Police Cruisers Chase Bicyclist, Make First Bicycle Violation Arrest

The biker pedaled through a "do not enter" sign and then tried to avoid police, according to a police report.

An Allston man likely would have pedaled away with nothing more than a verbal warning had he stopped for police.

Instead, 28-year-old Ryoji Uyehara allegedly led police cruisers on a short chase and became the first person to be arrested in Somerville for , according to Deputy Chief Paul Upton of the Somerville Police Department.

According to a police report, officers were stationed at Tufts and Washington streets in East Somerville the morning of June 22. Tufts Street had a "Do Not Enter 7AM-9AM" sign posted, and at about 7:55 a.m. Uyehara, riding a bike, turned up Tufts Street in violation of the sign, the police report says.

According to the report, one of the officers was standing next to his cruiser, which had blue lights flashing, and the officer stepped into the road, put his hands up and said "stop."

Instead of stopping, Uyehara swerved to go around the officer, the police report alleges.

The officer stepped into the bike's path again, hands raised, and yelled, "Stop Police," but Uyehara swerved around the officer and kept heading up Tufts, pedaling "briskly," the report says.

Officers got into their cruisers and pursued Uyehara with flashing lights and sirens, following him up Glen Street, where he "blew right thr[ough] the stop sign at Oliver Street," and ultimately cutting him off at Flint and Glen streets, the report says.

Upton said the officers "never [had] any intention to do anything other than verbally warn him," but he wouldn't stop for the officers.

Since police actively , this was the first arrest, Upton said, and it wasn't related to a bicycle enforcement measure. Rather, the officers were stationed at Tufts Street to enforce the "Do Not Enter" sign with cars, he said.

"You really have to go to an extreme to get yourself arrested on a bicycle," the deputy chief said. "Most of what we've been doing has been warnings."

Uyehara was arrested and charged with a bicycle violation and refusing to give his name to a police officer.

Please remember that allegations contained in police reports do not indicate a conviction.

