OUR POSITION: Readers had strong reactions to our recent story about people arrested while riding bicycles.

Sun reporter Anne Easker recently wrote about two people who took bike rides that ended with them in jail.

Both were stopped for riding through stop signs. Both wound up in jail on charges of resisting the law.

Shane Steward said he thought he was racially profiled. He asked why it took five officers to deal with a man riding a bicycle. Nicole Christian, who claimed she was sexually assaulted during a prior police stop up north, said she felt bullied and harassed.

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office insists both arrests were justified and handled properly.

Instead of taking sides on this story, we’ve decided to present some of our readers’ responses. Here they are, edited for clarity and length.

David Lang:

A decent, caring, and well-mannered deputy could give you a warning about the lack of lights, and either help you get home, or make you walk your bicycle along the sidewalk or off the edge of the road. Safety is a valid concern, but actions like what happened with these two bicyclists widen the gap between the public and the police when they could really use the public’s assistance in many instances. After all, they are supposed to protect and serve, right?

Tom Walker:

It’s simple. When you’re riding on a road, obey the rules of the road. We all have to remember, being a police officer is not an easy profession. For our personal safety and social stability they place themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis. Think of it this way, they are not fighting crime, crime is fighting them and us, and our police officers and other forces, in or out of uniform, are the barrier between all of us and all the criminals and their criminal chaos.

John Neal:

In general, I find police have an inferiority problem and overreact at the perception of a person not immediately kowtowing to their commands, that often results in a citation resisting arrest without violence. It should be obvious that I have no respect for the police. What is bad is I was born in 1937 and have seen the degradation of police as a respected authority in general for a lot of stupid reasons.

Ron Forster:

You would think the CCSO would have something better to do than stop a bicycler in the early a.m. going to work. Apparently there aren’t any criminals running around for them to arrest! We have been one of those who have been stopped because we did not make a full stop at a stop sign. The officer was waiting for speeders in our residential area — recently reduced from 30 to 25 mph for some reason — and I guess there wasn’t any action! Yeah, I know it’s the law, but come on, five officers!

Jean Kathleen Ranallo:

The officer needed only to tell the bicyclists that even on a bike they needed to stop at a stop sign, even if there were no other traffic. To charge them with anything shows a lack of reason. A friendly reminder and a smile go a long way. People of color and women feel very unsafe in any “traffic stop.” The police are armed and in the cases depicted way outnumbered the bicyclist. Have they no sense of compassion and understanding? They need to be defusing situations.

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