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Kafka in Texas

Dan C. sends along this link to a case of a Texas cyclist who has been repeatedly arrested for the apparently radical (though seemingly legal) act of riding his bike on a road (and we’re not talking about an Interstate Highway here, but 30 mph local roads). Read all about it (and donate to his defense) here. As Commute Orlando points out, this sort of thing is not uncommon.

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This entry was posted on Friday, March 19th, 2010 at 6:58 am and is filed under Bicycles, Cities, Cyclists. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

49 Responses to “Kafka in Texas”

  1. Cory Says:

    Have they finally done it? Have they finally outlawed being a giant d-bag? Besides, unless the guy was riding his bike at (or at least near) 30 mph, then yes, he was impeding traffic.

    Which reminds me of an incident last night. I was near the local university walking across a bridge. My wife and I were on the edge of the bridge so we could look at the water. Well, some biker comes by and makes a comment about us walking in a bike lane. The comment is particularly ironic when considering how guys like this (and his supporters, and apparently the author of this post) have no problem with biking in the drive lane.

  2. Josh R Says:

    Cory, you might want to actually read up on the issue, familiarize yourself with the various laws, and consider the implications of the police actions in this case before spouting off.

    Or don’t, if you’re happy up there on your cloud.

  3. Brent Says:

    I would hope that Cory, and anyone else inclined to spouting off, spends a few days riding a bicycle around town before forming an opinion on this subject.

  4. Andy Says:

    I’m a bicycle advocate and on the local bike/ped council. I biked 5,000 miles last year on the local roads. I know all the local laws and the rules of the road. I also know the courtesies, which are not written. When I first read about this guy recently, I thought it was a case of the police targeting someone on a bike with no reason, which does happen. However, this guy clearly states that he is riding on roads with large shoulders, but as one part of the law points out that riding in the roadway is not necessarily illegal, he interpenetrates this to mean that he SHOULD ride in the lane all the time. Cyclists should ride about 3ft from a curb or parked cars, in a predictable manner. If there’s a hazard or approaching turn, by all means take the lane to ensure a safe path. Maybe that impedes traffic, but as long as you aren’t continuously in the lane when a suitable shoulder exists, it’s perfectly legal. But you ARE impeding traffic if you have a legal and safe area to ride in and choose to ride in a traffic when most other vehicles are moving significantly faster.

    So, riding in the road is not bad, it’s just that riding in a lane when there is no reason to not use a shoulder is definitely an necessary impediment to traffic. If he continues to ride this way, he should either get 500 other cyclists with him so that they ARE traffic, or just stay away from faster vehicles where a safe cycling area exists.

  5. MikeOnBike Says:

    Andy, please follow the Commute Orlando link. Also read about the Selz case http://www.ohiobike.org/selz/Selz_Rt2Road.htm

  6. Eliot Says:

    Thank you for posting about Reed’s plight.

    Apparently folks aren’t reading the entire story. Hwy 287 has a “non-continuous wide shoulder”. This means that the shoulder is not always there. That is not the point, though. The legal road ends at the end of the “fog line” (which does not include the shoulder) and all cyclists in Texas have the full legal rights to the roadway. The route that Reed rides does not have heavy traffic and there is always another lane for people change to. Reed’s position in the lane is the safest, most predictable thing for him to do. If Reed were to ride in the shoulder when available, he would be veering in-and-out of traffic as the shoulder opens/ends, causing a dangerous hazard.

    I don’t know where “Cyclists should ride about 3ft from a curb or parked cars, in a predictable manner. ” comes from. There’s nothing in the Texas statues saying anything close to that.

    The police are specifically targeting Reed like they might a vagrant or a community nuisance. He is practicing his right to the road and it’s sad that so many recreational cyclists tsk-tsk him, not realizing that he must ride for his livelihood.

  7. MikeOnBike Says:

    Also Andy, every cyclist IS traffic.

  8. Augie Schomner Says:

    Andy, what if the shoulder is non-continuous? What if it’s not paved smoothly enough for typical bicycle road tires? What if cars pass cyclists closer and faster if you are on the shoulder than if you are in the the travel (numerous studies show this to be true)?

