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KATU takes on fixie ticketing issue

Posted by on December 19th, 2007 at 12:15 pm

KATU, Portland’s ABC affiliate, ran a special “On Your Side” report last night on the fixed-gear bicycle brake issue.

The story was given the headline of “Are brakeless bikes safe to ride?”. Of course “brakeless” bikes are not safe. But are fixed-geared bikes technically brakeless? That depends on your definition of brake and it seems to me that the issue should focus on whether or not someone can safely stop their vehicle (a standard that is laid out in the law), not on what type of brake is used.

KATU unfortunately makes this into yet another story where people who ride bikes are portrayed as dangerous scofflaws who are just trying to “stick it to the man” (a phrase which was uttered by the KATU reporter in the story).

fixie bill in Salem

Lawyer Mark Ginsberg testifying on
behalf of the fixed-gear bill in Salem.
(Photos © Jonathan Maus)

[Background: This issue of Portland police officers ticketing fixed-gear bike riders began back in July of 2006 with the court case of messenger Ayla Holland. Holland was found guilty of a bicycle equipment violation because her bike was a fixed-gear and the judge ruled that a fixed-gear bike does not technically have the legally-required “brake”. A few months later a different judge ruled that fixed-gear bikes were OK, thus putting the whole issue into legal limbo (but that didn’t stop police from issuing tickets). A bill that would have specifically legalized fixed-gear bikes nearly became Oregon law, but was modified at the last moment (see more on that below). I’ve written over 20 articles on this, you can read it all on my special coverage page.]

As of January 1, the bicycle brake equipment law will state that, “a bicycle must be equipped with a brake that enables the operator to stop the bicycle within 15 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.”

Unfortunately, because of an 11th hour decision by Oregon State Senator Ginny Burdick to strike fixed-gear specific language from the bill, the new law does nothing to help solve the problem.

So, just what exactly is the problem? Here are few things that come to mind:

  • People riding fixed-gear bikes (without a hand-brake) continue to get ticketed by police and are being told they must attach a front hand-brake to their bike (even though nowhere in the law does it mention being required to have a hand brake and a front brake is technically illegal since it is impossible to “skid” with the front wheel as the law requires).
  • Many people I’ve talked to claim they are being unfairly targeted by one or two specific Traffic Division officers (Officers Barnum and Balzer frequently come up).
  • Many of the people ticketed are professional bike messengers who can ill-afford the repeated $92 dollar tickets they are receiving.

As for the Police Bureau, KATU claims in story they have issued “less than two dozen tickets per year” for this infraction. That may be true if they are taking an average over the last decade, but clearly there have been many more tickets than that issued recently (feel free to chime in the comments if you’ve gotten one).

fixed gear sign

A sign outside Veloce
Bicycles on Hawthorne.

The people interviewed In KATU’s story alone claimed to have tallied six tickets for riding a fixed-gear. Lawyer Mark Ginsberg told me this morning he doesn’t think the ‘less than two dozen’ amount is accurate.

Back in November of 2006, Ginsberg fought six fixed-gear tickets in a single day in court.

The Police Bureau has repeatedly stood by their claim that messengers and fixed-gear riders are not being targeted. However, I continue to hear stories that refute this. The latest being an officer who stood outside a downtown office building, waiting near a group of fixed-gear bikes to ticket the owners when they returned.

In the KATU piece, Police Bureau spokesperson Brian Schmautz says, “I know for a few people this is the only issue that exists, but for us, just put a brake on your bike for crying out loud… It’s the law and nobody will bother you ever again.”

However, not everyone agrees that “it’s just the law” and for the people impacted by these tickets, it is a serious matter.

Let’s not forget that Senate Bill 729, which would have said that a “fixed gear bicycle is not required to be equipped with a separate brake,” passed the House and the Senate before hitting that unexpected snag.

To her credit, Senator Burdick has said she wants to revisit this issue in the future.

In the meantime, people who ride fixed-gear bicycles will keep getting tickets, allegations of targeted enforcement will remain, and, because some people think fixed-gear bikes are inherently unsafe and unfit to be on the road, the cat-and-mouse game will continue.


