October 28, 2008

The Dutch and the Temptation of the Unlocked Bicycle

So there's this bicycle thief, see...

The cops set up an unlocked bicycle in a sting operation a few years back, and he ain't happey they did so.

So our low-life, was just hangin' out at the train station in Deventer, minding his own busines (He's a repeat practioner of thievery), when he says this poor, lonely, seemingly unwanted bike just appealed to good, kind, soft-hearted, helpful, nature...

What's a guy prone to taking things that don't belong to him to do?

His lawyers say the dude was tricked, enticed, ENTRAPPED!

That is not playing fair!!

The Dutch Supreme Court has rejected the lawyers arguement.

As the article reports:

Tuesday's court ruling said placing an unlocked decoy bike didn't make the suspect do anything he had not intended doing beforehand.

The station was being plagued by thefts, and the cops did the logical thing in an effort to catch the miscreants.

Good for them! ;-D

October 28, 2008 in Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 20, 2008

Pedaling While Plastered: Is there a Law?

Attorney Craig Renetzky, a  Criminal Attorney and DUI Specialist in Los Angeles, makes a point on his new blog that many cyclists may not be aware of, whether in Ca., or other states:

The law states that bicyclists are subject to the same rights as other vehicles, which conversely means they are subject to the same penalties, including DUI in California.

The California Vehicle Code states that it is unlawful for a person to ride a bicycle on a highway while under the influence of alcohol or any drug.

His blog is meant to bring attention to his business, I'm sure, but that doesn't make his point any less important.

He writes that a first time DUI offense is typically filed as a misdemeanor.

He says the penalties can include fines and mandatory community service.

A conviction remains on some sort of personal DMV record for 3 years.

Check the law in your own state to see how the state treats drunk driving cyclists.

October 20, 2008 in Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 20, 2008

Massachusetts Town Gets Cranky with Child Cyclists

The state has laws concerning Helmet Use.

Section 11B 1/2. Any person 16 years of age or younger operating in line skates, a skate board, a scooter or other manually-propelled wheeled vehicle or riding as a passenger on any such manually-propelled vehicle on a public way, bicycle path or on any other public right-of-way shall wear a helmet. Such helmet shall fit the person's head and be secured by straps at all times while operating in line skates, scooters, skate board or other manually-propelled wheeled vehicle and shall meet the standards for helmets established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z 90.4) or subsequent standards or the Snell Memorial Foundation's 1984 standard for use in bicycling or subsequent standards. A violation of this section shall not be used as evidence of contributory negligence in a civil action.

A city or town shall not adopt any by-laws or ordinances to change the standards required by this section.

The town of Holliston has a perceived problem with the kiddies refusing to wear a helmet and, by extension, parents who don't encourage such use.

"We're not looking to take bikes away from the kids who forget their helmets," School Resource Officer David Gatchell told the Boston Globe. "This isn't something where we're looking to collect a hundred bikes. We don't want to seize bikes, but for the kids who repeatedly ignore the warnings, it will happen."

The department gives helmets, free, to kids who need them, but whose parents can't, or won't, spring for one at the store, and plans an awareness campaign about the law, and their enforcement effort.

Is confiscation a tad over the top?

It seems to me this might be Unconstitutional...unless they plan to give the bikes back at some point.

Will confiscation make the kids toe the line?

Kids, being kids, especially the more rebeliously inclined ones, that is an open question. ;-D

I think a fine, hitting the parents in the pocketbook, might be the better option.

It will certainly get the attention of the more responsible ones, but no doubt confiscation, or fines, might easily get the ACLU's dander up, as well.

Then again, some will say, don't the cops have something better to do than focusing valuable resources, and storage space, to teenage scoff laws on 2 wheels?

A Tip of the Hat to David Fiedler,  of About.com Guide to Bicycling.

September 20, 2008 in Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 26, 2008

Supremes Affirm Cyclists Right to Bear Arms

The meaning  of the 2nd Amendment is finally settled after 217 years.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday, 5 to 4,  that American Cyclists have a right to own guns for self-defense while working on their bicycles in the garage, the justices' first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment, in this, or any regard, since its ratification in 1791.

The amendment reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that the right of a bicyclist to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted, and especially after the invention of the bicycle, and then the garage.

The Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense, including while working on one's bicycle, in the home," Scalia said.

Scalia noted that the handgun is the preferred weapon of self-defense by many cyclists in part because "it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand holds onto the bicycle, and the cyclist yells at the top of his or her lungs for another resident of the house, or a neighbor, to call the cops."

In a dissent he summarized from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate bicyclists uses of weapons."

He said such evidence "is nowhere to be found, hell, the bicycle hadn't even been invented then, for cryin' out loud!"

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house just because one is afraid of having a bicycle stolen."

Joining Scalia were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. The other dissenters were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter.

Licensing is still required, and restrictions on criminals, and the mentally ill, as well as carrying weapons while riding a bicycle in sensitive places are not affected.

Based on  a story in Yahoo News, this morning. ;-D

June 26, 2008 in Bicycling Humor, Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 22, 2008

Protecting Iowa County Gov. from Cyclist Lawsuits

There is an interesting story out of Iowa about a proposed new law working its way through the Legislature.

