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Ticketed for taking the lane

This topic contains 149 replies, has 40 voices, and was last updated by  paulheckbert 4 mos, 4 weeks.

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Pierce

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Oct 29 2013 at 9:00am #

Damn it! That’s such a dick move. I think cops should be financially penalized for that.

a) waste court’s time b) waste citizens’ money

It allow doesn’t allow for the interpretation of the law to be settle since the case was just dismissed. It seems like it would be more useful if the interpretation was fought for


wbt

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Oct 29 2013 at 9:10am #

Don’t you think it would be a bigger waste of the court’s time and the citizen’s money if the officer DID show up for a case he pretty much couldn’t win?


paulheckbert

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Oct 29 2013 at 9:25am #

We had a one hour wait before Jon’s one minute hearing/dismissal took place. Here’s what it looked like inside Courtroom 21 this morning.

Jon was ticketed for taking a lane while bicycling in Churchill in May. His appeal hearing took place in October. People waited from 8:15am till 9:05am for the judge to appear and start hearing cases – a very inefficient system.

Judge Robert C Gallo in the distance, a large group of cops from all over the county, seated at right. Jon’s case was dismissed because the cop in his case did not show up.


Mikhail

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Oct 29 2013 at 9:55am #

wbt wrote:Don’t you think it would be a bigger waste of the court’s time and the citizen’s money if the officer DID show up for a case he pretty much couldn’t win?

Well, if John’s case overturn police fine — it’s a precedent that could be used in Churchill district. so no more tickets for taking a whole lane in Churchill. So one 15 minutes paid show and no more.


jonawebb

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Oct 29 2013 at 10:37am #

Marc Reisman, my attorney, did volunteer that he’d talk to the guy’s supervisor if he tries this again. My guess is the cop realized he didn’t have much of a case, and decided to give up. Or possibly mboyd, who knows the chief of police in Churchill, and volunteered to speak to him on my behalf, had time to do so.
In any case, two victories in two days! Yay!


Marko82

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Oct 29 2013 at 10:40am #

I’m glad the case was dismissed, but I find it rather unsatisfying. It would have been much better to have a judge tell the officer that his interpretation of the law was wrong, and that the magistrate got it wrong too. (Or even hear why “our” interpretation is wrong)

Still, a-win-is-a-win so we can take comfort in that. Thanks for being persistent Jon.


ieverhart

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Oct 29 2013 at 3:42pm #

It would have been much better to have a judge tell the officer that his interpretation of the law was wrong, and that the magistrate got it wrong too. (Or even hear why “our” interpretation is wrong)

+1 for precedent, and for correcting an erroneous magistrate ruling.


jonawebb

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Oct 29 2013 at 4:00pm #

I did learn some interesting things about the bike law from this. One is PA 3364 (b), which I don’t remember seeing cited here before:
“A pedalcycle may be operated at a safe and reasonable speed appropriate for the pedalcycle. A pedalcycle operator shall use reasonable efforts so as not to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”
It seems to me that this could reasonably interpreted as restricting our rights regarding taking the lane and so on, depending on who is deciding what “normal” and “reasonable” mean.
So that makes a self-contradictory trifecta of bike law: PA 3301 (c) gives us the right to take the right lane; PA 3505 (c) says we can do this unless it’s unsafe; and PA 3364 (b) says we aren’t supposed to hold up traffic, either.
Fortunately, in my case the cop cited me under PA 3301 (b) then switched to (c). If he’d cited me under PA 3505 (c) he might have had a case — we’d be arguing about the safest way to ride on Greensburg Pike.


rsprake

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Oct 29 2013 at 4:19pm #

Well that was anti-climatic. Congrats Jon and thank you for taking a stand.


edmonds59

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Oct 29 2013 at 4:20pm #

Were any cars actually held up behind you at the time? I ain’t no lawyer, but it seems to me that if he had cited you for 3364(b) without any traffic actually present being “held up”, it would be pre-emptively ticketing you prior to an offense.


wbt

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Oct 29 2013 at 4:35pm #

Per the lesson from this thread to carry a copy of the bike law, I’ve made up a printout of some relevant sections of the Motor Vehicle Law. The readme describing the PDF is here.

Copied from earlier, the Bicycle Driver’s manual (Pub 380) is
here for your printing pleasure.

I hope it’s helpful!


jonawebb

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Oct 30 2013 at 8:21am #

edmonds59 wrote:Were any cars actually held up behind you at the time?