You can read the report and watch the video on KATU.com.

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

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Qwendolyn
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Qwendolyn

Who are the dangerous scofflaws trying to stick it to the man?

…Randy Leonard, maybe?

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

who ever is getting these tickets (i\’ve personally never been stopped by a cop on my training fixie)…just put a visual hand brake on..doesn\’t mean it has to be attached to a cable…

Mmann
Guest
Mmann

I didn\’t see the piece, but seems one thing they should have done was have some fixed gear riders demo stopping in 15 feet to prove whether or not they are meeting the letter of the law. And maybe comparing it to what \”real brakes\” can do. I don\’t ride a fixie, but I\’ll bet they can stop quicker than me in some of the wet conditions we\’re getting these days.

KTesh
Guest

bahueh,

that is until the cop ask\’s you to demonstrate that it is functional.

Paul Tay
Guest

I\’m with the fixies on this one. If you guys think you can stop in time without the Hail Mary moment, GO 4 IT.

There is something to be said for the STRICT construction in PLAIN english meaning of \”braking\” mechanism.

Hey, PPB show me one DRUNKEN, outta-control, reckless village idiot on a fixie crashing into a SUV and KILLING everyone on board, I\’ll show you the said village idiot impersonating Santa at the Tulsa PD Awards Banquet. 😛

Cøyøte
Guest
Cøyøte

This whole thing pisses me off every time I hear about it. PPB has no time to investigate crashes that send people to hospitals, but they do have time to worry about fixies. How embarrassing is that?

If fixed grear bcicyles were causing crashes with traumatic injuries PPB might have a point. This is authoritarian crap from PPB. They are rousting fixie riders because they do not like their attitude. \”Stick it to the man\” indeed, I cannot think of a better reason!

NWD
Guest
NWD

I know this is a divisive issue for us, but a simple question: approximately what percentage of fixed gear bikes being ridden on our roads are not drilled for either front or rear caliper brakes? My only slightly educated guess is that it\’s somewhere less than 10%.

For the other 90% who\’s frames/forks can accommodate brakes, just install \’em for god\’s sake. Sellwood Cycle Repair has 5 gallon buckets full of calipers and levers in their back room. You could have a functional hand brake on your bike for less than twenty bucks. If 90% of fixed gear riders put brakes on their bikes, the police would likely stop targeting the issue and the remaining 10% who truly cannot install them would stop getting hassled. And stories like this wouldn\’t show up in the press, making all of us look foolish.

Even the 10% or so who\’s frames/forks are not drilled can get a high quality fork which IS drilled for a couple hundred bucks. Not cheap, but cheaper than multiple tickets.

Seriously, if your bike is drilled for caliper brakes, can anyone name any good reason why you should not install brakes today? Please, please, please do not say it has anything to do with vanity or some desire to \’stick it to the man.\’ Those would be lame reasons.

bruce
Guest
bruce

I need some education please. What is the advantage associated with running \”brakeless\” on a fixed gear? Is this purely a fashion statement? Is this a live free or die ethos? I\’ve always been confused by the apparent lack of logic but I\’m open minded. In the relatively unlikely but possible event of a loss of a chain a brakeless fixie is a liability. I know that a talented rider can bring one to a stop by other means. I wouldn\’t put too many of the riders I see in the talented category.
Give me the straight story.
thanks,
bruce

pushkin
Guest
pushkin

Countdown to 200+ redundant comments begins now. To save yourselves time you can cut and paste the ones from all the other articles on this corpse of a topic.

toddistic
Guest
toddistic

i feel alot safer on the roads riding fixed than trying to stop with wet capiler pads.

todd

NWD
Guest
NWD

I feel even safer stopping on wet roads with a fixed AND caliper pads.

a.O
Guest
a.O

This is a classic example of police officers abusing their discretion to harass people. Not only is it fundamentally unfair, but it severely undermines peoples\’ confidence in the value and impartiality of government. Any responsible Mayor would immediately order an end to such police misconduct.

