While doing a 60-mile roundtrip out to Carlton, practicing and preparing for a ride to the coast in a day from the suburbs of Tualatin, I ran into an encounter with a local police officer that I feel was unlawful.
These country roads have no bike lane, no shoulder. This occurred early into Meadowlake Rd, just east of Carlton. This road goes straight, through the valley, over the cascade range, and to the ocean from Carlton, it’s a straight 50 mile shot to the coast. It follows the Nestucca River for a very good stretch, which is beautiful, scenic, full of tiny waterfalls and small one-lane bridges, even gravel at points. The road is a bicyclist’s dream despite not having a bike lane, and I timed it with my phone, I didn’t have a single car pass me in either direction for over an hour. No powerlines, no airplanes zooming, no cell service, you never realize the constant static of noise around you until you ride this road. It’s dead quiet, no civilization. Very eery, you can hear your voice echoing off the mountain range if you yell loud enough. I often see packs of 30-40 Elk and deer multiple times each trip on this road, and I HIGHLY recommend this route to everyone, it’s the best Portland - Coast route ever.
Either way, I was just a few miles or so East of Carlton, where some property still occasionally lined the side of Meadowlake Rd, and a car would pass every 30 seconds or so on average. As usual, I’m pedaling, stopping, repeat up a hill, and decide to take a longer break so I turn the bike around 180 facing the opposite way.
Keep in mind these roads have no bike lanes or shoulder, and to my left is a steep drop-off and a small strip of gravel with car shit threatening to pop my tires.
This is the exact spot, although the google street view image is 9 years old and there is no gravel strip.
So there I am, resting, bike on the white line on the side of the road, turned around so I can make sure cars pass me safely as I don’t have a shoulder or bike-tire safe siding to rest on. Keep notice that the cars are passing me perfectly, about 1 car every 30 seconds. No problems, most of them aren’t even slowing down as it’s a visible, straightish road. I see a white dodge charger coming in the distance, see it’s a police car, and give the lone woman officer a thumbs up, before she pulls over 30 yards ahead of me, no lights on.
I’m like whatever, I’m not doing anything and go back to watching the road in front of me, bent over catching my breath. She gets out and yells something along the lines of “Hey your blocking the road, you can’t be on the side of it like that”. So I scooch off to the gravel strip literally 8 inches to my left full of pointy sh*t looking to pop my tires and a cliff overhang directly next to it in which I had trouble finding a place for my feet. I yell back “is that better?” while silently gesturing a “wtf” hand’s motion as if I’m doing anything wrong, as she walks over.
Now her car is parked, no police lights or hazards on, sticking out completely into the road, JUST LIKE MY BIKE WAS, so naturally, the cars coming towards me slow down to a crawl and pass very carefully, right in front of the female cop, which obviously made her think I was impeding traffic when they were passing just fine when a police car wasn’t blocking half the road. (a bunch of bullsh$$ right there)
She comes up and explains that bikes are considered just like how a car is considered on the road and that I can’t be stopped on the side of the road when there’s no shoulder. (she says this as her car with no police or hazard lights on, is on the side of the road, with no shoulder, taking up 5x as much space as I was) She says I am violating the law and asks for my ID, and I tell her I don’t have it on me. She asks for my first and last name, DOB, and radios it in, to which she gets a response that it’s not in the system, likely because I don’t have a driver’s license. Eventually, she just lets me go with a warning.
It’s a stupid thing to stop me for, but I’ve mostly pissed off that this officer has the audacity to stop me and tell me I can’t rest on the side of this country road for 2 minutes, while she has her car blocking almost the whole lane (no lights or hazards on) as shes telling me this.
I want to know if anyone had a similar experience, or knew what “law” I had broken, or if it was even legal for her to ask for my Identification/Name. I wish I could go back in time and ask her myself. Eitherway, thanks for reading.