A proposal that would provide some protections to counties when bicyclists use those county roads is making its way through the Iowa Legislature this session.

The proposal is receiving a rather high profile after one family sued Crawford County over a bicycling accident. In that case, the bicyclist was competing in RAGBRAI, an annual, multi-day bicycle event that travels from border to border and attracts thousands of participants.

If a bill offering counties some sort of protection is not passed, some have openly wondered about the future of the event, sponsored by the Des Moines Register.

How could such a law have such an effect?

Under the current bill, the only way counties or other local governments would be liable for a bike accident is if it could be proven that the local entity was notified of the road problem and failed to take action before the accident took place...

Another proposal, which never received much traction, would have held counties and other local governments blameless no matter what the circumstances.

While the Counties have some legitimate concerns I think the lawmakers, if they are smart, will work something out that does not endanger this popular event.

FROM: Proposed plan would protect Iowa Counties from bicyclist lawsuits By KEN BLACK, of the Times-Republican.

February 22, 2008 in Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 07, 2008

Bicycle Friendly Rumble Strips Spreading Across the Country

What's good for Illinois, and other states, is good enough for Delaware! ;-D

Delaware Department of Transportation officials will be installing Bike Freindly bike lane/rumble strips near the Maryland state line.

As John of Philadephia Bicycle News writes:

Key features of this type of facility is the gap in the strip to allow bicycle movement out of the lane, the divots are shallower and there is a white stripe on both sides of the rumble strip. This may improve the bicyclists comfort on wide shouldered high speed arterials.

He has a photo of the type of strip, from Illinois, and pictures of what the locals in Philly have to deal with.

February 7, 2008 in Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 16, 2008

Yes, Says Virginia, Cyclists CAN be Abusive Drivers

In Virginia cyclists apparently have to REALLY mind their P's and Q's.

Traf_haz Virginia political leaders defended the civil remedial fee speeding ticket tax by insisting that they did not apply to minor offenses and only the "worst of drivers" had to worry about them. On January 10, the Newport News General District Court disagreed and imposed a $1050 fee on the driver of an 18-speed Huffy (That's a representative model of the naughty vehicle, used to commit the "crime", in the photo.) ...

The intent of the law was that real abusers -- those with a chronic record of dangerous driving that endangers other road users -- would be made to pay for their reckless driving.

Bicyclist Kajuan Cornish, 19, has not accumulated a bad driving record because he does not own an automobile. That did not stop Newport News Police Officer George Evans for writing up Cornish as he pedaled down Warwick Boulevard near Denbigh Boulevard on December 27. Cornish was headed back to work after taking a lunch break.

"The officer who pulled me over said I was going too fast," Cornish told WAVY-TV. "He said it looked like I was in a rush."

Apparently a judge saw things the Officers way so Cornish must either pay the fee or fight his case in court.

Cornish says his reckless driving ticket might one day be funny, if it weren't so confusing.

"I get some people who laugh," he says, "and I get some people, like me, that are lost."

He reads his ticket out loud.

"Year?  None.  Make?  None.  Type?  Bike.  License?  None.  State?  None."

Cornish has to pay an abusive driver fee - he says $350 each year for the next four years - for a ticket he got on his lunch break.

"So I turn and I go into the parking lot," he remembers, "and I get pulled over for recklessly driving on a bicycle."

State Delegate Dave Albo (R-Springfield), the mastermind of the fees -- and a traffic attorney (figures!) -- is more than a bit surprised that a judge would apply them to a bicyclist.

Considering the ignorance and prejudice many display toward cyling and cyclists I'm not surprised at all.

Mr. Albo apparently didn't think his idea thru far enough before fighting to get it enacted into law.

The Governor is looking into overturning the law.

Considering the outrage from the Cycling Community, and others, that seems like the prudent thing to do. ;-D

Hat Tips to:

Bicyclist hit with $1050 Abusive Driver Fee by Alex Roy of Team Polizei 144.

Bicyclist gets ticket for reckless driving- WAVY-TV.

Virginia: Bicyclist Hit With $1050 Abusive Driver Fee
A Newport News, Virginia court applies the abusive driver fees to a man riding a bicycle - thenewspaper.com.



January 16, 2008 in Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 04, 2007

Street Legal In Santa Ana

FINALLY!

Santa Ana PD doesn't make it easy for people to comply with its requirement that all residents must have their bicycles licensed (And renewed every year.).

When I first moved to the city the fact that Thursday afternoon hours for getting this done began at 130pm, didn't do me any good since I work that day and usually have to be at work by 2 or 230pm.

Bike_lic

I recently discovered the hours were changed to begin earlier in the day so I finally went in to get the deed done!

Now the little orange sticker is in place! ;-D

I took the opportunity to leave my card and a flyer to be passed on to Officer Moreno (aka "Officer Reggie") the long time guy in charge of The Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Automobile Safety Program in Santa Ana.

The goal of this program is to reduce traffic accidents involving school age children.  During 2005, the program was presented to over 34,000 students in the City of Santa Ana.

No doubt the numbers are similar for 2006.

