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  1. #1
    genec genec's Avatar
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    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:

    http://www.bikeleague.org/blog/2010/...ed-bates-case/

    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.

    Andy Clarke
    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?

  2. #2
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    Chipseal was NOT tried and convicted for failing to operate FRAP, he was charged and convicted with RECKLESS DRIVING operating with premeditated disregard for other road users!

    RECKLESS DRIVING.

    chip received quite faulty legal advice and a poor legal strategy was used on the defense teams part.

    Quote Originally Posted by LAB director Andy Clarke
    ...(regarding the LAB),local Dallas-area advocates, Bike Texas and our board of directors. It is instructive that none of us have chosen to get involved.


    Can vehicular cyclist share multiple lane roads by operating as far right as practicable, or does a strict VC code require cyclists operate near the lane stripe of all multiple lane roads whose outside lane width is less than 14 feet wide?

    you don't ride ideology in a lawbook, you on ride a bicycle in traffic.

    i believe chipseal could have avoided all this trouble by operating in a vehicular cycling style like the franklin

    primary:secondary positioning method. even on this multiple lane roadway.

    as for use of the shoulder versus road, doesn't johnforester think riding safely right on a shoulder (especially on a high speed road like a texas highway) is fine and in accordance with vc principles so long as it doesn't void any destination or speed positioning rules?

    But what HAS happened is this chipseal character has endangered the collective road rights of all american bicyclists. the vc camp should be outraged with this sophmoric and illguided attempt to secure cyclists rights in texas. it has led to a more fragile framing of our rights and it sucks.

    poor form, chipseal.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 08-20-10 at 07:19 AM.

  3. #3
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    as for use of the shoulder versus road, doesn't johnforester think riding safely right on a shoulder (especially on a high speed road like a texas highway) is fine and in accordance with vc principles so long as it doesn't void any destination or speed positioning rules?
    This is the big question.

  4. #4
    JRA
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    If the question is simply one of the right to ride on the road as opposed to the shoulder, then I think it's a simple case. A bicylist has that right.

    Asserting more than a right, which the defense seems to have done, seems like a major mistake. And if the defendant did indeed fail to show for court dates, then he's just shooting himself in the foot. You can't win if you don't show up.

    The famous comment, "mistakes were made" seems to apply. It's unfortunate because bicyclist rights seem to have been trampled here (although it could have been worse).

    The charge of reckless driving is troubling. If riding on the roadway where you have a right to ride is reckless, then something is seriously wrong. If anyone is being reckless, wouldn't it be motorists who apparently have trouble slowing quickly enough who are reckless?

    I don't think this is a VC vs. non-VC question at all. It's a question of bicyclists right to ride on the roadway.
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

  5. #5
    Powerful-Ugly Creature Greyryder's Avatar
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    The shoulder on that road is inconsistent, at best. There are places where it disappears, altogether. Unless I'm horribly misinformed, the man was riding in a conspicuous, visible location in the right hand lane, of a road with very little traffic, and two travel lanes in each direction. I have yet to figure out what the problem so many people have had with his riding is. The cop was obviously just cheesed off that Chipseal refused to follow his illegal order.

    Cycle Dallas has the other side of the story, on the LAB's alleged offer to help.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burton
    When some wild eyed eight foot tall maniac grabs you by the throat and taps the back of your favorite head head against the barroom wall, and he looks crooked in the eye, and he ask you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."

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    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    i suspect there are two ways to operate a bike as far right as practicable under texas law:

    competently, or recklessly. chipseal was found to be recklessly operating his bike, albeit in a legally allowed place on the roadway.

    I think it's lousy and he never should have been charged. but what of the taking the middle of the lane of a 65mph road?

    reckless unless warranted is my opinion. my opinion soundly mirrors that of the judge.

    this isn't a case of vehicular cycling versus the league of american bicyclists. vehicular cyclists can operate along a high speed roadway in the lane in a considerate manner and with consideration of other road users.

    Mr. bates does not do this. simply riding in the franklin primary-secondary vehicular style entirely within the lane lines would likely have kept mr bates legal and safe while appropriately sharing the lane in a considerate manner as a vehicular cyclist.

    framing it as VC versus the LAB debate is inaccurate.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 08-21-10 at 12:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JRA View Post
    If the question is simply one of the right to ride on the road as opposed to the shoulder, then I think it's a simple case. A bicylist has that right.