    The shoulder is not a travel lane, it’s that simple.

  9. Augie Schomner Says:

    Andy, what if the shoulder is non-continuous? What if it’s not paved smoothly enough for typical bicycle road tires? What if cars pass cyclists closer and faster if you are on the shoulder than if you are in the travel lane (numerous studies show this to be true)?

    The shoulder is not a travel lane, it’s that simple.

  10. Andy Says:

    Mike, the Selz case looks like gross negligence from the prosecution and the judge. There isn’t much info on that page about why they were riding where they were.

    In any case, where riding in the lane is legal, it does not mean that you should always ride in the lane as a rule. There are times when it is the best place to ride, and times when it is theoretically a legal lane position but with no benefit. Riding in the lane on 30mph roads is the right place when there are many pedestrians, crosswalks, intersections or a small speed differential. I often ride on 30mph roads with no shoulder, but I also ride fairly fast, around 20mph.

    Just look at the first picture on http://let-him-ride.com/. It’s a wide open road with what looks like a 6ft shoulder. No stops, no pedestrians. If there’s fewer cyclists than cars, then riding in the lane when such a large shoulder exists is impeding traffic unnecessarily. If he’s being ticketed on the section that has no shoulders, than it’s a wrongful ticket.

  11. Brad Templeton Says:

    While I agree he is within the law, and should not be arrested, I almost learned the hard way that the only answer is to get the bike lane normalized.

    I used to bike to work on a local “expressway” (not a freeway — regular traffic lights) and they took away the shoulder and turned it into a carpool lane during rush hour, and signs said the lane was closed at other hours to cars (but not to bikes, it was, though the signs did not say this, the bike lane outside of rush hour.)

    When I would ride (in the center of the closed lane), cars would come up behind me in the closed lane and honk and follow me for long distances wondering what the hell I was doing. Explaining the law did not do much good.

    However, I stopped when one day I heard behind me the scary sound of a car entering the road from a side street slightly fast, then slamming on its breaks, squealing tires and then going off the road to avoid hitting me. I’m glad he went off the road. Being legally in the right would have been little comfort.

    Eventually they decided to restripe the lanes a little narrower and made a usable shoulder. The other way would have eventually gotten me legally right, but dead.

  12. Eliot Says:

    Andy – Please see the next photo on Let Him Ride, the aerial photo. The police were waiting for Reed after that intersection where the shoulder suddenly starts.

    In much of rural Texas, the shoulder almost always has rumble strips, debris (roadkill!), and inferior pavement. It is not OK to be a second-class citizen and take the scraps of the road.

    Please also see this post by Reed himself: Why Shoulders Make Bad Bike Lanes .

  13. Eliot Says:

    Well, too bad. The link got stripped. Maybe this wont?

    http://cycledallas.blogspot.com/2010/01/why-shoulders-make-bad-bike-lanes.html

  14. Augie Schomner Says:

    Andy says: “It’s a wide open road with what looks like a 6ft shoulder. No stops, no pedestrians. If there’s fewer cyclists than cars, then riding in the lane when such a large shoulder exists is impeding traffic unnecessarily.”

    Here’s the Texas Vehicle Code description of when a shoulder may be used:

    § 545.058. DRIVING ON IMPROVED SHOULDER. (a) An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of a roadway if that operation is necessary and may be done safely, but only:
    (1) to stop, stand, or park;
    (2) to accelerate before entering the main traveled
    lane of traffic;
    (3) to decelerate before making a right turn;
    (4) to pass another vehicle that is slowing or stopped
    on the main traveled portion of the highway, disabled, or preparing to make a left turn;
    (5) to allow another vehicle traveling faster to pass;
    (6) as permitted or required by an official
    traffic-control device; or
    (7) to avoid a collision.

    lLter, it states that bicycles, police cars, and emergency vehicles may use the shoulder at any time. But does a shoulder’s intended function (parking, deceleration, acceleration, passing) sound like a good place to operate a vehicle? Even a bicycle?

  15. MikeOnBike Says:

    Andy, did you notice the driveway in that photo?

    What we can’t see from the photo is how much debris might be in the shoulder that’s not in the roadway.

