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January 15, 2010

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Comments

Tyler Steele

Way to go Doug!
great story.

Michael Paktinat

Thank you for this recount of the trial. Judge Maynard was actually a Judge in a case I was involved in while bicycling.
I was on high street late one evening heading north bound near Hubbard. A SUV that was south bound and waiting to turn left failed to yield to me and struck me. When the police arrived Officer Andrew Radich cited the driver of the SUV for failure to yield and cited me for CTC 2173.05A1 (white light to the front). When I offered to show Officer Radich the light I wore on my person to him, which I had placed in my bag during the time it took them to respond to the scene, he denied stating that the light had to be affixed to my bicycle (although the code clear states otherwise). I talked with the prosecutor at my trial date and showed her pictures I took of the light on my person and several pictures clearly showing the light was visible at 500ft as required by the code. The prosecutor dropped the charges.

While I never got a chance to speak with Judge Maynard he seemed like a nice Judge. I'm glad to hear he was so helpful.

Rich

A great victory because it should go a long way to enlightening the police and public about safely sharing our roadways.

Lindsey H.

What a great article. Thanks for standing up for cyclists. I'm sorry about this, but I can't help it....

You should know that "noone" is not a word.

Jamie Fellrath

Doug, you are to be commended for your work to defend cyclists' rights and set a precedent for the right to control the lane! Great work to you and all involved!

Kurt

Well done, Doug. Congrats to Michael, Jeff and John doe their roles. And thanks to Judge Maynard for his willingness to allow the process to shine a light on cycling issues. Great recount of the case.

danc

Thanks you for taking the case, helping the individual and other knowledgeable cyclists.

Next question, does the Columbus PD or other Columbus cyclists believe this is a one-time incident or training issue?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued training materials for police officers concerning bicycling laws, go to: http://bicycledriving.org/law/enforcement

Yethu

The most important thing we can do is make the Bike Law immediately
understandable by police.

We've passed this wonderful law, but the enforcers read the first part
(stay right) and never reach the important part (stay safe by taking
the lane.)

Our top legislative priority should be rearranging the existing law
and making it easy for them and us.

Notice that the police officer here thought he was making the cyclist safer by forcing him close to the curb. And that is indeed what the first words of the statute say.

Moreover, the statute is so complicated that the cyclist's lawyer couldn't get the charge dropped with a phone call to the prosecutor, which is the routine when an officer is obviously wrong about the law. It took an hour-and-a half trial.

When cyclists are pulled over, they are unlikely to persuade the cop.
(I failed the first two times I tried in NY, despite being an experienced lawyer knowing bike law.)

I talked about this to the Columbus City Attorney Richard Pfeiffer, who is responsible for training the police. He wasn't surprised that I had been pulled
over three times in Columbus, but wouldn't commit to doing anything.

When Consider Biking distributed cards for cyclists to show the law to
cops, Jeff described the long quotation as "legal gobbleygook."

Let's make the law self-explanatory.

Please contact me if you want to help get this through the Ohio legislature.

Carl Shoolman

Ohio Bicycle Federation board member

Keith Morris

This is great news and also demonstrates how the "Share the Road" signs only lead to confusion, since cyclists and drivers all have conflicting notions about what sharing the road means. Remove the ambiguity for urban roads like High, Cleveland, Broad, etc, and put up "Bikes Use Full Lane - Change Lanes to Pass".

http://home.swbell.net/mpion/usefulllaneFerguson.jpg

This instructs cyclists to ride properly, instructs drivers to pass safely, and ensures that the police are aware of this. All major roads in our urban neighborhoods should have that signage accompanied by sharrows placed in the middle of the lane. They should be installed in Linden, the Hilltop, etc, not just a gentrified stretch of N High.

danc

@Keith I like your thinking.

"Bike May Use Full Lane" (BMUFL) make was added to the 2009 MUTCD and is fully supported by Ohio Revised Code. http://tinyurl.com/yafy8rg

BMUFL arose from National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD) Bicycle Tech Cmmte 2005 Recommendation due to misunderstandings about what "Share the Road" sign means.

Sharrows may be used in conjunction with BMUFL.

"Share the Road" works as a slogan, program but NOT as a traffic sign.

Christine White

I'm so glad to hear this case went the way it did. I only hope that local police make an effort to understand the law over bicyclists more fully, now that more and more of us are commuting this way. We deserve the same respect that motorists do(which I know is greatly lacking from an incident one of my close friends had). Also, though our "share the road" signs may not be perfect, I truly believe it is the first step to raise motorists awareness of our presence. There is nothing more frightening than hearing that a friend has been struck by an automobile.

sJG

As a lawyer and a bicyclist (from Cincinnati), you have done us proud, (even if you did move for a directed verdict in a criminal case ;-)

Jamie Fellrath

Doug - I love the commentary about marking off the width of the lane and then cutting away the distances to show exactly how safe it is to hug the lane. I actually taught a class just in that matter back in November and thought it was very well received and understood that way. Good work!

Ed

"take the lane" cases from Arizona:

http://azbikelaw.org/blog/take-the-lane/

Todd J. List

Excellent post. Thank you for helping stand up for cyclists' rights everywhere. Now I think I need to educate myself about Michigan's cycling laws.

Trevor

Most excellent! Great work. :)

Cycholibrarian

Great story Doug! I saw your e-mail to Patrick so I went to read it.

Also, back a while ago I designed a Cafe Press T-shirt with the "take the lane" language from the Ohio Revised Code. So if you get pulled over you can just show the cop your t-shirt! Here's the link:

http://www.cafepress.com/cp/customize/product.aspx?clear=true&number=%20305012767

Mike L

Great story, great verdict. Are the laminated wallet cards available for download? I looked at the Consider Biking website. I would like to print my own and laminate it, if it was available as a PDF. There is a Courteous Mass group here in Dayton with cyclist education as part of the mission. These would be a great handout to participants.

Mike L

@Cycholibrarian: I love your T-shirt, but wonder if it would be more useful to have the sign on the back for cars to see?

Kim Brown Landsbergen

Wow, Doug, terrific job! Thank you on behalf of all us cyclists in Columbus.

Brentnimmo

State of Ohio vs Nimmo!
On the last Friday of Bike to work week, I was ticketed for taking the lane on Alum Creek Drive between Refugee Rd and Winslow Drive. The Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy pulled me over. I handed him the laminated copy of the ORC 4511.55 Consider Biking had given me. He read it and still ticketed me. I knew the schedule for the buses, and knew both the 81 and 11 were behind me. The 81 was to pass me, and I was to arrive just in time to put my bike on the 11at 6:35 to get to work at the Statehouse. The Deputy put the time of the ticket at 6:28 am. I watched both the 81 and the 11 pass by as he was writing my ticket in the morning fog. After he let me go, the rain started, and I pedaled all the way, arriving 25 min late and soaked at work. Court is set for June 1st at 9 am AR 1B, Courtroom 1B.
Should be interesting for the State of Ohio to explain why Section C does not apply, and why I should be required to share a 133" lane with a 102" COTA bus, when I am 34" wide on my bicycle. 102 + 34 = 136, which means -3" to share with the bus!

RamonGustav

I think you have a thorough understanding in this matter. You describe in detail all here.

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