Bicyclist found guilty of blocking traffic

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by One Of The Six, Jan 23, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This was posted on rec.bicycles.misc.

    ----- Original Message ----- From: "Martha J. Retallick" <[email protected]> Newsgroups:
    rec.bicycles.rides Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2003 7:28 AM Subject: Bicyclist found guilty of
    blocking traffic

    This is from today's (23 January 2003) Arizona Daily Star newspaper in Tucson, Arizona:

    http://www.azstarnet.com/star/today/30123BICYCLIST2fsrl-jmd.html

    NOTE: The link will change tomorrow. Best way to go back to the story would be to go to:

    http://www.azstarnet.com/

    and navigate to the Thursday Star. Use the "Thursday" link that's halfway down the page on the
    left side.

    With regards from Tucson, Martha Retallick
     
    Tags:


  2. Hunrobe

    Hunrobe Guest

    >"one of the six billion" [email protected]

    wrote:

    ><[email protected]> Newsgroups: rec.bicycles.rides Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2003 7:28 AM
    >Subject: Bicyclist found guilty of blocking traffic
    >
    >
    >This is from today's (23 January 2003) Arizona Daily Star newspaper in Tucson, Arizona:
    >
    >http://www.azstarnet.com/star/today/30123BICYCLIST2fsrl-jmd.html
    >
    >NOTE: The link will change tomorrow. Best way to go back to the story would be to go to:
    >
    >http://www.azstarnet.com/
    >
    >and navigate to the Thursday Star. Use the "Thursday" link that's halfway down the page on the
    >left side.
    >
    >With regards from Tucson, Martha Retallick

    Failing that, here's the story in its entirety:

    By Susanna Caizo ARIZONA DAILY STAR A bicyclist was found responsible by a City Court judge on
    Wednesday for slowing down traffic on East Speedway near Downtown during a group bike ride held in
    November. Leo Mellon said he will appeal Judge David Dingeldine's decision to Pima County Superior
    Court, and his continuing legal struggle is being applauded by bicycling advocates. "I was in
    violation of no laws," Mellon said Wednesday, after the judge's ruling. "I do these rides because I
    firmly believe they're legal." On Nov. 1, Mellon rode his bicycle on eastbound Speedway near North
    Fourth Avenue with a group of 16 cyclists during evening rush hour. The cyclists were stopped by
    police and given citations for slowing traffic. Mellon's attorney, Melynda Barnhart, argued
    Wednesday that the cyclists were not blocking the entire flow of traffic on Speedway: They stayed in
    the curb lane, while motorists had the median lane available to pass the cyclists. She said bicycles
    are a legitimate form of traffic and have a right to be on city streets. Barnhart said it's not
    realistic to expect bicycles to travel at the same speed as motor vehicles. Prosecutor Alan Merritt
    said Mellon violated both the law and common sense by not pulling his bicycle over to let vehicles
    pass him. Longtime bicycling advocate Bill Katzel, who attended Wednesday's hearing, said he's glad
    Mellon will be able to challenge the ruling. "I think it will be reversed. There's no question in my
    mind," he said. If a Superior Court judge rules in favor of Mellon, that would establish case law
    that could be used to throw out future citations, Katzel said. Mellon was cited for impeding traffic
    in 1995 and 1998, and he successfully challenged those citations. But rulings made in City Court
    don't set a precedent, as a ruling in Superior Court would, Barnhart said. Katzel said the issue
    needs to be resolved - he believes police and court resources are being wasted when cyclists are
    given tickets for impeding traffic. Mellon, who has participated in the Community Bike Ride for
    several years, walks or rides his bicycle to get around. He believes cars are an unhealthy form of
    transportation. "We're out there on our bicycles because we want to assert our right to use public
    roads. We deserve safe passage on city streets," he said. Three other cyclists who had hearings
    scheduled after Mellon's made plea agreements and said they were responsible for impeding traffic.
    They will either pay a $25 fine or complete five hours of community service. Without the plea
    agreements, they could have faced $50 fines or 10 hours of community service if the judge found them
    responsible for the citations.

