Errant cyclist refuses to cooperate

On July 30, 2014, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

By Jim Clark

A police officer assigned to a bicycle patrol and stationed alongside the Charter School on Webster Ave. last week reportedly observed a man on a bicycle run through a red light at the intersection of Washington St. and Webster.

Police reports indicate that many children cross at this intersection.

The officer then stepped into the roadway and signaled the cyclist to stop, but he did not, according to reports.

The officer reportedly had to place his body into the path of the oncoming cyclist in order to get him to stop.

When the officer asked the cyclist for his identification he was told by the man that he didn’t have any, police said.

As the officer wrote out a citation he reportedly asked the man, later identified as Matthew Szklarz, 28, for his name and was told that he did not have to give it to him.

When the officer advised Szklarz that he would be placed under arrest if he did not furnish his name, he reportedly responded by saying, “You can’t do that.”

The officer informed Szklarz that he could and would place him under arrest if he did not cooperate, at which time Szklarz reportedly crossed his arms and refused to respond.

Szklarz was placed under arrest and charged with a bicycle violation and refusal to identify himself. Szklarz’s bicycle was also taken to jail.

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14 Responses to “Errant cyclist refuses to cooperate”

  1. sue says:

    Many thanks to this police officer for enforcing the law and truly looking out for the safety of all. These rogue bicyclists have to be reigned in, as they are a hazard on the roads. I will never understand why they are allowed to behave in such a way at the same time that the mayor is giving them so much special treatment and benefits.

  2. Uncle Rocco says:

    If he was respectful and showed a little humility with the police officer, he probably would have been let off with a warning. But breaking the law, and then being an a-hole about it, is pretty much begging to be arrested.

    I once got caught dead-to-rights in Cambridge driving with an expired registration. I hadn’t been paying enough attention to it, and went about 3 days past registration. When the cop pulled me over, I was yes-sir yes-sir, didn’t argue or make up some dishonest excuse, and tried to help the officer along with all of his background checking. He told me that by law, my car was supposed to be towed on the spot. BUT if I absolutely promised to renew my registration the next day, that I could go on. I promised. Thanked him respectfully. Kept my promise the next day. And that was that.

    If I had been an a-hole to the officer, I woulda lost my car right there. Instead, I treated him with some respect. Kept my mouth shut, And learned my lesson. And everything worked out fine. The kid on the bike shoulda done the same thing.

  3. Somerbreeze says:

    City Hall has never given a damn about rogue cyclist behavior, just too wrapped up in accommodating cyclists in the extreme while ignoring their violations of public safety.

    Bike enforcement is now happening now, after continual public outcry, but the onus is on the cops, with no help from City Hall to get the word out on appropriate cycling behavior.

    And many cyclists howl “Harassment!” if they’re held accountable for public safety violations; apparently these laws don’t apply to them, too.

    “Why take it out on us?” they howl, “It’s all the drivers and pedestrians who’re at fault!”

    The arrogance is beyond belief.

    And City Hall gives them a pass!

  4. ritepride says:

    If they refuse to give their identity to the police officer, which is illegal, then the BOA should add punch to idiots who do this by passing an ordinance that said bicycle be impounded and auctioned off and the monies from said sales go to Rec programs to get things the kids need.

  5. PixiePocahontas says:

    There should be more police presence, especially in heavily traveled areas such as Union and Davis Square where cyclists continually disrupt the flow of traffic. They speed between moving vehicles in order to get in the middle of the lane and make last minute turns on impulse causing added stress to drivers.

    Webster Ave. and Washington Street is one of the worst intersections. There is no room on Webster for parked cars, bikes and two lanes of traffic, same for Columbia and Prospect Street.

    Uncle Rocco: CPD has become excessive in ticketing while pulling over motorists who are not committing motor vehicle violations to the degree as claimed. I have heard complaints from several people who were fined for going through yellow lights and alleged “illegal”lane change when these are not real violations.

    My best advice- don’t drive in Cambridge if you can avoid it, or take streets of a neighboring town until you get close to your destination. Get name and badge number, report abusive conduct, I know one case this has occurred. Motorist did nothing wrong, it was a minor accident, no injuries, cop was totally out of line, leaving motorist shaken and upset.

    I believe this is for their private residents since they don’t like the surge in traffic due to rising development in the region, plus the CPD budget is in the millions. It’s like a gated community. A cab driver from Somerville said he was pulled over in Cambridge just for being there and told to get out.

    As far as towing your car for not having an updated sticker- that is outrageous. I got a ticket while parked in Davis Sq. on a Saturday, had money in meter, came out of a store, there was the ticket– I immediately went to my mechanic who provided a new sticker. I wondered if money went to the state or TP? I didn’t want to run the risk of SParking would tag my car everyday until I was able to get it done. I am hyper vigilant Bout their excessive ticketing and if I feel they are wrong– trust me, I will contest it and write to BOA.

