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  1. #1
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    Judge Rules Cyclist Cannot Take the Lane Continuously


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    The eternal question: what the hell does "practicable" mean?
    No discusion whatsoever in the article about shoulder conditions. From Streetview and sat images, it looks to me like some parts have kinda-sorta reasonable shoulder, some sections having zero.
    Recalculating....

  3. #3
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    Honestly, the article makes it sound like the rider was riding like an ass on a road that he probably shouldn't be riding on. Is that 4 lanes in both directions, or 4 lanes total? I would never ride my bike on a road that was 4 lanes wide, whether it's legal or not. A 4 lane road near Boston leads me to believe it's a major arterial. I can't help but think that this is actually detrimental to the cycling community.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkley View Post
    Honestly, the article makes it sound like the rider was riding like an ass on a road that he probably shouldn't be riding on. Is that 4 lanes in both directions, or 4 lanes total? I would never ride my bike on a road that was 4 lanes wide, whether it's legal or not. A 4 lane road near Boston leads me to believe it's a major arterial. I can't help but think that this is actually detrimental to the cycling community.
    It's detrimental to the trail riding weekend warrior cycling community that's for sure.

  5. #5
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    Route 9 through Hadley, MA is two lanes each way (according to Google Maps). Whether he was being an ass about it or not, I don`t know- the fact that the road has X lanes isn`t enough for me to go on and the story doesn`t say much more about the situation.
    Recalculating....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkley View Post
    Honestly, the article makes it sound like the rider was riding like an ass on a road that he probably shouldn't be riding on. Is that 4 lanes in both directions, or 4 lanes total? I would never ride my bike on a road that was 4 lanes wide, whether it's legal or not. A 4 lane road near Boston leads me to believe it's a major arterial. I can't help but think that this is actually detrimental to the cycling community.
    Hadley is in western MA, not near Boston. Far less populated. Rt. 9 isn't 4 lanes on each side anywhere in MA. I actually work about 1/4 from Rt. 9, but a little over an hour east of Hadley. Truthfully, I would probably have been honking at this guy if I was driving behind him. Rt. 9 is more of a highway than a local road. IMO, it's moronic to ride on it at all, let alone in the middle of a lane. Unless there was a good reason he took the lane, I think he made it dangerous/stupid decision.

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoIj6DiDmyE

    He put quite a bit of material up on Youtube. Overall I think the guy's an ass, he clearly has room to move over yet doesn't. I don't know if I'd necessarily ride in the shoulder of that road but I sure wouldn't feel safe riding way out in the lane like he does.

  8. #8
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    It's 2 lanes in each direction and it's (comparatively) rural out there. I've driven that stretch of road and the shoulder is sometimes non-existent. They state widened the road but didn't have enough room to make four lanes and a reasonable shoulder, or even a wide right lane. If Hadley weren't between Amherst and Northampton it would be 1 lane in each direction like most of rt-9 is West of Worcester.

    As one who lived car-free around Boston for a few years and rode to work year round (sun, rain and a few really bad snowstorms), Most of the time I would say it is asinine to ride in the middle of the lane except when riding through a construction zone. He probably couldn't stay out of the lane so he took the whole lane to prevent a large vehicle from getting alongside him and then inching him off the road, which does happen. That being said, what he did is not in violation of Ma state laws.

    I think most drivers are fu*ked in the head and that their time is much less important than they believe it is. Also If people left a few minutes earlier they would be less inclined to do retarded things to try to get ahead of traffic thus making things worse when they flip their cars at rush hour.

    Eh...

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    Several missing key points, IMHO.

    One: does Massachusetts have a law about how many vehicles can be backed up before the lead one needs to pull over to let them by? Indiana does : 6. Though I have never heard of it being enforced, in this case, more than 6 cars backed up would indicate blocking traffic excessively.
    Two: is the lane wide enough to allow a cyclist and a car to safely pass if the cyclist is to the right? If not, where's the beef?
    Three: is the trash/pothole/drain grate situation such that it is not safe to be far enough right to let vehicles pass in the lane?
    The last two certainly apply to practicable and would excuse a long stretch of middle lane riding.
    The first is about common courtesy. There are likely others.
    I have ridden in the center of a narrow right lane of a 4-lane street in a 30 mph zone (though some drivers were doing 40) at 20-25 mph. There is no good alternative to that route and I was not doing so in rush hour.
    Apparently the core of this is a cyclist not being as considerate as he could be, and officers using their bully pulpit too aggressively.