    In summary and based solely on the above:

    Rush hour- sixteen cyclists- four citations- three guilty pleas- one plea of not guilty with a
    finding of guilty- one appeal on the way.

    On its face, this *sounds* like a loss on appeal. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    Regards, Bob Hunt
     
  3. Ron Hardin

    Ron Hardin Guest

    Somehow I manage 8,000 miles a year without blocking traffic.

    The way rights took on moral force was that originally it was concern for the rights of another guy.
    Maybe that's how I manage.
    --
    Ron Hardin [email protected]

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
     
  4. Karen M.

    Karen M. Guest

    Bob wrote:

    > ...here's the story in its entirety:
    >
    ...
    > A bicyclist was found responsible by a City Court judge on Wednesday for slowing down traffic on
    > East Speedway near Downtown during a group bike ride held in November. Leo Mellon said he will
    > appeal Judge David Dingeldine's decision to Pima County Superior Court, and his continuing legal
    > struggle is being applauded by bicycling advocates. ... On Nov. 1, Mellon rode his bicycle on
    > eastbound Speedway near North Fourth Avenue with a group of 16 cyclists during evening rush hour.
    > The cyclists were stopped by police and given citations for slowing traffic. Mellon's attorney,
    > Melynda Barnhart, argued Wednesday that the cyclists were not blocking the entire flow of traffic
    > on Speedway: They stayed in the curb lane, while motorists had the median lane available to pass
    > the cyclists. She said bicycles are a legitimate form of traffic and have a right to be on city
    > streets. Barnhart said it's not realistic to expect bicycles to travel at the same speed as motor
    > vehicles. Prosecutor Alan Merritt said Mellon violated both the law and common sense by not
    > pulling his bicycle over to let vehicles pass him. ... Mellon was cited for impeding traffic in
    > 1995 and 1998, and he successfully challenged those citations. But rulings made in City Court
    > don't set a precedent, as a ruling in Superior Court would, Barnhart said. Katzel said the issue
    > needs to be resolved - he believes police and court resources are being wasted when cyclists are
    > given tickets for impeding traffic. Mellon, who has participated in the Community Bike Ride for
    > several years, walks or rides his bicycle to get around. He believes cars are an unhealthy form of
    > transportation. "We're out there on our bicycles because we want to assert our right to use public
    > roads. We deserve safe passage on city streets," he said. Three other cyclists who had hearings
    > scheduled after Mellon's made plea agreements and said they were responsible for impeding traffic.
    > They will either pay a $25 fine or complete five hours of community service. Without the plea
    > agreements, they could have faced $50 fines or 10 hours of community service if the judge found
    > them responsible for the citations.

    Inquiring minds want to know: --why did 12 cyclists not get ticketed? What did these four people
    do that was different from the rest? --By any chance, was the ride held on the last Friday of the
    month during rush hour?

    --Karen M.
     
  5. > In summary and based solely on the above:
    >
    > Rush hour- sixteen cyclists- four citations- three guilty pleas- one plea of not guilty with a
    > finding of guilty- one appeal on the way.
    >
    > On its face, this *sounds* like a loss on appeal. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    That, indeed. Although I would be interested to know how many cyclists across that 16-bike pack was.
    If they were in single file, this would have been a laughable conviction. Double file or wider and
    things might get interesting--Some states explicitly prohibit bicycles and motorcycles from riding
    two-abreast in a single lane of traffic. And in a thread somewhere on rbm, someone mentioned that
    California mandates a cyclist to pull over and allow traffic to pass him when a minimum number of
    cars has stacked up behind them.

    I hope the conviction is overturned, though.

    -Luigi
     
  6. "Ron Hardin" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Somehow I manage 8,000 miles a year without blocking traffic.
    >
    > The way rights took on moral force was that originally it was concern for the rights of another
    > guy. Maybe that's how I manage.
    > --
    > Ron Hardin [email protected]
    >
    Perhaps. OTOH, there is a critical segment of road in my area that cannot be ridden without taking a
    lane. They took the shoulder several years ago for second lane in each direction (and also a left
    turn lane where there is no place to turn into - go figure) so the commuters could speed through to
    the MARC train. There currently is literally no shoulder and the guardrails actually sit over the
    roadway at the curve. You either take the lane for a mile or so, or ride around. I take the lane.

