Tour de Lab September 1st

Despite ruling, Officer continues to ticket fixed gear riders

Posted by on September 8th, 2006 at 7:31 am

officer barnum

[Officer Brett Barnum
taking the oath at the
Ayla Holland trial.]

Officer Brett Barnum of the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division has been at the center of the fixed gear enforcement issue. He was the officer who convinced a traffic court judge to uphold his citation of Ayla Holland back on July 28th (the case is being appealed).

Then, just last Tuesday, Barnum found himself in court again for the same violation. This time John Boyd, a local architect, convinced the judge to overrule Barnum’s ticket on the grounds that the definition of “brake” was not clearly defined in the statute (815.280(a)(b)).

Now, despite this recent ruling and what would appear to be a statute in legal limbo, Barnum is still ticketing bicyclists for riding fixed gear bicycles without a hand brake.

One cyclist—who wants to remain nameless until after he has fought his case—contacted me after getting a ticket from Barnum Thursday night.

Here is his story:

“Yesterday, around 3:00pm, a certain Officer Barnum accosted me (after I- check it – stopped in front of my north Portland apartment after work), “noticing that I was riding a fixed gear without a brake.”

There were a few moments of what-if-your-chain-broke banter, both he and I were doubtless fully expecting each others’ comments-after which he issued me a citation for being in violation of ORS 815.280.”

John Boyd alerted me to this incident via a comment and said,

“I dare say that to me (this) would represent a squandering of city and county resources. This would seem to suggest that Barnum does not recognize the Judges authority in the matter.

Is there precedent for police repeatedly bringing known loosing cases before the court? How many times will he need to be spanked on the behind with a dictionary before his superior says “get over it”.”

This comment inspired another reader to suggest that cyclists consider filing an official complaint about Barnum’s conduct. According to a reader named Elly,

“There is a supposedly independent police review commission in Portland. You can file commendations or complaints with them, if you feel that a specific officer has done an especially good job or has failed to uphold their duty.

Here is the link to do this.

You can choose to file a commendation or complaint from the toolbar on the right.”

I’m not exactly sure of the legal situation here, but perhaps the Police should just give warnings for this violation until the courts decide once and for all if the statute will be changed or not how the statute should be interpreted.

Are there any cops, lawyers, or judges out there who can shed some light on this?

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

144 Comments
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    Aaron B. Hockley September 8, 2006 at 8:08 am

    You wrote: “until the courts decide once and for all if the statute will be changed or not”

    I sure hope the courts aren’t changing statutes. I really hope they leave that to the lawmakers…

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    SKiDmark September 8, 2006 at 8:22 am

    Brake as defined by Webster’s : something used to slow down or stop movement or activity.

    I do believe if I slow down my pedaling my track bike slows down and if I stop pedaling my track bike stops. On top of that my bike can skid so therefore I meet all the requirement of the statute.

    ONE LESS BRAKE

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    Michael September 8, 2006 at 8:27 am

    Considering the overwhelming number of motorists speeding, running red lights, and other dangerous behaviors, this cop has a serious lack of good judgment in the application of his time and duty to enforce the laws.

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    dotRob September 8, 2006 at 8:41 am

    Is there an Offcier Bailey at the PPD traffic division to complete this circus?

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    nuovorecord September 8, 2006 at 8:55 am

    RE: the “what if your chain breaks?” question.

    Brake cables have been known to break, too, you know. The law doesn’t say that you have to have TWO brakes on your bike. So, you could be legal with one brake, yet still face the same situation of being unable to stop due to a failed component. Does this logic escape Officer Muldoon…errr, Barnum? Yo, Brett, why don’t you shut down a meth lab or rescue a kitten…do something productive with your time instead of picking on cyclists?

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    Paul September 8, 2006 at 9:45 am

    Theoretically there might be a way to get an injunction on the enforcement action – but I am not sure. (Not a lawyer.)

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    Cecil September 8, 2006 at 9:51 am

    The problem here is that there are conflicting rulings at the circuit court level regarding the meaning of the statute. Circuit court judges are not bound by the decisions of other circuit court judges – the decision in the successful case affected only that rider, no other riders, although if those riders are ticketed they would apparently do well to make the same statutory construction argument. Until an appellate court has ruled on the issue, the possibility of conflicting rulings remain, and ticketing of riders is still legal. Whether it is a waste of resources is an entirely different matter. Frankly, I would prefer they start ticketing all the drivers who park their cars facing the wrong direction on city streets (SE is full of them). There’s nothing to get you heart pumping as fast as when you are riding your bike down the street and suddenly faced head on by some jack-ass pulling out of his wrong side of the street space. . . .

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    Brett September 8, 2006 at 10:00 am

    Couldn’t this headline read “Despite ruling, fixed gear riders continue to break law.”

    Ok, stop throwing rocks and just listen. Even if the appeal overturns the first ruling in the first case these tickets could still be given out. The letter of the law needs to change for any real change to happen.

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    Brett September 8, 2006 at 10:12 am

    btw, i’m not the cop

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    benschon September 8, 2006 at 10:15 am

    How much time is Officer Barnum spending on this? Not only does he write the pointless tickets, but he appears to be spending a lot of time in court as an advocate for a particular interpretation of the statute. That’s time he’s not out on the street–which, come to think of it, might not be a good thing.

    There is no public policy benefit of his personal vendetta against fixed gear riders. Has anyone shown a documented public safety issue here? That is, actual crashes–not hypothetical ones due to hypothetical leg spasms.

    I’m sending a message to Mark Kruger, Barnum’s boss, and Rosie Sizer, Kruger’s boss, to tell them to rein this guy in. Next time the cops moan about not having enough public money to fight crime, I’m going to remember that this is how some of Portland’s finest choose to spend their valuable time. What a waste of resources.

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    John Boyd September 8, 2006 at 10:42 am

    Brett, please elaborate why you don’t think fixed-gear bicycles are in compliance. Is it that you don’t agree with the dictionary argument from post No.2 above, or another reason?

    In light of my favorable ruling, do you not see this as a cop on self-righteous mission, looking to try other judges to agree with him? I’m just looking to know people’s angles on this.
    Thanks,
    John

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    the hand September 8, 2006 at 10:57 am

    maybe i’m just the devil’s advocate here, but don’t we have bigger fish to fry? i mean, sure, the officers are wasting time giving out these pointless tickets which may or may not be warranted, but does no one else feel that we’re wasting a lot of time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere?

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    Brett September 8, 2006 at 11:00 am

    John, thanks for your open mind.

    My point (#8) is that if we consider a ruling to be THE basis for future issues then the first guilty ruling would mean that all future rulings would be guilty. That’s not the way the system works, thankfully.

    I don’t see the cop as anything because I don’t have enough information to have an intelligent opinion on the matter of his motivation. Anyone that has a strong opinion, or actually files a complaint against him is being unfair, based on the information provided in these posts.

    What I do know is that I applaud how you have handled, and continue to handle this issue. I think the cause would be better served with you at the helm of change instead of some of the more passionate people involved. Yours would be an important voice in getting the law changed as you have litigated your case and won.

    As a matter of fact… I would donate resources to the cause of getting the letter of the law changed with you at the helm.

    Also, I put a front brake on my fixie as soon as I got it. I believe it to be the best balance between safety and simplicity. But I also log a lot of miles on a road, commuter, and bent.

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    Brett September 8, 2006 at 11:05 am

    I agree with the hand. We as individuals compromise our desires on a daily basis to live as part of a society. Yes, there are times when we should not compromise our desires and challenge our systems and governments to make a change. But, is this really the issue to champion?

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    Greg September 8, 2006 at 11:33 am

    Officer Barnum, (if you read this site)

    Maybe it is just me, but I am failing to see the difference between a fixed gear brake and a coaster brake. Could you please clarify this for me? Both rely on a chain to provide the forced required to stop the bike and both could have the chain break. So according to your argument about ‘what if the chain brakes’, this makes me worried that your going to start ticketing all the kids around PDX for using a coaster brake bike that happens to lack what you consider an effective brake.

    Greg

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    Matt P. September 8, 2006 at 11:44 am

    Jonathan, Aaron’s right – your closing remark is a little misleading. You may wish to change “until the courts decide once and for all if the statute will be changed or not” to say instead, “until the courts decide once and for all how the statute should be interpreted.”

    The judicial branch interprets and clarifies the law, the legislature actually *changes* it.

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    Jonathan Maus September 8, 2006 at 11:52 am

    Matt and Aaron, thanks for your advice on my misleading statement. I agree and I will change it right now.

    cheers.

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    Matt P. September 8, 2006 at 11:52 am

    the hand said:
    “does no one else feel that we’re wasting a lot of time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere?”

    Brett said:
    “I agree with the hand. …is this really the issue to champion?”

    People fight on the issues they feel strongly about. Why discourage them? If you feel strongly about the issue, do something about it. If you don’t, then don’t.

    Are there specific issues that you feel should be addressed instead?

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    the foot? September 8, 2006 at 12:05 pm

    the hand,

    There’s always a comment like yours. The answer to your question is “No.” There is plenty of time and energy to go around, and this is a matter of principle. Smaller fish become bigger fish you know.

    Consider this as well while you’re sitting there so concerned about the time and energy wasted: Most people expend *way* more time and energy on activities that have no positive social effect whatsoever (watching TV, shopping, etc.)

    I’d like to, respectfully, suggest that *your* effort is misdirected.

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    Brett September 8, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    It is a responsibility of mine to contribute to the emotional and spirtitual evolution of our species. As such I interject my comments accordingly.

    If I question the importance of devoting too much energy towards a certain goal then it is my belief that in the “grand vision” other goals are more important.

    What goes on in this forum is not fighting on an issue. It is mainly entering a dialog with like minded individuals, or verbally fencing with unlike minded ones. I would have no comment towards those that carry this fight to actually getting the law changed. Ok, maybe I would… personally I think global warming is more important. But I have a great deal more respect for people that take action instead of just talking.

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    Patrick September 8, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    I say this every time this issue comes up…

    Sigh….

    Officer Barnum is a TRAFFIC COP his job is to write tickets related to traffic stuff, not rescue kittens, not shut down meth labs. He is in the Traffic Division, get it?

    I’d be interested to know if there are other officers writing the same tickets or just Barnum. Let’s get the whole story here.

    And is he really still using that “what if your chain breaks, or you get leg cramps example”

    Next person who is pulled over by him please ask him what if he has a heart attack while driving his car, or motorcycle. Or has a seizure while riding his bike. These are ridiculous questions…..

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    John Boyd September 8, 2006 at 1:44 pm

    oh, hey,
    Oregonian Metro article:

    http://tinyurl.com/rjhaz

    john

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    SKIDmark September 8, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    Brett please read and COMPREHEND my first post. If it stops it has a brake, unless we who ride without an auxillary brake are magicians.

    I am not breaking the law by simply riding my track bike.

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    SKIDmark September 8, 2006 at 3:58 pm

    The law is fine the law it is. It just needs to be interpreted with intelligence and common sense.

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    SKIDmark September 8, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    Sorry for the multiple posts. I meant “The law is fine the WAY it is.”

    And “the hand” : you might think this is a fish worth frying if you were a messenger who got 4 tickets in one month, like one messenger did.

    ONE LESS BRAKE

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    nuovorecord September 8, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    Patrick,

    I fully get what Traffic Cops are supposed to do. It’s too bad Officer Barnum doesn’t…

    It’s called sarcasm…look into it.

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    Captawol September 8, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    Okay so.. In the Oregonian article it says…

    Both cases feature the increasingly popular one-speed fixed-gear bikes. The bikes work like a tricycle: if the wheels are turning, the pedals are moving.
    AND
    At issue is an Oregon statute that says bicycles “must be equipped with a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.”

    How many tricycle riders are able to make their wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement? Is Brett going after these “other fixed-gear” bikes?

    Just food for thought. Anyone with a ticket for no hand brake may want to also mention that tricycles have no brake under Brett’s interpertation.

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    Brett September 8, 2006 at 6:09 pm

    SKIDmark

    I’m actually very good at comprehending.
    The law is not fine the way it is. It was written by someone that does not understand the physics of bicycling. I said nothing about you breaking the law.

    “Common sense isn’t”

    From what you are saying a person could argue that they meet the requirement for having a brake by falling off the bike… hmm.

