Trouble with the Police on the M2

Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby MVZOOM » Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:55 pm

Thought this may be of some interest... I've been riding in Sydney for a while (and have many years riding in NZ prior to this). I had a break over the last few years to concentrate on running, but last week bought a second-hand Giant TCR C2 and planned to ride to and from work, in Delhi Rd, North Ryde.

So… I didn’t realize until early this week that there were still roadworks in place on M2 citybound. Essentially after the tunnel there are two 80km zones where there isn’t any bike lane. As optimistic as I am about the state of mind of Sydney drivers, it ain’t somewhere you want to be on a bike.

To combat this, I jumped on the Western side of the M2, at Baulkham Hills. Just to be clear, I have ridden on the alternate-side bike lane (ie.. facing traffic) at least 20-25 times, because of the alternate, off M2 route heading West while they were working on the Epping Tunnel a few years back. Never been a drama. This morning I was around 2km from the PH ramp heading into the city and a motorbike cop was waiting for me at the end of the long downhill.

Him, all lights flashing, red faced and screaming at me while I had my headphones in and couldn’t hear him. It took me a moment to unclip, and when I took my earbuds out, he shouted at me “Are you a muppet??”. I (somewhat indignant that he’d stopped my progression and broken my rhythm) retorted “only if you’re Miss Piggy”… It went downhill from there.

Problem (in his eyes) was that I was going against the traffic. He couldn’t grasp the fact that if you ride against the traffic on a dedicated, 3m wide bike path, it gives you a whole lot more time to avoid a car when you can see them coming at you. Rather than the alternative of it just hitting you from behind and having no chance at all to do anything about it.

The real kicker is that he was insistent that riding down Pennant Hills / Carlingford / Epping Rd’s was safer.. seriously? Either you take up a whole lane or you die, it’s not a safe place to play at all, the road condition is terrible and drivers frustrated. It’s an extremely, extremely dangerous piece of road for a cyclist - you need to be really confident and pretty aggressive to sort it out.

I refused to give him any form of ID (again, testosterone pumping etc) and he threatened to bring me into custody to confirm my details, so I caved on that one. He took them all down and told me that he could charge / ticket me for not obeying road rules. I asked him what the rules were for bikes – he told me “same as cars” – so I asked him how I should pay my registration, and whether there were personalized plates for bikes too….

Yeah, I was being a bit of a prick - out of my character, generally - but he should realize – especially as a motorbike cop – that as a bike rider, you inherently lean on all of your experience to mitigate as many risks as possible. I’ve ridden many, many thousands of K’s on bikes and it’s all about self-preservation. So it’s a really difficult pill to swallow, to be told that I need to go and ride down Pennant Hills rd. it’s kind of like being told that it’s a great idea to swim in a rip, when you could walk along the sand.

Because I wasn't being 100% co-operative, he told me that I couldn’t proceed to Pennant Hills Rd on the bike, that I had to walk and that he’d monitor me the entire way. Couldn’t do that because of I had cleats on… so made me ride all the way back to Baulko, then turn back onto the M2 and all the way back to Pennant Hills, then through the congested, scary, risk-your-life-for-each-moment bloody traffic to get to work.

So I guess there's an opportunity to get some more K's under the belt via an alternate route. I assume the backstreets coming down through Carlingford would be the best way, because PH Rd, Carlingford Rd and Epping Rd are a bit of a nightmare. Any suggestions here?

Cheers for the vent - Mike
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by BNA » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:55 am

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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby Boognoss » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:55 am

Yes the situation is stupid and I complained about it both when the M2 was closed to cyclists in 2011 and again in Aug 2013 when it was reopened except for citybound east of Pennant Hills Rd.
But I think riding on the shoulder against the traffic is ridiculously stupid and if I'd passed you on my homeward commute you'd have copped an earful of my Airzound and would have your face on Youtube by now.
That said I'm sure you've learned a lesson.

Heaps of commute route suggestions in the below threads.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=66793
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=62275
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=66496
n = 3 for now

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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby Nate » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:19 am

He started the name calling & unprofessional & uncivil behaviour & you jumped right in there with him... Obvious where that was going to end.
Regardless of how you inappropriate the rules are for your circumstances, you don't have a choice in whether you follow them or not.