He argued at the district magistrate hearing that he’d observed motorists acting “confused” (?) by me riding in the middle of the lane. So he probably would have claimed that I was obstructing traffic, in violation of 3364(b), if he’d been aware of the law. And then it would have been my word against his, and who do you believe? Me or Mr. Cop of Authority?


reddan

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Oct 30 2013 at 8:31am #

He argued at the district magistrate hearing that he’d observed motorists acting “confused” (?) by me riding in the middle of the lane.

Really? Wow. Confusion on the part of others is your responsibility…awesome.


Drewbacca

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Oct 30 2013 at 10:31am #

edmonds59 wrote:Were any cars actually held up behind you at the time? I ain’t no lawyer, but it seems to me that if he had cited you for 3364(b) without any traffic actually present being “held up”, it would be pre-emptively ticketing you prior to an offense.

agreed… this reads to me like the law in some states that would require a motor vehicle to pull over in the event that it is holding up more than three vehicles. It’s one thing to inconvenience a few drivers while pedaling through a tight or otherwise unsafe spot… it’s another thing to hold up traffic for several miles.


StuInMcCandless

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Oct 30 2013 at 11:02am #

3364(b) needs clarified or repealed, as it could be taken to ridiculous extremes. Cars fly down Perrymont at 45+ without regard to either the 35 mph posted limit or the dogleg turn at the bottom of the hill, posted a suggested 15 mph. After 22 years of practice, I myself can wail through that curve at close to 30 myself, if driving.

If cycling, if I were to take the lane here and force them to 15, that could still be an applicable case of 3364(b), AFAICT.

This came up last summer in the extended argument that started in the “suffer fools gladly” thread. The guy argued that anytime a bicycle was in front of a driver, it was blocking traffic, and the guy still thinks that way. Nothing, nobody, nohow, is going to change his mind. And he is not alone.


Drewbacca

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Oct 30 2013 at 11:38am #

StuInMcCandless wrote:
This came up last summer in the extended argument that started in the “suffer fools gladly” thread. The guy argued that anytime a bicycle was in front of a driver, it was blocking traffic, and the guy still thinks that way. Nothing, nobody, nohow, is going to change his mind. And he is not alone.

It’s hard to have a fruitful discussion over a hypothetical discussion… you never know what the other person is imagining in his/her own mind. In regards to that thread, I think that your old friend has an inability to understand where other people are coming from in discussing these hypotheticals. I think that he lacks imagination more so than simply thinking wrong.


edmonds59

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Oct 30 2013 at 12:10pm #

Stu – Speak of the devil, our old “fool” just commented on a video I put up on Fb about the cyclist in Ashland Oregon being ticketed for being out of the bike lane, then friend requested me. I immediately blocked him, frigging moron.


StuInMcCandless

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Oct 30 2013 at 2:25pm #

Oh, I know exactly what he’s thinking, why he’s thinking it, how he came to think it, and why he isn’t changing his mind. It’s just the way he operates. He’s like that on every topic.

I know his brother, too. A little more “with it” but just as deaf to what anyone else thinks. It’s an “I’m right, and I won’t rest until I change the world to agree with me” line of thinking.

It just scares me to think how many more like that are out there. Like the bigots of the 1950s, we just have to wait for them all to die, and hope they don’t breed or brainwash any more in the meantime.


Pierce

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Oct 30 2013 at 3:04pm #

I have plenty of real world experience of people thinking they can pass a bicycle whenever they want, at whatever speed, regardless of oncoming traffic

I go down Lebanon Rd on 885 everyday after work and a least once a week, if not more, even when I’m taking the lane and going 35+ MPH downhill a car or two will pass me, which has been pretty scary sometimes with a bus coming up the hill in the opposing lane and closing in fast, with the passing car seemingly oblivious


edmonds59

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Oct 30 2013 at 3:10pm #

Well Stu, at one time I thought age and time might resolve things, but they won’t. There are way more than enough young dumbshits coming up below. Dumbshits are like human knotweed.


StuInMcCandless

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Nov 12 2013 at 12:44pm #

There’s a developing case near Ft Lauderdale, Florida, where a cyclist on a Critical Mass ride was ticketed for taking the lane. It’s too early to post links or a summary — this is from Facebook posts that are marked “N minutes ago” — but it sounds like a similar type of situation.


StuInMcCandless

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Nov 13 2013 at 8:35pm #

Here are the couple of Facebook posts on the Ft Lauderdale incident, actually the nearby town of Wilton Manor:

November 11 at 10:05pm: “I called the Wilton Manors Police department to inquire about riding in their fair city. I explained a friend had received a ticket for riding on 26th Street because he was not close enough to the curb. I said I did not want to get the same ticket so I needed some information. The person that answered the phone was very nice, he said he rode his bike to work. That he took 26th street to get to work. He said I should leave a message for his boss and that I would receive a call back. More to follow, I hope.”