    Oh, and as far as the messenger that got four tickets in one month goes… well let me put it this way. Produce this person, show me the four tickets for no brakes and I will personally pay this persons tickets. If you can’t do this… stop talking smack.

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    John Boyd September 8, 2006 at 7:03 pm

    >From what you are saying a person could argue that they meet the requirement for having a brake by falling off the bike… hmm.

    s. k. i. d. skid.

    >I’m actually very good at comprehending.
    >The law is not fine the way it is.

    Again, why is it not fine? Explaining part not up to the very good comprehending part.

    I think it’s fine because it is an objective performance standard that sets a minimum ability to slow down a bicycle. That is skid. Obviously there are minimum standards that would be safer, like some deceleration value, or a “self energizing” requirement.

    I don’t ride a bike in traffic to be safer. But increased bicycle regulations are inevitable, and we Portlanders will probably be the first ones in the US to lay em down (and we really should catch up to Idaho’s stop-means-yield law).

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    HillSlug September 8, 2006 at 8:22 pm

    I am an avid cyclist, and I want a fixie of my own. I am also cop, but not with PPB. I need to remain somewhat anonymous, not so much to you folks but to the fellow cops I am about to slam. I am more than willing to identify myself to Jonathan off-forum, if he so wishes.

    Barnum’s Motivation?

    Dunno, This is silly. I would never write a fixie. In my mind the mechanics and physics of stopping a fixie are not much different than the coaster brake on my first Schwinn. The “What if your chain broke?” line is laughable.

    Track stands? I do them all the time. Peleton through a stop sign? My opinion is that the whole group equals a single vehicle. As long as there are no major traffic confilcts and some reasonableness is applied by the cyclists, like seeing them let up, looking both ways and communicating, it is pretty easy to differentiate the boneheads from responsible cyclists. I’m not going to bust anyone’s balls.

    I met Barnum once in 1995 outside of policework. Personally, I thought he was an arrogant bastard back then. Other than that I don’t know much about him. However, as you all know the mentality is shared by many officers (I refer to them as knuckle-draggers or “C” Students) and Patrick is exactly right. It is the fact that he is a TRAFFIC COP. Drug and Vice cops have a particular reputation as does SWAT. The Sub-Sub cultures of police specialty units is quite interesting, but I digress.

    Court overtime is a frequent motivator, especially for traffic cops.

    Peer motivation, competitions between officers regarding writing citations is not unusual in the least.

    A personal disdain for hipster’s?

    Pride hurt from losing a case and shopping for a favorable judge has been mentioned and I agree that this is is a possibility.

    Legal Stuff:

    My guess is that traffic court in Multnomah County is not a “Court of Record” as the Circuit Court and above are. I believe that a favorable opinion for cyclists in a Court of Record” would set precedent that would effectively reign Barnum in. I might be wrong. I’m sure there are a bunch of green ACLU lawyer types here that can answer that. 🙂

    Stay Safe!

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    NeRf September 8, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    “Produce this person, show me the four tickets for no brakes and I will personally pay this persons tickets.”
    well you want to pay the tickets then or back out.
    I LIVE WITH THE MESSENGER.
    We work for the same company and its about $500 worth of tickets.
    so you gonna pay when and where do you want to meet?

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    SKIDmark September 8, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    “From what you are saying a person could argue that they meet the requirement for having a brake by falling off the bike… hmm.”

    This is so tiresome. I assure you that me and every other semi-skilled fixed gear rider can bring a bike to a complete stop in complete control and safety. Maybe you should do a “ride-along” with a messenger so you can see the level of skill and control for yourself.

    The original “safety bicycle” was a fixed gear. Unfortunately in our technologically complicated world, people have lost the ability to understand soemthing as utterly simple as the operation of a fixed gear bicycle.Centrifugal Bumblepuppy, anyone?

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    SKIDmark September 8, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    The messenger in question works for Mercury. You should leave your email on here so he can get ahold of you.

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    SKIDmark September 8, 2006 at 8:42 pm

    ONE LESS BRAKE stickers coming soon. The proceeds will go to the legal defense of the messengers who have gotten tickets. More details to folow. And…I don’t need to talk smack, this is REAL.

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    Brett September 8, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    The letter needs changed for the same reason autos now have anit-lock brakes. A skid does not stop as effectively.

    No Nerf, I asked Skid to produce the rider. And four brakeless tickets don’t add up to your number anyway so it doesn’t jive.

    Also, I ride a fixed gear and I can skid stop… with and without powerslide.

    But I tell you what, I’m moving on from this. I’ll watch though and if I see the four tickets for no brake persons email in here I will make contact.

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    SKIDmark September 8, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    Oh I am sorry Brett, but I am not going to reveal his identity without his permission. He does not own a computer. Nerf, could you ask your roomie when is a good time for he, Brett and I to meet? Really Brett, if you want me to introduce you to this messenger it can be arranged. Are you a man of your word?

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    NeRf September 8, 2006 at 11:13 pm

    hmmm looks like your backing out from what you said, starting to think the person actually exists and has tickets for that much? i don’t even want to waste my or his time on this

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    SKIDmark September 8, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    I guess some people front on the internet…..

    ONE LESS BRAKE

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    tonyt September 8, 2006 at 11:42 pm

    You know, when I was involved with the Piedmont Neighborhood Association, I often tried to get our “neighborhood liason officer,” or any officer for that matter, to show up to our meetings to talk about issues concerning the neighborhood (cops speeding through the neighborhood and in general rarely interacting in positive ways with residents). Nope they said. They couldn’t do it. Manpower, manpower, manpower. Only so many officers and so much to do. So obviously given this example, I must say bull, bull, bull. (keeping it family-friendly you know).

    And this officer wastes god knows how much time and how much money pursuing this crusade against the scourge of fixed-gears.

    I’m sorry, is this a problem? Is there a track-record (no pun intended) of fixed-gears with chains breaking? As a former mechanic and long-time shop employee, I have NEVER seen a fixed gear with a half-way decent chainline brake a chain. Ever. Not that they never have, but the fact that I’ve never encountered it, certainly indicates a certain level or rarity.

    What if the chain brakes? Well, what if a chain brakes on a coaster brake? What if hydraulic lines rupture on a car’s brakes? What if, what if.

    Officer Barnum? How bout you get a radar gun and hang out on MLK and start busting the thousands (seriously!) of cars that go speeding down that street? What about the drivers (many of them cops I must say) who never yield to pedestrians at intersections, as dictated by law!?

    You just don’t like cyclists. You hate that there is this element of society that operates outside of your little realm of control. These tickets are nothing more than a lame little attempt to assert your dominance over us. How very transparent.

    Get over it you small little man with a gun.

    You need a hobby.

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    Brett September 9, 2006 at 7:48 am

    Like I said. Produce the person that got four tickets in one month for no brake and I will pay for his tickets… period.

    If you can’t produce him… stop talking smack.

    I’m done with this topic. But, as I said, I will watch for the person to surface.

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    Scout September 9, 2006 at 9:41 am

    Heh. Maybe if Brett had a track bike he wouldn’t be able to back pedal so much! =P

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    SKiDmark September 9, 2006 at 10:26 am

    Not talking smack Brett. I haven’t said anything on this subject that isn’t true. In fact rather than getting angry and getting in a pissing match with you I am going to put on my Team Diplomacy hat and try to arrange a meeting early next week between the 4 of us. They live in town and I live in Aloha but I think we can all meet downtown during their lunch break. If you can’t do that I’m sure that us three can bike somewhere in the early evening to meet you. Whatever is convenient for you.

    I don’t know why you find it so implausible that a Police Officer would ticket a messenger multiple times.

    ONE LESS BRAKE

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    Rixtir September 9, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    Officer Barnum is continuing to write tickets because he lost one case. That’s all.

    The issue hasn’t been heard by an appellate court yet, so there is no instruction to traffic courts from the appellate courts as to how to interpret this statute. Until there is instruction from the appellate courts, each traffic court is free to interpret the statute according to what it thinks the statute means. So Officer Barnum will continue to write tickets, and he will win some cases, and lose some cases, until an appellate court decides what the statute means. Then the traffic courts will follow that interpretation.

    And if the Legislature agrees with the appellate court, that will be the accepted meaning of the statute, and if the legislature disagrees with the appellate court, it will step in and write the statute to mean what it wants the statute to mean.

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    Bill September 9, 2006 at 1:23 pm

    Id think that there is another direction to go with this….. Has anyone, or is anyone willing to check into the history of injury or crashes where the fixed gear rider was out of control, broke his chain or some other mechanical failure of the bike or rider that would give the officers the feeling that the direction they are going with this is well warranted.

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    John Boyd September 9, 2006 at 2:10 pm

    Thank you Rixtir.
    Fortunately, I’ve never had to learn how the system works.

    >and he will win some cases, and lose some cases

    Barnum has a choice whether to operate in a semi-rogue manner until appelate court can weigh in.
    Funny though how a loosing defendant doesn’t get to choose to continue until an appellate decision.

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    Rixtir September 9, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    Actually, a defendant who loses his/her case could choose to continue to ride “brakeless.” However, that defendant would risk another ticket, and depending on the court, could either win or lose that case.

    Barnum is prosecuting these cases under his understanding of what the law means, so I wouldn’t characterize that particular fact as “semi-rogue” (although it’s interesting that he does appear to have developed a particular interest in fixed gear riders.).

    Because no case has been appealed yet, there’s no appellate decision for anybody to wait for. In order for the appellate courts to weigh in, somebody will have to appeal a decision. That likely means that a defendant who loses at trial would appeal.

    Until a case is appealed and a decision made, Officer Barnum can keep writing tickets and prosecuting cases (although I suppose if he kept losing in trial court, the traffic division might tell him to back off on prosecuting losing cases).

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    Paul Tay September 10, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    Punishment by process.

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    Judge Cheryl September 10, 2006 at 10:37 pm

    I’ve read with interest the comments about fixed-gear brakes and the courts. I’m a Multnomah County Judge Pro Tem who works with Judges Lowe and Larsen. It isn’t uncommon for two judges to differ in statutory interpretation. One judge is not obligated to follow a ruling of another judge in the same jurisdiction, but engages in his or own fact-finding and legal analysis. While the process of statutory interpretation follows a prescribed set of procedures, the interpretation may differ somewhat based on facts in an individual case. I’m not personally privy to Judge Lowe’s or Judge Larsen’s reasoning or to the individual facts, but it appears from a reading of the statute that both positions have some merit.

    Appealing traffic citations is time-consuming and can be very expensive. The best approach for any ticket is to come to court armed with as much information as possible, to be educated in bicycle safety and laws, to be courteous, and to be mindful of court procedures and admissibility of evidence. Lawyers and experts might help your case, but it’s good preparation that’s key.

    Keep safe!
    Judge Cheryl

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    SKiDmark September 11, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    With all due respect Judge Cheryl: If a Police Officer asks you to stop, and you do so without dragging your feet on the ground, doesn’t that indicate the presense of a braking device? If the statute requires that the braked wheel must be capable of skidding, and you can skid a bike that is a fixed gear, doesn’t that satify the statute?

    The drivetrain on a fixed gear functions as a drive and a brake. When you increase you pedaling speed the bike accellerates (drive), when you decrease your pedaling speed the bike decellerates (brake). When you stop pedalling the bike stops(brake). If it stops it is a brake.

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    Dabby September 11, 2006 at 5:57 pm

    This is spinning horribly out of control.
    I have a few remarks to add.
    To the officer above (un named):
    Having dealt with Portland Police for a long time, I understand and respect your wishes to remain annonymous.
    I am glad to see your comments, as they reinforce what I have known, or believed to be, the case for a long time.
    Judge Cheryl:
    I also respect your post, using your real name, in defense of judge’s decisons.
    We pay them to do the job that they are doing. If we do not like this, we must work to change the laws.
    This has been my stance on this since the beginning.
    The ordinance must be changed in Salem where the lawmakers meet.
    This will not be handled on anymore than a case to case basis here in Portland.
    I think alot of people here do not understand that. These judges are making independent decisions on a violation, that is on a dockett, that they may not have even seen until 2 minutes before you are standing in front of them. Once again, this is their job.
    The judges are not conspiring against us like people want to believe.
    The police officer is certainly targeting this, in a sometimes unlawful manner…
    This must be stopped, since there is a obvious history of this occuring. Who here has the power to have Mr. Barnum chastized for abuse of authority?
    Brett,
    Your comments border on idiotic. You claim to want to pay for my friends tickets, if only they could be reproduced.
    I could do this in a half hour if you would like. He is Nerf’s roomate, this is no lie.
    He has gotten four tickets for this offense. I believe they range from a no brake ticket, to driving a unsafe vehicle, which is basically the same ticket.
    Yet, when told they can easily be produced, your back pedal.
    But, why would we want your assistance in this manner? You do not even seem to understand or get the issue.
    The best thing for this person to do is never, ever, get within one city block of you.
    He should, and will, thrust those tickets into his fat little hand, and march right on over to the office of a lawyer, who can do him some good.
    For, like your comments here, you paying for his tickets would be unproductive and uncalled for. It appears to me we do not need your help what so ever.
    Bringing it ’round the turkey and into your living room,
    Dabby.