As Boogs pointed out above - what about others using the space?
you're in a public space on shared infrastructure - you need to take more into account than your own circumstances.
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby rogan » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:52 am

I'm not really one to point the finger. As far as I am concerned you can do what you like as long as you don't endanger me. The M2 situation is a hopeless joke, I avoid the whole area eastbound and commute via Bobbin Head. Yes, stay away from the main roads, although Beecroft Rd downhill is rideable. Boognoss has the best alternatives in his post.

But if you are doing something clearly unlawful and a bit silly, and the cops pull you up, you accept it with a good grace, yes sir, no sir, that sort of thing. Because you weren't being cooperative you are very lucky he didn't give you a penalty notice or two (maybe he did and you didn't mention it?). The fact he is on a motorbike is irrelevant. I reckon no cop is just going to see you doing that and do nothing about it.

As a side line, cyclists hit good pace westbound along that section, and the section you were heading to. I averaged 43 from Delhi Rd to Pennant Hills Rd yesterday. The situation you are creating is high approach speeds and an unexpected (to say the least) hazard. Sight lines are not great east of Pennant Hills Rd and to the west of the tolling gantry to Vimiera Rd. And if there is a large motor vehicle using the breakdown lane and we approach it together from opposite sides not able to see each other, then what?

As I said at the start, you can make your own decisions about the risks you take. That's your business. But should you be riding eastbound on the westbound shoulder of the M2? Definitely not.
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby g-boaf » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:07 am

You are very lucky you didn't end on on the ground and hand-cuffed. You've just got to play along with it nicely and accept it.

I think I agree with Rogan's advice above.

MVZOOM wrote:Because I wasn't being 100% co-operative, he told me that I couldn’t proceed to Pennant Hills Rd on the bike, that I had to walk and that he’d monitor me the entire way. Couldn’t do that because of I had cleats on… so made me ride all the way back to Baulko, then turn back onto the M2 and all the way back to Pennant Hills, then through the congested, scary, risk-your-life-for-each-moment bloody traffic to get to work.


I'm guessing you won't do that again, and you won't give him sarcasm next time either. I'm guessing he'll probably keep an eye out for you in the future as well. You can take off your shoes and walk in socks or bare foot if you want. Walking bare-footed is how our ancestors used to do it ages ago.
Last edited by g-boaf on Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby TonyMax » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:31 am

MVZOOM wrote:Because I wasn't being 100% co-operative, he told me that I couldn’t proceed to Pennant Hills Rd on the bike, that I had to walk and that he’d monitor me the entire way. Couldn’t do that because of I had cleats on…

I won't comment on the rest of your post because I think you got what you deserved, but when I dropped my bike off for a service yesterday I had cleats on too, I then proceeded to remove my shoes and socks and I walked down to work (2 or 3 blocks). Same in the afternoon when I went back to pick up the bike.

There's a difference between couldn't and wouldn't.

Anywho, as you were, I'll get back to posting about cycling.
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby skull » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:09 am

It is referred to as salmon cycling. It is dangerous.

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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby MVZOOM » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:20 am

Some great advice / thoughts here, thanks.

I'm the first to admit that my initial reaction to the officer wasn't conducive to an amicable outcome, by any means. In saying that, I'm not about to be screamed at (literally - spittle flying from his mouth, red faced, wide eyed, hands on hips, legs spread) by anyone. It's just not something that I will ever just roll over and accept. My father was a police officer for many years - I have utmost respect for those men and women who choose to dedicate their lives to making society livable for the rest of us. I guess we got off on a bad footing, which got worse through the conversation.

There are ways and ways to approach things. I find it strange that advocating Pennant Hills rd et al as a safer option was the officers line of thinking. I find it strange that he was happy for me to walk up the path but not ride (I thought walking on a motorway was illegal, as indicated by signs etc). At the end of the day I think this is one of those frustrating situations where logic will not prevail - I could see that the officer didn't actually believe what he was saying, but stuck to a line because he wouldn't back down. If duty of care really was his issue, then there were other things he could have done to address the sitation.

I take on board the various points around shared-infrastructure. I have had a couple of occasions riding on the alternate side of the M2 where other cyclists and I have crossed. I've always pulled over into the drain and stopped to let them through. Absolutely a concern and it's my responsibility to mitigate any potential risk here. There should be no reason where my actions affect others'.

Can't reconcile the "heading into the traffic" issue though. Honestly - especially in some of the tighter spots on the M2 where there is a degree of blindness to the corner, I would prefer to see what's happening in front of me. Also, it's so much easier and safer when crossing on ramps / offramps. I guess this must be a personal thing, but it just makes more sense to me and having done it quite a bit, would prefer to ride this way.

