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Illinois/Chicago brake law?

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Illinois/Chicago brake law?

Old 12-31-08, 05:08 PM
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kmoy2002
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Illinois/Chicago brake law?

I'm riding fixed with only a front brake. Does anyone know the law for brakes in Illinois? Are cyclist required to have both front and rear? Is a front brake enough to avoid getting a ticket?

I just want to be covered in case of an accident or a ticket. ie getting the fault pinned on me because I failed to run a rear brake.

I found this online but am still unsure

Section 9-52-080
"Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to make the braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement."

What are the implications of this for brake-less/fixed-gear bikes? I can't lock the wheels with a front brake but can lock the rear with my legs. Does this count?
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Old 12-31-08, 06:03 PM
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https://www.biketraffic.org/content.php?id=50_0_6_0
https://www.chicagobikes.org/bikelaws/
https://chicagobikelaw.blogspot.com/


I am not sure about rear brakes. you might want to contact lawyer jim - he will know the answer.
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Old 12-31-08, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by kmoy2002 View Post
"Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to make the braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement."


Has anyone ever been able to skid their front wheel on dry, level, clean pavement? And lived to tell the tale?
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Old 12-31-08, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ascend View Post


Has anyone ever been able to skid their front wheel on dry, level, clean pavement? And lived to tell the tale?
One might Fly over the bars.
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Old 01-01-09, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by ascend View Post


Has anyone ever been able to skid their front wheel on dry, level, clean pavement? And lived to tell the tale?
Yup.. just need to do it on a nice strip of tar/oil buildup
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Old 01-01-09, 05:19 AM
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Well that's not dry or clean.
Originally Posted by kmoy2002 View Post
Section 9-52-080
"Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to make the braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement."
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Old 01-06-09, 06:40 AM
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Makes perfect sense as a skid is the sign of efficient and effective braking.
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Old 01-06-09, 07:09 AM
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Where can you find clean an dry pavement in Chicago anyways so I guess it really doesn't matter
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Old 01-10-20, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ascend View Post


Has anyone ever been able to skid their front wheel on dry, level, clean pavement? And lived to tell the tale?
Matter of fact, I found out that is 100% possible this summer while getting hit by a high schooler in a white mustang. if your back tire is skidding first, your front tire will probably skid without throwing you. You also lose all ability to steer. It probably helped that my tires are in bad shape too.
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Old 01-10-20, 07:49 AM
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talk about knee problems . . .
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Old 01-13-20, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ascend View Post


Has anyone ever been able to skid their front wheel on dry, level, clean pavement? And lived to tell the tale?
Doesn't say a front brake needs to be able to skid the front wheel, only that bikes must be equipped with a brake that can cause a wheel to skid. i.e. a single speed with no rear brake would be illegal, but a SS with only a rear brake would be legal.

I seriously doubt any Chicago cop will know or care to parse these distinctions.
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Old 01-13-20, 01:41 AM
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You might try asking at bike shops if Chicago has an attorney who specializes in bicycle cases. Portland, OR has several. If Chicago does, you might try just walking into their office cold and asking if there have been cases involving front brake only bicycles and how they were decided. Precedence counts for a lot.

Ben
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Old 01-15-20, 01:26 PM
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I would guess that it doesn't really mean skid in a riding situation. That would be silly, and laws are never sill... oh, wait.

In the UK, a fixed wheel counts as "1 brake" so legally you can ride fixed with only a front brake.

Having a rear brake is only a disadvantage if you flip your wheel and the two sprockets are different enough in size that the blocks won't work both ways. Why not just have a brake and choose not to use it?
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Old 03-04-20, 03:42 PM
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Michigan has the same law so I am definitely curious to hear if you find an answer.
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Old 03-09-20, 12:09 PM
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Same law in Texas, and probably just about every state in the union. I’ve never been stopped by a cop for just having a front brake on my fixed gear bikes. In fact, I’ve never been stopped by a cop for doing just about anything, legal or otherwise, while riding a bicycle. Basically, it just comes down to the attitude of the local cops. If they are dicks and just like harassing bicyclists, then just about anything will result in being stopped and getting ticketed.
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Old 03-10-20, 11:06 AM
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you would think chicago police have more important things to deal with. long as you don't ride like an a$$ hat i doubt they will bother you.
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Old 03-10-20, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by REDMASTA View Post
you would think chicago police have more important things to deal with. long as you don't ride like an a$$ hat i doubt they will bother you.
Agreed. Well said!
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Old 03-12-20, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by REDMASTA View Post
you would think chicago police have more important things to deal with. long as you don't ride like an a$$ hat i doubt they will bother you.
Note: does not apply to black cyclists.
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Old 03-20-20, 02:44 AM
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It's the same law in many different states, written almost exactly the same way. No idea why it was never made federal.

Unfortunately, legs don't count (but apparently fingers do for brake mechanisms). Someone tried to fight their ticket in New York and the judge wasn't having it.

Being brakeless fixed, if done right, is an efficient and effective means of stopping your bicycle.

You even have an e-brake where other brakes would get in the way (foot in the tire). If your brakes go out, the foot in the tire trick won't work so well because the brakes are in the way ironically.

I've had canti brakes that were far far worse than riding brakeless.


It's just another one of those situations where they just have to put a blanket statement in the way, with no care or research done for enthusiasts.

Someone who has never seen an enthusiasts bike thought about it, and made a hard cutoff somewhere.

They probably asked some engineer (if we're lucky) that has also never been in said situation and has most likely only lived in their own bubble their entire lives.

You probably couldn't ask a single lawmaker, or probably even the person the lawmaker consulted with, questions like: "What's the difference between a u-brake and a v-brake?", "Should I go with calipers or canti's on my road bike?" etc.

You obviously can't expect a lawmaker to know everything about everything, but you would hope that they consult with someone who really knows the ins and outs of the thing that they are about to pass, which gives them the ability to take money from people or throw them in jail with the threat of force if there is no compliance.


It's also because of people who just "do something" because they think it's cool and have no fear mechanism because they haven't had a bad crash yet and they either hurt themselves or someone else.

Someone notices a trend and a correlation, and says "Screw everyone and everything that has to do with this ONE thing!".

Just kind of what happens when there's SO MANY people doing SO MANY different things.

If they make something that gives most of us the ability to do stuff, someone out there is going to do it in the most dangerous way possible and probably screw it up for everyone else.


Just kind of sucks.

But there's also the enforcement end of it.

Most of the time, if there is no trend of "this one thing" bothering or hurting "these people or themselves",

and if you're honestly not bothering anyone, then 99% of people who enforce the law (officers) either won't care or won't even know what you're doing.

Overall, I don't think that it's the best idea to do it to like, your only bike. Mostly because of liability issues if you run into someone or if someone runs into you, and because of the fact that it's just not for everyone.
But then again, those liabilities exist because the law exists.

Anyways, in general, this kind of stuff gets crazy and a lot of people end up on the wrong end of a really screwed up law and get unjustly overpunished, and a lot of people get away with a lot of things that they really shouldn't.
Or we end up with really weird cutoffs somewhere. I'm honestly surprised that our society sticks together and functions correctly, and that our crime rates are rather low compared to some other places. I honestly think that most of it just has to do with the fact that we have a higher standard of living here overall and the fact that many of them do indeed pass great laws that help people (sometimes).
I mean, just look at lawmakers talking abotu the internet when we had that data crisis. If you look up a lot of different subjects, and you look at a lawmaker talking about it, you see that a lot of them are honestly 100% clueless when it comes to stuff like this. But in many cases, they are SPOT ON with things like infastructure, taxes,internet laws, the economy in general on a macro level, etc.
I mean, most of them are lawyers right? So they HAVE TO be incredibly smart in those areas, but for whatever reason when it comes to certain things it's like "omg".
I'm sure that they can ask me a volley of questions about how the law works, how cases work, federal vs. state law, etc. and I would have no idea where to start.
But I really think that they should be consulting with a group that represents the entire community of whatever they are making a law about or consulting with experts that haven't lived in their own bubble their entire lives.
A lot of times it seems like they just kind of have to go off of hyperbole and stigma, but really I don't know man.

I make gross generalizations all the time, we all do, but I just think that they have a slightly higher responsiblity to not do it for certain things as lawmakers.
Some people watch these videos where they do things like that and they just think "wow, all of those people suck and i'm the best", which in and of itself is a gross overgeneralization.
They then post compilation videos of these people at their worst and probably feel better about themsleves afterwards.
But dude, these people are lawyers. Not just any lawyer either, passing the BAR Is hard enough, but they have to be some kind of cut above the average lawyer to make it into a position like that.
Maybe it's the time and dedication required to do that that makes them so out of touch sometiems? I don't know. They probably all just live in their own bubble. Or they see a very narrow scope of the population their entire lives.
Or maybe I see a very narrow scope as well.
I don't know. It's complicated man.
Any state with a large population is going to have very complex and very weird issues.


A lot of it also has to do with the fact that a lot of people that actually go out there and do things bad enough to justify serious concern and/or arrest aren't enthusiasts at all, but rather people that just happen to be doing something with said thing. A lot of laws are made around those people as well.

But we haven't had the right people place that can optimize the boundary between the two things. Not really sure why.

Last edited by BicycleBicycle; 03-20-20 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 03-20-20, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BicycleBicycle View Post
It's the same law in every state, written almost exactly the same way.
I'm sorry but I disagree with this statement...
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Old 03-20-20, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by IAmSam View Post
I'm sorry but I disagree with this statement...
Fixed it.
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Old 03-20-20, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by BicycleBicycle View Post
...

Being brakeless fixed, if done right, is an efficient and effective means of stopping your bicycle.

...
Yeah, if taking twice the distance to stop is considered "efficient and effective". Rear wheel with the best brake properly applied takes twice the distance to stop as the same brake and skill being used in front. (Yes, I am only talking about conventional bicycles; like 99% of the bikes in any bike store, not recumbents or tandems and the like.)

Proving this is a simple exercise in physics, I sit down and do this every decade or so when I have long forgotten the assumptions I made last time. The answer is never exactly 2:1 but always close.

Oh, when I do these calcs, I always use the same figures for traction on both tires; assuming no skidding. I know well from my days as a youth that if you start the skid early you can travel a lot further. (Skidding competitions. Longest skid wins.) I also don't include the need for the pedal to approach a good point to start the skid, not the deleterious effect on stopping power of bringing your weight forward to initiate the skid. If you are riding a 70" gear and the pedal travels 1/4 turn before you can effectively backpedal it, you just traveled 4 1/2 feet.

I will grant that fix gear riders start slowing their pedals a lot sooner as the eye to brain to stopping the pedaling action is far faster than eye to brain to hand and moving to the brake and squeezing. I used this to advantage in my commute many years ago into Boston. I had 3 rotaries at bottoms of hills. I would come in fast and "park" myself about 3 feet behind a car, knowing my legs could start the slow as soon as the brake lights came on. Also that no following car was going to be that close. But if it came to a full on stop or hard slow, having two good brakes was going to save my butt, not my legs. The gift of fix gear was only that the process started so fast.

I get fix gears and all their advantages and drawbacks. I've been riding both fix gears and geared bikes to the tune of 100,000 miles+ each but always with two good brakes. (And an observation - I have never met the brakeless rider who started when I did and is still riding. If I had ridden brakeless, you would never be meeting me either.)

Edit: I read your long post. Yes there are bikes with poor brakes. But very good brakes have been available since the 1950s or earlier. Getting real stopping power on any bike isn't hard. Accepting a bike without good brakes isn't reasonable.

Ben

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Old 03-20-20, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Yeah, if taking twice the distance to stop is considered "efficient and effective". Rear wheel with the best brake properly applied takes twice the distance to stop as the same brake and skill being used in front. (Yes, I am only talking about conventional bicycles; like 99% of the bikes in any bike store, not recumbents or tandems and the like.)

Proving this is a simple exercise in physics, I sit down and do this every decade or so when I have long forgotten the assumptions I made last time. The answer is never exactly 2:1 but always close.

Oh, when I do these calcs, I always use the same figures for traction on both tires; assuming no skidding. I know well from my days as a youth that if you start the skid early you can travel a lot further. (Skidding competitions. Longest skid wins.) I also don't include the need for the pedal to approach a good point to start the skid, not the deleterious effect on stopping power of bringing your weight forward to initiate the skid. If you are riding a 70" gear and the pedal travels 1/4 turn before you can effectively backpedal it, you just traveled 4 1/2 feet.

I will grant that fix gear riders start slowing their pedals a lot sooner as the eye to brain to stopping the pedaling action is far faster than eye to brain to hand and moving to the brake and squeezing. I used this to advantage in my commute many years ago into Boston. I had 3 rotaries at bottoms of hills. I would come in fast and "park" myself about 3 feet behind a car, knowing my legs could start the slow as soon as the brake lights came on. Also that no following car was going to be that close. But if it came to a full on stop or hard slow, having two good brakes was going to save my butt, not my legs. The gift of fix gear was only that the process started so fast.

I get fix gears and all their advantages and drawbacks. I've been riding both fix gears and geared bikes to the tune of 100,000 miles+ each but always with two good brakes. (And an observation - I have never met the brakeless rider who started when I did and is still riding. If I had ridden brakeless, you would never be meeting me either.)