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    rocco September 11, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    Nice job John Boyd. Well Done.

    Maybe Portland PD will get a clue.

    Rocco

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    pushkin September 12, 2006 at 9:02 am

    Dabby-
    I agree that the only way to get out of this hole is to change the law, it is poorly written and obviously open to interpretations that are at odds with each other. What to do in the meantime? Would you agree that, given that changing the law is the only solution, those who can should put brakes on their bikes so they do not incur fines and wasted time at the court house? Or should they take a gamble and rack up some tickets while waiting for the folks in Salem to maybe amend the statute?
    In the case of the messenger with four tickets, is this civil disobedience worth the possibly irreversible fines that now are approaching hundreds of dollars?
    Officer Barnum may indeed have a vendetta, and right now he can write the tickets and so far has a 50% winning average. Bad odds.
    pushkin

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    John Boyd September 12, 2006 at 9:43 am

    Pushkin, please elaborate on why you think the statute is poorly written or open to interpretation. I had this position myself initially.

    And I would definitely not agree. I don’t think living free requires a gamble before asking first.

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    SKiDmark September 12, 2006 at 10:32 am

    The statute is fine as is unless your agenda is to tighten it up so the track bikes are required to have front brakes. The likely outcome of tightening up the statute to is that all bikes would be required to have a brake on both wheels. This will make at least half the bikes in this city illegal (every bike with just a coaster brake, and every BMX bike with just a rear brake), and make half the bike sold currently illegal. Good luck with that.

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    pushkin September 12, 2006 at 10:48 am

    John Boyd –
    I think the statute is poorly written because to say that a tire must be able to skid as a product of breaking is a dangerous proposition. When skidding the tire is melting and you lose traction and control. As has been previously said, a freewheel bike with a front brake can stop, but skid it cannot. And a track bike does not have to skid to slow down and come to a full stop.
    The statute is open to interpretation simply because two judges have come to two disparate opinions, one thought the bike could brake and stop, the other didn’t.
    I take a libertarian view as well (and also a pragmatic one), but some fights for individual freedom carry costs that outweigh the exercising of that freedom. Unfortunately, until living free without a brake is clarified on a legislative or appeallate level, there is a grey area/waiting time where tickets will be issued that is concurrent with the lobbying and appealing. This is not voting rights or a freedom that disenfranchises you from participating in the public arena. I would love to not get a ticket for my track bike, and in many states I will not. But until the law is changed in Oregon or there is a judicial precedent set to clarify the interpretation of the statute, I would prefer to keep my seventy-odd dollars in my pocket, and have a token brake on my bike that I don’t have to touch.

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    SKiDmark September 12, 2006 at 11:04 am

    It would cost me more to buy a fork with a hole in it, a brake caliper, some good pads , and cyclocross lever than it would to pay the ticket, or even appeal it. There is no way I am putting any cheeseball junk parts a semi-expensive high quality track bike. They have to be of comparable quality and appearance. Also I don’t see why I should have to modify my bike when I have six other bikes with brakes on them.

    And…why should I render a track bike “illegal” at Alpenrose Velodrome?

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    pushkin September 12, 2006 at 11:36 am

    This is where we are: a lot of cyclists (myself included) think brakes on a fixed hub are redundant, but a police officer is delighting in giving out tickets, one judge has ruled that a brakeless bike is subject to a fine, and as riders we are presented now with a choice. The good old days of rocking brakeless bikes without a worry are over. That is the current reality, right or wrong.
    SKiDmark, I respectfully say that you don’t have to do anything, you can avoid the fine by riding another bike for work,or you cannot, but you do have a choice.
    Suggesting that you shouldn’t be modifying one bike in order to comply with the current reality because you have others already with that modification does not logically follow. And if you get to Alpenrose on your track bike with a brake on it, take it off to satisfy the rules there.

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    Dabby September 12, 2006 at 11:41 am

    Pushkin,
    Perhaps I did not explain what I meant.
    I believe that bicycles should be seperated from motorized vehicles.
    Declassification wil mean that we are not governed by the laws that govern cars.
    Skateboards, rollerblades, scooters. None of these have legal brakes, yet none of these are classified as motor vehicles.
    Bicycles should be included in this.
    One of the simple explanations being that a lot of kid’s bikes do not have legal brakes either. The state is not going to force legal brakes and ticket offending children in the neighborhoods for this.
    Children are not allowed to drive, so they ride supposedly unsafe bikes.
    There are so many reasons why bicycles should be declassified as motorized vehicles. You shuld start thinking about it, and write a letter to your representative in Salem..
    On the note of shouldn’t we just put a “legal” brake on track bikes?
    We already have legal brakes on our track bikes. A legal brake does not have to be mechanical, it has to reasonably stop the rider.
    This is clear as day.
    So no, we should not start putting mechanical brakes on our track bikes.
    Unless of course, you do not feel safe without one. Then by all means do this.
    On the note of civil disobedience:
    It is not civil disobedience to ride within the letter of the law.
    It is civil disobedience to be in a position of authority, and interpret the law along the lines of your own personal agenda.
    I believe this has started wars in the past.
    It appears it has started a little one now.

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    John Boyd September 12, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    Sure it’s given that braking by skidding the rear wheel is not as safe as a front brake, but I don’t think it’s a “dangerous proposition”. Riding a bike in town at all is a dangerous proposition. Not that what I think is dangerous matters squat, I happen to think riding a motorcycle on the freeways, as Officer Barnum does, is more risk than I could comfortably handle.

    But before the statute can be called poorly written, there has to be something better written, and I don’t see how. Somethng better has to still be a verifiably objective test of stopping ability. Do you see how this could be done realistically? I don’t without a whole lot of confusion. Skid = simple.

    In the first case, Ayla’s, I don’t think the intent and letter of the statute were interpreted at all. They were skirted. The statute was selectively ignored and replaced with new language, “separate device”, that fit Judge Lowe’s own comfort level on a bicycle. “I would not be able to stop” were his words. According to my meager online resources, decisions based on personally held beliefs are exactly what Judges are *not* supposed to do.

    We have an officer that believes he’s more right that the dictionary, and this fact has only been called out once before a judge.

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    pushkin September 12, 2006 at 2:43 pm

    A braking device’s method of slowing and a city riding environmnent can both be dangerous but they are not analagous.
    As a practical matter I would prefer to see a policy decision by PPB and the City give the green light to fixed hub braking over reworking the statute given the inconsistent interpretation and enforcement of such and the time and resources that could be wasted getting the statute re-written.
    Since John Boyd asks… for kicks, if I were proposing a better written statute that has an objective test of stopping ability and less wiggle room for interpretation I would look to the ORS section for Requirements and Standards for brakes on motorcycles (ORS §§815.125(1),(4),(5) and (7)(a)), and cobble together something like this:
    “Bicycles shall be provided a with at least one brake that may be operated by hand or foot that is adequate to control movement of and to stop and to hold the bicycle, must be maintained in good working order, and must be able to brake from a speed of 20 miles per hour to a stop within 25 feet.”
    I agree that in Ayla’s case the intent seems to have been ignored, and I agree with the comments regarding the Judge using his personally held beliefs to support his decision. I just think a tighter statute would deter such decisions.
    Keep the rubber side down.

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    John Boyd September 12, 2006 at 3:40 pm

    “[…]and must be able to brake from a speed of 20 miles per hour to a stop within 25 feet.”

    When I said realistically better, I didn’t think I needed to say enforceable.
    Or when you said we need a better law you had presumed the creation of about a network of Bicycle Deceleration Inspection Centers?

    I’m begining to think it doesn’t matter how well the law is written, there will be always one cop that knows what it really means.

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    pushkin September 12, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    “I’m begining to think it doesn’t matter how well the law is written, there will be always one cop that knows what it really means.”
    You hit the nail on the head. Indeed. It is the sad truth.

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    SKiDmark September 12, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    Pushkin, did you miss the part about there not being a hole to mount a brake? The reason I bring up the subject of mounting a brake is because it is the only way they allow you to show compliance to the law and NOT pay the fine. I don’t know if bringing in a whole other fixed gear bike would get me out of paying the fine.

    I can definitely stop within 25 feet at 20 mph on my track bike, I do it all the time. If you were to apply a rule like that to fixed gear bikes, it would be more dependent on the operator than on the equipment.

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    pushkin September 12, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    SKiDmark, my apologies about the Alpenrose bike. You got me there and I don’t have a ready solution for that one, but I stand by the rest.

    I didn’t know you could get out of the ticket by presenting a frame that shows it can be modified. If you brought in another bike and won then that would be great. Did the police officer include a detailed description of the bike on the ticket, something to the effect of “Fondriest track bike, Campagnolo pista gruppo on Corima rims with carbon saddle by selle italia”? You may have found the loophole or the escape route.

    The 25 feet at 20 mph thing I just cribbed from the ORS regarding motorbikes because I figured any competent fixed hub rider can stop within that many feet at that speed. Plus it reinforces the spirit of the law which is, can you stop when asked to? I guessed that if someone were proposing new language for the statute they may model it on something analagous like that. Just a guess, I’m no lawyer.

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    SKiDmark September 12, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    Mounting a brake or showing a reciept for a brake is the only way you can get out of the fine.

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    HillSlug September 13, 2006 at 8:11 am

    Hmm…a fixie fix-it ticket. Now there’s a tongue twister.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 13, 2006 at 10:02 am

    When I first read the post regarding the ticketed rider and what qualifies as a brake, I was not happy with the case or the ruling. As an avid cyclist, however, I am constantly concerned with both sides and opinions of our beloved vehicle when concerning the shared road. Fixed gears have always had a following and it is expanding. I would ask the following questions of fixed geared afficianos.

    1. I know you can stop a fixed gear bike without brakes. That is obvious. My question is can you stop it as easily and quickly as a bike with rim brakes with as much control?

    2. I cannot figure out for the life of me why someone would be anti-brake. A one-brake setup does not cost a lot, is not overly complex and adds more over-all control over the bike. How is adding a brake to your bike more dangerous?

    I understand for most of us cars are a large obstacle and it’s easy to pay a lot of attention to how much favoritism and space they enjoy. However, I personally don’t like to overlook the safety of other cyclists and pedestrians while worrying about cars. Cars are to be barated to be sure but never at the expense of everyone’s safety. I think there’s legitemit concern regarding this issue. I am sure some posting here might convince me otherwise. : )

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    John Boyd September 14, 2006 at 8:55 am

    So I’m just a caveman and all, but when did become okay for a judge to give opinionated interviews on matters under appeal?

    http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/living/15501581.htm

    In answer to post above:
    1. No. Can your rim brakes stop as well as my disc brakes on my tourer? No. Why do you put yourself at risk like that? Is it because you think your rim brakes are safe enough? Probably yes, like I believe my abilty to skid makes me safe enough.

    2. It’s not more dangerous to have a redundant brake, that’s silly. But ask yourself why you ride instead of drive. Simplicity is a very nice thing to me too.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 14, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    1. You reached one of the keypoints to the issue, John. “like I believe my abilty to skid makes me safe enough”. You addressed your safety and comfort on the bike but not anyone else’s safety or comfort with you riding a bike without a device specifically designed to stop the vehicle in question without skidding. Yes, I have seen pedestrians injured by bicycles.

    2. I can see how this one was misinterpreted. A braked bike not a dangerous thing. My ‘oops’.
    But it appears you got the point. How much more complex and costly is the brake we’re talking about? Not a lot, given we’re talking legally about the safety of you and others. On the ‘ride instead if drive’ comment, I actually drive and ride. If you do not do one or the other, i.e. don’t drive, you have some trouble legally challenging the issue. I doubt it would give you any comfort if my car had no brake except for the parking brake. Thier legal definition they have for a brake is questionable, too. A vehicle with locked brakes, i.e. skidding is legally and arguably out of control. That might also come up.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-fixed gear. I just pay close attention to any legal cases regarding bicycles I hear about. I’ve ridden for years in Knoxville TN, Phoenix AZ and Santa Fe NM and I have seen more damage to cycling communitities by poor arguements and conduct by cyclists than anything else.

    In this issue I came in favor of the cyclist but many legal and safety issues swayed me to the middle. To win this battle in the court you have to convince the judge or jury why you don’t have a brake on the bike.
    The fixed-gear is a more simple expression of the bicycle, yes. However learning to ride one does take time even for an experienced cyclist.

    If the issue expands in the courts, these things might very well be brought up.

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    ray September 14, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    I got a ticket today by the Burlingame Fred Meyer. I ride by ten cops downtown and then the only two cops in SW portland see me and care wtf. if i put a brake on my bike and take a picture and take the pic to court i dont have to pay. i know that one person has fought the ticket and won, but i cant risk it.

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    SKiDmark September 14, 2006 at 6:46 pm

    A front brake on a TRACK BIKE is aesthetically bankrupt and antithetical. A track bike is a thing of minimalist beauty. I prefer to ride it a little slower and pay a little more attention to the road than bastardize it with a brake. This is not vanity, it is an appreciation for industrial design.

    A track bike can stop as well as a beach cruiser with a coaster brake or a BMX bike with just a rear caliper brake. It satifies the skidding requirement of the statute as well.

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    BLDZR September 15, 2006 at 7:41 am

    The PERCEIVED safety of another rider is not, or shouldn’t be, what’s in question here. Nor is the aesthetic. The question about the statute is whether or not a particular rider meets the performance standard set by the statute. This will vary among riders, but the performance standard itself should not. It seems Officer Barnum does not believe that the statute sets a performance standard, but rather an equipment standard. That’s an easy mistake to make, and it seems one that Val A Lindsay is making, too.

    While I continue to agree that brakes certainly make every bike more safe, I don’t agree that a mechanical, added brake should be required on all bicycles, and I don’t believe that it’s required by the statute. If a person can demonstrate control enough to stop the bike in a reasonable distance (the 25 ft. standard for motorbikes does seem appropriate) then that person has clearly met the performance standard. What’s left to prove.

    Officer Barnum is on a crusade because he refuses to understand the statute as what it is: A performance, not an equipment, standard. As no case has yet been brought to appeal, he is not under any obligation to stop his crusade, frustrating as that may be.

    One can liken this debate to helmet laws on bicycles. It is undoubtedly a good idea to wear a helmet, but the law does not, and should not, require grown adults – who are responsible for their own lives and decisions – to wear one under punishment of law. Likewise, the law should not require the use and equipment of a redundant brake for the sake of another cyclist’s feelings of safety. If a PARTICULAR rider demonstrates in front of an officer of the law that he/she is not capable of controlling the bicycle enough to meet the performance standard as set by the already existing law, then that PARTICULAR rider can and should be ticketed. But going across the board to ticket anyone and everyone who doesn’t have a handbrake on their bike is a waste of time, energy, and money.

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    John Boyd September 15, 2006 at 8:08 am

    Over the fence homerun, Bldzr. I’ll take a print of that beautifully worded post to my next trial for inspiration.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 15, 2006 at 8:11 am

    You describe minimalist beauty but then say it’s not vanity. Sorry, it’s hard to buy that arguement when the contradiction pours from the same paragraph.

    Again I reiterate; The law is contradicting itself with the skidding. A car skidding is considered not in control of the operator. How is a bike different? It shouldn’t be an arguement that a experienced fixie rider can slow and stop his/her bike controllably. I’m trying to think of anything a DA can throw towards riders. Example; If a handbrake fails while braking, do you have a case against the manufacturer? Now if your chain fails while using it to brake, do you have a case against the company that manufactured it? I’m not aware of any chain manufacturers who express thier chains to have the strength to stop a bike and rider.

    I’m all too familiar with laws of liability and how they apply to shops and manufacturers in failures. The only arguement I’ve seen anyone has so far has against a brake is a matter of simplicity and aethetics but if you make this the arguement for the case you might very well lose in court.

    I am truly playing Devil’s Advocate here. For good or ill, this traffic cop is deciding how this law will play out. One case lost, one case won so far. He will probably issue another ticket. It will wind up in court again and these things may very well be brought up.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 15, 2006 at 9:08 am

    As far as interpritation of the law, I take it you are a lawyer. You have one of two choices there. You can demonstrate your ability to stop by having a piece of equipment on your bike that stops the bike with no special training or 2. You can obtain a license that proves you’ve demonstrated your ability to operate a vehicle. I know that sounds ludicrous, except for the fact that fixed-geared bikes are not hopped upon by novices and ridden just like that. It takes practice to operate one. Saying otherwise is a farce.

    BLDZR, I believe you have right to take any chance involving just yourself as you want to. I personally get furious when I see someone riding a bicycle on a sidewalk. A handlebar clipping a pedestrian at 20 mph is an ugly thing. I bore witness to the whole thing, crossroads of Unversity and Rural in Tempe, AZ. A fixed gear rider clipping a pedestrian or another rider is quite a possiblity especially in dense population. Sorry, public safety is NOT just a percieved issue. The helmet law analogy completely fails to take this into account.

    I can’t help but notice noone else’s safety other than the fixie rider is being considered here…

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    brett September 15, 2006 at 9:41 am

    btw
    I’m still here

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    BLDZR September 15, 2006 at 9:55 am

    well, it’s already illegal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk downtown between NW Hoyt and SW Market, between the river and the 405. A fine law, although it often interfered with my job as a Portland bike messenger. But it makes sense, as the sidewalks of downtown are crowded with pedestrians. The streetways are not quite so flooded with pedestrians. Those who are in the street are breaking another law. Why not place your worry on them?
    **
    Raising the question of licensing cyclists is an asinine idea. The public at large woudn’t stand for it, as no one wants to have to license their children, which would be necessary. I’d sincerely hope we don’t delve any further into this debate.
    **
    Your concern for public safety seems ill-figured. In the event that an accident or collision occurs, then (and ONLY THEN) it is a matter of public safety. As a cyclist, I am not concerned with the perceived safety of my riding, I am only concerned with its actual safety. Those who are not able to control their bicycle, as I’ve said in my previous post, should be cited for failing to meet the performance standard already set in the law. Sure, a better performance standard could be written (as in the one offered by pushkin), but some worry-wart, who is uncomfortable with a cyclist riding in the street, under control, and without a hand-brake is not the concern of the law.

    My right to take part in activities you wouldn’t want to is protected by law UNTIL someone’s rights are infringed upon. “public safety” laws are too often tyranny masquerading as protection. I have a tremendous issue with the “mother hen” outlook of many who post on this site. The world is not safe. Laws will not make it safe. Using your common sense makes it safe.

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    benschon September 15, 2006 at 10:17 am

    Regarding the performance standard vs. equipment standard debate–the statute doesn’t read that way. Look at it again:

    “A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.”

    This sentence is really a equipment standard (“must be equipped with a brake”), that has an additional, dependent clause that contains the performance standard (“that enables” etc.). The key word in the sentence is “that” which makes the skidding thing secondary to the “equipped” clause. See? You need to satisfy the “equipped with a brake” part of the law first, then, once you have shown that, prove that you can use it to make the bike skid.

    Arguing that fixies do not have brakes and don’t need them because they can skid is a sure-fire way to lose one of these cases. A successful legal defense (Mr. Ginsburg, are you listening?) needs to establish the existence of a brake, per the first part of this sentence and the dictionary definition. The hub IS the brake.

    I think Ayla Holland lost her case for two reasons: because the judge inappropriatly inserted the word “separate” into the statute, but also because she overplayed her ability to stop safely, and not the simple fact that it was “equipped with a brake”.

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    John Boyd September 15, 2006 at 10:41 am

    Most substantive! Thanks Benshon
    I gave the court three pieces of paper when I won my trial:

    First was the (merriamwebster3rdEdUnabridged) definition of the word “equipped”: “to proviode with what is necessary useful, or appropriate”.

    Second was the definition of “brake”: “something designed or used to slow or stop movement”.

    Third page was a photograph the bike laying on the ground in the spot where a visible and annotated 10′ long skid mark brought it to rest.

    Very much agreed that, as far as winning a trial, safety, mechanics and big-wheel analogies are confusing.

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    BLDZR September 15, 2006 at 10:47 am

    Good show, Benshon. Now THAT’s some constructive dialogue.

    I concur that the performance standard is subject to the equipment standard, but that really doesn’t change the point that fixed-gear bikes still meet both standards, so long as no one inserts the word “separate” into it unnecessarily.

    Thanks for the insight.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 15, 2006 at 11:21 am

    I’m sorry that my posts are being misconstrued as my opinon et al. I personally am concerned with the safety of others regarding the issue. Everything else, including the license comment are just part of a whole. But regarding your post, BLDZR…

    “In the event that an accident or collision occurs, then (and ONLY THEN) it is a matter of public safety.”– I’m sure all who have had close calls with cars while riding would disagree with this statement. Someone shouldn’t be injured in an accident to then consider the danger of an activity on public thoroughways.

    “Raising the question of licensing cyclists is an asinine idea.”– Yes, it is. But do you think any cop is going to allow you demonstrate your abilities there on the side of the road to prove your abilities to stop in an emergency? No. That’s asinine to believe too.

    I hope you consider reading my posts before passing ‘Mother-hen worry-wart’ judgements on my ‘opinions’. I’m playing Devil’s advocate here, as stated before. I think fixies are fine as they are, but it’s easily argued one with a handbrake is safer. I am a little annoyed by your lack of safety concern for others while arguing the case. Any and all vehicles using thoroughways should be respectful of others and your lack of empathy towards that would not serve you well in a court of law.

    Benshon, you are right. I wonder how (or if) this definition will be made?

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    BLDZR September 15, 2006 at 12:29 pm

    Val,

    While I appreciate your Devil’s Advocacy in making us question our arguments, I think the particular points you are making are circumspect to the issue at hand. That issue is whether or not fixed-gear bikes without handbrakes should be legal or illegal. The perceived safety of these bikes is not in question, nor is the assertion that a bike with a brake is safer. I have conceded that very point in this and other threads.

    Instead of posting a long and rambling explanation of my opinions on perception of safety and my general lack of empathy for others, I’ll just invite you to visit my website, MESS, which you can do by clicking on my name above. In particular, I invite you to read an old blog of mine:

    http://messmagazine.net/mess/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25&Itemid=61

    Really, I believe that Benschon and John have really wrapped up this discussion, which is about the legal language and potential ramifications of such language. Let the BTA or some other squares do a study about the perceived danger of fixed gears. It’s not my concern. My concern is getting from A to B safely and quickly.

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    SKIDmark September 15, 2006 at 1:03 pm

    How is an appreciation for minimalism in industrial design a contradiction? Vanity is inflated pride in one appearance, and I am clearly not saying “Hey, look at ME on my track bike”. I am talking about the bike and I am respecting the original design of the bike. I am sorry you cannot see the artistic quality and value of an everyday object. Vanity is based upon caring what others think and I am stating what I think about the design of a track bike without regard to what others think.

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    SKIDmark September 15, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    And about chain strength : I recently discovered that the chain on one of my coasterbrake bikes had one busted link plate. About a month ago, I forgot to tighten the axle bolt after having the wheel off and the chain derailed making a large “POP”. I thought nothing of it and put the chain back on and continued pedaling up hills standing up, going fast downhill, and skidding. Then I noticed the half-broken link, and I immediately replaced it, one month later. One month at half strength and it didn’t break. This isn’t a 60 dollar Wipperman chain either it’s a 10 dollar KMC chrome BMX chain.

    Fixed gear specific chains like the Wipperman are designed to withstand sprinting with 100 gear-inch ratios, at 40 mph, and designed to deal with the torque applied if you need to slow down quickly from that speed by resisting the forward motion of the pedals which produces way more stress than shifting your weight forward and skidding.

    If a chain ever breaks it is due to someone not joining the link properly with a cahin tool, or a master link failure, or a major mishap like the one I described.

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    SKIDmark September 15, 2006 at 1:26 pm

    The arguement I would use in court is outlined in my post #49 to this topic, defining the hub as a brake. Again : The drivetrain on a fixed gear functions as a drive and a brake. When you increase you pedaling speed the bike accellerates (drive), when you decrease your pedaling speed the bike decellerates (brake). When you stop pedalling the bike stops(brake). If it stops it is a brake.

    I requires no more “special training” than riding a bike does in the first place. What if the first bike you learned on was fixed gear, would every other bike then require “special training” ?

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    Val A Lindsay II September 15, 2006 at 2:18 pm

    It’s well writen article but I cannot exactly agree with it. For example, this statement…

    “Drivers, as a rule, do NOT see you as traffic. And no matter what the law says, they will never see cyclists as the same as them. This is rude, pushy America, where cars rule and cyclists are second-class.” I’ve obviously not been following the rules because I pay close attention to cyclists. I’d imagine there are a good number of drivers who ride bicycles out there. Do we stand accused of the same judgement?

    Lastly, if you consider all the current laws regarding rules of the road as bunk I don’t understand how you can expand on the community of cycling. I truly hope other messengers aren’t as idealist and elitist as you make yourself out to be.

    As far as our own roads, here’s a dream I hope sees form…

    http://www.biketrans.com/index.html

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    Val A Lindsay II September 15, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    Skid;

    1. I never mentioned ‘special training’ in my post. I said it takes practice to ride a fixie comfortably and safely. To say otherwise, again, is a farce.

    2. I see the art in bicycles. I’ve built some damn pretty bikes, including fixed gears with brakes and none. The law may not see that ‘art’ in relation to the added safety of an actual handbrake.

    3. Do I need to repeat myself regarding chains? “If a handbrake fails while braking, do you have a case against the manufacturer? Now if your chain fails while using it to brake, do you have a case against the company that manufactured it?” The leverage ratio a cable brake enjoys over a chain is staggering. That leverage ratio allows a huge difference in modulation, too. The handbrake wins this contest everytime.

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    Anonymous September 15, 2006 at 6:47 pm

    “I know that sounds ludicrous, except for the fact that fixed-geared bikes are not hopped upon by novices and ridden just like that. It takes practice to operate one. Saying otherwise is a farce.”
    Ok I don’t know where I picked up “special training” but the idea that it is difficult to ride fixed is actually ludicrous. It is different, and very simple. That is the part most people have trouble wrapping their heads around, how simple it is: pedal fast go fast, pedal slow go slow, stop pedaling and you stop.

    Funny, the chain discussion came up today with a bike shop mechanic who also races road bikes competitively and he echoed my sentiments about chains breaking. Trust me, the force of sprinting and resisting @ 40 mph is far greater than having your weight shifted forward and skidding. I have watched people skid more than 300 feet on a fixed gear and the stress is on the handlebars and the front wheel, the cranks can be held still with one foot. Go to http://www.oldskooltrack.com and watch the skidding contest videos if you think I am bullsh*tting.

    I think the thing that frosts my tomatoes the most is how people who have never ridden a fixed gear without an auxillary brake on a regular basis are commenting on how dangerous it is to ride one. How could you possibly know?

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    SKiDmark September 15, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    “I know that sounds ludicrous, except for the fact that fixed-geared bikes are not hopped upon by novices and ridden just like that. It takes practice to operate one. Saying otherwise is a farce.”
    Ok I don’t know where I picked up “special training” but the idea that it is difficult to ride fixed is actually ludicrous. It is different, and very simple. That is the part most people have trouble wrapping their heads around, how simple it is: pedal fast go fast, pedal slow go slow, stop pedaling and you stop.

    Funny, the chain discussion came up today with a bike shop mechanic who also races road bikes competitively and he echoed my sentiments about chains breaking. Trust me, the force of sprinting and resisting @ 40 mph is far greater than having your weight shifted forward and skidding. I have watched people skid more than 300 feet on a fixed gear and the stress is on the handlebars and the front wheel, the cranks can be held still with one foot. Go to http://www.oldskooltrack.com and watch the skidding contest videos if you think I am bullsh*tting.

    I think the thing that frosts my tomatoes the most is how people who have never ridden a fixed gear without an auxillary brake on a regular basis are commenting on how dangerous it is to ride one. How could you possibly know?

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    Anonymous September 15, 2006 at 10:55 pm

    Not saying it’s dangerous. I’m saying a handbrake equipped bike is safer. I saw the video of the comparison between a fixie locked brake and a coaster locked brake. Notice no comparison to a handbrake equipped brake. I’ll cut that distance in half and NOT lock up my brakes and skid with a hand-brake equipped bike. Why do you think they invented brakes? Skidding is NOT safe. Skidding is NOT control in an emergency situation. So far nothing has been presented to me that indicates that a $20 handbrake setup on a fixed gear doesn’t give better braking control if presented in a court of law.

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    Dabby September 15, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    I cannot believe that we are still here arguing silly points such as this.
    This is not a vanity issue.
    This was never, and will never be a issue of riding a bike with no brakes, as that is stupid.
    This is not about having fun breaking laws.
    A fixed gear bike has a legal brake, and a redundant brake can be dangerous on the front of a track bike, as pulling it hard and flying over the handlebars is a great possibilty.
    I make the personal choice to not ride a redundant front brake on my fixed gear.
    It is not required by law. It is not needed on my track bike.
    But others, meaning those who do not ride, or do not have the skills to properly ride, a fixed gear bike, continue to yelp on and on about a issue they have no clue about.
    When are we going to move on from bitching and moaning, to a plausible solution?
    When are we, as cyclists, going to come together as we should, to protect OUR livelyhood?
    Not just as messengers. Not just as commuters. Not just as shifters or zoobombers.
    But as cyclists…..

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    Anonymous September 16, 2006 at 8:11 am

    Not dangerous, just not as safe as a bike WITH a handbrake. A hand-braked bike stops more controllably in a shorter distance, especially in a panic stop, every time.

    I think fixies are fine the way they are. I just recognize the fact that in a court of law that your argument is not really a viable answer for a judge.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 16, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    I’m not saying a fixed gear is dangerous. I’m saying that a fixie WITH a handbrake is SAFER. I’ve watched your video. I’ve watched the comparison between the fixie and kickback skid test too. And yes, I have ridden a fixie with and without a handbrake. I can shorten the stopping distance by half with a bike equipped with handbrakes.

    It’s not my opinion either fixed gears without handbrakes should be illegal. But then again I don’t write law either. Benshon made the point of what might need to be proven in a court of law. Your love of simplicity doesn’t trump the fact a bike with a handbrake stops more controllably and in a shorter distance, thus is safer.

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    SKiDmark September 16, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    I don’t remember ever saying it wasn’t safer. Paying more attention to the road because you require a greater stopping distance is safer too though, innit?

    If a fixed hub fits the definition of a brake ( it can slow and stop the bike) and you can skid with it, then it meets the requirements of the statute.

    It has NOTHING to do with with the “love of simplicity”. I was just trying to explain what fixed gear meant to me, and that it had much more to than simple defiance or some sort of “look at me” vanity.

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    Michael September 16, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    I just have to toss one consideration into the fray…

    I do not have a fixie, but have long experience as a front and rear caliper rider. I know from reading and direct experience that the front brake is far superior to the rear brake in almost every regard. If you want to experiement, try to see how short you can stop with maximum braking on each, alone. The rear will skid and take a longer time to stop. It is nearly impossible to skid the front and you get more braking power because the friction of a rolling wheel is greater than a skidding wheel. It is a case of physics that I can’t explain. There are a few cases where the rear, or a combination front and rear, is better braking, but on the whole, front braking is categorically better.

    That said, all of you who think the rear alone, by either fixie or by coaster or whatever, is adequate – you are most probably right. It may not be quite as good as the front, but it is enough. The cop who has a vendetta is absolutely nuts and should be put back into basic cop school for a refresher on community relations.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 16, 2006 at 8:13 pm

    It’s hard not to believe the officer doesn’t have a vendetta, but I’d like to hear his reasoning before I define it as such. Strikes me too much of “Hippies vs. Pigs.”

    Skid, I’d ask you this; If the law becomes consistent in favor of mounting a brake on your bike or receive a fine, how what action would you take? Legal action? Just not put a brake on your bike? Just curious.

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    NeRf September 17, 2006 at 12:31 am

    yup the balzer isn’t tageting messengers, he told me last friday, as he gave me 2 more tickets, one for sidewalk ($242) and one for no brake ($97). i honestly didn’t know i could get ANOTHER no brake ticket since i havn’t gone to
    court about the first one. so i guess i’m in the lead on the ticket race. 4 in total (one of my roomate’s tickets got thrown out)… oh yaay

    i feel so loved.

    all i want to do is work in peace, who the hell am i hurting over a damn preference? so many of you are anti-no brake, but really why?? is it just to argue on a damn website?
    i know my not having brakes has never effected any of you at all. i don’t wear a helmet either, you know why? because my preference. i don’t care if it looks cool or not and this includes the brakes its just my preference. and the reason i will not put a brake on my bike and won’t wear a helmet is because i will not have someone tell me what to do, especially if it only effects my life. its my damn life.

    now i know someone will come up and argue my point of view most likly just to argue about something but i’m going to tell you this,
    its just a website and words, nothing you say can effect my view or stand.

    -NeRf

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    jesse September 17, 2006 at 8:53 am

    NeRf, isn’t it against the law to ride on the side walk downtown?
    Maybe he is targeting messengers because you run red lights, ride on the sidewalk, ride the wrong way down one way streets,and ride throught the bus mall.
    I would say it is more like shooting fish in a barrel, watch you for very long and you will do something illegal.

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    SKiDmark September 17, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    I will NEVER put a brake on my track bike. I does not have holes for one anyways. I will take my chances with the law the same way I do now.

    If the law changes so that you have to have a braking system on each wheel, it would render about half the bikes sold in Oregon illegal, and about half of the bikes on the road too. Most BMX, cruisers, and children’s bikes only have a rear brake.

    In the UK the law is that you have to have a brake on each wheel, and a fixed hub qualifies as a brake! I was told this by a British Messenger who was working at Veloshop last summer.

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    Preston September 17, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    NeRF,

    I’m all for preference. Believe me. I got pulled over in Beaverton today for doing a track stand at a stop sign while a car directly beside me did a California stop. There is talk going around that cyclists are being targed more heavily in Beaverton as a response to the killings in Washington County. So I totally agree with preference, etc.

    But here is something you have to understand.

    #1 – Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk can be dangerous. Sometimes it can be your only option or it can get you out of danger. So far being for me to preach on that subject as I’ve had to use a sidewalk many times. But it can be dangerous and in my 7 years of cycling in downtown Portland the police have been fairly consistent on this issue.

    #2 – I agree regarding the issue of how you choose to brake. As long as you have a brake (which a fixie is), then I don’t see the problem.

    #3 – The helmet? Well, take that one up with the state. The nanny state doesn’t want you to smoke reefer or go without seat belts either. Even though I don’t do drugs, won’t drive without a seatbelt and wear a helmet at all times, I agree with what you’re saying about preference. Problem is this is the law. Don’t like the law? Get it changed. Many states don’t have helmet laws for adults.

    Some of those states are actually goverened by adults.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 18, 2006 at 7:56 am

    Speaking of adults, Preston…

    “I will NEVER put a brake on my track bike. I does not have holes for one anyways. I will take my chances with the law the same way I do now.”—Skidmark

    As stated, I know a hand-brake equipped bike is safer for the rider and, more importantly, to other traffic. This includes pedestrians and probably why this law and the ‘no side-walk’ law exist. Sure, there are too many laws that protect us solely from ourselves, but I don’t believe that’s why this law exists.

    Not one person here has indicated any concern about the safety of the pedestrian while defending thier personal preferences. What does it say about a community that is very vocally concerned about thier own safety and space on the road when they show no equal concern about the safety of others? To the greater community not much good. In the eyes of the law even less.

    That is the problem.