    Asserting more than a right, which the defense seems to have done, seems like a major mistake. ....
    The defense's assertion was that Reed was operating strictly in conformance with the Texas bicycle operation statutes. The highlight of the defense lawyer's closing statement in the Reckless Driving case was that "the law is the law and he was operating according to it, and the prosecution never presented any evidence that he was operating otherwise." I never heard any defense assertion in either trial beyond that Reed had the right to operate where he was operating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greyryder View Post
    The shoulder on that road is inconsistent, at best. There are places where it disappears, altogether. Unless I'm horribly misinformed, the man was riding in a conspicuous, visible location in the right hand lane, of a road with very little traffic, and two travel lanes in each direction. I have yet to figure out what the problem so many people have had with his riding is. The cop was obviously just cheesed off that Chipseal refused to follow his illegal order.

    Cycle Dallas has the other side of the story, on the LAB's alleged offer to help.
    According to Reed, and entirely consistent with the testimony of the Deputy, the Deputy responded to the 911 call and did not even cite Reed for anything. THEN he told Reed to stay on the shoulder or he would be arrested. Reed (IMO), then got all principally and elected to disobey that order, considering that it endangered him. You can actually see him leave the shoulder and ride on the road in the traffic stop video. THIS is what prompted the arrest. It was a case of an immovable object against an irresistable force. Had I been a deputy, I would not have illegally ordered Reed not to ride in a legal fashion. Had I made that order, I would have arrested Reed. You cannot say "don't do this or I'll arrest you" and then NOT arrest the person when he does it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    Chipseal was NOT tried and convicted for failing to operate FRAP, he was charged and convicted with RECKLESS DRIVING operating with premeditated disregard for other road users!
    Yes, it wasn't FRAP.

    As for the rest, no, he was charged with reckless driving -- the rest is merely your embellishment.

    I know you've seen the definition of the charge, but I'll repeat it for you again --

    545.401. RECKLESS DRIVING; OFFENSE. (a) A person commits an offense if the person drives a vehicle in wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

    ... it's about safety, not "disregard" (unless you're claiming that Bates is disregarding the safety of the motorists? After all, he might damage their car if they ran him over from behind!) And it doesn't say premeditated either, though of course willful or wanton basically just means intentional.

    In any event, since the law says safety (of persons or property) and nothing else, this law has nothing to do with merely inconveniencing other road users -- you have to risk their (or your) property or persons to violate this law.

    And really, if riding in the outside lane is dangerous (for who or what is not entirely clear) to the point of being reckless, then that means that cyclists can't take the lane on these roads. Having a shoulder available is certainly nice, but not all roads have shoulders, so what are these criteria that make a road so dangerous that riding on them is reckless?

    (And no, I don't buy the idea that having a shoulder available is what makes it so dangerous, because the danger level of this lane is pretty much unaffected by the existence or non-existence of a shoulder.)

    This is a dangerous decision for cyclists, especially if it were to be upheld on appeal and actually become a precedent for somebody.
    Last edited by dougmc; 08-31-10 at 12:13 PM.

  10. #10
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    reckless unless warranted is my opinion. my opinion soundly mirrors that of the judge.
    Actually, it doesn't. Because you have said it's reckless unless warranted. The judge said it was reckless regardless of whether it was warranted or not! That's the big difference and where things become just plain unreasonable.
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    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    This is a dangerous decision for cyclists, especially if it were to be upheld on appeal and actually become a precedent for somebody.
    Certainly true.

    Personally, I can't see this being upheld, but stranger things have happened.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

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    Senior Member KD5NRH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    Yes, it wasn't FRAP.
    FRAP specifically doesn't apply, given the substandard lane width as per the exact wording of the lane positioning statute.


    ... it's about safety, not "disregard" (unless you're claiming that Bates is disregarding the safety of the motorists? After all, he might damage their car if they ran him over from behind!) And it doesn't say premeditated either, though of course willful or wanton basically just means intentional.
    No. As per existing case law (Thomas v Texas, Lane v Texas, etc.) an intentional act reasonably applied without malice to protect property cannot be considered wilful or wanton, as the actor's free will was affected by the need to protect said property. I don't find a specific application to protection of one's own safety, but it's hardly a stretch to apply that same reasoning.

    From Branch's Annotated Penal Code: (emphasis mine) "The term wilfully should be defined in the charge of the court. The term wilfully means with evil intent, or with legal malice, or without reasonable grounds for believing the act to be lawful. Lane v State, 16 Texas Crim App 172. Farmer v State, 21 Texas Crim App 423: 2 SW 767 "
    Last edited by KD5NRH; 09-01-10 at 03:11 AM.

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    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post
    FRAP specifically doesn't apply
    I think we've all agreed on that.

    From Branch's Annotated Penal Code: (emphasis mine) "The term wilfully should be defined in the charge of the court. The term wilfully means with evil intent, or with legal malice, or without reasonable grounds for believing the act to be lawful. Lane v State, 16 Texas Crim App 172. Farmer v State, 21 Texas Crim App 423: 2 SW 767 "
    OK, but the non-legal definition says nothing about "evil" or "lawful", and if I go looking for a legal definition such as found at http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/willful, the "evil" idea is there, but I don't think it applies here --

    In criminal-law statutes, willfully ordinarily means with a bad purpose or criminal intent, particularly if the proscribed act is mala in se (an evil in itself, intrinsically wrong) or involves moral turpitude. For example, willful murder is the unlawful killing of another individual without any excuse or Mitigating Circumstances. If the forbidden act is not wrong in itself, such as driving over the speed limit, willfully is used to mean intentionally, purposefully, or knowingly.
    If riding in the lane is not wrong in itself (hopefully nobody here thinks that) it seems the last sentence applies.

    Ultimately, I think that "willful or wanton basically just means intentional" is close enough for willful, but wanton means something else, though I certainly wouldn't call his riding wanton.

    Of course, arguing about what words means is certainly a waste of time -- the judge seems to have decided that they were close enough to convict him.

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    Senior Member KD5NRH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    OK, but the non-legal definition says nothing about "evil" or "lawful", and if I go looking for a legal definition such as found at http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/willful, the "evil" idea is there, but I don't think it applies here --
    Only the legal definition matters in court. Otherwise the FDA would have a lot more to answer for.

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    What a second. Isn't riding on a shoulder NOT riding vc, but something other than? Did I miss something? vc is about riding on or in the lane of traffic, asserting your right to the roadway, taking the lane, not using specific bicycle facilities, etc. Shoulder, while not bicycle specific facilities are certainly a good substitute, especially on a busy hwy.

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    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    no, competent vehicular cyclists can

    a) share the road
    b) operate on the shoulders of roads

    and not be in conflict with vehicular cycling trechnique.

    This joker in texas is one of those vc cyclists endangering bicyclists right to the road thru his obstinacy. I am quite critical of this fiasco, and suspect he is a person who has no clear interest in furthering cyclists rights in the state of texas, and actually seeks to restrict cyclists using the tenets embodied in vc dogmatism to show why cyclists SHOULD be required to operate on the shoulders.

    take a look at chipseals blog posts from 2009 and see a man addled with dogmatism - he thought his road position - default in the left tire track- would invalidate a 3 foot safe passing law because oncoming traffic would not be able to pass with the requisite clearance! the guy is an addled ideologue, i strongly suspect chipseal is an anti-bicyclist who is actually trying to enact mandatory shoulder use laws in texas.

    this joker is bucking for mandatory shoulder use laws. chipseals trainwreck of a legal case has already set precedent that makes it legally more restrictive on cyclists in texas if a DA gets a case for purview about bicyclists roadway operation. there is flack from this case circulating at the FHWA.

    cyclists need to be careful what we wish for, assiduously guard our rights to the road, and condemn those that flaunt those rights to the detriment of other road users.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 09-14-10 at 08:06 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    no, competent vehicular cyclists can

    a) share the road
    b) operate on the shoulders of roads

    and not be in conflict with vehicular cycling trechnique.