In the cold, harsh light of the next day, I can see where the officer was coming from, it was just a really badly dealt with situation - from both sides.

Cheers - Mike

PS - great first post, right? :lol:
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby lobstermash » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:22 am

TonyMax wrote: I then proceeded to remove my shoes and socks and I walked down to work (2 or 3 blocks).


People probably thought you were going to the Hyperdome... ;)
Passing on your right - me, said just about never...
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby vosadrian » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:28 am

I like your "miss Piggy" line.... but I am surprised it ended as well for you as it did.

I regularly travel West on the section you were going east the wrong way. Where you were pulled up, I am typically doing around 40-60kph (60 down hill from Penno rd, and about 40 up hill to barclay). There is a gradual curve and a sound wall you cannot see around, so you can only see about 100m ahead. I would be pretty peaved if you were coming the wrong way with 100m notice and a 80-100kph closing speed, and I would certainly let you know it. There is a lot of debris there, and I pick my path based on the debris. Making room for you may cost me a puncture also.
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby mitchy_ » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:34 am

ridiculous. "mitigating as many risks as possible" would involve riding within the rules, and correct lanes.
self preservation is all good and well, except the part where you can endanger others... someone coming the other way isn't going to know your intentions.
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby RonK » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:44 am

Guess the OP came looking for sympathy and validation. Unsurprising that he didn't find either...:D
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby MVZOOM » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:49 am

RonK wrote:Guess the OP came looking for sympathy and validation. Unsurprising that he didn't find either...:D


Nope, OP came to rant let it all out. Mission accomplished. Always good to get other peoples' opinions and points of view though also.

Cheers - Mike :mrgreen:
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby outnabike » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:02 pm

MVZOOM wrote:Him, all lights flashing, red faced and screaming at me while I had my headphones in and couldn’t hear him. It took me a moment to unclip, and when I took my earbuds out, he shouted at me “Are you a muppet??”. I (somewhat indignant that he’d stopped my progression and broken my rhythm) retorted “only if you’re Miss Piggy”… It went downhill from there. Mike
Snipped

Lets see,
salmoning up the road... headphones in... you’re Miss Piggy”…to a cop that has probably been called a pig by many a loud mouthed drop kick. A cop who may have had to get many folks to hospital in road collisions.
I would say the officer was very restrained. And then you coming onto a forum and telling all about it ....priceless.... :)
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby TTar » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:42 pm

I don't know how many posters berating MVZOOM on this thread ride in Sydney and actually have any experience interacting with our officers of the law, but I wouldn't be so fast springing to the defence of the cop. However much of a drop kick an offender may be, a mature professional cop doesn't scream and yell and make clever comments.

I'm unfamiliar with the area in question, but let's assume MVZOOM was not only riding illegally, but egregiously so -- what has this cop achieved? Has he calmly convinced our outlaw brother of the error of his ways? Has he simply and dispassionately administered the law and issued an infringement notice? Has he quickly rendered the situation safe by turning MVZOOM around or escorting this evil miscreant off the M2?

No, had the cop done any of those things we maybe wouldn't have heard from a chastened MVZOOM at all or perhaps we would have seen a regretful post saying something like "I was pulled up for this, don't make the same mistake I did..."

Instead the cop has turned a minor traffic infringement into a battle of the wills where he had to triumph over MVZOOM by humiliating him with an enforced march and assert his authority by means of verbal abuse.

This sort of routine is all too common by many NSW police and doesn't deserve any respect or allowance. Whatever was wrong with MVZOOM's behaviour, the cop's was worse by virtue of his position. It's a real shame because the good cops (and there are just as many of them) are lumped into the same bucket as the belligerent ones. I hope they're not denied the respect they deserve because a citizen has been aggrieved by one of their immature tough-guy colleagues.
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Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby queequeg » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:27 pm

I ride the M2 westbound every day up to pennant hills rd, and is average close to 40km/h from nth Ryde to Pennant Hills Rd.

The eastbound shoulder is off limits for at least 2 more years. it is pretty poor considering how long we have had to wait, but they stuffed up the upgrade near browns waterhole and there is no road shoulder while they fix their mess. they then decided to tack on another upgrade after lane cove road, and skirted the original development consent ,which required the bike lane to be reinstated within 3 months of the completion of the upgrade, by making the new section another separate project.