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    chakra lu September 18, 2006 at 9:38 am

    it’s legal to ride without a helmet in oregon…although, highly encouraged by the law to wear one, they cannot issue you a ticket for you not wearing a helmet…i think if you are 13 or 14 and younger, you have to wear a helmet, or the parents can get ticketed…something like that…just a lil’ tidbit info fer ya’s…

    damn, over a hundred posts on arguing something that is so obvious…fixed = brake equipped…and it’s going soooooooo long…so exhausting…and the ticketing on such a ridiculous fight…they should be ticketed for wasting your tax payor money…what a waste of resources…poor trees being used on such an issue…

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    Preston September 18, 2006 at 10:44 am

    I think the reason I give the benefit of the doubt on the braking issue is that (to the best of my knowledge) no one said “I’ll take my chances with pedestrians”. They said they’d take their chances with the law. The law and reality are often at odds with each other. It’s my understanding that someone riding a fixie can stop and know they can stop. If this isn’t true then I’d agree with you. But otherwise…

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    SKiDmark September 18, 2006 at 11:25 am

    Val, you are welcome to ride along with me any time, and we will see who is paying more attention to the road and who rides safer. I guarantee as an ex-motorcyclist that it is me. You have NEVER seen me ride a bike, so you have a lot of audacity to say that I show no concern for the safety of others.

    Val, I think your problem is your perception of the fixed gear bike. You have this silly notion that there is just no way it could possibly stop without the assistance of an auxillary brake. Maybe it is because you don’t know how to do this. There is an old saying “If they say it can’t be done, it just means they can’t do it.”

    So what I said about other bikes with one brake, no comment?

    The only pedestrians I ever get near are the ones jaywalking at intersections. In other words the light is green for me and they are crossing the street illegally. I slow down by resisting the forward motion of the pedals and go around them yelling “Jaywalker!” in case a Police Officer wants to give them a ticket.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 18, 2006 at 12:46 pm

    Again, I reiterate; I’m NOT against fixies. However, a bike WITH handbrakes stops more safely with more control in a shorter distance. My goodness, man! How many times do I have to say this is a LEGAL issue?

    Yes, I have the audacity to assume your position. You have stated quite clearly your positions why you do not wish to equip your bike with a brake. The safety of others and how cyclists are perceived is VERY important to me as I ride bicycles, a motorcycle, drive a car and yes, I occasinally walk places too.

    The brain has a certain trick; We make up our minds why we like something, want something, hate this, like that, etc. then we rationalize and reason things to justify that we are right. Doesn’t it strike you odd that I am in the bike biz and ride regularly in the community but I seem to be against your bicycle?

    I read about the first arrest and was totally against the police regarding thier action. But by doing some research and considering many different points of view, I cannot say the law is without merit. I believe quite strongly that the more we are seen in legal terms, the more merit we have to the masses who don’t ride and, in the future, probably will.

    If by whim of fate you were arrested and taken before a court regarding this law, I’d hope you would have a good arguement as you would be representing a community. The bicycle is an ideal vehicle but unfortunately suffers at the hands of idealists and the malaise of poorly argued reasoning.

    No, your choice of vehicle and how it is equipped may not need to be justified, but it looks like it may have to be. Or else who will suffer? Those who primarly ride fixed gears, it appears. Laws exist for reasons. Has anyone bothered calling a state office or representative and found out why the law exists in it’s current wording? You should be able to look that up. Hell, perhaps change it. Simply thumbing your nose at the law when pushed into a corner does you nor the greater cycling community any good. Organize.

    Find a lawyer who rides and get his opinions on what needs to happen. Formulate a better arguement then, “A front brake on a TRACK BIKE is aesthetically bankrupt and antithetical. A track bike is a thing of minimalist beauty.” The court will look at that and then “A handbrake is a device specifically designed by a manufacturer to stop a vehicle in a controlled and safe manner”. My money says the last argument wins and I can’t say that’s the worst thing that could possibly fall onto the bicycle.

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    SKiDmark September 18, 2006 at 2:54 pm

    Hey Val, you forget to quote me on this: “The arguement I would use in court is outlined in my post #49 to this topic, defining the hub as a brake. Again : The drivetrain on a fixed gear functions as a drive and a brake. When you increase you pedaling speed the bike accellerates (drive), when you decrease your pedaling speed the bike decellerates (brake). When you stop pedalling the bike stops(brake). If it stops it is a brake.”

    At this point you are trolling and/or flaming take your pick. You are taking what I say out of context and you are ignoring the actual wording of the statute : “A bicycle must be equipped with a brake”. You are ignoring the requirement of the statute : “a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement”. Try to make your arguement within the confines of those words. I have no problems with how the statute is wording because a fixed hub functions as a brake and I can skid.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 18, 2006 at 3:54 pm

    Skid; I’ll do you a favor and say nothing else after this post.

    You’re not familiar enough with the law. Yes, the brake must be able to apply enough pressure to lock up a wheel and skid, but you know skidding is against the law, right?

    I’m not trolling. I’m making a case. You are taking what I’m saying out of context and not acknowledging anything but your answers as for fact you are right. I never said you were wrong. For the matter though, the law is right too. Hell, consider the very law of nature!

    http://www.physicsclassroom.com/mmedia/newtlaws/mb.html

    And that’s about all there is to it. Good luck.

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    SKiDmark September 18, 2006 at 6:02 pm

    From my myspace forum ( I know:lame) ONE LESS BRAKE :

    (2) A bicycle is operated in violation of the requirements of this section if any of the following requirements are violated:

    (a) A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

    This is Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 815.280(2)(a) verbatim. That is what the tickets are for so therefore that is all that pertains.

    I don’t skid to stop. I resist the forward motion of the pedals or I hop stop.

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    BLDZR September 19, 2006 at 6:05 am

    *sigh*

    The discussion, as it stands, and the theoretical discussion that would happen in a courtroom cannot and would not be about what is safer, unless someone (like the judge in the Holland case) decided to bring their own opinion into the law. No one doubts that bikes with separate hand brakes are safer, but nowhere in the law are the words “separate” or “hand brake,” therefore they are NOT part of the law. continuing to add this unincluded language in your argument shows that you are the one with an unsatisfactory understanding of the law.

    Val, Skidmark is right and you are wrong. Holland lost her case based on a poor choice of defense – that being based on the relative safety of her bike. No on can blame her and Mr. Ginsberg for it, they were going about it as best they could. Nobody had previously gone to bat on this ridiculous statute prior to Officer Barnum’s crusade.

    Mr. Boyd, however, went into court in a respectful way, fully prepared with knowledge of the statute and with acceptable, standard dictionary definitions to answer for a statutory definition which is NOT THERE. When there is not a statutory definition, it is the responsiblity of the court to decide what reasonable, standard definition to go with. The judge in the Holland case ADDED THE WORD “SEPARATE” because of his own lack of understanding. That is poor judicial exercise.

    I have full faith that if Skidmark were pulled over for this “brakeless” ticket, he would be quite competent to beat the charge based on his understanding.

    You may not be against fixies, but you sure don’t have much faith in those that ride them.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 19, 2006 at 8:22 am

    BLDZR

    No, at the moment I don’t have much faith in those who ride fixies, you are correct. The handbrake has been acknowledged as safer but those who argue against equipping thier bike with a handbrake do so because “A track bike is a thing of minimalist beauty”. Noone else’s safety but the cyclist is ever acknowledged by fixie riders nor is the over-all view of cyclists by those who share the road and that is very troubling to me.

    I watch you blow lights and stopsigns, weaving with what you consider the best line, with no consideration of law, safety or what people might think of the greater cycling community based on these actions. And before you say something like “Well that wasn’t me!” I would consider this; I have as much faith in fixed gear riders as you do in people who drive cars. If you feel my blanket judgement is wrong, consider your judgements of cars and drivers as well and the fact most everyone else makes similar conclusions regarding things they dislike.

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    SKiDmark September 19, 2006 at 9:56 am

    Thanks for the vote of confidence Bill.

    I’m done with you Val. You obviously have a big issue with messengers, and are just looking to bash.

    ONE LESS BRAKE

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    Val A Lindsay II September 19, 2006 at 3:13 pm

    Not a problem, Skidmark. You’ve made up your mind and have refused to change it. I sincerely hope you don’t damage the greater bicycle community with your ideals.

    Val A Lindsay II

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    josh m September 19, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    Val, calling the kettle black, are we?
    You’ve made up your mind and are not giving ground.
    You’re generalizing and stereotyping all messengers and/or trackbike/fixed gear riders as blowing lights and the such? excuse me? I see the roadies blowing lights and stop signs all the time. I see more “commuters” blow stop lights and stop signs than I do see “messengers” or trackbike/fixed gear riders.
    You have a prejudice, and that’s pretty sad.

    Skidmark, myself, and many others I am sure, refuse to put brakes on our trackbikes because:
    1. They are not drilled for brakes, therefore are not capable of having brakes. (AND NO! I am not going to go out and buy a new $100+ fork so I can have brakes just to make you feel all warm and safe inside).

    2. We don’t need brakes.

    You keep talking about putting other people in danger, pedestrians, motorists, other bike riders…

    BUT WHERE IS THIS PROOF?! Where is this epidemic of accidents involving trackbikes/fixed gear bikes?
    I have been in a few accidents on my trackbike.
    They’ve either been me screwing around and endangering myself, a careless driver, or a inexperienced rider(which 99% of the time have been a non-fixed gear rider).

    When you can bring proof of this epidemic of fixedgear/trackbike related accidents that affected pedestrians and/or motorists here in Portland, please let me know.
    Until then? Stop being ignorant and passing your judgement on ALL of us because of a few you might have seen.

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    SKiDmark September 19, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    Why would I change my mind about my own ability to stop?

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    Val A Lindsay II September 20, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    My opinion obviously means something to you. I will explain why your opinions matters to me. I will explain myself as thoroughly as I can in one post.

    When I first learned of this legal issue, I came down firmly on the side of the cyclists.
    The bicycle is an engrained part of my life so it’s hard not to side with the cyclist. I read
    everything I could regarding the issue and over the course of a few hours came down in the middle. By everything I read regarding the case and know about from years of working and riding on bicycles, the law has a good point, albeit disjointed and lost in legal wording.

    We all know a bicycle enjoys things a car does not; The ability to allow the cyclist to hear almost anything, a completely unrestricted field of view, maneuverability, etc, etc. However, we must share the same laws applied to cars if we are to share the same road. With this in mind I asked why wouldn’t you equip your bike with a brake? The answers I received….

    1. “I believe my ability to skid makes me safe enough.” –John Boyd

    2. “A front brake on a TRACK BIKE is aesthetically bankrupt and antithetical. A track bike is a thing of minimalist beauty. I prefer to ride it a little slower and pay a little more attention to the road than bastardize it with a brake. This is not vanity, it is an appreciation for industrial design.” –Skidmark

    3. “While I continue to agree that brakes certainly make every bike more safe, I don’t agree that a mechanical, added brake should be required on all bicycles, and I don’t believe that it’s required by the statute. If a person can demonstrate control enough to stop the bike in a reasonable distance (the 25 ft. standard for motorbikes does seem appropriate) then that person has clearly met the performance standard. What’s left to prove?”

    I don’t see how any of these arguments could stand up in a court of law. I will quote Skidmark from #49 here as this is the terminology he said he’s use in a courtroom.

    “With all due respect Judge Cheryl: If a Police Officer asks you to stop, and you do so without dragging your feet on the ground, doesn’t that indicate the presense of a braking device? If the statute requires that the braked wheel must be capable of skidding, and you can skid a bike that is a fixed gear, doesn’t that satify the statute?
    The drivetrain on a fixed gear functions as a drive and a brake. When you increase you pedaling speed the bike accellerates (drive), when you decrease your pedaling speed the bike decellerates (brake). When you stop pedalling the bike stops(brake). If it stops it is a brake.”

    It has valid points but I’m not sure how it would stand up to the handbrake in court. So far the brakes you’ve put the fixie up against are kickback and dragging your feet on the ground. You’re arguing for a share of the road here. If a demonstration in court between a handbrake and a fixed gear was performed, who would stop the shortest distance under more control? In the end that is a deciding factor. Even the kickback brake enjoys the status of being specifically designed to stop the bike. Fixed gears were the first bikes because no freewheel or brake mechanism existed at the time.

    Of course, this is just the way I see it playing out in court if it comes down to the demonstrations that BLDZR eludes to. A rider is not going to be allowed to demonstrate his ability to brake in a panic stop on the side of the road for the officer to say “Ok, you’re free to go”.