But this all could be prevented if Ginny Burdick had simply done her job.

forkthis
Guest
forkthis

\”Who are the dangerous scofflaws trying to stick it to the man?\”

Larry Craig?

Poor taste — maybe. Still funny.

Craig
Guest
Craig

Well said a.O.
I whole heartedly agree.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

My email to KATU.

\”Thanks for another sensational (not in a good way) news story that entirely misses the point and, yet again, seeks to marginalize cyclists.

Dictionary.com defines a brake as \” a device for slowing or stopping a vehicle or other moving mechanism by the absorption or transfer of the energy of momentum, usually by means of friction.\”

Why do you refer to fixies as brakeless, when whether or not they have a brake is exactly the question?

Fixies, in the hands of an even moderately competent rider, meet the literal requirements of the current law, (skidding on dry level pavement).

Did you know that the law forbids trucks from using compression brakes within city limits? Doesn\’t this mean that the law admits that the engine/drivetrain is a brake?

Why is an engine/drivetrain considered a brake on a truck, but not on a bike?

I have an idea for something that you guys can do that might actually be constructive. Go stand at a public intersection and see how long it is before a car stops to allow you to cross.

Every car that drives by without yielding is breaking the law. Cars kill 43,000 people a year, many of them pedestrians.

Every public intersection IS a crosswalk, whether it is marked or not (ORS 801.220). Therefore drivers are required to yield to peds at all public intersections.

Did you know that? Do you do that? Most drivers don\’t. Why?

How about a story that actually helps inform us as a society, not just exploit our differences.\”

jleiss
Guest
jleiss

Unless someone can give a satisfactory response to #8, I\’m siding with the police on this one. And I wouldn\’t mind if the PPB started ticketing cyclists for riding sans lights at night.

Carl
Guest
Carl

NWD,
Let\’s say cops started ticketing cyclists who weren\’t wearing helmets. Would you be saying that folks should just buy a helmet and stop complaining?

Helmets are a good idea. Caliper brakes are swell. Neither is legally required on our roads.

Disappointing that there was no mention of Judge Larson\’s ruling that a fixed-gear IS a braking device.

And putting a front brake on your bike actually makes your bike in violation of the law. Unless you can skid your front wheel. So, if you\’ve got front brakes…for the love of God take \’em off you scofflaw! It\’s not hard.

Evan Brown
Guest
Evan Brown

I ride a brakeless track bicycle. I have done this for over 2 years. I do it for a few reasons. When you are first starting out on a fixed, it\’s NECESSARY to have a brake. But, after you become accustomed to using your feet to stop, it is both rewarding and challenging to use your feel only. NOW, some would view this as unsafe, but this is where experience comes in. You CAN ONLY TRAVEL AT A SPEED WHICH YOU CAN STOP SAFELY!!! Now, as you become a more experienced and confident rider, you can slowly work that speed up, and eventually you will be able to ride at a very quick pace and still keep total control. understand?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

#8: For many, riding fixed with no brake has a financial advantage — no brake means no worn out rims. And it is not unusual to go through a wheel in a single winter when riding a lot with all the crap on the road.

Many people think that a fixed gear is just a fashion statement — there is no doubt they can be quite sexy — but a good brakeless fixy is nearly maintenance free, which is a real consideration for a segment of the population (messengers) who make very little riding their bikes 8-10 hours a day.

Disclaimer: I ride a single speed with a front brake in the winter, and I make plenty of money and have never been a messenger.

Ron
Guest
Ron

#8: For many, riding fixed with no brake has a financial advantage — no brake means no worn out rims. And it is not unusual to go through a wheel in a single winter when riding a lot with all the crap on the road.

Many people think that a fixed gear is just a fashion statement — there is no doubt they can be quite sexy — but a good brakeless fixy is nearly maintenance free, which is a real consideration for a segment of the population (messengers) who make very little riding their bikes 8-10 hours a day.