Edit: I read your long post. Yes there are bikes with poor brakes. But very good brakes have been available since the 1950s or earlier. Getting real stopping power on any bike isn't hard. Accepting a bike without good brakes isn't reasonable
Ben
Yep. I wasn't even implying that it was the best way to stop it, just an effective way. I 100% agree that conventional braking with expensive brakes that most consumers just aren't going to have on their first bike is far more effective than riding brakeless.
I would argue that being brakeless is just as or more effective than any brake that you can buy for $15 or less (retail not used).
Those are the kinds of brakes that go on most of these hi-ten bikes that they are churning out.
Those are the kinds of brakes that I had on my canti equipped bike (actually those were a bit nicer but they acted just like pot metal brakes).
I'm not arguing BTW, just continuing the discussion.
I wouldn't give my my current discs for any other kind of brake honestly. They're just that good and the control that they give on even the steepest inclines is awesome.
I just think that the concept of "look, brakey mechanism means good", and "look, no brakey mechanism means BAD" is an extremely gross overgeneralization.

For example, I can definitely come up with an example of a brake that "skids on clean dry pavement" that is just as bad or worse than being brakeless.
For example, the brakes on some of my BMX bikes were basically designed to hold the wheel as firmly as possible for tricks.
Meaning, all you could really do with them is completely stop your wheel (skid) or barely stop at all. BMX U-brakes are basically an on/off switch like that.

In that kind of a situation, a fixed is more effective at stopping because you can actually slow down your wheel.
People would ask me about it all of the time when I used to ride BMX, and I would explain that sticking my foot in the back tire was exactly the same as having a 990 U-brakes, and in fact gave me greater control over my speed because I could modulate the amount of pressure that I was placing on the tire, rather than just have a brake that totally skids or does nothing at all.
It got kind of annoying after a while, especially when very ignorant people think that you do it "to be tough" or to "try to look cool".
Those things don't apply to people who don't have a social life and ride a bike almost entirely for the personal and individual experience.
I have actually torn ligaments in my body because I am just bad at modulating brakes like that.

I totally understand that you have to write something that "works for everyone" and is simple enough to be blanketed across a variety of situations.
But it just irks me when people misunderstand your intention of enjoying yourself and stigmatize you, or even worse, brand you as some sort of criminal or miscreant because of it.

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Old 03-21-20, 05:11 PM
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I can get a $20 tektro front caliper that is way safer and more effective for breaking than any sort of skid or backpedaling. Why are "purists" so dead set on not using brakes when they make cycling safer and more versatile? I can't wrap my head around this thought process and how it's not based on facts or reality.
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Old 03-21-20, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Senrab62 View Post
I can get a $20 tektro front caliper that is way safer and more effective for breaking than any sort of skid or backpedaling. Why are "purists" so dead set on not using brakes when they make cycling safer and more versatile? I can't wrap my head around this thought process and how it's not based on facts or reality.
Yep, Tektro's are good and solid and most people probably won't need more than that.
I'm mostly referring to the brakes that are sub-par even compared to Tektro. Tektro's are industry standard and they are made well (like most origin8 components).
Also, yes indeed having a "proper" brake is more versatile, but in many use-cases, being brakeless is not an ineffective means of stopping your bicycle, just a less effective one.
In the hands of the right rider, most brakelessness can be done in a relatively safe manner.
I don't think that having a brakeless daily driver is all that good of an idea, and I'm not saying that "being brakeless should be considered just like every other bike".
But someone who is relatively responsible with it shouldn't feel like they can't leave their house without being a criminal if they do indeed decide to take the "purist" bike out.

I'm not even saying that I'm even all that great of a cyclist, but I definitely feel like I was able to handle a brakeless bike in a resopnsible way, even on very VERY diverse terrain. I just avoided the worst case scenarios, and I modulated my speed correctly and learned how to plan for a stoplight if it was coming. Sure, it wasn't the safest thing in the world, but It was about as safe as riding my bike with the crap canti's that I had. I never blew reds (unless it was one of those turning light rides where the street remains straigt, or if there was literally no traffic), and I stayed in a good area. I didn't really go down any hills that I couldn't stop for, and if I did, I made sure I was in a really low traffic or slow traffic area.
But the problem is that you can't distinguish between the two very easily. You can't say "ok, this guy obviously knew what he was doing", and "this guy obviously just watched a Macaframa video and went nuts".
So the easiest thing to do is just to say "don't do it at all".

And yes, we really are safer if people can't just do literally anything and everything on a public road where 2 ton deathraps are whirring by at unhuman speeds.
I'm actually kind of a moderate on this topic.
But I just think that many laws exist where everyone has to suffer because of a few bad eggs, when we would probably be happier, and have more money if we had a little more modularity with our laws.
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