Tag Archives: case law

Bicycle Laws in the United States-Past, Present, and Future

Bicycle Laws in the United States-Past, Present, and Future is an ambitious, scholarly article written by attorney Ken McLeod, who also happens to be a member of LAB’s s Legal Affairs Committee. And has written much of the content available on LAB’s site relating to laws and legal matters, e.g. bike-law-university and the paper is reflective of the information there, just perhaps in a more technical/scholarly format. Continue reading Bicycle Laws in the United States-Past, Present, and Future

Ride With Traffic

R5-1b (top) with R9-3cP plaque (bottom)
The most concise, least able to be misconstrued, message about which direction a bicyclist must operate, is “Ride With Traffic”, it’s the inscription on a R9-3cP plaque. But what is “with traffic”, or “the flow of traffic” or “the direction of traffic”? And why do we so often hear “ride right”, “bike right”, “Be a Roll Model: Ride on the Right” or some other clever-sounding catchphrase? Continue reading Ride With Traffic


The case of Trevor Clarke, an Ottawa Canada driver who was involved in a serious 2012 collision with a bicyclist while drunk, and then fled the scene raised quite a stir. According to news reports, the driver was convicted (by a judge, meaning this was for unstated reasons not a jury trial) in 2015 of “impaired driving causing bodily harm”, but was found not guilty of leaving the scene because the judge said. “I am left in a reasonable doubt about whether Mr. Clarke knew or was wilfully blind to having collided with a person, precisely because he was so drunk. He cannot, therefore, be convicted of this offence”. Continue reading Knowingly

The driver of a vehicle

This article is very similar to: bicycles-arent-vehicles

A bicyclist is considered the driver of a vehicle for the purposes of the transportation code, A.R.S. Title 28.; and at the same time, a bicycle is excluded from the definition of vehicle.

More fully, a bicyclist is “…granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle…” §28-812, which goes on to state specifically which Chapters of Title 28 these rules apply to, 3, 4 and 5 which are the Rules of the road, DUI, and Penalties, respectively. Continue reading The driver of a vehicle

Are Cyclists Required to Carry ID? Are Pedestrians? Updated 2014

[2/17/2015 update: Officer Ferrin has resigned. ASU released a chief’s letter and an independent investigation commissioned by ASU performed by  Investigative Research Inc.  (apparently through public records?) I would describe as scathing, and that corroborates most of what I thought/said below, see the lengthy news story on azcentral — There is no law requiring peds to provide an ID card (in other words his saying “Let me see your ID or you will be arrested for failing to provide ID” is wrong, see  Arizona v Akins, below); there was no ‘jaywalking’, see link below to the actual jaywalking laws; there was probably no probable cause for the arrest; he didn’t “almost run her over”; 5 days earlier the officer had a similar (but non-physical) power-trip incident over a crosswalk. and on and on. The transcript, see below, confirms Officer Ferrin doesn’t understand the (ID) law]

[2015 update to the Ore incident: in an apparent about-face, ASU has moved to terminate Officer Stewart Ferrin over the matter; apparently as the result of an un-released independent review by an “outside agency”. ]

In 1999 Tucson bicyclist Enol Daniel Ortiz Jr. spent the night in jail for not having ID on him. It appears that now (since 2003) cyclists and other non-motorists have no legal obligation to carry identification.

The update in 2014  is due to the unusual case of Ersula Ore, an English professor at ASU. She was apparently “jaywalking” when she got into an altercation with ASU police. From what I can see this on College Ave, somewhere north of University Dr. This is a public street in the city of Tempe (there seems to be some confusion and many erroneous comments about this; this location is not “on campus” or somesuch). Tempe’s codes for pedestrians are here; ASU is NOT in the “central business district”, the more-restrictive “jaywalking” code only applies in the CBD so it leads me to wonder if she was really jaywalking at all. Jaywalking codes, real or imagined, are frequently used to assert superiority by motorists (the police officers were driving cars) over pedestrians.

Continue reading Are Cyclists Required to Carry ID? Are Pedestrians? Updated 2014

Arizona court ruling upholds DUI test for marijuana

[ 4/22/2014:  in what is presumably the final update, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled (here is same doc archived by azcentral) 4-1 that  it is not a DUI violation to be driving with the non-impairing marijuana metabolite in their bodies. In other words, the reversed the Court of Appeals ruling. Here’s a pretty good news item wrapup from the New Times. The lone dissenter offered a detailed analysis as part of the published opinion; I tend to side with her, that the majority overreached by concluding a flat ban, which is the plain language of the law, produces absurd results. But there you have it.]

This idea of any non-zero level of (a long list of) drugs, or their metabolites, being equated with driving impaired has always worried me; this recent CoA ruling affirms that this is proper. So, nothing to do with this case, i’m wondering if a decongestant, pseudophedrine (commonly found in many cold medicines) cause dui per 28-1381(A)3??? why or why not. I am chemistry challenged.

In the Court of Appeals, Div 1. No. 1 CA–SA 12–0211
STATE v. HON. HARRIS/SHILGEVORKYAN (if that link is dead findlaw0211). The caption of this case is a bit confusing,  the Real Party in Interest is Hrach Shilgevorkyan. Harris is the name of the Superior Court commisioner.

There are three ways to run afoul of Arizona’s DUI statue. The most common would be #2, BAC > .08 (referred to as drunk per se), typically anymore it is via blood evidence; another way is #1 being “under the influence… if … impaired to the slightest degree”, typically via field sobriety tests. The third way, and the one at issue here is #3, “While there is any drug … or its metabolite in the person’s body”. Continue reading Arizona court ruling upholds DUI test for marijuana

Court reinstates Scottsdale DUI test results

There was a CoA ruling recently in a long-running case that questioned the accuracy of one particular piece of lab equipment used in Scottdale’s crime lab involved with a handful of serious DUI cases.

CA-SA 13-0285 STATE v. HON. BERNSTEIN/HERMAN in the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division 1, was a so-called “special action” brought by Maricopa County Prosecutor Bill Mongomery. Continue reading Court reinstates Scottsdale DUI test results

Ruling: cyclists are required to satisfy nighttime lighting requirements even on the sidewalk

There’s a recent (7/11/2013) Arizona Court of Appeals District 1 (“Phoenix”) ruling Arizona v. Baggett  (why is findlaw link dead? And why can’t I find it there by searching?) (direct link from CoA, but these links often go dead) (or at google scholar) that affirms that bicyclists must use a headlight during nighttime, 28-817, not just when riding in the roadway, but also on the sidewalk. Cite case as:

State v. Baggett, 306 P.3d 81, 82 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2013)

By extension, other bicycle-specific rules (generally 28-813 through 28-817; so for example one-seat per person; the one-hand rule; stuff like that) would also apply to cyclists using the sidewalk; while those that specifically mention the roadway, e.g. 815A and B do only apply on the roadway. Look up the bicycle statutes at bicycle-laws.

This ruling adds to a very slender body of case law involving bicycle laws in Arizona; see also Maxwell v. Gossett, and Rosenthal v. County of Pima for the only other published (it’s not clear to me that Baggett is “published”?) cases I am aware of in the history of Arizona!

Is it illegal to cycle on the sidewalk in Phoenix?

There some mis-information floating around in the media, see e.g. yumasun.com and azstarnet.com sourced from something called “Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services”. It claims sidewalk cycling in Phoenix is illegal under city code; that is explicitly not part of the decision — so, i’m not sure where or why that was said. Here is the passage from the news article (my emphasis added): Continue reading Ruling: cyclists are required to satisfy nighttime lighting requirements even on the sidewalk