Disclaimer: I ride a single speed with a front brake in the winter, and I make plenty of money and have never been a messenger.

david
Guest
david

responding to bruce\’s #8: chain loss aside (this really shouldn\’t happen if your chainline is straight), in my experience the one instance you might really want a hand brake on a fixie is when a toe clip and/or strap snaps. if you\’re slowing/stopping from high speeds on a steep descent using just your legs, chances are you\’re exerting a lot of force in opposite directions on your metal clips, which can sometimes cause them to shear off. in such a situation, having a redundant hand brake can be a godsend, as it\’s much more difficult to stop yourself with only one functional clip/strap. granted, if you ride with cleats this won\’t impact you.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

jleiss,

I\’m with you on the light thing.

Regarding your comment on #8, I\’m assuming you\’re referring to the chain breaking/slipping off thing?

In my years as a mechanic, I saw 0/zero/nada chains break on fixies. I saw many, many more cables break.

Note, I\’m saying chains on fixies. I\’ve seen many broken chains on geared bikes. The stresses on a geared bike\’s chain are tension AND lateral/shear which contribute to chain failure. Fixie chains only experience tension.

The cops keep bringing up the damn chain thing, and as far as I\’m concerned, it\’s the yapping of a completely uninformed partisan.

Not to say that somewhere out there a chain has never broken on a fixie, but those failures are far exceeded by cable failures. Please find a new argument.

Oh, yeah, if the chain argument flies, then coaster brakes are out too.

Concerned
Guest
Concerned

There are some serious realities missing from the discussion of this topic.

For one, riding fixed-gear bikes (especially without a hand-brake) has become extremely popular in the urban environs of the US. This is an extension of the mass-marketing of the \”messenger\” style and sub-culture. While messengers remain… well, messengers… with all their well-documented ethos and pathos intact, many, many others are adopting the bikes and riding style of these supposed scofflaws without nearly the same level of experience in urban riding.

The result: there are many more people choosing to ride fixed-gear bikes without a hand-brake that are not capable of safely coming to a stop, especially in urgent circumstances.

While I remain faithful in the prowess and skills of experienced riders to handle their hand-brake-less fixed-gear bikes, I am extremely doubtful about the safety of a great many people who are being attracted to this riding style.

If I were responsible for enforcement, I would feel tempted to outlaw riding bikes set up this way as a method of protecting those foolish enough not to know better than try to emulate such a potentially dangerous practice. That being said, the safety hazard here is clearly unexperienced riders, who do not appear to be the ones being targeted by the Portland Police.

I suggest that if the PPB wants to issue these citations they should do so in the way that they require field sobriety tests: if you can\’t walk the line (or skid to a stop), then you get the fine. If you can, then they\’ve only managed to waste a small amount of your time (and theirs).

By the way, this is not just conjecture on my part about fixed-gear riders in Portland. I see these people (and their bikes) on a very regular basis. And I have first-hand experience on multiple occasions of watching people fail to meet the current guidelines for stopping a bike safely without a hand brake.

So, do I think PPB enforcement practice needs to change: YES, definitely. Do I think inexperienced riders should be legally allowed to ride a bike they can\’t safely stop: Leaning towards NO on this one. Viable solution: ???

bikegrrrl
Guest
bikegrrrl

Everybody! Write KATU. It\’s easy and it\’s the kind of thing that gets noticed! Stop complaining and do something simple that helps.
Here\’s the \’news\’ item:
http://www.katu.com/news/12619171.html
Here\’s where to write:
yourturn@katu.com

steve
Guest
steve

Experience this, skill that, Blah!

Who among you, that are actually riding regularly, has not seen the stereotypical hipster douche or douchette, careening out of control on a brakeless fixie?

Frame too big, seat way too high, riding on platforms and completely out of control. What do we do about these people? They seem to be multiplying with the water..

To be clear, I own and can safely operate a brakeless bike.

Imagine you are a dumb as a rock traffic cop. For a lot of you this should be easy.

You are standing downtown and see Mr and Ms hipster on their ill fitting brakeless bikes, spinning out of control through a stop. How do you think your hall monitor brain would interpret such a scene? How would it affect your future behaviour towards fixies? Especially if you have the pleasure of occaisionally cordoning of an intersection full of biker brains and blood?