    --
    Curtis L. Russell Odenton, MD (USA) Just someone on two wheels...
     
  7. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >On its face, this *sounds* like a loss on appeal. It will be interesting to see what happens.
    >
    >Regards, Bob Hunt

    As you would normally point out, there is not enough information here to draw a conclusion. It seems
    to me that some of the factors that we don't know are:

    1. How wide the lanes were
    2. How many abreast were they riding
    3. Was there a "Bike Lane"

    I have certainly observed groups riding that were slowing traffic and taking far more space than
    required. I remember one group who seemed to think that they could use of 3 lanes of 4 lanes in one
    direction so they could play games passing on the downhill. Riders would pull out into the next lane
    without looking to see if anyone was there.

    I am cautious about siding with group rides without knowing the situation, I have heard too many
    whiners complaining because their group was ticketed for running stop signs and stoplights.....

    So I just don't know enough about this situation to know what really happened.

    Many cyclists seem to want to be treated as other vehicles, I certainly do. I believe riding as part
    of a group of bikes is the same as driving in a group of cars, trucks, or whatever. One has to be
    conscious of how the group affects traffic and act accordingly.

    So, without really knowing the facts, it is difficult to know what to make of this situation.

    It could well be that these guys were riding in a reasonable and safe manner and that taking the
    lane was necessary to ride safely.

    But is also possible that there was plenty of room to ride without blocking traffic.

    Just don't know.

    Jon Isaacs
     
  8. Ron Hardin

    Ron Hardin Guest

    Jon Isaacs wrote:
    > I am cautious about siding with group rides without knowing the situation, I have heard too many
    > whiners complaining because their group was ticketed for running stop signs and stoplights.....

    The thing about busybodies and handwringers is it always comes out. They may have been transformed
    from frogs into princes, but since they were never princes before, the frog keeps escaping.

    Stop signs and stoplights are for cars.
    --
    Ron Hardin [email protected]

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
     
  9. Ron Hardin

    Ron Hardin Guest

    Curtis L. Russell wrote:
    > > Somehow I manage 8,000 miles a year without blocking traffic.
    > >
    > > The way rights took on moral force was that originally it was concern for the rights of another
    > > guy. Maybe that's how I manage.
    > >
    > Perhaps. OTOH, there is a critical segment of road in my area that cannot be ridden without taking
    > a lane. They took the shoulder several years ago for second lane in each direction (and also a
    > left turn lane where there is no place to turn into - go figure) so the commuters could speed
    > through to the MARC train. There currently is literally no shoulder and the guardrails actually
    > sit over the roadway at the curve. You either take the lane for a mile or so, or ride around. I
    > take the lane.

    On the other hand again, if there's an obvious reason for you to be there, traffic is not irked
    by it. They can see there's no place else for you to be. Provided you give them even a bad choice
    of passing.

    If you take the lane to say ``You drivers are such idiots that you'd try to pass me unsafely so just
    wait'' then you're out of line again.

    Run on courtesy or not at all.
    --
    Ron Hardin [email protected]

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
     
  10. Doug Kennedy

    Doug Kennedy Guest

    On Fri, 24 Jan 2003 08:04:20 -0600, Jon Isaacs wrote:

    >>On its face, this *sounds* like a loss on appeal. It will be interesting to see what happens.
    >>
    >>Regards, Bob Hunt
    >
    > As you would normally point out, there is not enough information here to draw a conclusion. It
    > seems to me that some of the factors that we don't know are:
    >
    > 1. How wide the lanes were
    > 2. How many abreast were they riding
    > 3. Was there a "Bike Lane"

    His lawyer's argument was that there was both a median lane and a curb lane, and that the median
    lane was clear for passing. Perhaps a four lane road with two lanes in each direction? If that was
    the case, I think it would be fine for a group of 16 to take the curb lane and ride together, rather
    than string out 16 long. As a car driver I'd rather cleanly pass the group in the median lane,
    rather than squeeze by a long line of cyclists.

