SPD stops person in W Seattle for doing 42 in a 30 on a bicycle

While on an aggressive driving sting on Admiral Way, SPD stopped a person doing 42 mph in a 30 mph zone. Oh, and the person was riding a bicycle.

Officers let the person off with a written warning.

From SPD:

On July 27th officers from the Aggressive Driver Response Team issued the following citations:

SW Admiral Way – 30 mph zone

1 at 61 mph

1 at 51 mph

2 at 48 mph

2 at 47 mph

1 at 46 mph

1 Bicycle at 42 mph (written warning)

2 Cell Phone violations

Any of you ever get a speeding ticket on a bicycle?

UPDATE: The person pulled over commented the following at West Seattle Blog:

As the cyclist involved… I figure I should give my 2 cents.
I was fine with being pulled over. I could have gotten a ticket and would have been OK with it; however, the SUV gaining on me from behind should have also been given a ticket. Going 42 (and by the way… why does everyone assume I was going downhill) on Admiral just keeps you with the flow of traffic. This morning, I was going about 30 mph and had a car zoom past on the right hand side and cut over right in front of me just before the merge to Spokane. Like it or not, it’s safer for a bike to break the speed limit and keep up with traffic (if possible) than to try to obey the law.
The officer was nice about the whole situation (and seemed to get a kick out of pulling over a bike). He said he had been looking for a bike to pull over for a while (apparently, I was the first going fast enough). He told me he was careful to write a neat contact report so that I could frame it. If only I had known I was going to be clocked…

About Tom Fucoloro

Founder and Editor of Seattle Bike Blog.
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19 Responses to SPD stops person in W Seattle for doing 42 in a 30 on a bicycle

  1. CyclistMike says:

    I guess it’s only fair if we’re to be treated like vehicles. Though, it’s much more difficult for us to gauge our speed if we don’t speedometers.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Yeah, I don’t have a big problem with the idea of pulling over people on bikes for going that far over the speed limit. True, it is harder to know how fast you’re going on a bicycle than in a car. But once you hit 40, you have to know you are assuming some risks. That’s pretty quick.

      However, bikes going 12+ mph over the speed limit is not an epidemic of lawbreaking like speeding in motor vehicles is. It’s sad that the city had the chance to make Admiral Way safer last year, yet they chose to keep two lanes headed downhill instead.


      Now the city has to pay someone to monitor it with a radar gun, and dangerous levels of speeding persist. Traffic calming, if nothing else, is a good investment because it removes the need for constant traffic patrols.

      • JAT says:

        I totally disagree that a downhill bike lane would have made the road safer – totally blows my mind that you’re saying that (unless that’s not what you’re saying…)

        The uphill bike lane they did put in is excellent – the problems the bike lane proposal would have created, by channeling bikes into the corkscrew turn to Avalon at the bottom of the hill would (in my opinion) led to far more crashes with and without other vehicles.

        Of course since SDOT perceived of the problem area as being the straight portion of the hill on Admiral and stopping at the view-point turn-off, they throw uphill cyclists out of a bike lane into sharrows right where motorists have shown the least ability to control their speed and lane position (ask the people in the house just past the totem pole who seem to have given up on repairing their planting strip tree rings…)

        but please don’t tell me a 5 ft wide bike lane on a nearly mile-long downhill stretch with speeds for all well in excess of 30 mph would have made things safer.

        There’s a lot of hoopla about this one warning being issued to a cyclist for 12 mph over the limit, and nobody seems to care that the same period of enfocement nabbed a motorist at 41 mph over the limit – more than three times the speed limit. Ugh!

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        The plan was for a buffered bike lane, not a 5′ lane. I do think that would have been better. Some people like to ride their breaks down hills, and they should have a space to do that safely. Also, there’s no parking, so no door zone. A buffered bike lane would have been wonderful and very appealing to people who today would not dream of going down that hill (and, therefore, to downtown or wherever they might be headed).

        Whether the design they originally presented handled the turns at the bottom of the hill well or not (they could have gone for a better design rather than scrapping the whole thing), my point is that the city had an opportunity to design the road properly so it improved safety for all users, and they passed on it.

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        As for the hoopla, yeah. I think people are just shocked bikes can go that fast (wait till they find out they can go even faster…)

        It’s novel. Someone driving three times the speed limit… vanilla news. More evidence of how accepted motor vehicle speeding is.