All I am saying, is this \’I have the experience to operate a brakeless bike safely\’ argument, simply steps us right up to the bicycle licensing argument.

Your subjective interpretation of \”skill\” and \”safe\” is meaningless in a public, shared use environment. In other words, for you narcissitic folks, it ain\’t all about you!

There are track versions of many cars and they sure as hell are not allowed on public roads. Why are you so special?

One last thing to the moronic argument that you save wear and tear on your rims by not having a brake. If you do not need the brake to stop, why would you use it? In other words, mounting a brake that you do not need or use, should not wear out your rim, or the brake pads right? Though it might save your life if you happen to need it. It certainly would help out the scenesters which appear to be flocking here in droves.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Regarding chains,

A person can loosen a stiff link on a chain, and may be able to break it entirely, by bending it side to side for a while.

Now, spend the same amount of time tugging on a chain in a straight line, without twisting or bending it, and see how much damage you have done.

It will be virtually none.

This is a simple test of the different stresses a chain is put through, depending on what kind of drive train you are running.

A geared drive train subjects the chain to bending, twisting, and sideways movement, while at the same time going either forward, or backward, sometimes slack, sometimes stressed.

Imagine the wear on the links and pins throughout all of this, over miles and miles.

A fixed, or even single speed drive train, is generally well lined up, relieving the chain of the constant stresses of sideways and twisting motions.

This leaves the chain available to do what it is really designed for, which is work long and strong at going forward.

And also cuts back on the possibilities of encountering the infamous \”Weakest Link\”…..

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Sorry,

One more point.

A properly applied chain on a straight drive train is stronger than possibly all of the parts of a brake caliper, and or lever, especially one that is of lesser quality. If one of these parts fails, the brake is useless.

Simply take into thought the sautered cap on the lever end of the brake cable.

Is that stronger and more reliable than your chain?

Why force, as a required redundant, a weaker and less reliable caliper brake onto our bikes? Many of which cannot even accommodate them.

And not to mention once again the reality of yanking on that front brake too hard, leaving you flying over the handlebars, possibly into traffic itself.

a.O
Guest
a.O

I just don\’t understand why the deraileur can\’t get no love. It\’s an incredible invention. It makes climbing easier, sprinting faster, and let\’s you keep the Mo under all conditions.

And you will never, ever find a better braking system than my disc brakes. I can instantly lock both of my wheels. But more importantly, I can instantly slow my wheels so drastically without locking them that I can stop faster than anyone else I see.

I guess wearing a bright yellow jacket and a helmet with lights taped on and riding a Trek Portland will never be cool enough to be emulated by the kids. But I\’m not gonna complain.

D.
Guest
D.

Riding a fixed without brakes is just pure, rank stupidity–but a fixed plus front brake is probably equal to many two-brake machines. As long as you want to crucify the connective tissues in your knees………..

travis
Guest
travis

fix gear bikes are dangerous. i rode them for a long while, until i realized i can\’t travel at speeds downhill and hop a curb. last year a nut-job of a forklift operator decided to cut me off… had i had a free wheel i could have easily cleared the curb and landed smooth, but damn if your cadence is fouled up when you\’re going 30+ and suddenly you have no traction then traction again. i consider myself a good rider…, but, well i don\’t know i have fingers -may as well use them for something.

i still keep a track bike around, but my decutables are too high.

ps: i was also arrest on a track bike in gainesville, fl

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Hey \”Concerned.\” Brilliant rant. Seriously.

One point of contention though.

