take it from me, and blame me, for your problems. I never seem to get in trouble, wonder why?

  16. truth August 18, 2009 / 10:30 am
    Define “real” crime.
    Considering many high profile criminals are caught because an officer takes action on “not real” crime, I wouldn’t be complaining.
    Whine about it all you want.  When you have a PD that is down 100 officers, be glad that they are doing anything other than driving from call to call to call.  You will never see a reduction in crime when you have a re-active department versus a pro-active department due to understaffing and an abundance of ignorance and crime across the city.  When the guy on a bike gets killed for an equipment violation in conjunction with a moving violation, don’t complain when even more resources are wasted on the investigation involving a fatality.
    I find it funny that folks have a problem with an officer going 42/35.  If he drives like that he abuses his power.  If he drives 35/35 everyone is pissed that he is holding up traffic.  Lauri, get a clue.   Go pull policy and law on emergency vehicle operation.   And you don’t have any idea if the officer was on his way to a call or not.  I bet you want officers to take their sweet time getting to your residence when you are in a hurry to get to “work” in the morning and you just found your car broken into.  Some just don’t get it.
  17. Gene August 18, 2009 / 12:30 pm
    Do you think it is wise for a wannabe politician to determine what a cop should and should not do? If you folks are so smart, why don’t you become a cop and put your money where you mouff is?
  18. David Lauri August 18, 2009 / 4:59 pm
    Does the emergency vehicle operation policy say that turn signals are optional when changing lanes?
  19. Gene August 18, 2009 / 5:24 pm
    Sirens on or off? You have you answer, I think.
  20. truth August 18, 2009 / 7:31 pm
    Lauri, your first comment was reference speed.  Second, seeing how much knowledge and common sense you have reference law enforcement, I am not too confident in your observation skills.
    There are many factors to why an officer may or may not do a certain thing.  Until you have the knowledge and reason to understand what task he was doing at that moment in time, who cares…
    Cuffs slapped on you for no signal.  Hardly.  They put up with enough crap on a daily basis and if attitude is what you feel like spewing at the time of a stop I am confident they will give you some extra attention.
    If you have the brass to do their jobs, go ahead…Sign up at your local academy….
  21. truth August 18, 2009 / 7:32 pm
    Not knowing DPD’s word for word policy, there are different levels of a response to a crime.  And yes…depending on the response they are legally justified in that manner of driving.
  22. David Lauri August 19, 2009 / 11:30 am
    Lauri, your first comment was reference speed.  Second, seeing how much knowledge and common sense you have reference law enforcement, I am not too confident in your observation skills.
    Look again, truth.  I said, “I witnessed a Dayton police officer change lanes without signaling, and he was driving about 42 MPH in a 35 MPH zone.”
    Whose skills of observation should you be criticizing?
  23. David Lauri August 19, 2009 / 11:33 am
    And if a police officer was rushing to some place at which he was needed, I hardly think 42MPH in a 35MPH would be fast enough.  It was early morning on a Saturday, not much traffic on the road, so 42MPH was not as fast as he could safely go.  He could easily have gone 45 or 50 MPH without putting anyone in danger.  Thus I do not really think he was rushing to the scene of a crime but rather was instead just flouting the speed limit because he could.
    And even if he were rushing to the scene of a crime and thus justified in speeding while he wasn’t using his siren, he should still be using his turn signals when changing lanes.  Rushing to the scene of a crime does not justify unsafe driving and certainly doesn’t justify breaking the law about signaling lane changes, at least not if one thinks every single law on the books should be enforced.
  24. David Lauri August 19, 2009 / 11:38 am
    Oh, and one last thing about this, and then I’ll stop.  I’m not the one who was advocating that each and every single law on the books be enforced.  I’m just saying that those who believe that should also believe that the enforcement of each and every single law on the books should also apply to our law enforcement professionals.
  25. Gene August 19, 2009 / 12:05 pm
    Who cares what the cop did? That kind of thinking leads to an endless battle of ‘this and that’ and ‘whaaaa, it is not fair’ kinda thought. This is about a guy on a bike who put himself in danger by not following the law. It is also about Esrati’s never ending quest to cry baby over things that are not all that important and are made up (in this case his hinting at ‘profiling.’)

    I feel safe. I always have in Dayton. Maybe at 3am I get a little suspicious. Just like I would in Centerville or Oakwood. But I am asleep at the time, so I do feel safe.

    Dayton Cops Rock!

  26. David Lauri August 19, 2009 / 12:19 pm
    Who cares what the cop did?
    People who claim that each and every single law must be enforced should care what the cop did.
    To be clear, I’m not one of those people.  If your powers of observation were better than Truth’s are, you’d have noticed that the only way I knew the police officer was speeding was that I was speeding too.  My bringing up his speeding was an illustration of how stupid it is to claim that each and every single law needs to be enforced.
  27. Gene August 19, 2009 / 1:00 pm
    Cops have more power than the average bear. Deal with it – that was my point.
  28. truth August 19, 2009 / 10:29 pm
    Some don’t like to deal with it because they assume there are great benefits.  I guess if being able to go 42/35 is a benefit of being shot at and fighting  folks for a living, I really don’t see the benefit.  42/35…come on now.  “Flouting”.  Give me a break.  That is slower than the flow of traffic in any 35 in the valley.  If he does 35 you are pissed he is holding up traffic.  If he is going 42 he is “flouting”.
    Like I said…Lauri is free to sign up at his local academy.
  29. David Lauri August 20, 2009 / 1:49 pm
    @truth: you’ve completely missed why I brought up the police officer in the first place, which just makes it incredibly ironic that you were criticizing me and my powers of observation
  30. truth August 20, 2009 / 10:40 pm
    Your point that they should follow the laws themselves…Didn’t miss it.  What I did miss was you rationally thinking about why they may be driving 42/35 before you tried to use it as an example as uniform applicability of laws and the enforcement of them.  If you used a rational example versus one that gets across your disdain for law enforcement, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
  31. David Lauri August 21, 2009 / 11:04 pm
    Truth, (I’m) an idiot. (esrati note- name calling is only allowed when it’s directed at me, You have to raise your level of rhetoric to be able to post here- I will change comments that amount to name calling)
  32. Gene August 22, 2009 / 9:42 am
    (I am) a Sandwich Shoppe Head. (I am) a Marble Globe. (I am) a Grass Aficionado. How is that for name calling!!! (esrati note- name calling is only allowed when it’s directed at me, You have to raise your level of rhetoric to be able to post here- I will change comments that amount to name calling)
  33. David Esrati August 22, 2009 / 9:59 am

    Please note- the above two posts were moderated by me- I will redirect name calling at you- if you insist on base name calling of other commentors.

  34. Gene August 22, 2009 / 10:38 am
    Note by me – the NAMES I called David Lauri mean absolutely nothing. I guess I proved people are over sensitive.

    Sandwich Shoppe Head, Marble Globe and Grass Aficionado mean nothing. They are simply words put together that have never been used in name calling before. Liberals find these terms offensive though.


  35. David Lauri August 22, 2009 / 5:02 pm
    LOL, editing my comment still makes it perfectly clear what it originally was.

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