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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 03-06-06, 11:17 AM   #1
HereNT
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Brakeless is legal in Seattle

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/transp...830_get06.html

Silly messenger apparently didn't know how to stop his bike, but the traffic mananagement director said this:

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Track bikes are fixed-gear bikes where braking is activated by resisting the rotation of the cranks with the rider's legs instead of using the hands to squeeze a lever that compresses braking pads onto a wheel's rim. Casseday said track bikes are able to skid on dry, level pavement and are legal.
Does this mean we have to stop the brakeless/brakes legality debate? We can still talk about which is really safer, right?

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Old 03-06-06, 11:24 AM   #2
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Stare decisis...
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Old 03-06-06, 12:02 PM   #3
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thats a pretty stupid interpretation of the law if you ask me. shes turning "bikes must be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level pavement" into "bikes must be able to skid on dry, level pavement.

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Old 03-06-06, 12:08 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by morbot
thats a pretty stupid interpretation of the law if you ask me. shes turning "bikes must be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level pavement" into "bikes must be able to skid on dry, level pavement."
What's the definition of a brake? How is this different than a coaster brake?
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Old 03-06-06, 12:19 PM   #5
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Arizona Law is:

"C. A bicycle shall be equipped with a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement."

My desire to be legal is not if I get stopped by the police, but if I am in an accident and the lawyer of the other party tried to use my lack of rear hand brake as a way to put blame where it shouldn't be on me.

I have a front hand brake which I can't skid on pavement, but no rear hand brake. Obviously I can skid my rear wheel with my leg brake. Am I at risk of nasty lawyering by not having a rear hand brake?

I know some fixie folks don't consider rear leg braking a brake, while others do. It would be better if law said 'braking system' instead of just 'brake'

Al
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Old 03-06-06, 12:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
Arizona Law is:

"C. A bicycle shall be equipped with a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement."

My desire to be legal is not if I get stopped by the police, but if I am in an accident and the lawyer of the other party tried to use my lack of rear hand brake as a way to put blame where it shouldn't be on me.

I have a front hand brake which I can't skid on pavement, but no rear hand brake. Obviously I can skid my rear wheel with my leg brake. Am I at risk of nasty lawyering by not having a rear hand brake?

I know some fixie folks don't consider rear leg braking a brake, while others do. It would be better if law said 'braking system' instead of just 'brake'

Al
as to the debate of wether a fixed wheel constitutes a brake, well you can debate that all you want, but since brake in the above quoted law is singular, and you have "a brake" I don't think there is any need for further interpretation. with a front brake OR a rear brake you're golden.
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Old 03-06-06, 12:53 PM   #7
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Great. I guess I can take off that pesky brake now.
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Old 03-06-06, 12:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattface
as to the debate of wether a fixed wheel constitutes a brake, well you can debate that all you want, but since brake in the above quoted law is singular, and you have "a brake" I don't think there is any need for further interpretation. with a front brake OR a rear brake you're golden.
Can you make your front wheel skid on dry clean level pavement with no tricks like riding backwards?

Al
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Old 03-06-06, 01:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
Can you make your front wheel skid on dry clean level pavement with no tricks like riding backwards?

Al
easy peasy. grab the bars and hop a little wheelie grab the brake, then just be sure and keep your weight back when it comes down unless you LIKE the taste of pavement.

Not that the ability to skid SHOULD be the test of an effective brake. Stopping distance from a given speed tells you a lot more. Skidding increases stopping distance. I hope the law for cars isn't worded similarly, or ever car with ABS will fail.

Anyway, like I said, as long as you've got a brake on one of your wheels I wouldn't sweat it. Nobody gonna cite you for running only one brake. Coaster brake bikes have a way worse stopping distance than most road calipers.
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Old 03-06-06, 01:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattface
easy peasy. grab the bars and hop a little wheelie grab the brake, then just be sure and keep your weight back when it comes down unless you LIKE the taste of pavement.

Not that the ability to skid SHOULD be the test of an effective brake. Stopping distance from a given speed tells you a lot more. Skidding increases stopping distance. I hope the law for cars isn't worded similarly, or ever car with ABS will fail.

Anyway, like I said, as long as you've got a brake on one of your wheels I wouldn't sweat it. Nobody gonna cite you for running only one brake. Coaster brake bikes have a way worse stopping distance than most road calipers.
That front wheel skidding by unweighting front really falls into the tricks category. I don't even know if I can do it on my fixed gear - certainly without some practice.
You are so right the law is silly.
I don't sweat it, I am not at all worried about being cited. But what if a car driver turns left in front of me we collide and heavy damage results and driver has high paid lawyer who uses this lack of rear hand brake to get driver out of fault? If I was still able to ride could they try and have me prove I compy to brake law thru demonstration of front brake skid post accident?

Really I don't sweat the later either, just thinking out loud.

Al
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Old 03-06-06, 01:43 PM   #11
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Old 03-06-06, 01:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
Can you make your front wheel skid on dry clean level pavement with no tricks like riding backwards?