  2. LWC says:

    It’s always been my goal to get caught speeding on my bike! Now if they could just start ticketing drivers for rolling through stop signs without putting their foot down on the road…

  3. biliruben says:

    I’ve gotten a ticket for running a red.

    It looks like it’s okay to go over the limit by 15 mph in a car, but 12 mph over the speed limit on a bike gets a lecture. There appears to be a double standard, though perhaps they gave lectures to a bunch of cars as well, but didn’t include anything by the bike, just to be cute.

  4. Todd Holman says:

    I think he got lucky. We all need to follow the rules. Same thing applies to pedestrians on paved paths e.g. Burke-Gilman. I hear cyclists complain all the time about peds on the trail (I’ve been known to do it myself) as if we own it and it’s the same old story. It’s always the other guy. Obey the traffic laws and respect pedestrians because we’re asking cars to do the same for us when we’re on the road.

  5. Steve A says:

    The closest call I ever had was bombing down Admiral when a motorist zipped out of a driveway right in front of me.

  6. Doug Bostrom says:

    I wish SPD did not see enforcing traffic laws as something unusual, a “sting.” What’s so hard to understand about “speed limit,” anyway?

    What should the police spend their days doing?

    Homicides in Washington State, 2009: 193. Traffic fatalities, 491, in an unusually “safe” year to be in or around automobiles in Washington. It’s probably safe to say that further reducing the number of homicides would be extremely difficult given the circumstances surrounding that crime, while reducing traffic fatalities is probably a more tractable challenge, given sufficient attention to enforcement. There are very few genuine traffic “accidents.”

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      I agree, and we absolutely need traffic law enforcement (giving dangerous drivers tickets is one of my favorite things cops do). But when EVERYONE speeds, it’s no longer a problem of enforcement, but of road design. Ticketing speeders on Admiral Way seems futile. A safer road that encourages speeds closer to the legal limit would do the work of hundreds of police officers.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Oh, and “sting” was my word, not SPD’s. Just to be fair. They would call this the results of their “aggressive driver response team.”

      • Doug Bostrom says:

        Absolutely agree on roadway design. I live near 125th (of late unpleasantness over lane re-purposing), use it perhaps twice a week and it’s -far- more civilized than it was a few weeks ago. No congestion, either.

        My neighbor has a friend who was bitterly opposed to the 125th modifications but is now delighted with the results. I suspect there are many more. Hats off to Seattle for staying brave and pushing that project through. Leadership by politicians– still occasionally visible!

  7. Glad to hear the cop was cool about it. The quip about framing the contact sheet was particularly funny. For my part, seeing the chaos that I do every day from the safety of a 30-ton vehicle, I’d support a doubling of traffic cops. As far as I’m concerned, pull everybody over seen doing something remotely dangerous. First contact gets a warning – after that, ticket away. And no, I don’t consider Idaho stops or helmet violations to be dangerous – I don’t even think cars slowly rolling through a stop sign is dangerous either.

    • Doug Bostrom says:

      We’d know we actually care just a little bit about traffic safety if speed cameras appeared in school zones. I suspect any proposal to install such devices would arouse a hue and cry, so instead we see ineffective occasional intervention in school zones by SPD where parents have the pull to get such attention.

      On a more hopeful, setting an example by actually adhering to the speed limit is something we can all do, every day. “I’m just keeping up with traffic” is arguably the coward’s way out, or an expedient excuse for behaving like a child.

  8. Sonny Kwan says:

    Cycling down Admiral going 42 mph? are you nuts? Think how you would feel driving your car down Admiral at 42 mph and jumping out of the car in your underwear! and you’re on your bicycle ?

  9. Anthony says:

    OK, it’s time for me to admit my follies on the bike when I was younger…
    In Davis, California in the late 80s and early 90s I racked up so many damn tickets on my bike, to the tune of 17,000 dollars.

    Needless to say, I wasn’t going to pay them any money, so I served the time instead, a initial jail time of seven months, but with good behavior I did two months and three weeks.

    This is all verifiable, just look up Yolo County records if they still exist on this. I admit many of the infractions could have been avoided by myself, whereas others I feel were legit enough that they should have been overlooked, but that’s the past. Some laws designed to help us as cyclists seemed overburdensome at 20 years of age back then, but in my forties now they somehow seem to make sense.

    I’m really glad to see the written word directly from the rider, and his eloquent piece on how breaking the law sometimes is actually a safer choice than obeying it, well said.

  10. Pingback: SPD stops person doing 42 in a 30 on a bicycle! | CarFreeBrad

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