    Of course EVERY newspaper story I've read about an event I witnessed myself was wrong in almost
    every detail...

    Doug Kennedy
     
  11. Rich Clark

    Rich Clark Guest

    In addition to the other questions regarding the facts of the case, does anyone know if Arizona has
    a "slow traffic must pull over" law? And if it does, how it would normally be applied on a
    four-lane road?

    RichC
     
  12. On Fri, 24 Jan 2003 10:09:37 -0500, Ron Hardin <[email protected]> said:

    >On the other hand again, if there's an obvious reason for you to be there, traffic is not irked by
    >it. They can see there's no place else for you to be.

    Not around here.

    The SUV Taliban will run you right over.

    --

    I think. Therefore, I am not a conservative! ------ http://www.todayslastword.org -------
     
  13. In article <[email protected]>, Luigi de Guzman
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    >That, indeed. Although I would be interested to know how many cyclists across that 16-bike pack
    >was. If they were in single file, this would have been a laughable conviction. Double file or wider
    >and things might get interesting--Some states explicitly prohibit bicycles and motorcycles from
    >riding two-abreast in a single lane of traffic.

    Although if the lane is so narrow that a single file would block the lane anyway, double file would
    cause the group to be smaller (shorter) and easier to pass.

    >And in a thread somewhere on rbm, someone mentioned that California mandates a cyclist to pull over
    >and allow traffic to pass him when a minimum number of cars has stacked up behind them.

    When on a two lane road where passing is unsafe. It applies to all vehicle drivers or equivalent.

    --
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Timothy J. Lee Unsolicited bulk or commercial email is not welcome. No warranty of any kind is
    provided with this message.
     
  14. In article <[email protected]> [email protected] (Luigi de
    Guzman) writes:
    >That, indeed. Although I would be interested to know how many cyclists across that 16-bike pack
    >was. If they were in single file, this would have been a laughable conviction. Double file or wider
    >and things might get interesting--Some states explicitly prohibit bicycles and motorcycles from
    >riding two-abreast in a single lane of traffic. And in a thread somewhere on rbm, someone mentioned
    >that California mandates a cyclist to pull over and allow traffic to pass him when a minimum number
    >of cars has stacked up behind them.
    >
    >I hope the conviction is overturned, though.
    >
    >-Luigi

    For your info, Luigi, Speedway Blvd is 4-lane, so two full lanes in each direction. Arizona law
    allows two cyclists abreast max.

    Teresa in AZ
     
  15. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    Fri, 24 Jan 2003 15:40:38 GMT, <[email protected]>, SC Hiker Biker
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >http://www.oneandzero.com/abccazb/bikelaw.html
    >
    >Since we don't know all the facts, it is hard to come with a conclusion but I think the conviction
    >will stand.

    He's beaten his two other citations for impeding traffic.

    There are more issues here than simply being a slow moving vehicle.

    My guess is any one of those charged could ride solo over that same stretch of road, at their normal
    cycling pace, and never even get a raised eyebrow.

    . . .Unless banning bicycles from this particular stretch of road is a hot-topic at city hall.

    If that's the case, I support their action.
    --
    zk
     
  16. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On 24 Jan 2003 05:26:10 GMT, [email protected] (Hunrobe) wrote:

    >Rush hour- sixteen cyclists- four citations- three guilty pleas- one plea of not guilty with a
    >finding of guilty- one appeal on the way.

    Damn cagers have a critical mass here avery day, and nobody cites them!

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  17. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Zoot Katz" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > He's beaten his two other citations for impeding traffic.
    >
    > There are more issues here than simply being a slow moving vehicle.
    >
    > My guess is any one of those charged could ride solo over that same stretch of road, at their
    > normal cycling pace, and never even get a raised eyebrow.

    My guess is that since Mr. Mellon has butted heads with the law on this in the past, the authorities
    may see him as a pain in the ass and they want to teach him a lesson.

    Matt O.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...