    You’ve invented a Mandatory Shoulder Use law out of thin air. That’s exactly the point of the Commute Orlando post.

    Even if you might prefer to ride on that shoulder, that’s no reason for cyclists who are breaking no traffic laws to be stopped, ticketed, and jailed for failing to ride in your preferred style.

    Cyclists ARE traffic, the same as any other driver who might not be going the speed limit. Slow traffic uses the right lane. Faster traffic can change lanes to pass.

  16. njkayaker Says:

    “Also Andy, every cyclist IS traffic.”
    So, what? Everything is traffic. So are vehicles that impede traffic.

  17. njkayaker Says:

    Andy: “In any case, where riding in the lane is legal, it does not mean that you should always ride in the lane as a rule. There are times when it is the best place to ride, and times when it is theoretically a legal lane position but with no benefit.”

    This isn’t relevent to whether a law was broken or not. As it happens, chipseal quite vigorously argues that one should never ride in the shoulder.

    The “impeding traffic” law.

    Sec. 545.363

    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm

    I don’t think chipseal was breaking any laws.

  18. Andy Says:

    I hear you, cyclists are traffic. But if you are the lone contributor to slower traffic, than you are the one impeding all the other traffic nearby, which I think is worthy of a ticket when there is the ability to safely not be the lone impediment to that traffic.

    I’m not trying to create a Mandatory Should Use law. I’m trying to say that cyclists are safer and will cause less anger to everyone involved if they use a safe space when it is available. That’s the purpose of “as far to the right as practicable.”

    You can suggest that a 6ft shoulder is not practicable, but with vague laws like this, it’s your word against the court’s, and likely to be a loosing battle.

  19. Ed W Says:

    This is really quite simple. Does Reed Bates have the right to ride his bicycle on a public road? There’s no equivocation, no ‘but ifs’. Does he have that right? It doesn’t matter if there’s a shoulder nearby. It doesn’t matter if there are other routes. Does he have the right to ride on a public road?

    When you set aside all the pointless second-guessing of his actions, you reach the conclusion that, yes, he has the right to use that road. You may not agree with him and you may not feel confident enough to use such a road yourself, but ultimately, you must realize he has an equal right to the public roadways, just as you do.

  20. Andy Says:

    njkayaker, that’s traffic code, not bike specific. Here’s what I found of the bike law:

    Sec. 551.103. Operation on Roadway.
    (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, unless … a condition on or of the roadway, including a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal, or surface hazard prevents the person from safely riding next to the right curb or edge of the roadway.

    I left out the parts that don’t apply in this case. Basically that says “as near as practicable to the right” unless a hazard prevents that. Considering much of the bike text advocated riding on the shoulder, I’m assuming they don’t definite that as a hazard. I would say that he is breaking the law then. Unless there were objects blocking the shoulder, he could have safely rode there, but chose not to.

  21. Andy Says:

    Ed, just because it’s a public road, doesn’t mean the public can use it without rules. (Un)fortunately there has to be a long list of “but ifs.” Otherwise you could walk on a 65mph public road, and obviously (or not) that is a bad choice and shouldn’t be illegal.

  22. MikeOnBike Says:

    Andy, the shoulder is not part of the roadway.

    The vehicle code IS “the rules”. You’re inventing rules that aren’t in the vehicle code.

  23. fred_dot_u Says:

    Andy, how is it that you left out the last part of that statute?

    (4) the person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:
    (A) less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; or
    (B) too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.

    FL statutes have similar wording and the last time I was cited by law enforcement, they conveniently left out the last section as well. FL DOT also specifies that a 14 foot lane is the minimum width and the final determination is up to the cyclist, not someone else.

    My citations were DISMISSED, and I’m hoping for the same resolution for ChipSeal.

    Unskilled people on bicycles have not learned the dangers of shoulders and operate within that level of ignorance, thinking they are safer. That’s impossible, when one considers the concentration level of drivers using cell phones and texting and eating and reading.

    “Just because it’s legal…” is not the focus. It is SAFER.

  24. njkayaker Says:

    Andy@13 “njkayaker, that’s traffic code, not bike specific. Here’s what I found of the bike law:”

    He is/was being charged with the “impeding traffic” law. The “bike law” is referenced on the “let-him-ride” site but the “impeding traffic” law isn’t. Note that the text for the Texas “bike law” is pretty-much the same as many other states.

