October 26, 2008

Police Crackdown

I received the following in an Email today (some information removed to protect senders anonymity)

Fellow cyclists,

It was brought to my attention this morning that the downtown precinct of the Minneapolis police department has brought it upon themselves to start enforcing Minnesota Statute 2007, 169.222, or parts of it anyway. The before mentioned statute outlines all Minnesota law relating to bicycles as vehicles on public streets. Most of which were designed and implemented in order to promote the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike. While this is all well and good we need to know our rights and protect them. Please read over the entire statute here
The reason for this plea for fellow cyclists to know the law stems from a conversation I had this morning with a customer before the store opened. I rolled up to the parking lot at approximately 9:45AM this morning and was greeted by a fellow cyclist that was waiting for us to open. I asked what he needed and he mentioned a light. Simple enough I thought. I let him in early. He was eager to inform me that last night downtown on Hennepin Ave and & 7th Street he was pulled over by an officer of the law and written a citation for not obeying Statute 169.222. He then proceeded to mention that he witnessed at least 2 other cyclists being pulled over. The reason? He had no front light on his bicycle. The fine? One hundred ninety dollars!?! Yeah, $190. I physically looked at his ticket, which did not state in any recognizable terms his actual offence. Nor the officer that gave it to him. This gentlemen even showed the officer his broken light bracket and front light that would no longer stay put atop his handle bars hoping for some kind of mercy or warning in the matter. None was to be served.

I could mention at least a half dozen examples off the top of my head where I have been personally let down by law enforcement officials in the recent past, including incidents of shop lifting and assault in which police response time was delayed to the point of being completely ineffective. All I can hope is that these peace officers were not out writing citations to citizens trying to ride their bicycles home after a long day at work.

Good luck out there, sounds like we might need it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Subd. 6. Bicycle equipment. (a) No person shall operate a bicycle at nighttime unless
the bicycle or its operator is equipped with a lamp which shall emit a white light visible from
a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector of a type approved by the
Department of Public Safety which is visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to
the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. No
person may operate a bicycle at any time when there is not sufficient light to render persons and
vehicles on the highway clearly discernible at a distance of 500 feet ahead unless the bicycle or its
operator is equipped with reflective surfaces that shall be visible during the hours of darkness
from 600 feet when viewed in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle.
The reflective surfaces shall include reflective materials on each side of each pedal to indicate
their presence from the front or the rear and with a minimum of 20 square inches of reflective
material on each side of the bicycle or its operator. Any bicycle equipped with side reflectors as
required by regulations for new bicycles prescribed by the United States Consumer Product Safety
Commission shall be considered to meet the requirements for side reflectorization contained in
this subdivision. A bicycle may be equipped with a rear lamp that emits a red flashing signal.
(b) No person shall operate a bicycle unless it is equipped with a brake which will enable the
operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
(c) No person shall operate upon a highway any bicycle equipped with handlebars so raised
that the operator must elevate the hands above the level of the shoulders in order to grasp the
normal steering grip area.
(d) No person shall operate upon a highway any bicycle which is of such a size as to prevent
the operator from stopping the bicycle, supporting it with at least one foot on the highway surface
and restarting in a safe manner.

No tall bikes allowed :(