The page on the city website has info on city helmet law and 11 "Bicycle Rider's Rules" in English and Spanish, as well as the address and phone number of the Dept. and day and hours for licensing (It's Free!).

November 4, 2007 in Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 16, 2007

Bad Cyclist: A Song Parody

Sometimes my writing gets its inspiration from the most interesting places.

Take this tale of stupidity made worse by idiocy in jolly ol' England:

A cyclist gave police a false name after he was seen riding on a pavement.

Nicholas Skinner (19) was seen cycling on a pavement in Westlode Street, Spalding, by police on the afternoon of June 14.

He rode between parked vehicles and onto the correct side of the street after officers shouted at him to get off the pavement and was later seen parking his bike outside Maples Solicitors.

Spalding magistrates heard on Tuesday that Skinner told the officer his name was Gareth Searle before his real identity was revealed by another officer.

Skinner, of London Road, Spalding, was charged with failing to give his name to an officer and riding a cycle on the footpath but did not respond to the court summons.

He was also facing a charge of failing to comply with a red light but this was withdrawn.

Magistrates fined the  guy more (£60) for not giving his name and address than for riding on a path (£40)! He was also ordered to pay costs of £60 and a victim surcharge of £15.

Now, I ask you, was it worth it to ride on the sidewalk, and risk getting caught?

Certainly not in THIS town! ;-D

From Spalding Today, and Lincolnshire Free Press - 10/16: Cyclist gave false name after riding on pavement.

So what was the first thing that runs through my twisted little brain?

The lryics to the theme song of one of my favorite reality TV shows! (My sister and her hubby are Sheriff Deputies.)

You know the one, even if you don't know all the words.

Sing, or hum, along with my version. ;-D

Bike Police
Lyrics by The Cycling Dude with sincere apologies to Inner Circle. (Watch the Video, on YouTube, to get in the right mood!)

Bad cyclist, whatcha want, whatcha want,
Whatcha gonna do when the cops come for you.
Tell me, where ya gonna ride, whatcha gonna do? Yeahhh?

Bad cyclist bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, whatcha gonna do
when they come for you
Bad cyclist, bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, watcha gonna do
when they come for you

When you were eight
And you had a Schwinn that was great
You go to school and you learn the golden rule
So why are you acting like a bloody fool
If you wanna be hot you must ride cool

Bad cyclist bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, whatcha gonna do
when they come for you
Bad cyclist, bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, watcha gonna do
when they come for you

You ride it on that sidewalk
You ride it on this sidewalk
You ride it past mothers
You ride it past fathers
You ride it past your brother
You ride it past your sister
You ride it past everyone and you ride it past me

Bad cyclist bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, whatcha gonna do
when they come for you
Bad cyclist, bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, watcha gonna do
when they come for you

Bad cyclist bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, whatcha gonna do
when they come for you
Bad cyclist, bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, watcha gonna do
when they come for you

Nobody naw give you no break
Police naw give you no break
Soldier man-a give you no break
Not even Safe Cyclists naw give you no break

Bad cyclist bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, whatcha gonna do
when they come for you
Bad cyclist, bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, watcha gonna do
when they come for you

Bad cyclist bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, whatcha gonna do
when they come for you
Bad cyclist, bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, watcha gonna do
when they come for you

Why did you have to ride where it's not so keen?
Don't you know you're a human being,
Born of a mother with the love of a father,
Reflections come and reflections go
I know sometimes - you want to just ride, hey, hey, hey
I know sometimes - you want to just go, wohh!

Bad cyclist bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, whatcha gonna do
when they come for you
Bad cyclist, bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, watcha gonna do
when they come for you

You're too bad.

You're too rude

You're too bad

You're too rude, yeah

Bad cyclist bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, whatcha gonna do
when they come for you
Bad cyclist, bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, watcha gonna do
when they come for you

You ride it on that sidewalk
You ride it on this sidewalk
You ride it past mothers
You ride it past fathers
You ride it past your brother
You ride it past your sister
You ride it past everyone and you ride it past me

Bad cyclist bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, whatcha gonna do
when they come for you
Bad cyclist, bad cyclist
Where ya gonna ride, watcha gonna do
when they come for you

October 16, 2007 in Creative Writing, Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 30, 2007

Volcano Cycling a No No in Paradise?

A Dangerous road on Maui is causing concern.

According to a story by the AP:

Recent biking accidents and deaths on the winding road down Maui's 10,000-foot Haleakala volcano  ( National Park Service Page for Park.) could lead to stricter safety rules. Park and state officials are considering restricting the number of biking tours, the number of bikes in each group, the spacing of the bikes and perhaps the total number of tours themselves.

Within the past several months, a man died of a heart attack after hitting his head during a downhill ride, a woman died after riding off the edge of the road, a bicycle tour leader severely injured his leg and hip when he failed to negotiate a turn and careened into lava rock, and a 13-year-old boy also failed to make a turn and cut up his knee and side.

A bill was recently passed by the state Legislature that gives the Maui County Council the authority to regulate guided bike tours and unguided bike rentals, and so it appears this may be the next step to be taken.

From the AP on 7/29/07

July 30, 2007 in Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack