Sunday, January 08, 2006

A one-man Critical Mass...

Local police have stopped Tulsa’s peripatetic Paul Tay more times than I can remember. He’s a one-man Critical Mass. Through the Christmas season, he rode around town dressed as Santa. Or was that REALLY Santa? I don’t know.

Regardless, Paul is locally notorious for riding his bicycle along the shoulder of area expressways, often with a trailer in tow. This is entirely legal. The trailer sports various signs that have included his campaign for mayor, protests against the war, quirky humor, and a few things that won’t be mentioned here. Let’s just say he ran afoul of the ‘outraging public decency’ laws, and let it go at that. There’s a lot more of his stuff on Tulsa Indy Gazetter.

Paul has been stopped again for impeding traffic just recently. He’s been charged with making an illegal left turn, since Tulsa law has no provision for legal left turns by cyclists. He enrages both local motorists and law enforcement, and he’s a regular subject for ranting comments on morning chat radio.

Make no mistake about it – Paul Tay angers motorists and cops with his in-your-face antics. But as far as I’m aware, most of his actions have been legal. His biggest crime is simply being Paul Tay.

A judge overturned the ‘outraging public decency’ charge. While what he did may be offensive, he still has a first amendment right to do so.

It’s legal to ride a bicycle on the shoulder of expressways here in Tulsa. Paul was stopped for that when a police car blocked the shoulder, forcing him onto the roadway in order to pass. He was then cited.

Police officers have told him he cannot ride his bike in rush-hour traffic, or that he’s required to ride it on the sidewalk. Again, his only crime is being Paul Tay. It would seem these officers are ‘enforcing’ their personal biases against cyclists, rather than the law.

I can’t support Paul’s confrontational approach to road rights, but I fully support his right to ride on our roads, even if he’s a pain-in-the-ass while doing it.

3 Comments:

Blogger Fritz said...

What about the injunction against him? Or is that what was overturned?

6:07 PM  
Blogger Dan Chang said...

It was REALLY Santa.

11:49 PM  
Blogger Dan Chang said...

You need to get your facts straight, son.

1. He has not been charged with making an illegal left turn. The Police did charge him with TRO 37 1007, both hands on handlebars. He was caught with both hands in the air, airing out his armpits. Case dismissed, 5 Jan 2006.

2. The only confrontational approach Tay has been exhibiting is he's bike-blogging. Signs and messages on the bike, ie. FREE RIDE 585-5571, WHAT WOULD JESUS DRIVE, and the infamous WILL SING NAKED 4 $1.

3. Tulsa Police charged Tay with "speed too slow, impeding traffic," TRO 37 622, while Tay was bike driving on the shoulder of the westbound BA, Sheridan exit. On 12 January 2006, Judge Hofmeister of the Tulsa Municipal Court, Division II upheld the charge. A great day for bicycle drivers of Oklahoma! Trotwood v. Selz Redux for Oklahoma. City of Tulsa Municipal Court Case Number 5247215. It will be appealed to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

3. District Judge Jesse Harris barred Tay from any protests, in public or on the Internet for a period of three years. So, therefore, Tay has not conducted any protests. No BonerMobile. No anti-war messages.

Only promotional ad for radio stations, massage parlors, cheesecake shop, and private investigators, WHAT WOULD JESUS LISTEN, 460 1170 KFAQ, MASSAGE BY CARMEN, STING YO MOMMA 371 6790, public service announcements SHARE THE ROAD IT'S THE LAW, SLOW DOWN COP AHEAD, and the like.

Son, git yer facts straight.

2:02 PM  

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