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Are Fixies Legal?

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Are Fixies Legal?

Old 05-04-19, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by seau grateau
Avoid the po-po.
/thread.

Seriously, that's not just a Georgia thing. Its true here in CA as well and I suspect every state in the union. If you ride of the roads you have to have at least the one break.

Originally Posted by phobus
Also, I think you could argue that any fixed gear bike, by its nature, has a rear brake. It probably won't get you out of a ticket (let's face it, if a cop wants to write you a ticket, they're going to write you a ticket) but I think it's a valid argument.
So true. Cops can write tickets for all sorts of cockamamie things, but that doesn't make them valid or always legal.
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Old 05-04-19, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by seamuis
“Take my advice, be an adult and follow the law, even though I’ve never followed the law.”
I never said to follow the law. I said if you don't follow the law it's all on you.
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Old 05-04-19, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jasnooks
It's a bicycle.
Nobody cares.
To your points, in order...

You are correct, it is a bicycle.
Based upon the responses to what I thought would be a simple question, it appears as though several people care.
Nobody cares.
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Old 05-04-19, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by BoozyMcliverRot
I never said to follow the law. I said if you don't follow the law it's all on you.
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Old 05-06-19, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by tyrion
With a fixie you could ride backwards to skid the front wheel. If you can't ride backwards, I guess you're in violation.
I'm in Georgia, I can tell you no one cares about fixies and brakes, unless say you hurt someone, then they might look into what else you did wrong.

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Old 05-06-19, 11:18 AM
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Michigan laws only require you have a brake that can skid the bike. Is it enforced?... never seen it happen.
If a Fixie rider can skid his back wheel, I'm sure the cop would find that sufficient.
There are so many kids on BMX bikes who strip off their brakes to be cool... it just frightens me, especially when they ride at night wearing dark clothing.
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Old 05-06-19, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso
I think you are mistaken. Here is the requirement in Georgia:

Ga. Code Ann., § 40-6-296§ 40-6-296. Lights and other equipment on bicycles; helmets by persons under 16 years of ageCurrentness(a) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a light on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of 300 feet to the front and with a light on the back which shall emit a red light visible from a distance of 300 feet to the rear. Any bicycle equipped with a red reflector on the rear that is approved by the Department of Public Safety shall not be required to have a light on the rear of the bicycle.(b) Every bicycle sold or operated shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level pavement.(c) No bicycle shall be equipped or operated while equipped with a set of handlebars so raised that the operator must elevate his or her hands above the operator’s shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area.(d)(1) No person under the age of 16 years shall operate or be a passenger on a bicycle on a highway, bicycle path, bicycle lane, or sidewalk under the jurisdiction or control of this state or any local political subdivision thereof without wearing a bicycle helmet.(2) For the purposes of this subsection, the term “bicycle helmet” means a piece of protective headgear which meets or exceeds the impact standards for bicycle helmets set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation.(3) For the purposes of this subsection, a person shall be deemed to wear a bicycle helmet only if a bicycle helmet of good fit is fastened securely upon such person’s head with the straps of such bicycle helmet.(4) No bicycle without an accompanying protective bicycle helmet shall be rented or leased to or for the use of any person under the age of 16 years unless that person is in possession of a bicycle helmet at the time of the rental or lease.(5) Violation of any provision of this subsection shall not constitute negligence per se nor contributory negligence per se or be considered evidence of negligence or liability.(6) No person under the age of 16 failing to comply with any provision of this subsection shall be fined or imprisoned.Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-296 (West)


There does not seem to be any specific requirement that the brake be mounted on a particular wheel. And FWIW, the requirement is identical to California's.
It doesn't specify what kind of brake. On a fixie, the brakes are that you just stop pedaling and lock your knees. That will certainly make the wheels skid on dry pavement. I know a few people who ride track bikes on the roads, and they have never had any trouble with the law, at least not yet.
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Old 05-06-19, 06:08 PM
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My economy bike has a disc brake in front and calipers in the rear. The disc brake does not quite make the front wheel skid but the rear brake does and I think it is because the mechanical advantage of the brake on the rim make it a more effective lockup brake. I had contemplated a disc in the rear, but this is complicated, expensive, and probably would leave the rear brake unable to lock the rear wheel.
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Old 05-06-19, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ironnerd
In Georgia (as well as most states from what I have read) all bicycles must have at least a rear brake capable of locking the wheel and causing a skid. If bikes have a front brake, then they must also have a rear brake.