    Andy@13 “I left out the parts that don’t apply in this case. Basically that says “as near as practicable to the right” unless a hazard prevents that.”

    The law says “roadway”. Typically (ie, in most states), the “roadway” excludes the shoulder.

    Well, if they are “advocating” riding on the shoulder, it implies that it isn’t illegal not to.

  25. Steve A Says:

    A cyclist MAY use the shoulder in Texas. The jury ruled the cyclist in question MUST use the shoulder. The legislature could have used the word MUST but wisely recognized that, as the one at greatest risk, the discretion should be left to the cyclist.

  26. Kevin Love Says:

    This is truly bizarre. I hope that appropriate disciplinary action is being taken against this bigoted police officer so that this kind of prejudice and discrimination is firmly rooted out of the Texas police force.

    I was only a child in the 1960′s but still have vivid memories of the “Jim Crow” laws. Texas was, and apparently still is, one of the most bigoted places around.

    But that is changing. Black people will not be forced to the back of the bus and cyclists will not be forced off the roads by bigots. And bigoted police officers need to find themselves suddenly unemployed.

  27. fluffy_mike Says:

    I ride in London a lot, and have been taught – by experience and by cycle instruction – to occupy an entire lane whenever possible, at whatever speed.

    There are many car drivers who resent this, and can react quite aggressively, but the alternative – having car drivers try to overtake when there simply isn’t room – is much more dangerous.

    These observations about sometimes narrow London streets aren’t entirely transferable to broad Texas highways, but the principle is the same: I am traffic, riding on the highway only in a way that maximises my safety.

    Go Chip

  28. fred_dot_u Says:

    @fluffy_mike, there’s a cyclist in your country who also posts to YouTube, under the name of magnatom, of his rides on your narrow city roadways. He has experienced enough close calls during dangerous overtakes to fill volumes. Sometimes I think he would do well to move farther into the lane, but I’m not in his (cycling) shoes and don’t want to make guesses based only on the video.

    It is safer.

  29. Jan Says:

    Gotta love the bicycle lanes in The Netherlands! :-)

  30. fred_dot_u Says:

    Certainly the Netherlands has a wonderful system of cycling lanes, but their culture is not that of the US. Property owners will not relinquish the real estate necessary for such a system in the US, and drivers in the USA will not modify their habits to ensure that such a design would work safely anyway.

    The USA already has a network of cycling lanes, it’s called roadways. It’s a matter of educating cyclists to ride safely by controlling the lane. It’s a matter of educating motorists to understand that consideration for other road users is critical.

    Education in the USA? Yeah, what a fantasy.

  31. Kevin Love Says:

    Fred wrote:
    “…drivers in the USA will not modify their habits…”

    Kevin’s comment:
    The exact same reason was given to explain why the racist “Jim Crow” laws would never be overturned.

    I predict that a large number of nice long jail terms for dangerous drivers will be successful in modifying their habits.

  32. Paul Johnson Says:

    It should be noted, only the 23 geographically smallest states prohibit nonmotorized access to freeways.

  33. fred_dot_u Says:

    Kevin, driver modification would be the last phase of the overall “project”. Considering how difficult it is to get construction right-of-way for roadways, how difficult would it be to get right-of-way for dedicated cycle-ways? Especially since the existing roadways are being used for cycling.

    The USA has been motor-centric since before my time, while other countries have had the advantage of convenient comprehensive public transit systems. So many things are against the development of segrated bicyclist facilities, and driver modification would perhaps follow as a matter of course, but I think it’s unlikely to get there.

  34. Kevin Love Says:

    Fred wrote:
    “The USA has been motor-centric since before my time…”

    Kevin’s comment:
    To quote Alabama Governor George Wallace

    “Segregation yesterday,
    Segregation today,
    Segregation forever.”

    This is, of course, based upon the Easter Vigil Proclamation, as Mr. Wallace sought to exploit the religious culture of the US South.

    When it came to Jim Crow, “everyone knew” that attitudes that had been entrenched forever would never change. Or that if change did come, it would be a long and slow process lasting for generations.