You said;

\”If I were responsible for enforcement, I would feel tempted to outlaw riding bikes set up this way as a method of protecting those foolish enough not to know better than try to emulate such a potentially dangerous practice.\”

Are you by chance related to our Vice President? He too seems intent on combining the powers of the Executive Branch with those of the Legislative Branch

Fortunately we have (or so we\’re told) separation of powers so that those who enforce the law are not also charged with writing it. Perhaps a refresher course in Civics is in store for you.

travis
Guest
travis

if you\’re building up old bikes with lesser parts than a fix makes sense… but the real problem is in the fad… like g-strings. some folks can handle it… others need to spent sometime in the gym. its a good time watching the newbies try to stop for coffee on their stipped down (not bolted up) bikes.

horizontal drop-outs kids. know what to build or yeah, it will break or come apart (to simplify the terms) -brake or old chain.

this is no disrespect for those who can ride.

pdxrunner
Guest
pdxrunner

The comment about burning through your rims in a winter is a load of crap, unless you wear your pads down to nothing and keep on riding. I rode through seven Portland winters on the same rims.
I couldn\’t agree more with a.O. Now that I have disc brakes I love them! Why wouldn\’t you want to stop as fast as possible? I guess I continue to be the uncool, non-hipster with his helmet, blinking lights, yellow jersey, gears, and disc brakes. Wow, I\’m so uncool.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Lots of good arguments on all sides….

Just STOP, please STOP denying that fashion plays a big role in this argument. Go on any web site devoted to fixies and hear the constant gushing about style…

Make up your own mind on the issue. Just stop denying the fashionistas their due…

GLV
Guest
GLV

Hey \”tonyt.\” Brilliant condescension. Seriously.

Have you ever heard of the concept of \”Administrative Rules?\” Didn\’t think so. Perhaps you should take some of your own advice re: civics 101.

Here\’s a crash course: agencies in the Executive Branch writes enforceable regulations ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

jleiss
Guest
jleiss

I should clarify my earlier question about #8: What is it important to ride a fixie WITHOUT additional braking mechanisms? Having a caliper brake doesn\’t mean you have to use it (re: #19), it just means you can if you need to.

I\’ll grant that the fixies are legal if you can stop. But rather than allowing brakeless fixies, I think the law should actually be rewritten to prohibit them. Here\’s why:

My bike has two braking mechanisms, the front brake, which I use most of the time and can stop me within the required distance, and a rear brake. The important thing is that these are independent braking systems. Redundancy is a great thing.

Even though it is unlikely that a bikes brakes would experience mechanical failure, it is possible. You leg-brakes could also fail (broken toe-strap, cramp, etc). That is a good reason to have at least one additional brake, even if you never use it. (Once again, I echo #8 – why can\’t you just have the brake installed and keep using the drive train to brake? Why such vehement resistance?)

(I\’d like to point out that manual-transmission cars can also use the drive train as a brake. I could use it to stop a standard coupe pretty quickly, as could any decent driver. But it should still be illegal for such a vehicle to operate without both a regular brake system and a separate emergency brake.)

The PPB may be overreacting on this, but I say just get the brakes. And then let\’s focus on getting the PPB to enforce the laws protecting cyclists from autos with the same enthusiasm they are protecting us from ourselves.

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

same freaking arguments, all over again.

a.O
Guest
a.O

Here\’s a crash course: agencies in the Executive Branch writes [sic] enforceable regulations ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

But only after a grant of authority to do so from the Legislative Branch (and, I might add, in clear violation of the Separation of Powers principle and the non-delegation doctrine).

Anyway, it should be abundantly clear that no one \”responsible for enforcement\” can \”outlaw\” anything, unless the Legislature says they can.

Really, is this about fashion? I understand the simplicity of no deraileur and no brakes, but their lack of relatively utility must mean that it\’s primarily about form rather than function. I\’m not passing judgment. But I want to understand.

a.O
Guest
a.O

One more thing:

Everyone owes a BIG THANK YOU to Mark Ginsberg, who did his best to make this problem go away.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

GLV,

Regarding Civics. What A.O. said.

(thanks A.O.)

Separation of power. As it should be.

SH
Guest
SH

good show #15

Spanky
Guest
Spanky

Hasn\’t this whole debate been done already, ad nauseum?

It seems to me that a hand brake is just common sense. Like a helmet.

If folks want to go without, then perhaps the law could be written so that when a fixie rider gorks him or herself on the side of a car, truck, powerpole (I saw it happen once, seriously), then they and their families will not be eligible for government benefits.