    It was a federal judge. So does this ruling on 'practicable' to “give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle” and prohibits bicyclists from “unnecessarily” obstructing “the normal movement of traffic,” constitute a national standard? If so, it just replaces 'practicable" with "unnecessarily". I am still using the lane when it is too narrow to pass safely as we have no 3 foot passing rule and it is the only way I found to keep them coming within a foot of me on some sections of road. I would say my safety trumps their right to pass. Wisconsin says that the cyclist is "to the right" if they are no more than 3 feet from the curb. They also have a 3' clearance when passing rule. While not the law here, they indicate a definition of acceptable and safe distances. I am 24" at the shoulder: that is eight feet. Not much of a nine foot lane left, is there?

    It does call on us not to block traffic and be smart about our routes and timing. Sharing the road goes both ways.

  10. #10
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    If a backhoe were driving along that road, would it's lane position be any different? Would it's speed be any higher? Would it have any more license plates.

    Around here, the answer to all three questions is no.

    Yet I've never seen a backhoe operator pull half-onto a narrow shoulder and try to let cars go by, in the same lane, when there is already a passing lane open.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Route 9 through Hadley, MA is two lanes each way (according to Google Maps). Whether he was being an ass about it or not, I don`t know- the fact that the road has X lanes isn`t enough for me to go on and the story doesn`t say much more about the situation.
    Yeah, that doesn't make sense. Why go five miles out of your way because of the number of lanes? Hell, some of the easiest roads I ride on are 6 lanes wide. Easy as in easy to deal with the traffic because there is comparably little. By comparison the worst road I've ridden on is only two lanes wide, one in each direction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanath View Post
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoIj6DiDmyE

    He put quite a bit of material up on Youtube. Overall I think the guy's an ass, he clearly has room to move over yet doesn't. I don't know if I'd necessarily ride in the shoulder of that road but I sure wouldn't feel safe riding way out in the lane like he does.
    In the shoulder? With the nails and glass and whatnot? Would you drive a car on that shoulder?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe_Re View Post
    It's 2 lanes in each direction and it's (comparatively) rural out there. I've driven that stretch of road and the shoulder is sometimes non-existent. They state widened the road but didn't have enough room to make four lanes and a reasonable shoulder, or even a wide right lane. If Hadley weren't between Amherst and Northampton it would be 1 lane in each direction like most of rt-9 is West of Worcester.

    As one who lived car-free around Boston for a few years and rode to work year round (sun, rain and a few really bad snowstorms), Most of the time I would say it is asinine to ride in the middle of the lane except when riding through a construction zone. He probably couldn't stay out of the lane so he took the whole lane to prevent a large vehicle from getting alongside him and then inching him off the road, which does happen. That being said, what he did is not in violation of Ma state laws.

    I think most drivers are fu*ked in the head and that their time is much less important than they believe it is. Also If people left a few minutes earlier they would be less inclined to do retarded things to try to get ahead of traffic thus making things worse when they flip their cars at rush hour.

    Eh...
    Moving in and out of a lane because of a shoulder that is sometimes there and sometimes not makes riding even more dangerous as it lessens predictability and makes merging with traffic a more common occurrence. Merging and un-merging with traffic and reducing predictability increases danger.

  14. #14
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    This is interesting:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl4kdK3GuW0

    Note: traffic is not so heavy as to make using the left lane a hazard other than if a big vehicle is followed by a tailgater with a heavy foot. Then the danger is to the cyclist. So who the heck is he holding up? Seems very questionable to me.
    Note: crap on the shoulder. Has to ride the lane.
    Note: he was within 3 ' of the fog line most of the officer's footage, though not all. But it doesn't say you have to stay in the right 1/3 all the time you possibly can either. Also it is not the center line of your bike my the rightmost part of you and your bike AFAIK that is the point of measurement for both passing distance and approach to curb or side of road.
    Note: the lane looks like you can't pass in the lane unless he rides the fog line and then drivers would be too close (<3 feet).
    Note: He appears to be going as fast as a backhoe, or a slow car in the video posted before mine. Seems like unequal treatment to me.