    Until change happened. It didn’t take long for racism to go from mainstream to extremist fringe. Even George Wallace came to acknowledge that segregation was morally wrong.

    I predict that the exact same thing will happen to US car culture. I predict that I will live to see the US culture of car supremecy go from mainstream to extremist fringe. There will be a lot of factors driving it, such as peak oil. But I fully intend that one of those factors will be me.

  35. fred_dot_u Says:

    Kevin,I’m not sure about your prediction, but I’m certainly in the same camp in that I drive petroleum burning vehicles as litle as possible. I cheer every time I read or see increased gas prices, even though they have not reached a practical level to get the necessary changes started.

    With almost 12,000 miles under my pedals in a bit more than two years, it’s that much foreign oil I’ve not burned and I intend to keep it that way until I depart this planet.

  36. Josh R Says:

    It all comes down to one basic question. Do you see the bike rider as another human being with all the same rights you have? Or do you see the bike rider as an obstacle, a thing that’s impeding your car’s progress and needs to just go away?

    The only correct answer is “He/she is a human being with all the same rights that I have.” Majority opinion doesn’t matter a whit, if 99.99% of people think the biker is an obstacle, they’re still wrong. This goes for pedestrians as well, in fact it goes for every facet of life in which a minority group with less power is doing something that a majority doesn’t do or disapproves of.

  37. Serge Issakov Says:

    Andy wrote (in #4): “But you ARE impeding traffic if you have a legal and safe area to ride in and choose to ride in a traffic when most other vehicles are moving significantly faster.”

    The issue of whether you are impeding traffic has nothing to do with whether you have a legal and safe alternative to use. If you’re impeding you’re impeding; if you’re not you’re not. Whether you could use an alternative place to not impede is only relevant to the question of whether the impeding in question is lawful or not.

    Andy also wrote (in #10): “If there’s fewer cyclists than cars, then riding in the lane when such a large shoulder exists is impeding traffic unnecessarily.”

    There are no standards with respect to width, continuity, signing or anything else with respect to shoulders like there are with bike lanes. This is why the law never requires bicyclists to ride in shoulders, no matter how large and clear it may appear to be.

    A bicyclists is allowed to use a shoulder if he wants, but he is never legally required to do so.

    Many court cases including Trotwood and the case it depends on have established that impeding is lawful when it cannot be avoided. The question here is whether riding in a shoulder to avoid impeding others is ever legally required by the impeding statute. I suggest there is no precedent for that, and it’s clearly not what any Texas legislature ever intended.

    Texas bicyclists must unite in defending their right to not ever be legally required to get off the road and use a shoulder.

  38. Cory Says:

    Wow, such hatred of me right away. First of all everyone – I do ride a bike through a major city (Minneapolis) quite often. Put on about 20-25 miles through both Minneapolis and St. Paul yesterday, including riding on roads. So Brent and Josh R – get off YOUR high horses.

    When I ride, however, I’m smart enough to (as much as possible) ride on dedicated bike paths or in dedicated bike lanes. When I do ride on non-bike-laned streets, I get as far to the edge as possible and try to get out of the cars’ way. I’m not one of the uppidy bike snobs it seems appear on here who think that it’s okay to make cars wait behind me – not only out of concern for safety, but out of a modicum of courtesy.

    The fact is, by riding his bike at far less than the normal speed of cars in that lane, he was impeding traffic. I know that hurts a lot of bikers feelings, but it’s true.

  39. Cory Says:

    Also, whoever posted about the Selz case should note this from the very first paragraph of the Ohio Court of appeals:

    We conclude that a bicyclist is not in violation of the ordinance when he is traveling as fast as he reasonably can. Although Selz may have been in violation of R.C. 4511.55(A), requiring a bicyclist to travel as far as practicable on the right side of the roadway, he was not charged with a violation of that statute. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is Reversed, and Selz is Discharged.

    So – in other words, although he was found not guilty of violating the minimum speed, they could have chaged him with a violation of another statute instead. You’re right Andy #10, this was “gross negligence from the prosecution,” in that they couldn’t get their statutes right.

