Saturday, August 13, 2005

A FIRST!!! (part 2)

My friend Brian responded to the “A FIRST!!!” piece with the following:

… the impeding charge leveled at Paul was dismissed in court. Even the officer that ticketed me for not riding in the gutter was afraid to use that old tired nag of a charge. (Ironically, that officer was also concerned about me backing up traffic, and his maneuvering was the primary source of congestion! If he'd just passed me, everyone else would have as well.)

While we're on the subject of impeding, I think the League's literature betrays a leisurely, recreationalist bent when it discusses riding two abreast. In lanes too narrow to be safely shared, two abreast does the triple service of forcing the motorist to pass widely, compelling the motorist to clear more thoroughly for oncoming traffic, and reducing the overtaking distance (read time spent in the opposing lane). The League's Motorist Ed pdf makes it sound like any cyclists who don't immediately jump into single-file are being inconsiderate.

One of the problems with having a professional educator as a friend and fellow advocate is that he hands out the occasional reading assignment. Now I have to go find and read the LAB piece on Motorists Ed!

I was curious to read the ‘impeding’ section in the Oklahoma vehicle code. I found it via the Massbike law webpage, an excellent resource for locating the various state laws. If you haven’t visited the Massbike site, I highly recommend it. (You may have to cut-and-paste this into your browser. I’m not a computer techie, so I may not have the hyperlink working right. Paraphrasing Star Trek’s Dr. McCoy, “Dammit, I’m a mechanic, not a doctor, Jim!” - a line that I used on my non-Trekkie doctor once, confusing him.)

Here’s the link for the state laws:

The Oklahoma law pertaining to impeding traffic:


(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to
impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when
reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with

One thing about that jumps out at you – it says “no person shall drive a motor vehicle…” It seems pretty self-explanatory, but then, “I’m a mechanic, not a lawyer, dammit, Jim!”

It turns out the officer may have a hard-on for cyclists. An alert reader sent this link, showing one of TCSO’s finest lecturing a bunch of cyclists on safe bicycle practices. The photo is a hoot! If it weren’t for that big SUV, this guy wouldn’t move at all!

So far, I’ve sent emails to three local police chiefs. The only one who hasn’t responded is Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz, whose deputy stopped me. But the emails went out just yesterday, so I’m not too concerned. When I contact police officers, public officials, or the news people, I always tell them about the Road1 bicycling education program, and I invite them to ride with me or a group.


Blogger barenakedbiker said...

Even if you think you are obeying the law and protecting yourself, if you are stopped by Tulsa Police, the officer can charged with:

Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the righthand side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

If your are stopped by TCSO in an unincorporated area, the officer can use the State's equivalent, Title 47 11-1205. Instead of Municipal Court, the defendant appears in District Court.

If you are caught holding a water bottle, or god-forbid, waving an American flag:
No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the rider from keeping both hands upon the handlebars.

Most officers will not stop a bicycle drivers for anything, unless of course the suspect in question is running for public office, or worse, has a criminal record for spitting in public.

If bicycle drivers truly have the SAME rights and responsibilities as any other users of the roadways, that fact that these laws are in effect makes a mockery of the justice system.

Even if you are never ticketed, the "ride right" rule is especially dangerous. Consider the following scenario: You are making a vehicular-style left turn with the green arrow in your favor. A car going straight in the opposite direction broadsides your right side. You are hurled 50 feet. Your right leg is shattered...etc etc.

You claim monetary damages to cover your enormous hospital bills with the defendant's insurance company. The astute attorney for the insurance company presents 37 TRO 1003 to the Court. The argument goes something like this...The plaintiff was in violation of the law and is not entitled to any damages. In court, anything can happen.

6:45 PM  
Blogger barenakedbiker said...

Ed, when you get reply letters from the police chief, you will post them here, right?

5:09 PM  

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