    The judge did not say how far to the right he needs to be. Maybe he did int he full decision. I'd move over a foot closer to the right and let them cite me again if ti was not specified. If too far right for safety, an appeal would seem wise and likely to succeed. Also if I was approached too closely, I would bring the video evidence to the police department as a record for each occurrence. Then in case they did cite me again because I wasn't riding the fog line, I would have a record of why I ride in that fashion and that police are not providing equal treatment by nabbing the dangerous drivers. I suspect this is not the last we hear on this. We don't get to the camera confiscation and disorderly conduct charge, presumably because of the upcoming court case on that.

    A request by the officer would be enough if this was his first pull over. I would have yes sired and no sired and moved over a one foot and no more. As hat would be the right 1/3 of the lane. The law does not state the extreme right of the lane. He was holding no one up. It is a crock. I expected the right lane backed up having trouble getting around. Also the untravelled foot or so near the fog line has lots of glass nails and stuff in it that you can't see in time and weaving all over is bad. I only do it leading up to gravel on pavement and trough it to warn drivers behind I will be weaving and a bit unpredictable.

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    Honestly, I doubt I'd ride much farther over on that road. That shoulder is clearly unpredictable and unsuitable as a travel lane. I am with BrianMc in wondering how many cars were backed up behind the guy. Folks were obviously passing just fine with the second lane available, but there was a decent amount of traffic. I also think that moving too far to the right would encourage folks to try to crowd him out of the lane entirely, forcing him into that sandy shoulder and increasing the likelihood of him going down IN traffic. If the right lane is the same width as the left, there is NOT room for a car and a bicycle in the same lane.

    The vid is too short to really indicate how long he was riding this way and whether there were suitable places for him to safely open up the right lane and let more traffic by. In principle I agree with aBicycle that too much movement in and out of the lane makes you unpredictable and increases the chances of being hit, but that kind of thing is what hand signals are for, so to avoid being an ass, let people by when you can and signal your intentions.

  16. #16
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    Does anyone actually know if here really is a 'wiretapping' statute for conversations in the public like this?
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    Does anyone actually know if here really is a 'wiretapping' statute for conversations in the public like this?
    There is this: Your rights as a photographer

    edited to add:

    Down at the bottom it has this:

    Special considerations when videotaping:

    With regards to videotaping, there is an important legal distinction between a visual photographic record (fully protected) and the audio portion of a videotape, which some states have tried to regulate under state wiretapping laws.

    Such laws are generally intended to accomplish the important privacy-protecting goal of prohibiting audio "bugging" of private conversations. However, in nearly all cases audio recording the police is legal.

    In states that allow recording with the consent of just one party to the conversation, you can tape your own interactions with officers without violating wiretap statutes (since you are one of the parties).
    And further to that: Electronic Surveillance Laws

    I would say wiretapping en plein air is complete bs, and the article does say that charge was thrown out.

  18. #18
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    It's too bad that they'll spend thousands of dollars to defend a lawsuit, but not enough to maintain the shoulder.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    It's too bad that they'll spend thousands of dollars to defend a lawsuit, but not enough to maintain the shoulder.
    I hadn`t considered that, but yeah. Something is wrong with that picture for sure.
    Recalculating....

  20. #20
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    I wonder if the cop was just pissed because he did not move to the right a bit more or onto the crappy shoulder as he approached?

    At the risk of contempt of court, if the judge is saying you need to shunt over even with a perfectly usable left lane available to the overtaking motorist, I disagree strongly. If that lane was full enough that traffic in the left lane was backing up, and there is room for a bike and a car, fine, you should make room. Still there is no room for the cruiser and bike as far as the video seems to show in this case. So I think that if his judgement applies to this particular situation and that lane is as narrow as it appears, then he is wrong. Hope the ruling doesn't apply more broadly. Better that they appealed it.

    Indiana is a one party consent law, so my camera's audio is legal. Good to know.

  21. #21
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    aB, where in that quote you put up of me did I say anything about weaving in and out of the lane?

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    Is this guy appealing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe_Re View Post
    aB, where in that quote you put up of me did I say anything about weaving in and out of the lane?

