LAB vrs Strict VC... the Reed Bates issue.
First some background... Reed Bates was arrested for riding a bike in the traveled way on highway 287 in Texas. Apparently the original charge was obstruction of traffic.
You can read all the details here... http://dfwptp.blogspot.com/2010/08/p...sus-bates.html
The LAB was asked to respond to the issue and delivered this comment:
Picking Your Battles: The League & The Reed Bates Case
We have been following the Reed Bates’ case since pretty much the day the saga began. At the very outset, I called a couple of the people closely involved with Mr. Bates and offered the League’s help; it did appear that the charges were inappropriate, that Bates had a legal right to ride where he was riding, and that the jury that Bates chose to be heard by was incorrectly instructed by the first judge involved. On that basis, we would have been happy to help defend his right to ride on the road.
Our offer to assist was not accepted; instead, he and his advisers chose to assert that not only was Bates legally allowed to ride where he was riding, but that’s where he and everyone else should be riding, even in the presence of a perfectly rideable shoulder. That approach took the issue beyond a strict legal argument as to where one is legally allowed to ride to where one should ride, and a rural Texas courtroom may not be the best place to have that call made on our behalf. As the situation has developed, Bates (and the people advising him) has unfortunately chosen to follow a strategy that our board and legal advisers did not think was in the best interests of all cyclists – from the initial trial by jury preference to a failure to show up for court dates and hearings to the pursuit of a position that is simply not reasonable and could easily backfire.
We have remained in touch with the issue with local Dallas-area advocates, Bike Texas and our board of directors. It is instructive that none of us have chosen to get involved. I think we all regret that the way the case has been played by Bates and his advisers has precluded us from constructively intervening to help him and defend our collective rights to the road.
President, League of American Bicyclists
So what it boils down to is the LAB feels it is OK for cyclists to ride on a usable shoulder (they use the terms "perfectly rideable shoulder") whereas Reed felt that he should be able to ride on the traveled way. Is Reed's choice the view of strict Vehicular Cyclists?
Now take note that the judge made a statement that he believed that Reed Bates may be safer riding in the travel lanes on the highway... yet still found Reed guilty. This begs the question as to who determines where a cyclist can ride... the cyclist or society at large. If the cyclist is making a choice to ride to the left of the shoulder for safety reasons, is this not a valid "exception" in most states' FRAP laws?
I wonder where John Forester would have been riding on this road.
What about you?