This is an update to an earlier story involving cyclist Randy Mason and the driver of a Flagstaff city transit bus.
In Bicyclist 2 Bus Driver 0 Daily Sun article, the city attorney is recommending BOTH citations (speeding and §28-735) be issued. This is official recognition of the law is a huge win for cyclist safety.
Though the city attorney went on to completely flip-flop on the citations, requesting and receiving a dismissal, I wanted to highlight some of the significant developments
1) We finally have strong, sensible, direct quote from a Flagstaff City official regarding 28-735 and bike lanes, Lisa Stankovich, a deputy city attorney (emphasis added) :
“Since the bicyclist in this case was in a bike lane at the time of the alleged violation, and it is our opinion that a violation occurred, it is thus clear that we think the 3-foot rule applies in all situations when a vehicle overtakes a bicycle traveling in the same direction, whether in a bike lane or not,” — Mar 18, 2010 Daily Sun article, Bicyclist 2, bus driver 0
2) (assuming the police issue the citation) we have what might be the first ever known citation for 28-735 where a collision is not involved. Although 28-735 has been on the books for about 10 years now, it is notoriously rarely enforced, for a variety of reasons.
3) The incident brought to light a lack of knowledge of cycling laws on the part of Flagstaff PD: this precipitated the department to issue a “training bulletin” to the entire department.
4) In response to the incident NAIPTA says it is providing specific training to all their drivers on bus-bike interaction. NAIPTA has taken my referral of the Chicago Public transit video, to train drivers on how to act properly around bicyclists on the roadway.
1) That the cyclist was initially charged with disorderly conduct remains disturbing. The charges were later dropped; but I still don’t get it.
2) NAIPTA’s official position is that they are in denial over the specific violations. (see NAIPTA speaks here)
The story continues to get, generally positive, coverage. On March 19 there was a Daily Sun editorial Who knew: 3-foot rule applies to bike lanes “…if city police were unclear about the 3-foot law, it’s a good bet most Flagstaff drivers were, too”.
Initially, there was some question as to whether or not the citations would actually be issued; according to this Flagstaff PD document, citations for 28-735A and 28-701A were issued on 3/17/2010.
Curiously, the same defendant had a traffic case in Verde Valley Justice court just a few months before: TR-200904190
Cases can be looked up online.
The final final? Chapter
Strangely, on 5/11/2010 the charges were “ORDR DISMSSL/CHRGE-W/O PREJDCE”; which i assume means dismissed without prejudice.
So, for some reason, the city attorney after deciding to recommend the citations be filed, has now decided to drop them; without prejudice means that (at least theoretically) they can be re-filed.
Here is the entire court record; so now we know that the city attorney requested it “for the reason that dismissal is in the interests of justice and judicial economy”. There, now, that explains it. In short, we will probably never know the whole story.
There is some chatter in this comment about perhaps the citiation was not filed within the statute of limitations for an aledged civil violation.
In the Presence
I mention here in passing that these alleged violations did not occur in the presence of any law enforcement officers.
[So, this one didn’t pan out, apparently. However, tucsonbikelawyer.com is reporting a Scottsdale incident, that may end up being the first citation…]