    This joker in texas is one of those vc cyclists endangering bicyclists right to the road thru his obstinacy. I am quite critical of this fiasco, and suspect he is a person who has no clear interest in furthering cyclists rights in the state of texas, and actually seeks to restrict cyclists using the tenets embodied in vc dogmatism to show why cyclists SHOULD be required to operate on the shoulders.

    take a look at chipseals blog posts from 2009 and see a man addled with dogmatism - he thought his road position - default in the left tire track- would invalidate a 3 foot safe passing law because oncoming traffic would not be able to pass with the requisite clearance! the guy is an addled ideologue, i strongly suspect chipseal is an anti-bicyclist who is actually trying to enact mandatory shoulder use laws in texas.

    this joker is bucking for mandatory shoulder use laws. chipseals trainwreck of a legal case has already set precedent that makes it legally more restrictive on cyclists in texas if a DA gets a case for purview about bicyclists roadway operation. there is flack from this case circulating at the FHWA.

    cyclists need to be careful what we wish for, assiduously guard our rights to the road, and condemn those that flaunt those rights to the detriment of other road users.
    Maybe I missed it, but with this recent issue he has been charged with, what was his lane position? Was he in the left half, or left tire track or was he to the right, or in the right tire track?

    Also I am guessing you're quoting forester in saying what you did about competent vehicular cyclists, not using shoulders, etc., if you are you may want to first credit the source and second put quote marks around it so people know where it comes from and do not think it is from you.

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    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    actually, sux, john forester is fine with the use of road shoulders by competent vehicular cyclists.

    competent vehicular cyclists can both share the road and use the shoulders of roads and not be in violation of vehicular cycling technique.

    i think you need more background on the ludicrous nature of reed bates dogmatism. go to his blog.

    a simple look at his blog posts from 2009 is ample grounds to eject this guy from the cycling community, he is a reckless outlier endangering cyclists rights.

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    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    take a look at chipseals blog posts from 2009 and see a man addled with dogmatism - he thought his road position - default in the left tire track- would invalidate a 3 foot safe passing law because oncoming traffic would not be able to pass with the requisite clearance! the guy is an addled ideologue, i strongly suspect chipseal is an anti-bicyclist who is actually trying to enact mandatory shoulder use laws in texas.
    You seem awfully hung up on this "left tire track" thing -- it's only like a yard to the left of the middle of the lane. So to you, it's not OK for a cyclist to ride in the left tire track. How about the middle of the lane? If he's taken that lane, which part of the lane do you permit him to use?

    Also, Texas doesn't have a three foot passing law, but the one that was vetoed by the governor said that you could pass at three feet OR go into another lane, so Reed's riding position would not have been a problem for that. (Austin did pass a law with the same wording, however. I don't know if there's any such laws where Chipseal was arrested.)

    And beyond that, let's do the math in a typical situation. Twelve foot wide lanes, six foot wide tire track (this is pretty typical for most cars -- the cars are wider than their tire track.) The tire tracks straddle the middle of the lane, so they're each four feet from the center. Our cyclist is two feet wide, and he rides on the middle of the left tire track -- so his left side is four feet from the center of the lane, or two feet from the edge of the lane.

    Well, if a passing car is in the other lane, in the middle, he's seven feet wide (wider than his tire track), that puts him 2.5 feet from the edge of the lane, or 2.5 feet + 1.5 feet ... 4 feet from our hero, enough to satisfy most 3' passing laws even if they don't have the "or another lane" provision. Even if we assume that the tire tracks are made by wider trucks with a seven foot wheelbase, the math still works.

    I should also point out that if he's in the left tire track, the left side of him and his bike is in approximately the same place as where the left edge of a car would be -- so anybody passing him would have to move over approximately the same amount as they would if they were passing a car. (Passing other cars doesn't usually invoke a three foot passing law, but it's still a good idea.)

    I'm not saying that I would ride in the left tire track or even in the lane at all in that situation -- just that these reasons you're throwing up about why he can't are pretty easily debunked.
    Last edited by dougmc; 09-14-10 at 08:47 AM.

