Tag Archives: road guarding

Motorcycle groups stop traffic at risk of being cited

The in basket: Bob Bronow wrote in June to say, “I encountered something which seemed kind of weird to me.  I was traveling south on Chico Way at the Erlands Point junction when a motorcycle rider turned his bike sideways right in front of me, blocking the lane and intersection.  I noticed another one similarly blocked the northbound lane of Chico Way.  Apparently this was so a group of them could approach from Erlands Point, turn south on Chico Way and all stay together.

“I don’t really care if they are all able to stay together. It seems like only emergency vehicles have the right to stop traffic. What do you think?”

I asked Deputy Scott Wilson of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office if such a maneuver is permitted or perhaps even encouraged by law enforcement.

The out basket: Scott replied, “No, this type of action is not authorized by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and certainly not encouraged. It is a violation of the state’s motor vehicles rules of the road.

“Only law enforcement agencies are permitted to shut down a roadway. Fire agencies have authority to temporarily close a roadway at the scene of a fire or rescue emergency.

“Authorization for closing a road may be obtained through the permitting process for special events, such as community events or festivals (like)Whaling Days in Silverdale or the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede, etc.  Typically these temporary authorizations are granted by the County Commissioners and promulgated publicly via a county resolution.”

I talked with Jason Rossi, sergeant of arms for the local branch of ABATE, a motorcycle advocacy group, and he says they do it, and call it road guarding, but they do it at their own risk, knowing they might be cited for it.

ABATE hopes to someday get authorization for members who would have to take a special course in doing it safely, but in the meantime they’ll have to take their chances if they use it, he said.