Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Cyclists get day in court on Monday

Posted by on November 1st, 2006 at 4:01 pm

Lawyer Mark Ginsberg has his work cut out for him on Monday. His office will finally get trials on all the remaining fixed-gear cases they’ve been handling (except for one which is scheduled for the next day).

Here’s the word from Mark:

“We have a total of about 10 cases, the majority are fixed-gear cases, a few are failure to use a bike lane, and 1 or 2 are in the “other” category, but they are all bicycle traffic violations.”

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.

The cases are open to the public and will be heard at the Multnomah County Courthouse (1020 SW 4th Ave), in room 124 beginning at 8:30 AM.

Mark says he welcomes, “whoever wants to come and watch and support their fellow cyclists while having their day in court.”

I hope it’s a day of positive educational opportunities for both sides. I’ll be taking notes for sure.

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  • Andrew November 2, 2006 at 8:40 am

    I hope you have to do a skid stop test out in the rain today for the judge. I may show up to watch the defendent hit wall or pedestrian. I didn’t think you could argue identity politics infront of a court, because we all know that is what this is all about. Why don’t you waste time defending or advocating a cause that is a little less superficial and a little more broad and socially benificial to the people in this community who have to deal with real issues; like gentrification, police repression (again real repression), poverty, and sexual assualt. I hope everyone is educated on all sides today about community concerns that are much, much, much much more important than white kids who are so offended that THEY got ticketed.

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  • Jessy November 2, 2006 at 10:07 am

    The skid test wouldn’t be valid in the rain today, because according to Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 815.280(2)(a):

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

    I know there are a lot of other important issues that we need to work on as a society, but alternative methods of transportation should be included as well. If they really wanted to encourage safety (and good relations between bikes and law enforcement), they could find a lot of things more worthy of a ticket than this.

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  • raymond November 2, 2006 at 10:48 am

    i hope all this stuff fixed gear stuff gets resolved once and for all.

    maybe the when the police stop ticketing people for the TYPE OF BIKE THAT THEY RIDE, then people can focuse on other real problems

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  • josh m November 3, 2006 at 12:26 am

    andrew. you’re a douche.

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  • Ken November 3, 2006 at 1:18 pm

    MR. ANDREW, As always, we do what we care about, and many people who care about being able to ride a legal bike without being ticketed also care about the issues you mention. OBVIOUSLY there are many people putting energy towards activities that DO NOT directly put FOOD in POOR PEOPLES mouths or END RACISM or CLASSISM or put NAZIS in JAIL. IF WE ALL HAD TO SPEND ALL OF OUR TIME ON BRINGING JUSTICE TO THE WORLD WHERE WOULD GET OUR RINGTONES? BECAUSE, THERE WOULD BE NONE. AND THAT WOULD BE SAD. That said, I love you! AND GOOD LUCK TODAY WITH BRINGING JUSTICE TO THE WORLD.

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  • Andrew November 3, 2006 at 1:26 pm

    Right… Raymond, if the defendants in this case are using this law to argue for their right to ride their fixed/track bikes with out a brake, then you might have just given obvious insight that this law may also be used or interpreted in a court of law as essentially and argument for outlawing fixed/track bicycles on days that it rains. It is also important to point out that having a brake on your bike will in no way shape or form be an impediment to alternative means of transportation. Yes, the police are terrible, but from a very simple perspective; not all messengers or folks riding fixed gears with our brakes are all as competent as some of the more seasoned riders to stop safely, and law enforcement can’t let the subjective talent or experience of a particular rider be the determinant factor in what could be a real safety issue. Josh, that was a sexist comment and I don’t appreciate it, you offer nothing here.

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  • Andrew November 3, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    sorry jessy I confused posts

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  • Andrew November 4, 2006 at 1:41 pm

    Who said I identified as MR.? I love you too.

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  • tonyt November 4, 2006 at 2:25 pm


    I’m sorry , but the notion that we must fix all the serious issues before we take care of the more mundane seems pretty darn silly at best, counter-productive at worst. So you let the smaller things in life go to h*ll in a handbasket because of the existence of CLASSISM??? Holy Don Quixote, we’re not going to get anything else done in this world while we tilt at that windmill, forever.

    Alas, yet again this whole fixie issue devolves into a referendum on whether or not someone thinks it’s a good idea to use a traditional brake on a fixie, rather than discussing the true issue at hand. Cops are ticketing people for riding legal bikes.

    Standing idly by while cops ticket people for doing legal things, just because the cops don’t like it, allows the cops, part of the executive branch, to become a defacto part of the legislative branch. That eliminates a very important check and balance to our system. That’s a very small step toward facism, which I’m guessing you wouldn’t like since you think we should be putting Nazis in jail (on what charge I’m not exactly sure).

    Andrew, if you really think fixies without handbrakes are so bad, then you need to petition Ciy Council to change the law. That’s how that works.

    Otherwise, you’re standing by while cops harass law abiding citizens just because you happen to agree with the cops. Just wait til the cops target you for doing something that they don’t like, protesting our moron-in-chief perhaps. I bet you’ll be looking for a lawyer really quick. Better hope they’re not all busy fighting Nazis.

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  • Wyatt November 4, 2006 at 2:56 pm

    **this comment has been deleted by the editor**

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  • tonyt November 4, 2006 at 5:16 pm

    hey Wyatt,

    Perhaps we can keep language like that off of Jon’s site.


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  • Andrew November 5, 2006 at 3:54 pm

    Tony “Holy Don Quixote”, I’m not sure you are getting my point or you are trying to obfuscating it. The legality of the bike is subjective to the riders ability to stop, and the conditions of the street (wet or dry, and we are in Portland), so police, (however unfortunate it may be) in some cases have the “legal” capacity to interpret the enforcement, people riding without brakes should know the risks of bring ticketed because of that. I don’t believe in anyway that this little court battle is connected to or will produce any libertarian end or value that would some how impede fascism. Damn it, I can’t help but point out the shaky logical reductionism you are trying to urk out here. Good luck to everyone, hopefully we see past our romanticized idiocies soon, and don’t worry I have my fabulous lawyer who donates his time, money and love to my escapades which include challenging actions by the Portland Police. I so done here

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  • Wyatt November 6, 2006 at 11:38 am

    I’ve certainly read much more insulting posts which contained no profanity, tonyt.

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  • […] As I write this, bike lawyer Mark Ginsberg is doing battle in the Multnomah County Courthouse in downtown Portland. […]

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  • SKiDmark November 6, 2006 at 4:14 pm

    Hey Andrew, what does being white have to do with it? Are you saying all white people are affluent and can afford a 242 dollar ticket for “no brakes” which they came to a complete stop to recieve? Are are saying that because of “white priveledge” that no white person can be oppressed?

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  • cord November 6, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    After reading the linked articles on past cases re: fixies, I was surprised by two scenarios given by cops/prosecutors for the ostensibly unique danger of fixed-gears: a leg spasm (I assume a serious/incapactitating one) and a chain break as potential debilitators of fixed-gear braking. Couldn’t these potentially cause braking issues on a “coaster”/internal-hub brake? Obviously more power is needed to stop a fixie, and so maybe two spasming legs would be required to cause real problems with a coaster, but the chain simply coming off of the sprocket on a cruiser has left me catastrophically brakeless before.
    I hope this isn’t the primary logic for the persecution of extra-brake-less fixie riders.

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  • […] One of the more interesting and dramatic cases in yesterday’s “Bike Day at Court” was the case involving Jeff Smith. […]

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