Nov 12 at 11:46am: ” I just spoke to Operations Commander Gary Blocker of the Wilton Manors Police Department. We went over the statute on the officer’s citation. I explained that a cyclist is entitled to ride in the travel lane. Statute 316.2065 (5) (a)as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations: substandard-width lane, which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane. For the purposes of this subsection, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane. That would need to be a 14 foot lane, 26th is a substandard lane. Commander Blocker was very understanding, we went to the Florida Bicycle Association’s web site. I showed him where the bicycle laws are and that he could order booklets for his officers. He ordered them while we spoke. He asked if Ray was going to contest the ticket and I said I think so. I also told him around the last Friday of the month he may see a lot of cyclists. He said to give him a couple of months so he can get the Florida Bicycle Law Enforcement Guide handed out to his officers. He said he has seen the riders gather at Holiday Park before, he volunteers for your sports. He could not have been any nicer. Hopefully we can turn what one officer did into something for the betterment of everyone.”

Sounds like a win to me! What can we learn from this?


Marko82

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Nov 13 2013 at 10:23pm #

Good post Stu.


StuInMcCandless

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Nov 18 2013 at 4:47am #

Here’s a case in California involving a group ride of 70 cyclists ordered to ride single file. They’re fighting the ticket. Again, the defense centers on whether the far-to-right law even applies in a sub-standard-width lane.

[link to Facebook thread]


edmonds59

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Nov 20 2013 at 1:44pm #

This is outstanding. “A law like no other”. From Florida, but applicable pretty much anywhere. Gold. http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2013/11/19/a-law-like-no-other/


Marko82

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Nov 22 2013 at 11:00am #

Time for a cop tangent:

SFPD accused of brutality in arrest of bicyclist http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/san_francisco&id=9331350

Apparently the guy was riding his bike on the sidewalk when two plain clothed “Violence Reduction Team” officers told him to stop, but he had ear buds in… a beating & arrests ensue.


buffalo buffalo

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Dec 11 2013 at 7:27pm #

Post dated October, but recently popped up on Momentum Mag’s twitter feed: ‘[Canadian] Legal Brief – Overcoming “Car Bias”

In 1993, the cycling community in British Columbia received a very special gift called Pacheco v. Robinson. … A great proposition emerged from this case, that is, simply because cyclists are more vulnerable, they are not required by law to anticipate every eventuality or take extra care. As a practical matter, it is always wise to be hyper defensive, but as a legal matter, a cyclist is not held to a higher standard based on his or her vulnerability.


paulheckbert

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Jul 1 2014 at 8:38pm #

Jon: I ran across a story about an Ohio case that is reminiscent of yours:

http://www.ohiobikelawyer.com/bike-law-101/2010/01/ohios-bike-laws/

excerpts:

In 1999, Steve was riding on S.R. 44 in Trotwood – a 5 lane, 45 mph roadway. After stopping at a light, Steve pedaled off in the right lane, with cars behind him. A police officer didn’t like seeing the cars behind him and pulled him over, citing him for “impeding traffic.”

At trial, we presented expert testimony that what Steve did was perfectly appropriate and that his speed was appropriate FOR A CYCLIST. … The trial judge disagreed and found Steve Guilty.

We appealed and, with the help of the [Ohio Bicycle Federation], publicized Steve’s case through the Internet. Trotwood got emails from all over the WORLD chastising it for prosecuting Steve. We won a 2-1 decision on appeal, with the court holding that in analyzing an “impeding traffic” charge, the court must consider the capabilities of the vehicle and its operator. Since the officer conceded that Steve was going at a reasonable speed for a cyclist, the court overturned the conviction.


atown

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Jul 2 2014 at 7:25am #

The precedent set by their appeals court that the court must consider the capabilities of the vehicle and its operator in analyzing an impeding traffic charge is very interesting. I’m going to do some research on PA case law on whether we have a similar standard.


paulheckbert

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Jul 2 2014 at 12:53pm #

It’s ironic that a road cyclist would be harassed by the police in Trotwood, since it’s a western suburb of Dayton, Ohio, which was designated a “bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community” in 2010, and Dayton plans to begin a bike share program in 2015. http://mostmetro.com/the-featured-articles/bike-share-to-roll-into-dayton-spring-2015.html

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