    This is where things deviated for me on the subject. There are vehicles that use the roads and ALL vehicles have equipment requirements. As the car progressed, it needed more and more safety equipment. Some people opposed the safety belt as standard equipment. As the bicycle use increases, a sure eventuality, receives space to share the road in the form of it’s own paths, signals, etc. it’s required equipment will change. These changes occur by either BLDZR’s notion, i.e. after someone has been seriously hurt or killed or logic will dictate the eventuality of such an accident by judging existing factors.

    Bicycle law concerns me greatly and should concern everyone here as much. I know the cyclist enjoys a lot of advantages; The ability to see and hear his surroundings is far greater, the amount of space he takes up and his smaller thus safer moving mass, the lack of polluting emissions, etc. However this does not mean we get to just slow down at stop signs. It does not mean we don’t signal when we turn. And it does not mean we get to strip our vehicle down of safety equipment. The goal is to let cyclists legally share the road and be recognized as legal traffic and have all the rights people driving cars enjoy. The more laws we recognize and share the more we will get say-so in and change. Simply saying “I will NEVER put a brake on my track bike. I will take my chances with the law the same way I do now” Will not help you, nor contribute well to the greater cycling community.

    I reiterated the possible legal point and simple laws of nature several times. I thought I had been clear from the first that it’s not much of a battle for me, personally. I don’t ride a fixed gear and all my bikes have a brake front and rear, so why should I concern myself? I did because the subject was bicycles, right of way and legal precedence. I was curious to see how the argument was shaped by fixed riders.

    Finally, there is this statement; “You’re generalizing and stereotyping all messengers and/or trackbike/fixed gear riders as blowing lights and the such? excuse me? I see the roadies blowing lights and stop signs all the time. I see more “commuters” blow stop lights and stop signs than I do see “messengers” or trackbike/fixed gear riders. You have a prejudice, and that’s pretty sad.”

    I don’t approve of careless disregard of the law by any cyclist. As far as prejudice and stereotyping, I would go see what Wikipedia has to say about messengers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bike_messengers

    You think I am stereotyping? Perhaps I am. It’s hard not to visualize certain people standing shoulder to shoulder through thick and thin. That can be a beautiful thing. It can also be a case of reinforced denial. I’d apologixe, but people do a pretty damn good job of stereotyping themselves without my help.
    Perhaps I stand alone on the issue. I would just point out the following; You live in a community that is currently the most progressive in the country. Your mayor is a cyclist. You have more paved paths, bike lanes and signals that actually change for the weight of a cyclist. You have probably the greatest pro-cycling community in the country. With all that backing up you up, how is it this law has not simply been thrown out if it has no potential legitimacy?

    In closing I would say that my concerns may not be right but they are justified by the fact that the handbrake is a piece of equipment “that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.” It is factually safer in every respect to a fixie. Not only that, it is specifically designed by the manufacturer to perform this task. I believe this could be proven in a court of law against a fixie rider. It doesn’t sound like the officer has stopped citing people for the offense, so the whole thing may expand to a larger court. With all that stated, do you have a case against the handbrake being standard safety equipment for bicycles required by law? THAT’S my point.

    If you stand back and do nothing, it’s not up to you to decide. I’d get your legal legs working and get on the offense if you want the fixie to remain as it is.

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    John Boyd September 20, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    >I don’t see how any of these arguments could >stand up in a court of law.

    Crap!, Why didn’t someone mention that this blog would need to stand up in a court of law?

    That line is really as far as I got into Post Number One Hundred and Fifteen. Someone let me know how it ends.

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    SKiDmark September 20, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    Fine, then the Police can give messengers tickets for running lights, riding on sidewalks, riding the wrong way on one ways,etc. instead of waiting until they are riding down the street obeying the law and asking them to stop (and then they STOP) and give them a ticket for no brakes. If they don’t have brake then how do they stop to recieve the ticket. I just want the Police to play fair.

    A fixed hub is a brake. It was a brake in 1890 and it is still a brake today.

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    SKiDmark September 20, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    It’s called a COASTER BRAKE, not a kickback brake or a pedal brake. You work in the bike industry and you don’t know that?

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    Jeremy September 20, 2006 at 10:38 pm

    As a self-affirmed brake-using roadie, I feel so much better knowing Val is concerned for my safety against all those crazy, fixie-riding messengers galavanting around town running stop signs and riding on sidewalks.

    Cripes! This has gotten to the point of ridiculousness. Bottom line from what I see:
    Val: fixed gear is a brake.
    Everyone else: fixed gear is a brake.

    Val: handbrakes are safer.
    Everyone else: no kidding? I wish someone told me sooner.

    Val: mistaken impression that safer = more legal. (Note: I can still drive my ’57 Chevy without power steering or ABS or airbags or shoulder belts… Still not illegal but a whole heck of a lot of cars are safer.)
    Everyone else: still responding to Val’s continual trolls…

    Darn, gotta go…

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    SKiDmark September 21, 2006 at 6:01 pm

    I am sure Val would love to see your antique car forbidden from the road too. I am sure the reason you have such a car is because you appreciate it’s design, and the 1957 Chevrolet is definitely an American design icon.

    I dunno Jeremy, maybe, to be safe you should consider padding the dashboard and adding plastic energy absorbing bumpers to protect other road users from contact with those sturdy metal bumpers. And those fins, you could impale a pedestrian backing up!

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    Derek Daun September 22, 2006 at 10:06 am

    I applaud everyone who has been standing up to this poorly written law, HOWEVER, I think there is a much better argument to make that can settle this issue once and for all.

    The current defense is saying that even though fixed bike may not have a brake, they don’t define “brake”, so as long as the rider can stop the bike, they fit the law. This defense could also imply that a person could use their feet to slow themselves down, and therefor can brake. (Using your feet couldn’t cause a skid though, so that part of the law would still be violated)

    This would lead an officer(or any other person on the street) to group a fixed skid stop in the same category as having no brake, both illegal, although a fixed rider can get off on a technicality, claiming that “brake” isn’t defined.

    Officers don’t like seeing people break the law but get away with it because of technicality, and that is what is causing the confusion.

    The PROPER DEFENSE is not to argue that a fixed gear is LIKE a brake, but that it IS a brake, completely fitting the definition of what we see a brake as in our mind, regardless of what the law says.

    Think about it – brake consists of three crucial components
    1) a device (brake) attached to the wheel which slows the rolling motion when force is applied
    2) a lever or handle that engages the brake by using mechanical advantage to turn the operators applied force into a force capable of controlling the brake device
    3) a relay device to connect the lever to the device on the wheel

    The track cog on a fixed gear is the device which allows the operator to slow rolling motion. In this case it has 100% trasfer efficiency to the wheel, since it is attached directly, compared to a brake pad which acts more like a clutch.

    The chain is the relay device, much like the cable on a conventional brake.

    The crank is the lever.
    When the operator applies force to the lever, the relay device transfers the force to the brake device, which slows the wheel.

    No difference at all to a conventional brake, except that there are different leverage coefficients.

    The prosectutions statement that not all riders are strong enough to operate a fixed gear brake is accurate, but completely irrelivent. An arthritic old lady might not be able to operate a hand brake either, but that doesn’t make the bike unsafe, it just means she shouldn’t be riding it – just like a weak rider incapable of doing a skid stop should have a hand break.

    The same mechanical risks also exist – the chain could brake just like a cable could break. (I’ve had more cables break than chains brake in my day) The fixed riders legs could cramp just like a regular riders hands could spasm (ever have your hands go numb on long mt. bike ride?).

    This argument does two things –
    -First it shows that fixed skip stops are in complete compliance with the law ESPECIALLY when you think about what the normal “concept” of a brake is in peoples’ minds.
    -Second, it changes the public mindset by grouping a fixed stop right next to hand brakes, instead of grouping it with reckless brakeless stopping.

    Additionally, the argument is more likely to withstand potential law modifications, if anyone would decide to define “brake”. It would be hard to discern the mechanism of fixed brake from that of hand brakes. They couldn’t require cables because of hydraulic brakes. They couldn’t require it be hand operated because of coaster brakes. It would be difficult to demand a certain mechanical advantage since c-brakes, cantilever, disc, v-brakes, and hydraulic brakes all have different levels, and cost. Where would you draw the line?

    Please pass this along to any future legal defenses. Feel free to contact me if you want a better explanation.

    Oh yeah, I ride with a front and brake, I’m not stupid.

    d c d a u n @gmail.com

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    John Boyd September 22, 2006 at 10:57 am

    >so as long as the rider can stop the bike, they fit the law

    You might wanna take a look at the law.

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    SKiDmark September 22, 2006 at 3:13 pm

    Derek, thank you. You have established the obfuscatory narrative.

    If you weren’t stupid, you would be able to stop a fixed gear without a front brake 😉

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    Val A Lindsay II September 26, 2006 at 7:41 am

    Skidmark;

    My God man! Derek makes a good arguement and one that is better than ANY you’ve made! He’s on your side and you just alienated him, all because he has a front brake on his bike.

    The mistaken notion is I’m totally against fixies. If you actually read my posts and weren’t so damned overly passionate, you might see I’m arguing how the LAW might see your brake. Me? I claim that in a court of law they may have a point. I might not agree with it, but they do!

    I’ve been trying to make you produce a legal defense. So far your defense is weak; You don’t want the brake on the bike because you don’t like the way it looks. You slogan is ‘ONE LESS BRAKE’. Have you any idea how stupid that sounds?

    Say the case goes to a higher court and they decide to rewrite the law to be more specific. Being the law is rather vague and it’s getting a LOT more attention, that is quite the possibility.

    I don’t ride a fixie, so I have nothing to lose through all this. You do. The only personal opinion I hold is you’re so damned smug and a bit of a smartass, so you think all the cards will fall in your favor simply because your bicycle is perfect and you are passionate enough about it. You are NOT HELPING your fellow fixies with the debate with that argument.

    ——

    Derek; THAT’S a great arguement and description of the brake! There’s hope for the fixed gear with people like you to describe and defend it.

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    Jeremy September 26, 2006 at 8:57 am

    Troll…

    Okay, I’ll bite. You don’t actually read things, do you Val? See the last line before Derek’s sig? See the smiley after SKIDmark’s post? I’m sure Derek is smart enough to realize it was a tongue in cheek reference to his own post.

    Further, Derek simply restated the position John used in his defense. So far, the posters seem to be in agreement that it is the proper defense and are simply discussing why adding brakes doesn’t work for them.

    You’ve been tooting this safety of others stuff just to argue. Now you agree with the SAME POSITION STATED IN THE ARTICLE? Cripes! Do you get sore from riding the fence so hard?

    IMHO, you’re just tring to pick a fight wtih SKIDmark for whatever reason.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 26, 2006 at 9:17 am

    “You’ve been tooting this safety of others stuff just to argue. Now you agree with the SAME POSITION STATED IN THE ARTICLE? Cripes! Do you get sore from riding the fence so hard?”

    Well, it IS an argument, isn’t it? Otherwise, people would not be getting tickets, would they?

    And we are talking about the law here too. Go ahead and poke at me all you want. I put myself in that position. I challenge you to do the same to the ticketing officer if your time comes.

    “Regarding the performance standard vs. equipment standard debate–the statute doesn’t read that way. Look at it again:

    I agree with both Derek and Benshon whose post is as follows. “A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.”

    This sentence is really a equipment standard (”must be equipped with a brake”), that has an additional, dependent clause that contains the performance standard (”that enables” etc.). The key word in the sentence is “that” which makes the skidding thing secondary to the “equipped” clause. See? You need to satisfy the “equipped with a brake” part of the law first, then, once you have shown that, prove that you can use it to make the bike skid.

    Arguing that fixies do not have brakes and don’t need them because they can skid is a sure-fire way to lose one of these cases. A successful legal defense (Mr. Ginsburg, are you listening?) needs to establish the existence of a brake, per the first part of this sentence and the dictionary definition. The hub IS the brake.

    I think Ayla Holland lost her case for two reasons: because the judge inappropriatly inserted the word “separate” into the statute, but also because she overplayed her ability to stop safely, and not the simple fact that it was “equipped with a brake”.”