There are alternate routes that are less convenient than the M2 and not as fast. you just have to accept it. I would never ride the M2 shoulder in a contaflow direction with a closing speed to other cyclists of up to 100km/h in some sections.

The cops on the westbound section are there every afternoon booking motorists doing stupid things, and booking motorcycles for riding up the bike lane/breakdown lane. The fact they are there largely keeps motorists in check.

Calling the cop Ms Piggy was not going to end well for you.

There are a number of alternate routes that don't involve pennant hills rd or carlingford rd, neither of which I would ever ride on in peak hour (except for the section from Castle Hill Rd to the m2 in the morning, because I can do close to 70km/h).

I suggest you ride to pennant hills rd and then use one of the alternates. coming home feel free to use the m2 the whole way and consider your morning commute a good way to get get fit.
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby MVZOOM » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:46 pm

Gents, I'll admit that I'd not considered a bunch of points bought up in your posts. I didn't really consider the dangers to other cyclists and obviously as a result of the great info above, won't ride that way again.

In case anyone missed it, my Dad was a Police Officer, Ive grown up around cops, prison officers et al. There's good and bad ones - like bike riders and drivers - I guess the point of my rant was that I was pretty bloody angry with the exchange. I don't deserve to be treated like an imbecile, any more than an officer deserves to be berated. In that flash moment (I didn't think before the Miss Piggy comment, it just came out!!), I had the opportunity to lie down and be abused, unfortunately that's not my nature.

I'll take the backstreets, rack up some hills and enjoy myself. Hope my next posts on this forum are more positive than the first few!

Cheers - Mike
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby TTar » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:27 pm

MVZOOM wrote:. I don't deserve to be treated like an imbecile, any more than an officer deserves to be berated. In that flash moment (I didn't think before the Miss Piggy comment, it just came out!!), I had the opportunity to lie down and be abused, unfortunately that's not my nature.


I'm glad you didn't "lie down and be abused".

While it may be that neither of you deserved to be berated, only one of you is legally, professionally and ethically bound to show restraint. You may not have thought before the Miss Piggy comment, but it was a perfectly appropriate response to his inappropriate "Muppet" remark (what was that supposed to mean, BTW?).

I'm not advocating a civil uprising, but on the face of it, your response seems perfectly befitting the situation, the cop doesn't seem to have done anything to convince you riding where and in the direction you were was not a good idea (it was your cycling colleagues here who did that), so what purpose was the cop serving?

Next time the cop might show more restraint and intelligence, he'll certainly think twice before calling anyone a Muppet again. And for that improved behaviour in this one police officer we'll have MVZOOM to thank. You're a hero!

Don't let it go to your head, but.
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby rogan » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:38 pm

MVZOOM wrote:Hope my next posts on this forum are more positive than the first few!

Cheers - Mike


And cheers to you Mike. It was an interesting read! I hope your next ride is less exciting...
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby RonK » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:42 pm

TTar wrote:I don't know how many posters berating MVZOOM on this thread ride in Sydney and actually have any experience interacting with our officers of the law, but I wouldn't be so fast springing to the defence of the cop.

After a careful re-reading I don't see any posts springing to the defence of the cop. I see only posts pointing out the inevitability of the outcome.
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby wombatK » Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:32 pm

MVZOOM wrote:S
Can't reconcile the "heading into the traffic" issue though. Honestly - especially in some of the tighter spots on the M2 where there is a degree of blindness to the corner, I would prefer to see what's happening in front of me. Also, it's so much easier and safer when crossing on ramps / offramps. I guess this must be a personal thing, but it just makes more sense to me and having done it quite a bit, would prefer to ride this way.

OK, I'll try to explain. Let's say cars are travelling at 50 kph (in their dreams !), and you're capable of 30 kph. If you salmon against the traffic as
you've described, your closing speed is 80 kph (their 50 + your 30). If you travel with the traffic, the car's closing speed is 50 - 30 = 20 kph.

If you quadruple the closing speed like this, you're raising the energy and injury potential by 8 times. A 20 kph collision is survivable, an 80
kph is not.

You're also quartering the reaction time you've got to get out of the way.

The higher closing speed and lower reaction time available would make crossing on-ramps and off-ramps even more perilous.

That's one of the good reasons that Rule 131 of the Australian Road Rules (which apply to you as a cyclist) require Keeping to the left of oncoming vehicles.