  40. Ray Says:

    “D-bag” or not, Cory, if we arrested all the operators of vehicles who were doing so legally AND were being D-bags concurrently, the jails would be full of motorists. There’s a greater percentage of them.

    Chipseal’s not breaking the law, and he shouldn’t be arrested.
    Plain and simple.
    There isn’t even any impeding, because there’s a passing lane.
    It’s police harassment and motorists simple don’t like it.
    That’s not a valid reason to arrest somebody.
    It’s discrimination based on vehicle type.
    If you prefer riding the way you do, I don’t give a hoot.
    Ride on, man… ride on.

  41. Ray Says:

    Oh, by the way, disagreement is not hatred.
    I have no idea if I’d like you or dislike you, just that regarding this matter, I disagree with your assessment.
    Chances are pretty good that I’d like you.

  42. njkayaker Says:

    Cory@38 “The fact is, by riding his bike at far less than the normal speed of cars in that lane, he was impeding traffic. I know that hurts a lot of bikers feelings, but it’s true.”

    Yes, in a physiscal sense he is “impeding” traffic. That really isn’t the issue.

    The issue is whether such “impeding” is illegal. If the right-hand lane is < 14 wide, then he is not required to ride FRAP (that is, he can ride in the middle of the lane). He certainly isn’t required by law (in TX) to ride in the shoulder. He can’t really be charged for “(illegally) impeding traffic” if he was riding at a normal speed for a bicycle. That is, a bicyclist can’t be required to travel at a high (car) speed (eg, 45 mph) because that “cannot by its nature apply to a person operating a bicycle” (from the TX “bicycle” law).

  43. fred_dot_u Says:

    Cory said, “When I ride, however, I’m smart enough to (as much as possible) ride on dedicated bike paths or in dedicated bike lanes. When I do ride on non-bike-laned streets, I get as far to the edge as possible and try to get out of the cars’ way.”

    Cory displays the lack of education that many LAB members and traffic-cycling graduates have achieved. Smart riders do not put themselves in harms way by riding as far to the edge as possible and try to get out of cars way.

    Riding a bicycle in the proper position in the lane enables other road users to see you and plan for safe overtaking. Proper positioning in a sub-standard width lane (less than 14 ft wide in many states) prevents a motorist from passing you dangerously close.

    Cory, consider to find a League of American Bicyclists class or instructor and learn to be a safer rider.

  44. ChipSeal Says:

    “However, this guy clearly states that he is riding on roads with large shoulders, but as one part of the law points out that riding in the roadway is not necessarily illegal, he interpenetrates this to mean that he SHOULD ride in the lane all the time”

    Sec. 551.103 of the Texas Transportation Code (TTC) clearly shows that riding a bicycle in the travel lane and at a speed lower than the maximum posted speed limit (in the presence of faster traffic) is not prohibited, but instead anticipated, expected and allowed. If operating in the roadway is legal, why are you bent out of shape over it?

    “Cyclists should ride about 3ft from a curb or parked cars, in a predictable manner.”

    You forgot to add, “if it is safe to do so.” Not only do I obey all traffic laws at all times, I operate in the safest manner possible. I drive in a safe predictable manner that is the most courteous to overtaking and crossing drivers.

    “But you ARE impeding traffic if you have a legal and safe area to ride in and choose to ride in a traffic when most other vehicles are moving significantly faster.”

    I impede traffic all the time. You make it sound like impeding others is a bad thing. I never illegally impede traffic.

    The presence of a shoulder does not necessarily indicate a safe area to drive on. It is not designed or maintained as a travel lane. The roadway is designed and maintained as a travel lane. By definition a travel lane is safer to drive on than a shoulder. The driver of a bicycle has the legal option to drive either in the travel lane or on the shoulder. I choose the safe roadway over the dangerous shoulder.

    “So, riding in the road is not bad, it’s just that riding in a lane when there is no reason to not use a shoulder is definitely an necessary impediment to traffic.”

    Anytime a slow vehicle is driven on the roadway slower than other traffic, there will be impeding going on. The question is, is that impedance the legal kind or the illegal kind? Because bicycles are given the statutory right to use the roadway, even in the presence of faster traffic, it is the legal and lawful kind of impeding.

