Meet Sheriff Teufel, the Social Media Star Who Can’t Figure out Sharrows

Hi everyone, meet Officer Teufel, a social media star from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Teufel’s claim to fame is not only mis-understanding traffic laws as they relate to bicyclists, but riding dangerously close to a cyclist to mis-explain the law and giving a baffling counter-intuitive explanation for what a Sharrow is.

Now to be fair, the Sheriff doesn’t ticket or physically harass the cyclist/videographer but his repeated attempts to shout explanations at the cyclist does make for at least an amusing video.

The fun really starts at the 1:14 mark when Teufel instructs the cyclist, who is riding directly through the middle of several Sharrows, to ride farther to the right. For those interested, you can watch an SUV run a red light just seconds before Officer Teufel defends the right to drive quickly to their two-wheeled oppressors.

As is true with many officers, Teufel confuses the traffic requirement that cyclists “ride as far to the right as practical” with “ride as far to the right as physically possible.” Of course, the Sheriff doesn’t seem impressed with the cyclists’ pleas that he is following the law, he continually harasses the cyclist with warnings not to impede traffic.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition succinctly explains the difference between what Teufel thinks is the law and what is actually the law.

Ride to the Right, But Within Limits - When riding slower than the normal speed of traffic, you are required to ride as far right as “practicable” (meaning safe). You are not required to ride as far right as possible, which may not be safe. You are allowed, but not required, to ride on the shoulder. CVC 21202CVC 21650CVC 21650.1 

Take the Lane - If a travel lane is too narrow to safely share side by side with a motor vehicle, you can prevent unsafe passing by riding near the center of the lane. On two-lane roads where it’s illegal or unsafe to pass, you must turn off the roadway at a designated or safe location to allow a line of 5 or more vehicles behind you to pass.CVC 21202 (a)(3)CVC 21656

As for the bewildering understanding of the giant painted arrows on the ground being an instruction that the cyclists should bike somewhere else inside the lane…well, that advice is the kind of thing that separates this video from the dozens of eye-rolling YouTube videos of clueless cops bothering cyclists.