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    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    try not to oversimplify the reed bates fiasco. have you read his blog posts from 2009? he unabashedly rode in the left tire track of 70mph divided highways as his default road position. despite it being ostensibly legal, his riding is demonstrably reckless riding.

    convicted and likely to hold up on appeal. no cyclist concerned about cyclists rights should back reed bates. Reed Bates is likely an anti-cycling outlier plying a fools masquerade, intent on restricting cyclists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    actually, sux, john forester is fine with the use of road shoulders by competent vehicular cyclists.

    competent vehicular cyclists can both share the road and use the shoulders of roads and not be in violation of vehicular cycling technique.

    i think you need more background on the ludicrous nature of reed bates dogmatism. go to his blog.

    a simple look at his blog posts from 2009 is ample grounds to eject this guy from the cycling community, he is a reckless outlier endangering cyclists rights.
    Sorry, I missed the comma in your response, my mistake. But there are some vc riders, other than chipseal who are very dogmatic in believing that forester's teachings, preaching, call it what you will, means a competent cyclist should never use shoulders.

    Let me ask this. It is one thing for forester to be ok with using shoulders and share the road, and we know he feels about bicycle facilities and traffic calming, but why is it people take what he advocates and interprites it how they do? Does he claim accept any responsibility for that? I do not mean and am not saying he has any control over how people think and act. But he does put the information out there and then it seems, at least to me, when people take it to the next level he washes his hands of it and says all I am doing is putting the info. out there for people to use. I think he may have the best intentions but that can still have the worst consequences. This might make his information risky and even dangerous to use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    try not to oversimplify the reed bates fiasco. have you read his blog posts from 2009? he unabashedly rode in the left tire track of 70mph divided highways as his default road position. despite it being ostensibly legal, his riding is demonstrably reckless riding.

    convicted and likely to hold up on appeal. no cyclist concerned about cyclists rights should back reed bates. Reed Bates is likely an anti-cycling outlier plying a fools masquerade, intent on restricting cyclists.
    Riding in the left tire track is legal? What is Texa's FRAP law? is it practicable or possible? If it is practicable that usually means a cyclist can move to the left, even into the left turn lane if necessary, but should return to the right tire track or shoulder, if one is present when able to. I do not think a cyclist should remain in the left tire track or side of the lane when there is no obstruction to prevent from riding on the right side.

    It is one thing to assert your rights to the roadway, but if you're militant about it as chipseal is, even if you are doing so within the limit of the law it can still result in bad consequences.

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    Competent cyclists understand how to share 70 mile per hour roads without resorting to defaulting in the left tire track.. i have strong suspicions of the existence of a dubious, hidden agenda behind reed bates reckless riding fiasco in texas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SUX Vision R40 View Post
    Riding in the left tire track is legal? What is Texa's FRAP law? is it practicable or possible? If it is practicable that usually means a cyclist can move to the left, even into the left turn lane if necessary, but should return to the right tire track or shoulder, if one is present when able to. I do not think a cyclist should remain in the left tire track or side of the lane when there is no obstruction to prevent from riding on the right side.
    Go read it! It's not hard to find (and people here have quoted it endlessly in other threads).

    Quote Originally Posted by SUX Vision R40 View Post
    But there are some vc riders, other than chipseal who are very dogmatic in believing that forester's teachings, preaching, call it what you will, means a competent cyclist should never use shoulders.
    Who are these "some vc riders"? I suspect it is a tiny number of people.

    Quote Originally Posted by SUX Vision R40 View Post
    Let me ask this. It is one thing for forester to be ok with using shoulders and share the road, and we know he feels about bicycle facilities and traffic calming, but why is it people take what he advocates and interprites it how they do? Does he claim accept any responsibility for that? I do not mean and am not saying he has any control over how people think and act. But he does put the information out there and then it seems, at least to me, when people take it to the next level he washes his hands of it and says all I am doing is putting the info. out there for people to use. I think he may have the best intentions but that can still have the worst consequences. This might make his information risky and even dangerous to use.
    Huh?
    Last edited by njkayaker; 09-14-10 at 11:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    i have strong suspicions of the existence of a dubious, hidden agenda behind reed bates reckless riding fiasco in texas.
    Conspiracies everywhere!!!

    This doesn't seem like the simplest explanation.

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