    It either had to do with the "the shoulder is nonexistent in some part" thing or something I saw in another post. If the shoulder is there part of the time and not there part of the time expecting him to ride the shoulder would be ridiculous as it would make him much less predictable as it would cause him to have to weave in and out of traffic.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanath View Post
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoIj6DiDmyE

    He put quite a bit of material up on Youtube. Overall I think the guy's an ass, he clearly has room to move over yet doesn't. I don't know if I'd necessarily ride in the shoulder of that road but I sure wouldn't feel safe riding way out in the lane like he does.
    Agreed, that's a little excessive. He's WAY out in the lane. And it looks like a fairly busy road.

    He's asking for conflict riding that far into the lane. I think law here in New York state dictates that you're supposed to remain within 3ft of the white line. He's at least 5ft away, at some moments even further. 2ft might not sound like a lot but it's enough to irritate motorists.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanath View Post
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoIj6DiDmyE

    He put quite a bit of material up on Youtube. Overall I think the guy's an ass, he clearly has room to move over yet doesn't. I don't know if I'd necessarily ride in the shoulder of that road but I sure wouldn't feel safe riding way out in the lane like he does.

    Based on this video alone, seems like he's right where he's supposed to be. Any further to the right and he'll be inviting cars to make an attempt to pass him too close and end up sideswiping him. Personally I'd be pedaling much faster than his pace so the other car drivers can see I'm in a hurry too. Looks like he's spinning on mid gears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    Personally I'd be pedaling much faster than his pace so the other car drivers can see I'm in a hurry too. Looks like he's spinning on mid gears.
    On a climb to a stop sign I have, I found getting out of the saddle and looking like I am working hard works better than spinning in the saddle, though my speed is much the same. to get overtaking traffic to slow and wait for me to finish the climb. The point is that obviously working at getting down the road as Gundam suggests seems to gain enough respect that motorists don't try to pass on that blind hill where they can't get back in within 100 feet of the stop sign. That would be two careless driving charges in Indiana, underlining that it is just plain stupid. I have a fairly high cadence on the flat and I agree that that seems to help.

    I have noted that every video I have had of a vehicle coming a bit close has been of someone in the 30-38" away range, mostly on the 36" mark. I have missed getting videos on trucks with mirrors much closer. I have not had any too close on the 2 lane where I ride three feet from the edge of the road. Some may use a foot of my lane getting by or come back over a bit soon (rear bumper is 2' away) but overall, I get good compliance. That may be a function of local driving culture. If he had video evidence of unsafe passing unless he took this much of the lane, that would change the interpretation of being to the right where "practicable".

  27. #27
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    aB, So you thought I might have said something like that but not exactly like that so you made up what it was that I said or intended to say.

    Massachusetts state law says a cyclist may use the full travel lane as an automobile would, however the law also states that a vehicle being overtaken must give way to the right (on visible signal) until the overtaking vehicle has fully passed.

    Nowthen, when a cyclist who is not using a mirror (which is not required by law) gets a visual signal of a vehicles intent to pass is something I would ask but also must a cyclist give way if it will put him/her at an increased risk of injury due to an inadequate or littered shoulder.

    But I'm not an attorney, just some guy who rides bikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    Based on this video alone, seems like he's right where he's supposed to be. Any further to the right and he'll be inviting cars to make an attempt to pass him too close and end up sideswiping him. Personally I'd be pedaling much faster than his pace so the other car drivers can see I'm in a hurry too. Looks like he's spinning on mid gears.
    He drifts to (and beyond) the center of the lane a few times, which IMO is too far. Stick to the right 1/3 line if you're taking the lane, and make it look like you're really working to get somewhere, as others have said. It makes no functional difference but changes the way you're perceived.

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    IMO, riding in the right-most 1/3 of the lane does not sufficiently "take the lane". I have had drivers STILL try to squeeze by me inside the lane, coming inches from my bars with their mirrors. To adequately "take the lane", you've gotta be OUT THERE in the lane and IME, that typically means riding in the space between the tire wear depressions.

    That forces drivers to make a REAL pass where they have to cross the dashed line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe_Re View Post
    aB, So you thought I might have said something like that but not exactly like that so you made up what it was that I said or intended to say.

    Massachusetts state law says a cyclist may use the full travel lane as an automobile would, however the law also states that a vehicle being overtaken must give way to the right (on visible signal) until the overtaking vehicle has fully passed.