Courtney O'Keefe June 26, 2012 at 01:21 PM
The cyclist movement in the 70s and 80s fought for (and won) the right to be treated as equals to motorists. Cyclists wanted to be able to ride on the street, but agreed to obeye all rules of the road as motorists do. A "Do Not Enter" sign, therefore, means the same whether you're driving a car or riding a 10-speed.
jo June 26, 2012 at 01:33 PM
awww did they hurt your feelings when they called you that? after you ran from the police?? go back to allston
Donal Waide June 26, 2012 at 01:45 PM
This article is sure to create a large debate about who is the bigger nuisance on the road, but at the end of the day, if you want to use the road, then you have to obey the signage. I can't see how this cyclist seems to think he's above the law. On Friday morning in Cambridge I was coming down a one way street with a cyclist coming against me....not so bad, but it's a tight street (Warren) AND he had his toddler on the back of the bike.
Mike Oliviera June 26, 2012 at 02:02 PM
"Yeah it's not so much that I think that I can get away with whatever I want so much as I believe that I shouldn't have to answer to a bunch of policecops who want to suddenly equate cyclists with motor vehicles." So you don't believe you have to follow laws that lawmakers have decided apply to you, or even answer to the police enforcing those rules, simply because you are on a bicycle... but you don't believe that his qualifies you as a person that can just do whatever they want... sure thing pal.
Courtney O'Keefe June 26, 2012 at 02:09 PM
@Charlie Denison: I like this idea!
Ron Newman June 26, 2012 at 02:31 PM
I don't even understand why there is a part-time Do Not Enter sign on that part of (normally two-way) Tufts Street. It is not especially close to the Capuano School.
Noah June 26, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Hi Ron I can't answer that question, but I remember when the sign was placed on Myrtle Street (a one-way which is also not especially close to the school) two years ago because residents complained about speeding motorists and trucks using it as a cut-through. There had been a neighborhood petition arguing that a street between Myrtle and Washington should be made one-way in the opposite direction, and instead the city put the time-specific do not enter sign with periodic police enforcement.
michael June 26, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Leading the police on a chase is kind of an a-hole move. At my last place, I could make my life much easier by going 1 block the wrong way on a one way street. Usually, I'd hop off my bike and walk it the block. If I didn't feel like doing so, I'd ride the half dozen blocks out of the way, it's not hard.
Courtney O'Keefe June 26, 2012 at 02:58 PM
A lot of the timed Do Not Enter signs and traffic pattern changes are a result of neighborhood petitions. This was also the case for Alpine Street from Cedar to the fork.
John Z Wetmore June 26, 2012 at 06:26 PM
The primary reason for the rush hour Do Not Enter sign is to reduce motor vehicle cut-through traffic. Most people would think bicycles were not the reason the signs were put up. A little common sense would say that there was absolutely no reason for the police to enforce the sign against a bicyclist. However, since the police don't seem to be using any common sense in their enforcement, the town will now have to spend a bunch of money to put "except bicycles" signs under all the rush hour restriction signs. How about concentrating your enforcement efforts on violations that actually affect quality of life and safety?
karen June 26, 2012 at 06:30 PM
its about time something is done about the way the these bicycles are flying around and not obeying any of the the laws that are enforced on motor vehicles. I have alone had my car damaged by two diffierent bicyclists. If another motor vehicle hit my car they would stop and we would exhcange papers but the bicyclists just keeps going.
Joe Beckmann June 26, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Amazing how some titles are granted, and this one seems to have been EARNED! Only an idiot would swerve around a cop and then try to justify it. Perhaps that's another of the titles that might now be attached.
Ken Long June 26, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I dont like the police trying to enforce too many laws on cyclists, but if they tell you to stop, you need to stop... If they tell you you cant go up a street, you cant go up that street. How do you know their reasoning before hand? There may be something going on that you dont even realize. That said, bicycles are not cars, they need separate rules and guidelines for safety. Following all the traffic rules as they apply to cars doesnt always make sense for bicycles. Some motor vehicle traffic rules work well for bicycles and some dont, and the biggest problems aren't even addressed.
Edward Lover June 26, 2012 at 08:13 PM
I've had some run-ins with the police, and every time, the police lied and exaggerated on the police reports. They also piled on lots of charges, whose plausibility ranged from "that might have happened", to "that's not even physically possible". Those things make sense from their point of view: the police report is often the only evidence against a defendant, and there's no consequences for lying, so to ensure a conviction, the police make the reports as damning as possible. It's also easier to get charges dropped than added, so they fling as much as they can in the hopes that something will stick. In light of this, and since we only have the police's side of the story, it's not clear that the cyclist even ran. He ignored a dumb law, committed a victimless "crime", and was unlucky or careless enough to do this in front of the cops. Slow news day?
Mary Norcross June 26, 2012 at 08:16 PM
I live on the one-way part of Willow Ave. between Elm and Highland. The bike riders ride the wrong way with impunity. It is a highly dangerous practice on a one-way street, and I would welcome some police surveillance on the street.
jo June 26, 2012 at 08:26 PM
If you read back a little you will see that the person who actually ran from the police has responded to this thread........admitted he did it but can't believe he was arrested...fleeing the police is a crime... get over it