    Indeed, many things might cause other traffic to slow, but are commonly accepted and not illegal “impeding”, including:
    Making left turns, pulling a heavy load, driving at some a speed other than “the maximum speed limit plus grace margin” and operation of a farm/construction equipment, plows or other vehicles which the primary purpose of isn’t transportation.

    “If he continues to ride this way, he should either get 500 other cyclists with him so that they ARE traffic, or just stay away from faster vehicles where a safe cycling area exists”

    I am astonished at you have turned common traffic law on it’s head! It only takes a singular person using the public road for travel to become traffic. Consider the definition in the TTC: “Sec. 541.301. TRAFFIC. In this subtitle “traffic” means pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, and conveyances, including vehicles and streetcars, singly or together while using a highway for the purposes of travel.” Therefore, since I am using the public road for travel on a defined vehicle, I am traffic. I am equally traffic as much as any other road user, whether they are riding a horse or driving an automobile.

    I am not required to “stay away from faster vehicles” beyond observing their right-of-way. It is faster traffic that has the duty to overtake me in a safe manner and with due care. I have no obligation to get out of their way if I am operating in a legal manner. Where do you get such silly notions? It is certainly not from the traffic laws!

  45. danc Says:

    Cory wrote: “Besides, unless the guy was riding his bike at (or at least near) 30 mph, then yes, he was impeding traffic.”

    How does this “keep up to max speed” principal work for tractors, horse-n-buggy or small mopeds? It DOESN’T. Each vehicle has it own safe operating speed and as long as they are moving a reasonable speed they are not impeding traffic anyone more than other cars.

    Andy wrote: “you ARE impeding traffic if you have a legal and safe area to ride in and choose to ride in a traffic when most other vehicles are moving significantly faster.”

    Cyclist can make the best judgment where to ride. Personally I have never seen a shoulder that was as clean as the road. Delay is a fact of life on any road or street, every stoplight, signs, other cars, poor roads causes delay. Cars cause most traffic delay. It is impossible for anyone to use the roads without occasionally causing delay to others. A cyclist is a minor re-distribution of delay.

    Try reading: “Commute Orlando: Damaging Mythology of Delay”
    http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2008/09/24/the-damaging-mythology-of-delay

    “Why doesn’t he operate on the shoulder? – http://cycledallas.blogspot.com/2010/03/why-doesnt-he-operate-on- shoulder.html

    Cory wrote: “So – in other words, although he [Selz] was found not guilty of violating the minimum speed, they could have charged him with a violation of another statute instead. You’re right Andy #10, this was “gross negligence from the prosecution,” in that they couldn’t get their statutes right.

    Impeding traffic (Slow Speed) and Operating a bicycle “far to right as practicable” (FTRP) are separate laws and issues. Selz was was found on appeal NOT GUILTY of Slow Speed (impeding traffic), there is no “minimum speed law” on that particular road or for that matter most roads in Ohio. ORC 4511.22(C) revised in 2006 clarifies impeding traffic: “In a case involving a violation of this section, the trier of fact, in determining whether the vehicle was being operated at an unreasonably slow speed, shall consider the capabilities of the vehicle and its operator.” Slower speeds of the operating vehicle does not imply automatically impeding traffic, does that make sense? Have you never waited behind a tractor on country road? Jeez, what’s the hurry?

    Cory wrote: “Wow, such hatred of me right away”

    I didn’t see that in any ad hominem, personal attacks but starting off with calling someone epithet, show lack of good judgment and respect of others ideas.

    Andy wrote: “I’m a bicycle advocate and on the local bike/ped council. I biked 5,000 miles last year on the local roads. I know all the local laws and the rules of the road. I also know the courtesies, which are not written.”

    Using “due care” is all the rules of the road I need or courtesy I want, Thanks so much for sharing!

  46. Josh R Says:

    Cory, obviously you didn’t follow any of the links, do any reading, or educate yourself about the arguments being made. If you’re really OK with the police making up laws as they go along and treating people as second class citizens just because they happen at that second to not be driving a car, then great, but don’t expect to win anybody over to your viewpoint.