    Nowthen, when a cyclist who is not using a mirror (which is not required by law) gets a visual signal of a vehicles intent to pass is something I would ask but also must a cyclist give way if it will put him/her at an increased risk of injury due to an inadequate or littered shoulder.

    But I'm not an attorney, just some guy who rides bikes.

    What does give way to the right? Staying in the right lane? Riding off the road into the ditch? How bout just having a law that requires people to fully change lanes to pass?

    And I wasn't trying to put words in your mouth. That was just the scenario that played out in my head when I read about the intermittent shoulder.

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    i did not see anywhere in the article, that a parking lan3 existed...


    if it doesn't then the cyclist appears to be all good....

    if it does will then he is basically in the wrong...

    the cops as usual are the idiots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    To adequately "take the lane", you've gotta be OUT THERE in the lane and IME, that typically means riding in the space between the tire wear depressions. That forces drivers to make a REAL pass where they have to cross the dashed line.
    Where I am "taking the lane" to force the pass into the other lane, like blind corners, hills, or where I will soon need the center or left of the lane, yes I am in the center or even a bit left of that. Usually on roads with narrow lanes, my shoulder is 3' from the edge, I am riding just to the left of the right tire wear mark. My left shoulder is at or just over the center of the road. Seems to work. Just beyond dooring distance I discovered doesn't work for some idiot drivers. An oncoming car was forced onto a lawn, I was just missing mirrors of parked cars on my right, and if the Aerostar passing had had a right mirror, I'd have been hit. So I really block the road in that section a bit left of center as there are twin blind 45 degree corners then a stop sign. A really stupid place to pass someone doing 20-25 mph. It is safer than the alternative route.

    BrianMc

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    I have missed getting videos on trucks with mirrors much closer.
    Let me help you out on that one....



    Note that the initial a-little-bit-close pass by the black beemer with diplomatic plates pushed me over a bit, and while I was checking the mirror and debating moving back, the bus driver saw an opening he couldn't refuse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    Note that the initial a-little-bit-close pass by the black beemer with diplomatic plates pushed me over a bit, and while I was checking the mirror and debating moving back, the bus driver saw an opening he couldn't refuse.
    My incidents were when riding a paved shoulder with 28" of rumble strip and fog line between me and two 12 foot lanes to my left. The worst was with an F350's tires were on the fog line and the extended mirror about 8" from my shoulder as I had drifted a bit right from the rumble strip. The side of his truck was within 3 feet let alone that mirror. He had to have had 3 feet or more to the dotted line and an entire lane after that to his left. I assume he was trying to mirror me without warning be with rumble strip noise. He got back in the lane once by. Could have been a look at me and drift over, but I don't think so. The camera was giving me trouble so no video.

    Yours is a pisser.

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    It'd take balls of steel to maintain your lane when this thing is behind you...



    That is if you hear it.

    Personally, I'd check over my shoulders from time to time if something that huge is coming up at me and I'd usually pull safely to the side of the road to let it pass. Happened to me when a 10 wheeler softdrink truck went ninja behind me. I caught up with the driver at a stoplight and also gave him a scare with my balisong.

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    I'd say he has a substantial case of his Constitutional Rights being infringed. Read the links about the stops. It makes a lot more sense. Sounds like morons with badges to me.

    This is an interesting link in that article: Bicyclist Behaviors & Crash Risk | i am traffic

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    Judge Rules Cyclist Cannot Take the Lane Continuously

    Great piece

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanath View Post
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoIj6DiDmyE

    He put quite a bit of material up on Youtube. Overall I think the guy's an ass, he clearly has room to move over yet doesn't. I don't know if I'd necessarily ride in the shoulder of that road but I sure wouldn't feel safe riding way out in the lane like he does.
    The video shows Imo a big enough bike lane from the white line. Did not show crazy drivers like here in Florida where I live.

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    Fischer (Damon's lawyer) said the $27,500 for legal fees does not cover all of his work on the case, but added that “it’s a significant amount of money to pay for a town that didn’t do anything wrong.”

    First, it comes out of their insurance, and second, their police confiscated his camera and charged him improperly. There did not appear to be room in the lane if he was say 2 feet from the curb. but moving from left of center of the lane to right of center would seem to meet the letter of the agreement.

    At least the crap about having to have a motor on motorways is dead.

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