busted on a sidewalk, response to Mark

Hi Mark. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Bike Amici is pretty inactive right now, and the lawyer who helped us has moved away to another state. We miss him. But, I could send him your story (with permission) and ask if he knows anyone locally who might be able to help, if you feel that would be good. Let me know if you'd like me to do so.

I personally have not heard of this kind of thing, but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened.

I have four thoughts:
1. There is an active site called Minneapolis Bike Love and there you might find more information. mplsbikelove.com
2. You should probably talk to Gene at one on one about this, if you haven't already.
3. Maybe this is pre-RNC jitters.
4. Have you considered contesting the ticket? A friend of mine says that any time you contest a traffic ticket (for car, anyway) they cut the charge in half. I don't know if that's true, but why not try?

Good luck!



The Court of Appeals oral arguments in the case of State of
Minnesota v. Stephan R. Orsak (who biked at the airport) are coming up:
July 23, 11:35 am -12:10 in Room 200 of the Minnesota Judicial Center:
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., near the Capitol.

This is open to the public. Please, no signs or banners.
Observers must sit quietly without food, drink, gum, or hats on heads.
I hope to see you there!


Sidewalks in Business Districts

Here's the question:
It's not ok to ride on sidewalks in a "business district"
But what defines a business district?

One experienced cyclist claims that means "downtown".

But recently I heard from another authoritative source that it means this:
if there are more businesses than residences on a block, that's a business district.

A lot of experienced cyclists will avoid sidewalks anyway.
If you want to go 20 mph, you should too.

But if you're a beginning cyclist and/or unsure of yourself and going slowly,
I think it's ok to be on the sidewalks sometimes.
Just slow WAAAY down at intersections, take time to look ALL ways,
and please don't terrify the pedestrians. Get off your bike and walk past them, if necessary.

By the way, there are people out there who teach how to bicycle in traffic.
The League of American Bicyclists maintains a list of Minnesota instructors:bikeleague.org
(The link will take you away from this blog.)

Have fun and stay safe!


Smart Trips, Power Trips

Hey, there's a (sort of) new organization in town, called Smart Trips.
www.smart-trips.org (don't forget the dash between smart and trips.)

It's the result of a merger between the St Paul and Midway TMOs.

Smart Trips is concentrating its efforts on residents in the Summit-University area right now,
trying to help people explore transit options, encouraging bicycling, busing, car pooling, that sort of thing. They also "offer employers consulting services to identify, develop, and support a variety of employee transportation options."

Check it out in your spare time!

And while we're talking about trips,
how about those power trips?

Not the big-head kind,
no, I'm talking about trips where you power yourself to your destination.
Think about it.
There used to be "riding" a horse.
Then there was "motoring" but hmmm, not so attractive a term, so that became "driving" a car.
Nowadays you might hear people talk about "driving" a bicycle.
That's ok, sometimes that means following the road rules just like a car.

But I think "powering" is good.
It takes muscle power and brain power to safely operate a bicycle.
And "powering" sounds, hey, powerful.

I think I'll be powering around town tomorrow, how about you?

Finally scheduled?

Word is (perhaps) oral arguments are scheduled for State of MN v. Stephan Orsak for July 23.
My, the wheels of justice are slow...

As a reminder, the airport incident happened Sept 7, 2006.
Initial trial was July 16-19, 2007. (Stephan found NOT guilty of all counts but one.)
Appeal date July 23, 2008? a little bit over one year later. (Stephan appealing the one count.)
Reportedly this is open to the public. See you there?


January 24 event

People interested in Bicycle / Police interactions might like to know about an event coming up on Thursday, January 24 at the Hennepin County Government Center...10 AM. Lawyers for last August's Critical Mass arrestees (taserees? macees?) will ask the court to require the city of Minneapolis to turn over what they believe is highly relevant information.

Full details are at cmsupport.wordpress.com

You might want to go, just to watch and to be visible as a person in support. Lots of people watching might impress the court.

If you want to be there, you should go early, to get through the airport-like security, and you should know that the court does not allow signs, and that people watching must be silent. (You could maybe wear a sticker or something bicycle-y, though)

Full details are at cmsupport.wordpress.com

Maybe you've never been on a Critical Mass ride. Maybe you have conflicting opinions about Critical Mass, or just plain don't like the Mass. You can go to this event anyway. People have been arrested, and are going to be tried, and their lawyers are requesting information for their defense. The city has been refusing to give the information. Showing up would be supporting access to relevant information for a legal case. It doesn't need to mean you support the Mass itself.

That's what I think, anyway.

Full details are at cmsupport.wordpress.com


Happy year-end and New Year

Well, here we are at the end of December. The amicus has been filed, and there will be no news about Stephan Orsak's case for a while...at least until the end of January. Meanwhile I'm grumpy because I'm not bicycling much. How about you?

Bike Amici is hibernating for a while. Checking into important things like accounting rules, tax status, whether or not to go non-profit, these things are on the "do it pretty soon" list. 2007 is all set and taken care of, not a problem, so I'm thinking and dreaming about 2008 and beyond.

What would you like to see Bike Amici be? I am turning comments on, as an experiment.

Happy New Year!