Sunday, March 07, 2010

ChipSeal

Reed Bates has been stopped numerous times by the police in and around Ennis, Texas. Most notably, he was arrested and jailed for the 'crime' of riding a bicycle on the road. Yes, he was on the roadway, not the shoulder, so the county sheriff's department decided he had to be taught a lesson.

Like most states, Texas forbids motor vehicles from using the shoulder. Cyclists are permitted to do so, but they are not legally obligated to ride on the shoulder. Rather than charge Bates with violating a non-existent law (a practice that's not unusual) the police charged him with impeding traffic....on a four lane road.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but when there are two lanes in the same direction, isn't one of them often called the 'slow lane' and the other the 'passing lane'? Motorists pass slower traffic all the time, yet when it's a bicyclist in that slow lane, somehow a crime just had to be in the making.

Bates was tried and convicted by a jury of his peers - not a cyclist in the bunch, obviously - and his case is now on appeal. That is, his case will be appealed if we can raise enough money to contest this unfair treatment. Please, please, please, visit this website and make a donation however small and do something to stand up for a cyclist's right to use the public roadways.

And where are LAB and the Texas Bicycle Coalition in all this? That sound you hear is crickets chirping.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Steve A said...

TBC and LAB. So they're a little slow. Still, in the end, they'll both do what it becomes obvious is necessary. Even John Adams defended the British soldiers after the Boston Massacre...

8:13 PM  
Blogger Paul Tay said...

Oklahoma's "impeding" case, on appeal. http://www.oscn.net/applications/ocisweb/GetCaseInformation.asp?submitted=true&viewtype=caseGeneral&casemasterID=103170&db=Appellate

12:03 AM  
Blogger Joe K said...

He has a right to use the roadway...that wasn't taken away, but as I read this sounds like the interpretation of the law didn't go his way.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Joe K said...

Can you post what was the conviction for?

6:03 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

As I understand it, Joe, he was convicted of impeding traffic. The initial charge was 'riding a bicycle on a roadway' but that wasn't actually illegal. In the latest one, he was first charged with failing to ride on a bike lane, but then the city discovered that a shoulder wasn't legally a bike lane, so they charged him with impeding again. Allegedly there were no vehicles on the road at the time, except for Reed on his bicycle and the police car.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Joe K said...

Ed, If I read the Texas Bicycle Law I come away convinced that ChipSeal did violate the law and yes I'm a cyclist (grin). See 551.103 (b)

According to ChipSeal (if I remember right) he said he has a right to the roadway. Wish I could see a transcript of the court trial to see if he ever moved right of he was steadfast that he has a right to the lane and wouldn't move right. If he would not move to the right with cars behind him, then he is impeding traffic.

Either way it's sad that confrontation couldn't be avoided by common sense and common respect.

Ride Long and Prosper

Slo Joe Recumbo

Sec. 551.103. Operation on Roadway.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, unless:


(1) the person is passing another vehicle moving in the same direction;

(2) the person is preparing to turn left at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway; or

(3) a condition on or of the roadway, including a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal, or surface hazard prevents the person from safely riding next to the right curb or edge of the roadway.

(4) the person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:
(A) less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; or

(B) too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.


(b) A person operating a bicycle on a one-way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of the roadway.

(c) Persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast. Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway. Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.


[back to list of TX laws] Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995, amended 2001.

Bicycles may ride on the shoulder
Sec. 545.058. Driving on Improved Shoulder. [i.e., a paved shoulder outside the traffic lane]

(a) An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of a roadway if that operation is necessary and may be done safely, but only:


(1) to stop, stand, or park;
(2) to accelerate before entering the main traveled lane of traffic;
(3) to decelerate before making a right turn;
(4) to pass another vehicle that is slowing or stopped on the main traveled portion of the highway, disabled, or preparing to make a left turn;
(5) to allow another vehicle traveling faster to pass;
(6) as permitted or required by an official traffic-control device; or
(7) to avoid a collision.


(b) An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the left of the main traveled portion of a divided or limited-access or controlled-access highway if that operation may be done safely, but only:


(1) to slow or stop when the vehicle is disabled and traffic or other circumstances prohibit the safe movement of the vehicle to the shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of the roadway;
(2) as permitted or required by an official traffic-control device; or
(3) to avoid a collision.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Ed W said...

Joe - there's a longish response as a new post.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Joe K said...

Ed,

Did Chip ever appeal?

5:00 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

As I understand it, the appeal is in process, but I'll ask the principals to be sure.

5:43 PM  

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