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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So there's a great hill near my normal riding route that is in a gated community in Phoenix, AZ. I probably go in about six times a year. Of course, it's posted that trespassers will be prosecuted.

My question is, how enforceable is the law of trespassing if I'm riding my bicycle on the roads within the community? What's the fine for trespassing?

I ask because there is a crabby old guy in there who hates bikers. I met him this weekend. I was very polite (and if you knew me that would have shocked you). It was clear that he wants to get into it with someone and I wasn't going to give him that pleasure. Anyway, he's got it in for cyclists for whatever reason (you know, cause we make so much noise, cause so much damage and are such a rude lot.)

Anyway, I am curious at what I am risking by enter such communities.

Thanks.
 

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The only thing you risk is getting arrested for tresspassing.

If the old guy lives there and has an ax to grind, you may get in trouble. However, I think we are short on info. How do you know this guy is a bike hater. Is this a data point of one comment or has he been telling you repeatedly to stay out of the community? Have they already told you to stay out or to leave and not come back?

If no one has verbally warned you and you got arrested there could be a million legitimate reasons you were there.

Maybe a girl gave you her address and told you to stop by and when you rode by you realized she made up the whole story.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
He's a known hater of people maybe...

I wasn't so concerned about this particular guy. There is a whole story here... I'll try to summarize. More importantly, the question still remains. What is the penalty for tresspassing? Paying a fine? Being arrested? I know that cops will do as the they want and judge a situation, but I would still like to know what the max penalty is.

I am not asking for Mr. crabby's permission to ride on that hill.

He is a known Crabby because I heard about him a year ago. Every time I go in there I think to myself, maybe to day is the the day. Anyway, he's yelled at and gotten into a number of arguments with riders apparently. So when he sees a biker, his chest puffs out and he gets all...well... crabby. "Do you live here?" "You know you're trespassing..." and all that.

When he addressed us (me and wife). I stopped and we talked. He said that many bikers come in here (not according to what I see, but I don't live there). I'm been in there maybe 12 times in the last two years and I've never seen another biker. Anyway, he said that his wife was harrassed by a group of 30 riders and they tried to run over his dog. (Which was there and very friendly and of a size that you would NOT want to run over.) So I wonder about the guy's point of view (or what his wife may have said to piss of 30 riders, trespassing or not.. how intimitating are men in spandex riding bikes wearing styrofoam helmets. I know the groups that ride in this area and I'm pretty sure that I know the group that met his wife. Anyway, his story is right about trespassing, but he lives up on top of a a great hill.

I told him that I was shocked that riders (especially those good enough to climb this hill) would be have so rudely and I proceeded to explain that I needed him to secure his friendly dog (not leashed, sniffing my feet as I have dogs) so that we could leave without the dog giving chase.

Oh, he also told me that we bikers think we own everything. When here I was admitting that I was trespassing on a road that he doesn't own. So I had to wonder again, who has the ownership problem? Arguing with this guy would have gotten me no where as there was no logic to anything he said... so I stayed polite and was just looking to turn around (we almost finished the climb anyway)

He was truly beside him self with the fact that I was apologetic and polite and after he did contain his dog, we did turn and leave without a negative word.

I can banter logic with the best of them. I have the speed of mind, composure and debating ability to stand on either side of any topic and handle it well. This however was one of my first times involved in a conversation in which I played the non-aggressor and continued with the conversation. (Generally, if it's not worth it to me, I'm the guy turning and walking away (and that happens a lot!). Anyway, it was very rewarding to watch this man not expect or understand my polite handling of the situation.

So the question still remains, whether it's this guys private gated community or someone elses. What is the penalty for trespassing?
 

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bignose said:
Is it a public city road or a private road that belongs to the gated community ?

call the city, if it's a public road, tell him to sodd off. if it's private, you sodd off :)
This answer strikes me as the most appropriate.

Please consider your options. Are you riding through a gated community with a security gate meant to keep out automobiles?
If this is the case then chances are it is a privately maintained road. If a sign is posted and a security gate is not to be found, then the sign may be all bark and no bite.

If it is a private road, then please keep in mind you should respect this man’s obvious need for privacy as he pays additional money to maintain this privacy.

If it is a public road, then I would ride a few circles in front of his house every time I passed by.

His concerns may be valid and I disagree with you on one minor point.
Thirty riders doing 20+mph can be quite intimidating.
 

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We have a similar problem where I work. The last three or so miles I ride every morning are on a private road. It is a very nice, well-maintained road with a good grade. The local Fast and Furious wannabes have taken to drag racing here, and they tear up the road. Not to mention that the minute one of them crashes they will sue the owner of the property. The owners have never minded people using the road for running, cycling, etc. until the racing got to be a problem. Now there is a big, ugly gate at the end of the road.

So, if it is a private road, (and it likely is inside a gated community) then find somewhere else to ride. You don't have any business being there. This guy may just be grumpy, but he is, like our Mr. Grumpy often is, right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm not asking if Mr. Grumpy is right, I thought that I explained that it's QUITE clear that I am trespassing. What I want to know is:

What is the penalty for trespassing. Does anyone know?
 

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I suspect it varies by state, or even locality. Also you would have to be there when the cops show up!

Most often if you just said oops, i messed up to the cops and offered to leave, i doubt they would want to go through the hassle of actually arresting you for it.

If mister grumpy decided to make an example out of it you could be in some trouble. But simple tresspassing is usually just a small fine, and often if you plead ignorance you can get off with a warning.
 