The cop was doing you a favour - in more than one way if you appreicate his primary intention was probably to catch motor cyclists illegally using the shoulder.

If you see him again, why not stop and apologize ?
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby MVZOOM » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:41 pm

Thanks for the explanation Wombat. Again, doesn't quite work like that in my eyes.

Let's assume that realistically, traffic on the M2 is moving at 100kmph. If I'm riding with traffic at 20kmph, then the closing speed is 80kmph, which by your assertion means that if I get hit from behind, it's all over, red riding rover. A car coming at you from behind gives you no warning. There is no opportunity for avoidance.

It is true that closing speed increased and therefore an accident head on will be more severe at 100+20kmph, but it's moot, given that anything after 80kmph I'd become a statistic.

As most of the M2 has a fair amount of visibility, I'd rather increase the odds of survival by being able to see what's ahead of me. Especially with on/off ramps. Closing speed is one thing, being able to take time to judge what's happening is quite another. I don't see how your logic works.

I don't know if you recall, but a friend of mine Marc was hit and killed on the M4 last year. Tragic accident; he was training for a charity ride from Queensland to NSW at the time. He was hit, in the bike lane, by a P-Plater. Had no chance, just got cleaned up. No warning, no opportunity to avoid and an extremely sad loss.
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby wombatK » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:04 pm

You are vastly overestimating the "opportunity for avoidance" - particularly if vehicles are travelling at 100 kph (only in your
motorists dreams in peak hour). If you really think it's feasible to avoid vehicles travelling at 100 kph, just buy a
rear view mirror and keep a good eye on that.

If you are trying to look at the oncoming traffic and predict its behavior when it threatens your safety, you sure as
heck won't be paying much attention to the shoulder in front of you. So you might as well keep an eye glued on
a rear-view mirror for your collision avoidance hopes, and enjoy the prospect of having more reaction time
available and surviving a lower closing speed collision.
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby vosadrian » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:03 am

I agree with wombat about avoiding an accident. What are you going to do if you see 100kph car drifting out of lane into 3m bike lane? Stop? Move towards wall and get squashed against that? Move out into traffic and get hit by next car? I doubt there is any real improvement in safety from being able to see the wayward car. Sadly we are really at the mercy of the drivers when riding the road and there is little we can do as a cyclist to avoid a collision.

I do find that driver concentration levels on busy roads seem much better than when I go quiet back streets. I regularly have near misses on quiet back streets... either someone not looking coming out of a side street... or overtaking me to turn left across the front of me, or trying to beat me into a roundabout (only to turn right and go a different direction to me anyway to save about 3 seconds they lose at the next lights!!). Then there are the drivers who intentionally scare you in the anonymity of a quiet street. I never have any issues on the M2 travelling on the correct side of the road. Of course if something did happen I would rather be hit by car travelling 50 than 100!!
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Re: Trouble with the Police on the M2

Postby mitchy_ » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:15 am

TTar wrote:
MVZOOM wrote:. I don't deserve to be treated like an imbecile, any more than an officer deserves to be berated. In that flash moment (I didn't think before the Miss Piggy comment, it just came out!!), I had the opportunity to lie down and be abused, unfortunately that's not my nature.


I'm glad you didn't "lie down and be abused".

While it may be that neither of you deserved to be berated, only one of you is legally, professionally and ethically bound to show restraint. You may not have thought before the Miss Piggy comment, but it was a perfectly appropriate response to his inappropriate "Muppet" remark (what was that supposed to mean, BTW?).

I'm not advocating a civil uprising, but on the face of it, your response seems perfectly befitting the situation, the cop doesn't seem to have done anything to convince you riding where and in the direction you were was not a good idea (it was your cycling colleagues here who did that), so what purpose was the cop serving?

Next time the cop might show more restraint and intelligence, he'll certainly think twice before calling anyone a Muppet again. And for that improved behaviour in this one police officer we'll have MVZOOM to thank. You're a hero!

Don't let it go to your head, but.


how old are you, 7? since when did calling someone a name because they called you one make everything ok?

cyclists are making a big noise about being treated equally on the road, and then the likes of the OP want to go and plainly do their own thing because they "know better" if you wanted to protect yourself better you'd use a different, less busy route.
rules are rules, follow them or dont use the road... i dont blame the cop for calling the OP a muppet for going against the flow of traffic.
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