  6. Johnnie Jazz says:

    What the guy should have done is pretended he was an illegal. Then the cop would have had to let him go with a little pat on the head as per Joe’s coddle-the-illegals rules. Why do we – citizens- need to carry and show ID, but the illegals don’t or at least not a legal ID. Seems unfair.

    That being said – what would have been justice is when the guy blew through the light an 18-wheeler had pancaked him. One of these days that will happen to him if he doesn’t obey the rules of the road and use common sense. I love biking, but I stay on the bike paths as much as possible and show consideration.

  7. Freebie says:

    Love all the complaints about bike by people who seem to drive everywhere. This is the most dense city in New England folks, ditch the car.

  8. Jazzie John says:

    Justice for running a red light is death. Uh, right.

    Even if you runs reds, one hopes you are not stupid enough to ride in front of an 18-wheeler, so your sense of justice will probably remain fantasy.
    One does not have to provide ID, but one does have to give a name.

    Biking on bike paths only is nearly useless for transportation.
    So use your eyes and ears and follow the rules, better than drivers do.
    Being alert and having skills does much more for ones safety when riding a bike than does obeying traffic laws. That said, a cyclist is already at a disadvantage in the legal realm, so it is to your advantage to obey the laws in most cases.
    Consideration is a two-way street and most cyclists and drivers are clueless about the laws. Rogue cyclists are annoying as hell, but not very dangerous.

  9. Somerbreeze says:

    @Jazzie John – Rogue cyclists are “annoying as hell”–until you get HIT by one…

    Then it’s well beyond just “annoying,” isn’t it?

  10. Max says:

    Somerbreeze you know, hitting pedestrians is a much bigger issue with cars which actually can kill people with ease.

    I’m a long time cycle commuter and i learned my safety lesson the hard way, but if you take aggression out on bikers, you’re as bad as these “rogue” cyclists you speak of.

    This guy shouldnt have mouthed off to an officer. Running the s’ville ave to bow street red is not a very dangerous move, but this guy is clearly a bit of an imbecile for how he handled the situation

  11. Nancy says:

    It’s amazing how many people actually think that running red lights and disregarding traffic laws is ‘not very dangerous’ or merely ‘annoying’. Pedestrians have been killed by bicyclists who are ‘annoying’, and accidents have been caused by cars trying to avoid hitting a bicyclist who is ‘not very dangerous’.

  12. wow says:

    Wow, running that particular red light is no big deal? I guess you’re in charge of which lights are important? Please lead me to your list so I know where to stop. I’m embarrassed to be a bike rider in this city, surrounded by such morons, flying down one ways, etc.
    and to those who think it’s no big deal? 3 pedestrians killed in San Fran by bike riders. Somerville man run down by bike in Harvard Sq., spending years in rehab, trying to get back his life. No big deal to blow through a light, right? Morons

  13. Jim says:

    Freebie,

    Per your advice to ditch the car. I’d love to see you try to raise small children, take care of elderly relatives, or work a sales or construction job without a car. Some people need cars and its not because they hate the environment, it is because they need the flexibility that cars offer them. I’m getting very tired of activist 20-somethings scolding working people on how they should live their lives.

  14. PixiePocahontas says:

    The city should have Web Cams in the busiest sections of town and deploy cruisers and police on bikes to catch militant cyclists in the act.

    During rush hour is the worst times. They should issue fines and enforce them.

    I would also like to see a mandated bicycle helmet, registration, license plate, insurance for every cyclist in every city. It’s the only way to stop this behavior.

    Local ER’s have seen a sharp increase of severe head and other life threatening injuries of bicyclists who do not wear protective gear, as well as pedestrians being seriously injured by a speeding cyclist entering a crosswalk for PEDESTRIANS ONLY.

    Whoever revised the cyclist ordinances/laws to accommodate this outright endangerment and negligence of safety, should be forced to contribute a large portion of their salary to a fund set up to educate cyclists on the rules of the road.

    For anyone to claim that intentionally running a red light is harmless — is hopelessly deranged. I would classify it as a death defying act/death wish or endorphin junkies getting high on two wheels.

    I’ve seen a lot of crazy moves on the road by cyclists, more so than drivers. We have our share, but the narrow road cities cannot accommodate so many travelers. There should be more done to prevent injuries and fatalities on the road. It takes cooperation of everyone who uses the streets. When the cyclist breaks the law, they should be forced to go to safety school, just like the DUI offenders. It can save a life.

    Police will tell you, 99% of the time, it’s the cyclist who is at fault when accidents happen, not of the drivers. When it’s 10 p.m., raining, no reflective gear on–who is going to see a cyclist?

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