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Timmons said:
Oh, he also told me that we bikers think we own everything. When here I was admitting that I was trespassing on a road that he doesn't own. So I had to wonder again, who has the ownership problem? Arguing with this guy would have gotten me no where as there was no logic to anything he said... so I stayed polite and was just looking to turn around (we almost finished the climb anyway)

It sounds like the guy lives in the community and if it is a private gated community he indeed owns the road along with the rest of the home owners. Maybe you have to look at it from his perspective. Perhaps every bike rider in the vicinity loves to hill climb up to his driveway and turn around. He is constantly dealing with cyclists creeping up a steep climb that he has to negotiate around to get to his own house, in his own private community, that he paid extra for so he wouldn't have to deal with issues of everyone riding around in his neighborhood. Would you mind if you had a beautiful yard and every weekend a bunch of walkers decided to walk laps in your yard? If it was a public road, he has no beef, but if it is a private road (and it sounds like it is) he has every right to be indignant and upset about routine trespassing by numerous cyclists.
 

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There is a good climb near where I live, but the last 1km are in a "gated community," which then exits to public roads.

I agree with the other posters that IF he called the cops AND they arrived before you left -- which is unlikely unless this is a very small high-end suburb with a big, bored PD -- and you tell them "very sorry sir, I was just out on a bike ride minding my own business and not paying attention, won't happen again," it's not worth their trouble and expense to write you up. Probably.

I've had similar experiences in a wealthy suburb where I grew up, but without a bicycle.

In the event that they DID write you up, most likely it's just a small ticket / fine. Details depend upon juris-my-diction, and it's technically possible that you could be given a criminal trespass, TECHNICALLY possible that a night in jail would be possible, but I think you'd have to piss on the cop's shoe and have just broken up with his daughter.
 

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If it was me, I'd have you sent to Gitmo..................or worse.
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Never cross a crabby guy that might have a 12 gauge..........(or a pellet gun)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah, indignant is a right. I don't care which side of what right/wrong you're standing. There is a reason that this guy doesn't like people (and vice versa). I'm glad that he's got the money to hide himself up a hill, it's just too bad he won't share "his" great hill.
 

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MR_GRUMPY said:
If it was me, I'd have you sent to Gitmo..................or worse.
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One of my favorite climbs is about an hour's drive from my house -- the road to Camp David. When the President is at Camp David, the Secret Service closes the gates on the road. A few years ago (post 9/11), four of us started up the climb -- two of us decided to turn around, the other two decided to go around the gate. The two gate crashers were laughing and calling us law-abiding folk wimps and other things more profane. They stopped laughing when uniformed guys with very impressive guns jumped out of the woods and they thought that they were on the way to Gitmo.

I doubt that something like this would happen in a private, gated community. But, I know of some gated communities that have rent-a-cops patrolling them. And, as much as I would not want to be on the wrong side of the Secret Service, at least they did not cause any harm to my lycra-clad trespassing buddies. I'm not so sure what some self-important, badly-trained rent-a-cop with a gun in his hand might do in the same situation.

Call me a wimp. But, if there is a gate and a no trespassing sign, I would stay out on the public road.
 

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There's gotta be some other hills around man...ditto what bigrider said - private gated community = the old man DOES own the road. Maybe he shares ownership with the others who live in the community, maybe he has a big lot and owns the last 100 yards...either way, he owns it. If you're really head over heals for this hill then get yourself a light and get your 6 rides a year on it done late at night when he's all tucked in and you won't be bothering him. From your account of your interaction with him, he's not all that big a tool. You remained calm and polite, congrats. He acted in a way that allowed you to remain calm and polite. If I were in his shoes (no experiance within the cycling community and paying to live in a gated community) and my wife told me a story about being harassed by some riders (maybe it happened, maybe not, chances are the woman gave him an elaborate account of a just oh so horrible experiance either way), I'd be busting out the pellet rifle every time you rolled up to my driveway.
 

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MarkS said:
Call me a wimp. But, if there is a gate and a no trespassing sign, I would stay out on the public road.
Timmons, I'm a wimp like Mark, but I'm curious, how "gated" is this community?

We have two (really just one, read on) in my region. One is old, when built it had gates and private security. A number of years ago, they gave their streets to the city, tore down the gates and guard shacks and it's all public roads now patrolled by tax payer paid police. The other is relatively new. If you wanted to climb the hill inside it you would need to pass through a gate with a guard, state your business and your destination. In other words you never get to Grumpy's driveway.

Sidenote: this same community was built astride a pre-existing MUT. So it's ironic that if your hill was in this gated community, you couldn't drive to Grumpy's driveway without passing security, but your could ride you bike there.

Scot
 

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Timmons said:
You would have to explain where "gitmo is". If you're going to 'send' me there, at least allow me to picture it in my mind.
Gitmo is where the US government sends political prisoners with no evidence, no trial, no judge, no lawyers, no notification of friends and family, no sentences, and no hope of returning to a normal life. You are stuck there potentially for life and with no way for anyone to legally get you out, assuming that anyone knows you are there. The only way you can get yourself out is to commit suicide, which many of the prisoners are doing.

Obviously, you're not going to get Gitmo'ed for a simple tresspassing. If your buddy calls the cops and you are obviously not a burgler (dressed in bright lycra with no wearpons or burglery tools), your first offense will likely get you just a warning and escort to the property line or maybe a citation and fine. Repeated offenses can easily get you a trip to the local police station for a formal charge and court hearing.

My advice is to find another route.
 
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