Newman Ronald June 26, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Ron Newman will be next! He is the champion wrong-way rider!
Edward Lover June 27, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Replying here in case the law-and-order crybabies see this more easily: "So you don't believe you have to follow laws that lawmakers have decided apply to you, " Boo hoo. There's right and wrong, and then there's the law. It's an important distinction. Whether or not Ryoji broke the law, it certainly sounds like he didn't do anything wrong. To all the scandalized authoritarians: I'm about to ride home. I'm going to break as many laws as possible on my ride home (I'm a non-hipster, borderline-yuppie bike commuter) just to screw with all of you.
Jonah Petri June 27, 2012 at 12:56 AM
I live about 40 yards from Willow, right in this one-way area. I agree with you that it's quite dangerous for bikes to travel the wrong way on Willow. I think the reason that many of them come that way is that there isn't a reasonably good way for bikes to get from the Community Path down to Porter Square. I think the city should make Hancock officially two ways for bikes the whole way from the Community Path to Porter Square. That, plus some signage to that effect, and I think you'd see a huge reduction in people going the wrong way on Willow. The other option is to stripe Willow with a counter-flow bike lane (like Scott St @ Beacon St intersection) and officially sanction the behavior. At least then they'd ride in a predictable place on the street. In my opinion, enforcement just isn't going to help much. You'd be just as hopeless trying to get Bostonians to stop jaywalking.
Newman Ronald June 27, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Ron Newman will be next! He is the champion wrong-way rider!
Mike Oliviera June 28, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Re: Edward Lover Didn't do anything wrong? Even if you don't think taking that turn was wrong, you do agree that it was against the law. It's not wrong to blow off the cops that are trying to enforce the law? If *you* don't feel that you are breaking the law, but the cops do, that's what appeals are for. Even if he did get a ticket, which the cops made it pretty clear he wasn't going to, he probably could have fought the ticket, made a point about how ridiculous it was that silent, non-congestion causing bicycles couldn't turn down that street, and had a better chance of actually getting something done that affected more than his morning commute time. As a typical yuppy, I'm sure you're willing to call 911 anytime anyone inconveniences you, is too loud, or makes you feel unsafe, especially if they're in a car and you're on your bicycle. However, the second *your* behavior is deemed unacceptable by society at large, you turn into Mr. Anarchist and it's suddenly society's problem, but still feel you have the moral high ground. Save it for critical mass. "I'm going to break as many laws as possible ... just to screw with all of you." Wow, you sure "showed" me, and the rest of us squares (former gutter punk, currently work in a rock club). You also proved what every local already knew– that yuppies are even more capable of being self-absorbed pricks than hipsters are, and are ten-fold worth our contempt.
Mike Oliviera June 28, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Props for noting when you've deleted a comment, and giving a synopsis of the comment rather than just making it disappear.
mplo June 28, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Ryoji (and everybody else): I have to disagree with you here; A bicycle is a vehicle, too, and therefore, people on bicycles are subject to the rules of the road as much as cars are. Going through Red lights, STOP signs, and going the wrong way down one-way streets, as well as riding on the wrong side of the road are traffic violations, and a bicyclist who disobeys the rules of the road is putting herself in a situation where s/he could get very badly injured or possibly killed. The police, in this instance, were simply doing their jobs. Sorry, Ryoji, but since you deliberately tried to avoid the police when they were just out to give you a verbal warning, you don't have a leg to stand on, in this case.
mplo June 28, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Hey look, Ryoji. You did something that warranted them calling you that, because you acted like an a-hole. Don't look my way for sympathy here, because you won't get it, in this case.
mplo June 28, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Karen: Sorry to burst your bubble, but bicyclists aren't the only ones who are arrogant enough not to leave a note on your windshield if they damage your car in some way or other, not bother to stop, and, if they're at fault, try to weasel their way out of taking responsibility for their actions and behaviors. Plenty of people in cars do the above-mentioned stuff, too.
mplo June 28, 2012 at 11:08 PM
I disagree, Ken. A bicycle is a vehicle, too, and they're obligated to obey the same rules as cars or other motor vehicles.
stevieB July 01, 2012 at 11:48 AM
I've had run ins with citizens..and every time they lied or exaggerated..for every Dbag cop...out there there are 20 jerk citizens..you know the question authority...law doesn't apply..government assisted...clowns..all in a rush to a warren or Barry speech..keep up the good work somerville..ticket Every one of these nuisance riders..hammer them..the majority will be happy.
Jonah Petri July 01, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Surely the world is a bit more nuanced than your theory above states. You really believe in some grand division of Somerville into good and bad people? And everyone on the "bad" side bikes and supports the political party which you (presumably) disapprove of?
KEN D... December 10, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Creative Solution 1) Get off of your bicycle at the entrance to the street. 2) Walk past the sign legally as a pedestrian. 3) Get back on your bicycle and continue riding.
Linda Sauer McSorley December 22, 2012 at 12:20 PM
License,register and insure...funny how people change when money is involved


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