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Ask a cop: Passing on two-lane bridges legal — sometimes

Carey from Beaumont asks: Officer Antoine, I just love what you are doing through this column. I haven’t spoken to any person who has one bad thing to say about this column, especially how bad your name is in the community. After hearing all the bad things about you, I quickly compared you to the motorcycle cop that gives a lot of tickets in Beaumont, Officer Kolin Burmaster. But the difference is Port Arthur Police Department has an outlet through you, where regular citizens can contact a police officer for insight and information before a law is violated unknowingly.

My question is, can someone legally pass another vehicle on a two-lane bridge? If traffic is going in opposite direction, can this be done?
Answer: Good question Carey! Now this made me laugh out loud, because Officer Burmaster happens to be a good friend of mine who is a very dedicated and hard worker. Thank you, Carey, and many others for being faithful followers of this column. Without the hundreds of readers I meet weekly reminding me they follow this column weekly, I would probably have ended it long ago. I am a servant of the people, and the people like the “Ask A Cop” column in The News, also the “Ask A Cop Live” radio program on The Breeze radio station. But because the readers constantly encourage me to keep writing in The News, I will continue to provide answers to your questions according the state of Texas Transportation Code.

Carey, yes, it is legal to pass on a bridge as long as there’s not a double yellow-striped line. Also you are prohibited from passing on a bridge if there is a solid yellow line on your side and a broken yellow line on the other direction of travel side. Now the side that has the broken yellow line is allowed to pass on the bridge, but at that point the solid yellow line is prohibited from passing. Carey, if you obey the Transportation Code, I can assure you neither you nor any motorist has anything to worry about from Antoine in Port Arthur, or Burmaster in Beaumont.
Candis from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I want to know why Port Arthur cops ride solo, and when I travel to larger cities or look on television I normally see them with a partner. With the way things are today, isn’t this dangerous. Or is it just your preference?
Answer: Good question, Candis! This is more of an upper administration question, but I’ll answer it to the best I know. Officers ride a beat alone to provide greater coverage to the citizens we serve in Port Arthur. Let’s say there are 10 officers assigned to work any particular shift. If they were to ride with partners, that would put five cars instead of 10 to patrol the streets of Port Arthur.

Yes, it adds a great degree of safety for each officer if they ride with a partner. Given the nature of the call, two officers will be dispatched to the call for safety of the responding officers. I would go out on a limb and say that 98 percent of the officers in Port Arthur don’t have a problem with riding solo! Candis, at the end of the day, it all relates to manpower and getting the citizens of Port Arthur the most police presence and coverage. Thanks for your concern…
Vincent from Port Arthur asks: My girlfriend and I are at odds about signaling in a motor vehicle when headed straight but suddenly decide to turn at a traffic light. Let’s say I am the first car in the outside lane at a traffic signal and the light is red, but something comes up and I decide I need to turn right. Can I put on my signal and turn right?
Answer: Good question, Vincent! I’m not certain which — you or your girlfriend — said this can be done legally.  But the answer is “NO”; legally in Texas operators of a motor vehicle must signal continuously at least 100 feet before making any turn. Failing to properly signal while operating a motor vehicle is a commonly observed violation by law enforcement officers. There’s a very good reason why it’s necessary and a good thing to notify others of your intent by activating your signal and at the heart of it is crash prevention, injury prevention, as well as traffic fatality prevention.

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, The Breeze radio station, every Tuesday for an hour at 1 p.m. You can also tune in via internet at www.ksapthebreeze.org. Call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at 409-982-0247. Email your questions to rantoine@portarthurpd.com, or call 409-984-8541 and leave a voice mail question, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!