How are you fixie-riders getting around that?
Since pedal pressure can lock the rear wheel and cause a skid, that legally counts as a "brake."
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Old 05-07-19, 01:03 PM
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On a fixed gear bike all you do is push back on the pedal to stop. Actually works better than the hand ones. Most kids bikes you learn on are like that. I didn't have hand breaks until I was a teen, after I had outgrown my lilac colored sting ray. LOL
I just realized as I glanced over to my Day 6 Big red bike, it actually reminds me of my first bike, the old Stingray. Same handlebars. Well almost these have a teeth knocking bar across the top, but its the perfect place to put the headlight and flashing light for night riding.

Last edited by Marci; 05-07-19 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 05-07-19, 01:32 PM
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The only reason not to have brakes, apart from on the track, is style. I can understand the visual appeal of a minimalist stripped to the bone bike, but if I'm on the road, I want to be ready to deal with the unforeseen: the kid or dog who runs out, the car that pulls out at the last moment, the pothole or patch of gravel just round a bend, or the style-obsessed solipsist on a bike with no brakes who sails out of a side road assuming that no one else is there.

Even if you can do it on your fixed gear bike, skidding is not as efficient as braking under control, which is why they developed ABS for cars and motorbikes, rather than automatically locking brakes— which would have been far easier to invent.

I can ride uphill and down, on and off road, urban and rural, for an hour without touching the brakes on my fixed, but they do me no harm when I'm not using them, and one day might save my life or someone else's.

As for legality: that will vary with different jurisdictions. Surely someone rebellious enough to ride a brakeless fixie doesn't worry about legality? <wink>
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Old 05-07-19, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Mikefule
The only reason not to have brakes, apart from on the track, is style. I can understand the visual appeal of a minimalist stripped to the bone bike, but if I'm on the road, I want to be ready to deal with the unforeseen: the kid or dog who runs out, the car that pulls out at the last moment, the pothole or patch of gravel just round a bend, or the style-obsessed solipsist on a bike with no brakes who sails out of a side road assuming that no one else is there.

Even if you can do it on your fixed gear bike, skidding is not as efficient as braking under control, which is why they developed ABS for cars and motorbikes, rather than automatically locking brakes— which would have been far easier to invent.

I can ride uphill and down, on and off road, urban and rural, for an hour without touching the brakes on my fixed, but they do me no harm when I'm not using them, and one day might save my life or someone else's.

As for legality: that will vary with different jurisdictions. Surely someone rebellious and stupid enough to ride a brakeless fixie doesn't worry about legality? <wink>
Fixed.
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Old 05-08-19, 07:53 AM
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You cats who are saying that pedaling backwards counts as a brake are really just reaching. It's not like a coaster break, it's more like dragging your feet or jamming your foot against a tire to stop. It's not actually a brake.

My original question was pretty simple; "Are fixed-gear bikes legal?". Here in GA, they ain't, but I doubt I'll actually get a ticket were I to chose to ride one (Single speed: YES, Fixed Gear: Not so much...I had one when I was a kid then I grew up. It was called a BIG WHEEL).
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Old 05-08-19, 08:26 AM
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The laws as written above call for a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheel skid -- a brake is defined as a device for slowing or stopping a moving vehicle, typically by applying pressure to the wheels. A fixed gear is a mechanism that fits this definition and meets the requirements of the written law, so it's actually pretty tough to make a convincing argument that they're not legal. Jamming your foot against the tire or dragging your feet on the ground would not fulfill the law's requirements because the bike is not equipped with feet.
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Old 05-08-19, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ironnerd

My original question was pretty simple; "Are fixed-gear bikes legal?". Here in GA, they ain't, but I doubt I'll actually get a ticket were I to chose to ride one (Single speed: YES, Fixed Gear: Not so much...I had one when I was a kid then I grew up. It was called a BIG WHEEL).
Why might fixed gear bikes be illegal? I doubt that any jurisdiction insists on a bike having a freewheel. There is absolutely no reason why a fixed gear bike cannot have two conventional brakes.

In the UK, a fixed gear counts as one brake, but you are also meant to have a conventional brake on your front wheel. In normal riding on any bike, your front brake does most of the stopping.

If someone chooses to rely on skidding their back wheel instead, they are making a lot of sacrifices (stopping distance, control, cost of tyres, possible prosecution after an accident) but gaining "simplicity and style". Each to his or her own, but I think there is no justification for not fitting two conventional brakes on every bike. There are rationalisations, of course.
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Old 05-08-19, 11:37 AM
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A lawyer once said to me, "Whether it's legal or not doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is whether I can beat it in court."

-Tim-
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Old 05-08-19, 11:45 AM
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Riding brakeless is a young man's game. Like stairs.



I'm with Knope on this one.
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Old 05-08-19, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ironnerd
You cats who are saying that pedaling backwards counts as a brake are really just reaching. It's not like a coaster break, it's more like dragging your feet or jamming your foot against a tire to stop. It's not actually a brake.

My original question was pretty simple; "Are fixed-gear bikes legal?". Here in GA, they ain't, but I doubt I'll actually get a ticket were I to chose to ride one (Single speed: YES, Fixed Gear: Not so much...I had one when I was a kid then I grew up. It was called a BIG WHEEL).
There is a difference between how a law was written (what the law writers intended) and how the written law can actually be interpreted. In this case, the written law as it is worded, doesn’t specify a specific type of brake, therefore A fixed gear doesn’t ‘technically’ run afoul of the law as worded.
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Old 05-08-19, 10:36 PM
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You don't have to get around it because no one cares. And if you have a front brake, no one is really going to care even more if something were to occur.
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Old 05-08-19, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH
A lawyer once said to me, "Whether it's legal or not doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is whether I can beat it in court."

-Tim-
I glean from that his point was that the law is open to interpretation? But the judge is no fool. The juries however, are a troop of monkeys, which can be swayed either way depending on the amount of Jedi mind tricks you know. "A jury of your peers" is the most frightening phrase in American English.
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Old 05-09-19, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL
I glean from that his point was that the law is open to interpretation? But the judge is no fool. The juries however, are a troop of monkeys, which can be swayed either way depending on the amount of Jedi mind tricks you know. "A jury of your peers" is the most frightening phrase in American English.
Abraham Lincoln was an attorney, self taught, and he believed otherwise.

He loved and had absolute faith in "The common man" and that's why his image is on the penny which is the most common coin.

As for brakes, from both a legal and practical perspective, I think reasonable people can agree that it is better to have and not need then to need and not have.

Personally, I don't skid $35 tires. They wear out fast enough on their own.


-Tim-
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Old 05-09-19, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL
I glean from that his point was that the law is open to interpretation? But the judge is no fool. The juries however, are a troop of monkeys, which can be swayed either way depending on the amount of Jedi mind tricks you know. "A jury of your peers" is the most frightening phrase in American English.
Juries decide questions of fact, such as whether the defendant was riding a bike on a public road. Judges decide questions of law, such as whether a fixed cog is a brake within the meaning of the statute.
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Old 05-14-19, 12:59 AM
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Here in DK the only requirement is that you have a backup for the front brake, so if that is a pedalbrake or a rear brake, that is all good.
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Old 05-15-19, 08:29 AM
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FG riders are capable of slowing/Skidding the rear wheels thru the cranks and the front brake caliper together qualifies if what the OP posted was word for word of the law.The Cranks IMHO represent the mechanical means of braking the rear wheel.I personally don’t ride brakeless since my age makes it less feasible.I hate pain and try to avoid it at all costs lol.
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