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AA hates roadies??(10 posts)

AA hates roadies??weiwentg
Aug 7, 2002 4:57 PM
From: "Spahr, Mark"

Ann Arbor Prohibits Road Biking

Posted By: James Partridge
Date: Monday, 5 August 2002, at 12:45 p.m.

Well, not yet. But it's a lot closer than you think. In fact, it could
effectively happen any day. No lie.

The City of Ann Arbor City is currently prosecuting a bike commuter for not
riding as far to the right as practical. If successful, road cycling will
essentially be illegal in the City of Ann Arbor unless you can keep your
bike within 1" of the curb at all times.

Here is some background.

In November 2001, Ken Clark was riding his bike to work on Plymouth Road in
Ann Arbor. An Ann Arbor police officer pulled up next to him and said "This
part of Plymouth Road isn't safe enough for a cyclist, you have to use the
sidewalk." After Ken and the office pulled off the road and talked, Ken
received a ticket for "Blocking Traffic, Impeding Traffic". Because this
ordinance has no applicability to bicyclists, the ticket was dismissed and a
new ticket was written, this time for failure to ride as far to the right as

A hearing on the ticket was held a month or so ago. Both sides offered
testimony and argued to the court. When all was said and done, it turned out
that everybody agreed with the facts. But they disagreed what the law meant.
The City's position is that because it was possible for the cyclist to ride
further to the road, he is responsible for violating the ordinance. The
cyclist admits that it may have been possible for me to ride farther to the
right, but argued that he is not responsible because it wouldn't have been
safe for him to do so. The court asked both sides to submit briefs on the
question of whether the City Ordinance could be interpreted in such a way to
accommodate a cyclist's legitimate safety concerns. The briefs were filed on
June 28. A decision is expected any day now.

The other day, I went to the courthouse and copied both parties' briefs.
Here's the heart of the City’s brief:

"The bike ordinance cannot be interpreted to allow for defendant's (Ken
Clark's) safety considerations. Applying the common definitions quoted above
[the brief cites dictionary definitions of "near," "practical" and
"practicable"] only permits construing the bike ordinance to require
operation at the shortest distance from the right side of the road that the
rider is physically capable of effecting."

The brief is signed by attorney Kristen D. Larcom, on behalf of the City of
Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor is essentially arguing that cyclists must hug the right side of
the road at all times EVEN IF IT IS UNSAFE!!!!

It doesn't matter whether you're a racer, tourist, commuter or recreational
cyclist. This ticket presents the single biggest threat to road bicycling in
the State of Michigan that I've ever seen, and has profound implications for
cycling in Michigan. If we fail in Ann Arbor and Ken's ticket is upheld,
cyclists everywhere in Michigan should be afraid -- very afraid -- of what
that portends for the future. Police officers in Ann Arbor would be given
free reign to ticket cyclists whenever they strayed just a little left. And
officers and courts in other jurisdictions could use this case to further
limit cyclists' rights to use the road.

If ever there was a case that called for a massive outcry from cycling
advocates, this is it.

What can you do?

I am urging everyone who cares about cycling to write letters and let the
mayor, city council and city attorney's office know what's going on, how
this will impact cyclists and how it will tarnish the reputation of Ann
Arbor as a bike-friendly place. And, if you live in A2, let them know that
you will remember how this issue is handled come next election time. In your
letters, express your outrage that the City
re: AA hates roadies??weiwentg
Aug 7, 2002 4:57 PM
is wasting its scarce resources
on this case. Proclaim your support for Ken and Effective Cycling
principles. Explain WHY Ken's actions were not only legal, but they were the
safest way to ride. WRITE and ACT now, before it is too late.

Here's how to contact the Ann Arbor city Attorney:

Abigail Elias, Esq.
City Attorney's Office
100 N. 5th Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48107
(734) 994-2670

Address and e-mail info for the Mayor and City Council members

John Hieftje (D)
1800 Traver Rd. 48105

Jean Robinson (D)
1020 Cedar Bend Dr. 48105

Robert M. Johnson (D)
1413 Culver 48103

Joseph Upton (R)
2019 Seneca 48104
Michael Reid (R)
1070 Chestnut St 48104

Jean Carlberg (D)
1902 Independence Blvd. 48104
Heidi Cowing Herrell (D)
2896 Sharon Drive 48108

Stephen C. Hartwell (D)
417 Sumark Way 48103
Marcia Higgins (R)
1512 Marian Ave. 48103

Christopher S. Easthope (D)
520 W. Madison St. 48103
Wendy Ann Woods (D)
1035 Newport 48103

To e-mail Mayor and all members of council, use this link: E-Mail Mayor and

When e-mailing Mayor and/or Council members, please include your telephone
number and address to facilitate an appropriate response.

James Partridge
so, aside from mailing council members, is thereweiwentg
Aug 7, 2002 4:58 PM
anything we can do?
Does L.A.B. know, this is supposed to be their thing...nmDjudd
Aug 7, 2002 5:47 PM
AA = Ann Arbor, my bad. nmweiwentg
Aug 7, 2002 7:19 PM
re: AA hates roadies??flybyvine
Aug 7, 2002 7:16 PM
This is why the US will never really rival Europe in this sport. How the hell can you build a sport with this sort or cultural attitude ? (lets not even start with the pollution arguement).

At the other end of the spectum, take a look at the way London (UK) is handling bike commuters - they are literally taking road resources off the cars & handing them to bikes & no complaints (no I don't live there anymore).

Ya got ta get ya big fat ass up out of ya big fat car...
thats funny (this was posted yesterday)pukka
Aug 8, 2002 4:23 AM
as a great place to commute

"ANN ARBOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Posted by: sidley Aug-07-02, 09:22 AM

I grew up in Detroit (not the suburb of) and now live in NYC. While commuting to or within Brooklyn/Manhattan would be fine, if you really want to stay in Michigan, move to Ann Arbor. I don't commute by bike because it is either really frinkin' hot here or raining. Very little in between. "Hot" to my Michiganian blood is anything over 75.
Indeed, if you are in Michigan why would you live anywhere else but Ann Arbor? I am sure you would be able to find a gearhead job in Ann Arbor proper or in the M23 corridor, which as I am sure you know, has a ton of engineering shops (the M23 corridor used to be nothing but pumpkin fields when I went to UofM).

When I move from NYC, I am moving back to Ann Arbor! Anyone out there in A2 need a good mid level litigation associate?
this is rediculousColnagoFE
Aug 8, 2002 7:41 AM
i would hope that ann arbor cyclists are protesting this unfair law.
this is rediculousweiwentg
Aug 8, 2002 7:53 AM
I'll go and firebomb those bastards today.
seriously, I hope so too.
flawed law- only take one lawsuit to change itoff roadie
Aug 8, 2002 8:01 AM
The wording of that law is flawed. The first time a bicyclist sues the city because they are injured while riding "as far to the right as possible", you'll see it re-written to say "as far to the right as safe and practicle", which is how it is written in most places.

I hate to see anybody get hurt, but I hope that is a BIG lawsuit, and that some bonehead law writer's career is cut short as a result.