  47. Josh R Says:

    And I’m sorry, did you actually use the term “uppity” to describe cyclists who are following the law and asserting their rights? As in “Uppity N—-.”?

    How dare human beings who are not currently in a car think they have any rights!

  48. Dan Gutierrez Says:

    Drivers routinely make lane changes to pass slower drivers in the right hand lane; such behavior is the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, period. It happens everywhere, and no one thinks anything of it unless the slower driver happens to be a bicyclist. Then the bicyclist is seen as an impediment because of motorist and cyclist prejudice agasint cyclists.

    Fortunately in most (43) US states the “impeding traffic law” only applies to motorists, not the drivers of non-motorized vehicles, and two states have no such law (HI and MA). Only 5 states, CA, MI, NH, OH and TX have impeding traffic laws that are badly written to improperly criminalize bicyclists.

    A motorist that is “impeding traffic” can easily press the accelerator to increase their speed to a level that would be considered normal and reasonable for a motor vehicle driver, whereas a bicyclist cannot, and this critical distinction is why such laws should not and do not apply to bicyclists in most US states.

    Reed’s case is but a symptom of improper laws in 5 US states that will continue until we can fix the bad laws in CA, MI, NH, OH and TX.

  49. Augie Schomner Says:

    I highly recommend this commentary on cyclist-on-cyclist criticism.

    http://cycledallas.blogspot.com/2010/03/why-do-cyclists-eat-their-own.html

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage: krunde@randomhouse.com.

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency: zoe@zpagency.com.

For speaking engagement inquiries, please contact
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For UK publicity enquiries please contact Rosie Glaisher at Penguin.

Upcoming Talks

April 9, 2008.
California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
San Francisco, CA.

May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Bloomington, MN

June 23, 2009
Driving Assessment 2009
Big Sky, Montana

June 26, 2009
PRI World Congress
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 27, 2009
Day of Architecture
Utrecht, The Netherlands

July 13, 2009
Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP)
Phoenix, AZ.

August 12-14
Texas Department of Transportation “Save a Life Summit”
San Antonio, Texas

September 2, 2009
Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting
Savannah, Georgia

September 11, 2009
Oregon Transportation Summit
Portland, Oregon

October 8
Honda R&D Americas
Raymond, Ohio

October 10-11
INFORMS Roundtable
San Diego, CA

October 21, 2009
California State University-San Bernardino, Leonard Transportation Center
San Bernardino, CA

November 5
Southern New England Planning Association Planning Conference
Uncasville, Connecticut

January 6
Texas Transportation Forum
Austin, TX

January 19
Yale University
(with Donald Shoup; details to come)

Monday, February 22
Yale University School of Architecture
Eero Saarinen Lecture

Friday, March 19
University of Delaware
Delaware Center for Transportation

April 5-7
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
McMurrin Lectureship

April 19
International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Organization Management Workshop)
Austin, Texas

Monday, April 26
Edmonton Traffic Safety Conference
Edmonton, Canada

Monday, June 7
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, July 6
Fondo de Prevención Vial
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, August 31
Royal Automobile Club
Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 1
Australasian Road Safety Conference
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday, September 22

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
Traffic Incident Management Enhancement Program
Statewide Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wednesday, October 20
Rutgers University
Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Piscataway, NJ

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
Injury Prevention Forum
Toronto

Monday, May 2
Idaho Public Driver Education Conference
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, June 2, 2011
California Association of Cities
Costa Mesa, California

Sunday, August 21, 2011
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
Madrid, Spain

April 16, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Gardens Theatre, QUT
Brisbane, Australia

April 17, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Centennial Plaza, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

April 19, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne, Australia

January 30, 2013
University of Minnesota City Engineers Association Meeting
Minneapolis, MN

January 31, 2013
Metropolis and Mobile Life
School of Architecture, University of Toronto

February 22, 2013
ISL Engineering
Edmonton, Canada

March 1, 2013
Australian Road Summit
Melbourne, Australia

May 8, 2013
New York State Association of
Transportation Engineers
Rochester, NY

August 18, 2013
BoingBoing.com “Ingenuity” Conference
San Francisco, CA

September 26, 2013
TransComm 2013
(Meeting of American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
Communications.
Grand Rapids MI

 

 

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