Al
it's not while on the bike...the operator would be to the side of the bike, demonstrating that with the front brake applied the front wheel would skid on dry pavement, due to certain laws of enertia (basically that envolving momentum) the front brake will not skid on dry pavement if the rider is moving...

with that said depending on how good the brakes stopping power is the rider could potentially lock up the front wheel causing the rear to lift and possibly throw the rider over the handlebars

edit: legally speaking (the above part) is how to demonstrate a front brake's skidding ability
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Old 03-06-06, 01:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FridgeRobot
it's not while on the bike...the operator would be to the side of the bike,
Really? I assume the operator of a vehicle is in the drivers seat and/or position. I think that is how the law would be interpreted.

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Old 03-06-06, 01:54 PM   #14
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that line "must be able to skid one wheel on dry leel pavement" or whatever is very standard, lots of cities&state hwy etc use that dont they
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Old 03-06-06, 02:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
But what if a car driver turns left in front of me we collide and heavy damage results and driver has high paid lawyer who uses this lack of rear hand brake to get driver out of fault?
In that case have your lawyer look up the stopping distance of a fixed gear bicycle with a front brake from 15mph, and compare that to the stopping distance of an SUV with ABS from 15mph.

Not that it should matter though, because your breaking a law does not excuse the driver from being at fault. Turning in front of you when you have the right of way is clearly the drivers fault. OTOH, if they stop suddenly, and you hit them in the ass, you are considered at fault no matter how good your brakes are "Failure to stop in the assured clear distance ahead" is always the rear drivers fault regardless of how or why the front driver stopped.

Not that I'm sweating it either, I'm just in an argumentative mood, and arguing with fictitious lawyers about hypothetical cases is much more productive than arguing with that intelligence challenged person over in the "This bike is a pipebomb thread"
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Old 03-06-06, 02:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattface
Not that I'm sweating it either, I'm just in an argumentative mood,,...
I'm actually pushing this for a reason, not because I want to argue. I was asked by a co-worker who is getting a fixed gear if having a rear hand brake (in addition to a front hand brake which he will have) was required to be fully in compliance with law here in AZ. I couldn't answer definitive yes or no and just quoted the law to them and told them they should be able to skid the rear wheel with minimal practice. I also told them having a rear hand brake would be useless in practice if not also problematic. So when the opportunity came up to discuss in this thread, I took it.

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Old 03-06-06, 03:11 PM   #17
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I live/work in downtown Seattle.... always ride brakeless..
Even if it were not legal, none of the local messengers would put on a brake anyway.
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Old 03-06-06, 04:09 PM   #18
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I always thought this definition of skid in these things was that you needed to be able to apply the brake and then not on it drag it across the ground and it'll keep the tire locked. Not "you need to be able to skid your front wheel while riding."
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Old 03-06-06, 04:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ink1373
are you suggesting a love story about two bike geeks called "brakeless in seattle" should be made? if so....

...seconded!
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Old 03-06-06, 05:08 PM   #20
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the houseboat from that film is still on lake union and is valued at five million plus. friggin weird.
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Old 03-06-06, 05:08 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by endform
I always thought this definition of skid in these things was that you needed to be able to apply the brake and then not on it drag it across the ground and it'll keep the tire locked. Not "you need to be able to skid your front wheel while riding."
Pretty sure not:
-operators of vehicles including bicycles don't stand on the ground next to them
-bikes with coaster brakes and fixed gears with no other brakes could not pass the test

Al
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Old 03-06-06, 05:59 PM   #22
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Hand brakeless bikes are street legal in Illinois:

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Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will adequately control movement of and stop and hold such bicycle. 625 ILCS 5/11‑1507(b)
"Brake" is not defined in ILCS. The dictionary definition is "a restraint used to slow or stop a vehicle." A fixed gear without a handbrake meets this test, as does a coaster brake bike without handbrakes.
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Old 03-06-06, 06:29 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregg
Hand brakeless bikes are street legal in Illinois:
"Brake" is not defined in ILCS. The dictionary definition is "a restraint used to slow or stop a vehicle." A fixed gear without a handbrake meets this test, as does a coaster brake bike without handbrakes.
I think this is it. 'Brake' is not defined in AZ law either. Per this dictionairy definition fixed gear riders without handbrake need to stop calling their bikes brakeless - it only adds to the confusion. I've been scolded/corrected on this forum and on the wiki for refering to braking with the rear wheel on a fixed gear as 'leg activated rear brake' (or some such nonsense) and been told that this is not a brake. We can't have it both ways.

Al
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Old 03-06-06, 06:40 PM   #24
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"Brakeless" is a term of art in the bike community. It is obvious to a bike rider what "brakeless" means. The phrase does what it needs to do. The mere fact that it is not grammatically perfect does not mean it should disappear.
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Old 03-06-06, 07:20 PM   #25
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I think I found noisebeam a new avatar.

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