Think it\’ll happen? Never. Why not? Becuase of the social contract. But it seems to me the other end of the social contract implies that the individual in society act in a responsible way, with conduct aimed at basic self preservation.

A \”redundant\” brake seems to fit that bill. \”Cool factor\” be damned.

Common sense. Get a hand operated brake, go ticket free, and stand a better chance to live on and continue to \”stick it to the man.\”

peejay
Guest
peejay

Many high-powered sports cars and jacked-up trucks, while technically legal, are unsafe as driven by the average person. Do the police have the power to assume that the drivers\’ of those vehicles cannot handle them properly and cite them for moving violations that have not yet happened?

The new law on bicycle brakes requires a performance requirement, not an equipment requirement. How can the police assume a failure to meet that requirement without testing for it? How can they issue tickets on that assumption?

Dag
Guest
Dag

In my opinion, every bicycle should be equipped with two brakes, front and rear. The rear brake should be permitted to be a fixed gear.

A front brake stops you fastest. I\’m sure a rear caliper brake is equivalent in braking power to a skid stop, particularly if the rider is skilled, but the fact of the matter is that your weight transfers forward as you\’re slowing down, giving the front wheel much better traction, and making front brakes far more effective.

dan
Guest
dan

Still haven\’t seen anyone advance a convincing reason for not installing a front brake on fixies. No one\’s saying that you have to _use_ it, but are you so in love with looking cool that it\’s worth tickets to maintain your hipster image?

Opus the Poet
Guest

I have a question about that performance standard. What is the required speed for this demonstration? The reason I ask this is because the braking power required to stop increases as the square of the initial speed.

The Texas standard is just that the brake has to be able to lock the wheel, with no regards to at what speed the wheel can be locked. Or even if the wheel has to be locked with a rider on the bike.

Opus

Cøyøte
Guest
Cøyøte

It is astounding how many of you would toss away your rights because a few people are in over their heads. \”Just put a hand brake on, it is safer… bla… bla… whaaaaa…\” Just effing amazing. No wonder Cheney makes a sport of pissing on neo-liberals – it is just too easy.

We grant cops the right to enforce certain behavior standards. If they are not doing it right, and no one is listening. Civil disobedience is the bare minimum of our responsibilities.

rev
Guest

it is disturbing to hear people say \”just install the brakes\”

\”just give in.\”

\”just stop bothering me with this issue that does not affect me but which i am willing to offer my opinion\”

the proof is in the puddin: if you can stop you will (when necessary) and if you can\’t just sue Schmautz. It was his responsibility to keep you from killing yourself.

Beefa
Guest
Beefa

pdxrunner

Its not a load of crap. I have been a courier for 17 years (not a misprint). When I started there was no such thing as \”Fixie\” as the bikes are now known. I still call them track bikes. But I am also too old to be cool anymore. One thing for certain is my track bike saved me a load of loot before it was essentially outlawed by the the circus twins. now I ride a single speed with calipers. I need new wheels, the side walls are caving in. I need new brake pads and and it is only December. In the 9 plus years i rode a fixie I only had to replace my wheels twice. Both times were due to wrecks, not wear and tear.
So now I\’m looking at @ least $300 in repairs. My boss does not pay for these expenses. I do. I have never broken a chain on my track bikes. yet several on my road and MT bikes. Also I could not stop for shit today due to the amount of water on the road.

But of course you and the cops know much more than i do about what is good for me and my peers. thanks for your concern. jerk

joel
Guest

#8 (i think. i kinda lost count.) –

theres one, perfectly valid, reason to ride a fixed wheel without a mechanical hand brake – you simply dont want to.

and why should you not want to?

because you already *have* a braking mechanism – the very same mechanism used to move a fixed wheel forward – that is to say, your legs.

\”brakeless fixie\” is an oxymoron, pure and simple.

unfortunately, this is an argument thats been going on for over 100 years now, and people dont seem to be ready to wrap their heads around this one anytime soon.