[update sometime in 2012(? in any event, well after this ticket and trial) the deputy who wrote this citation was relieved of duty with the CCSO, he apparently had some truthfullness and other job-performance issues]
A Flagstaff cyclist was ticketed for violating ARS 28-704A by a
Yavapi County Sheriff’s deputy. The deputy was apparently upset that a cyclist was impeding traffic, that is blocking a lane — seeing as how there was a perfectly good bike lane available.
That bike lane was, however, marked as being “closed” (at least in one direction) and was undergoing construction, with its surface abraded in both directions. The judge, incredibly, suggested that the cyclist should have been riding in the gutter pan, since that was “smooth” — the deputy quickly agreed that this would be great. When questioned about where to ride, the deputy replied “if you’re asking me the way I would ride a bicycle… I would NEVER ride in the lane. Myself, when I ride a bicycle, if there’s 3 INCHES on the right side of the road outside the lane, that’s where I ride my bicycle”.
The deputy’s testimony dripped of the usual false or misguided paternalism; that it’s “too dangerous” to impede traffic, and so forth. This is demonstrably not true, particularly in the circumstances then existing; that is: daylight, urban, low speed roadways. The deputy should have been (monday morning quarterback here; and I doubt it would have impacted the outcome) directly challenged on this testimony.
I’ve written before in Bicycles are not motor vehicles, and why it matters how 28-704A does not apply to bicycles. The judge summarily dismissed this argument; she quoted from 28-812, and quickly concluded that the statute does apply to bicyclists. Thus finding the cyclist responsible for the violation. (she also again brought up the bizarre notion that the defendant could have been riding the gutter pan).
The trial was heard in Flagstaff Justice Court, before the Honorable Cathleen Brown Nichols, Justice of the Peace Pro Tempore.
The cyclist has prepared a stunningly detailed appeal. I wish him good luck with it. All cyclists should be very concerned with the outcome.
Story published in The Noise, City Shenanigans Leave Bicyclists with No Options (no longer online, but reproduced in a comment below), covering both the this citation a seperate Bus incident involving another cyclist.
Be sure to also see this tidbit for more Flagstaff hijinks.