    Far more logical an argument than “If you weren’t stupid, you would be able to stop a fixed gear without a front brake ;)” by SkidMARK

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    Jeremy September 26, 2006 at 9:40 am

    I must be bored…

    “Well, it IS an argument, isn’t it? Otherwise, people would not be getting tickets, would they?”

    Hmm, is that a strawman to defend your changing positions I see? I think that answers my original question.

    “And we are talking about the law here too. Go ahead and poke at me all you want. I put myself in that position. I challenge you to do the same to the ticketing officer if your time comes.”

    Which position? Pick one and stick with it. Sometimes you’re all over safety, sometimes you’re all over the additional brake, sometimes you agree with someone who states, as John did, the hub is a brake.

    “Far more logical an argument than “If you weren’t stupid, you would be able to stop a fixed gear without a front brake ;)” by SkidMARK”

    An excellent comeback to all things: Look he made a tongue in cheek comment; how immature! Give me a break. As I said before, actually read, REALLY READ, the posts. Perhaps read your own from the beginning of the thread. A series of strawmen does not an argument make.

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    Derek Daun September 26, 2006 at 10:19 am

    No offense taken:)
    Hopefully none given.

    I WAS rather wordy in my first post. (not quite sure if I’d go as far as saying “obfuscatory”)
    Val did a good job of paraphrasing what I meant.

    A good defense should emphasize that a fixed gear IS a brake as we think of it.- (not similar to a brake, or a different type of, or works just as well as..)

    A good defense also should NOT bring up the vague definition of a “brake”. This insuates that you think a fixed gear is different from a brake. The law, as it is written, actually supports the use of using a fixed break.

    I don’t live in Portalnd, but my state’s law, (and most others) are identicle, and we’re looking to Portland to set a good example as one of the leading bike cities. Good luck.

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    SKiDmark September 26, 2006 at 10:55 am

    No Derek, I wasn’t trying to be arguementative, nor was I putting you down. “You have established the obfuscatory narrative” is a Magliozzi brothers quote AKA Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, from Car Talk on NPR.

    I prefer a simple explanation for such a simple machine as a fixed gear bike. I will not restate it again, and it has nothing to with aesthetics. It is simply defining the hub as a brake.

    The answer is not adding more language to the existing law. The answer is to educate law enforcement as to how a fixed gear works and why it functions as a brake. Shift and BTA will NEVER take this up, so we are likely on our own.

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    SKiDmark September 26, 2006 at 11:00 am

    (to VAL) ONE LESS BRAKE is the truth of the matter. It implies that there is already a brake, and it is the fixed gear hub. I don’t know what is stupid about making stickers and shirts (coming soon!) to raise money for bike messengers who are being “effected” by the actions of these two Police Officers. Once again you miss the point because it is way too stripped down and simple for you to comprehend, like a track bike.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 26, 2006 at 11:14 am

    I think the mistake you’re making Jeremy is that I have a black or white opinion to the debate. I don’t. Remember, I don’t ride fixie. The law really doesn’t pertain much to me. I’m not here to argue MY point. So let’s go one step at a time

    This cop is still giving tickets. It’s been in court now at least twice; one loss, one win. And he’s still giving tickets.

    This continues until what happens?

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    Val A Lindsay II September 26, 2006 at 11:29 am

    SkidMARK;

    What do you think the initial impression of the statement “ONE LESS BRAKE” might mean to a cop?

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    Jeremy September 26, 2006 at 12:30 pm

    Val,

    I’m entirely convinced you don’t have a black or white opinion on the debate. In fact, I’m of the opinion your only opinion is the opposite of the last post. Since you have, at one point or another, agreed AND disagreed with nearly every position taken in the posts save one, SKIDmark’s aesthetic comment, I’d say we pretty much know where you stand.

    As to the cop, that has been addressed. He still gives tickets and the recipients still try to oppose them until someone gets an appelate court decision that “clarifies” the law for the judges pro tem. So far, defendants are 1-1 until reported otherwise.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 26, 2006 at 12:46 pm

    Ok, at this point it can either taken to legislature or court. I know of no effort to do so in legislature. Please let me know if anything like this is currently happening. It’s either that or the case wind up in the appelate court.

    If it does what do you think happens from this point?

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    SKiDmark September 26, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    I think by the time the Police Officer sees that sticker, he would have already honed in on the absence of a handbrake, the multiple tattoos and piercings, the black shorts and hoodie, and the big bag on my back.

    Really Val, the people who would buy this sticker will likely have all kinds of anti-government, anti-car, and anti-social slogans emblazoned upon them that would alarm the average square. But that’s what makes America great, we have the right to say what we think.

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    Carl September 26, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    SKiDmark:
    “Shift and BTA will NEVER take this up, so we are likely on our own.”

    Just a note, here: As far as Shift is concerned, you’re right, but not because Shift is lame or spineless. It’s because Shift isn’t an advocacy organization and, as such, doesn’t touch ANY “issues.” That’s the BTA. The BTA slogs through all the laws and money and politics…important things that Shift tries to avoid completely. Shift is about bike fun and furthering Portland bike culture. You’ll never see Shift lobbying in Salem and you’ll never see the BTA organizing drunken naked tall bike jousting.

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    Dabby September 26, 2006 at 4:41 pm

    Heck,
    I was out of town for a little while, kinda off and on. Came back to reality to see that this silly tirade is still going on.
    After reading about 15 of the new posts, hashing and rehashing the same things over and over again, I skipped on down to, once again, clarify a few points.

    1. This is not about “Vanity”! Get over it man!
    2. Even the people I know and love, who are posting here, have alot of information wrong.
    There is no case of a fixed gear bicycle not having a brake. A fixed gear hub, with a properly attached cog “IS A BRAKE”!
    For the good of us all, please realize this, and comment accordingly. Typing “riding with no brakes” is basicly a lie. No one but BMX’ers, and Guy in San Fran (very taleneted messenger) ride with no brakes.
    3. ” One Less Brake” is exactly what is going on here. We function well, if not better, with one less brake than most cyclists. This is a “FACT”!
    4.There are no helmet laws for adults in the State of Oregon, or the City of Portland, regarding bicycling.
    5. I saw a comment that shift and BTA will never take this up. First of all, Shift is not the group we would want taking this up. Though I am friends with and adore many of the Shifter’s, they are a commutter based, fun loving group, not the lobbyist’s we need on our side. Second of all, I have been told by the BTA that they are interested in taking this up, and I was told that their position reflects the thoughts of the fixed gear rider.
    6. And,once again, the messenger community epidimizes the cycling community. We are the unloved, but true core of cycling. You, and our great city, NEED us on the road. Who do you think get’s things done around here? The delivery fairy?
    Judges use messengers, many, many times a day. Lawyer’s use messenger’s. The mayor uses messengers. The senator’s and congress people use messengers. Hell, your dry cleaner probably uses messengers.
    We are a neccessary and needed part of this community. and we are a core part of “Your” cycling community.
    The one thing we do not need here is problems within the ranks, when power is acheived through unity. Problems are solved when people come together.
    I can see that people posting here simply have problems with the freedom and the ultimate reality that, to a large degree, messengers do what they want, or what they need to do, in order to get things done.
    We ride how we have do in order to :
    1. Stay alive.
    2. Get the job done.
    and 3. TO STAY ALIVE!!!
    Val here certainly fits this to a tee, along with others.
    They read the comments, and they read the ordinance. They read the judge’s decisions. Then, they interpret the words, and twist them around in order to protect the fact that they do not understand, and apparently are not willing to understand, a problem that seemingly, to them, has no effect on their reality.
    This could not be farther from the truth.
    What is heavily affecting the messenger now, is bound and determined to affect the commuter.
    What affects the commuter is bound and determined to affect the casual cyclist.
    This has already been made completely apparent with the past stings on the Hawthorne and Broadway bridges.
    In order to protect the fact that the police are targeting messengers, they have begun pulling over commuters for the same ofenses.
    A very smart move on the part of Rosie Sizer, who, in my opinion is the ringleader of this situation.
    In the past, she has been the core of similar problems.
    Cycling tickets and targeting have spiked during times when she was in a position of control.
    While the ‘Barnum and Balzer Circus” may be on the road giving these tickets out, they are controlled by others.
    Others who will invariably say, and have said, that this targeting has not been mandated, nor is approved by, the higher up’s in the Portland Police Dept. Other’s who also say infatically that this targeting “IS NOT HAPPENING”.
    It is plain as day that police orfiling of messengers, and now, fixed gear riders in general, is happening.
    So, quit ‘yer bitchin’, and start fixin’ the problem at hand people.
    They know we are divided on this, and that fact will begin to be used against us, in a court of law. And on the streets.
    My tirade is over, for now. I am so looking to write a article for this site, on this issue.
    Yet, we cannot afford the nasty comments and dissention that what I would write would bring about.
    I would also like to let you know, as some of the things I say are mis-interpreted, and people tend to think I am trying to speak for messengers as a whole.
    These opinions are my own, and in no way represent the opinions of anyone else. Not PUMA, not Bikeportland.org, not the BTA.
    Not even many of my fellow messengers would like to embrace my thoughts, and outspoken ideals, on issues such as this, and others.
    Hence the difficulty with being right.
    I welcome any and all feedback, which can be sent directly to my email. johnnyrocket29@yahoo.com.

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    SKiDmark September 26, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    I am in NO WAY disparaging SHIFT or BTA. I have a few friends involved with SHIFT and I have volunteered at Multnomah County Bike Fair. I have great fun at their events. They are one of the only bike organizations that openly supports Zoobomb. The BTA has their own purpose and agendas, and they do their job well. This city would not be as “bike-friendly” if it wasn’t for them.

    All I was meaning to say is that if there is any clarification to made as to how a fixed gear bike stops, it will be the Messengers themselves who will have to do it.

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    Val A Lindsay II September 27, 2006 at 8:26 am

    Skid;

    As you have expressed, it is messengers being targeted. Who else but messengers would need to solve the problem if that is the case?

    It’s so easy for us to make all sorts of assumtions on a person’s intents and purposes.
    The social responsibility I feel is to question all my assumptions of others and give people less ammuntion to make assumtions about me.

    I have given you plenty of ammo to make assumtions on my intents and purposes. As a member of the greater cycling my intent was to make yo aware if this progresses, you might have to have a good defensive argument. I also gave you possible ideas as to what someone in court might show as evidence against you.

    Now about you. You’ve given me plenty to assume what kind of person you are and what kind of community you are part of. But I also know this is a message board, a place where personal passions sometimes surpass objectivity. I wish we could talk mano e mano and you might see I’m not against you and vice versa.

    Take all I’ve said with a grain of salt if it offends you. I try to be objective but fail sometimes. I have chosen to end contributing to a messageboard debate on this subject, as it seems obvious to thers we are not willing to listen to each other.

    Good luck in your endeveor.

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  • […] Sure, now police seem to be focused on fixed gear riders — easy targets due to their anomalous looks, behavior and downtown concentration. And messengers and their imitators are easy for the rest of us more staid-seeming cyclists to disown. But who’s next? Recently there was a ticketing blitz aimed at cyclists downtown who left the bike lane to turn left. Cyclists have been targeted for proceeding at a jogging pace through four-way stop signs on designated low-traffic residential streets. […]

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  • […] You might recall that there seems to be some confusion in the courts as to what constitutes a “braking device” on a fixed-gear bicycle. Meanwhile, some cops continue to write tickets for this violation. […]

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  • […] On a side note, this morning’s Judge was Cheryl Albrecht, who left a comment on BikePortland back in September and I assume would be understanding of a cyclist’s perspective. […]

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  • […] A reader recently sent me a a German news story about police and fixed-gear bicycles. Judging by the photos accompanying the story (below), he suspected (hoped) it was about how some German cops were riding fixed-gear bicycles on their bike patrols. This would be in direct contrast to Portland cops who issue citations to cyclists riding fixed-geared bicycles without a separate hand brake. [Bonn Police Force officers pose with suspect’s bike.] […]

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    Velocentric December 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Personally, I prefer dual handbrakes, discs, if available, but I have yet to see any evidence of inordinate crashes due to “brakeless” fixie riders. And the stupid argument about chain breakage applies to the coaster brakes found on childrens’ bikes too. This brake issue is harrassment by certain abusive cops picking on a group of people they don’t like. If not brakes then they’ll go after reflectors missing from pedals. Or wearing tweed while riding. It’s just an excuse to bully.

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