Tuesday, February 2, 2010


So many great comments, so little time!

I have had limited access to the internet, and while that will become better soon, it will be more restricted than I enjoyed before. I meant to have the six posts publish daily using a “delay” feature Blogspot offers, but after publishing part one, my internet connectivity was again suddenly interrupted- causing unintended aggravation to you, my dear reader. I am humbled that put up with it. Thank you for your patience.

I have a picture I intended to post with each of the series, but using “public” computers has compatibility issues. I am dismayed at the unpolished look my blog has descended to. Relying on my limited writing skills and content alone is a thin reed to lean on.

I have been writing the posts at home on my desktop, and transferring the files in a cut and paste manner with a flash drive on a public computer. As time allows, I have saved web pages to the flash drive and read them at leisure at home. E-mail correspondence has become more like snail mail. Sigh. It has caused a feeling of isolation, so I have been heartened by your many comments, reading them for the first time on Friday night.

I wish to answer some of the questions and offer a few more comments of my own.

CarFree Stupidity said...
Do they really have nothing better to do with their time than continuously harass you? Or is your riding on the roadway really seen as that subversive down in Texas?

“Continuously” is somewhat of a exaggeration. I have been car-free in Texas since 2007, and I have logged 12,000 miles of impeding traffic. The first citation I received was last October. I was not stopped by anyone on my one dozen or so prior traverses across Hwy 287 to Waxahachie, so this is a recent manifestation. Each stop has been described here.

I think Keri and Mighk are right that it is seen by local police as primarily a safety issue. The police (And many others!) think I am mad to travel on the roadway when the speed limit is 65 miles an hour with a “perfectly good paved shoulder” nearby.

SteveA said...
So, when these guys toss you in the hoosegow, do they offer you coffee? If so, is it any good? I'm thinking Chip may have some ulterior motives here and may be on to a good thing.
(They didn’t even let us smell coffee!) Seriously, it's hard to believe these guys haven't researched the statutes a bit better by now, considering there seems to be little real crime for them to pursue out in Ellis County. The level of courtesy they offer is a sign they're not really feeling real good about all this.And it's late January now, what about the first introduction to Officer's Watson & Pillow. That would seem to hold the key to all these later incidents and, perhaps, someone having a lot of explaining to do.

That would be Sgt. Pillow to you Mister! I will be making a motion to combine all three of the Ennis PD tickets into one trial. I will do progress and “process” blogs shortly.
danc said...
Well I kinda imagined this was next. Boo! Did you ever get the video/audio from the Oct ticket?

I intend to submit a motion for their disclosure. It is doubtful that I will be able to have copies, but I expect to be able to view them in the presence of the City Attorney.

Dear Rantwick said...
I am insulted. I would ride home miserable and cold and wet, get pneumonia and shiver for days before I would call Mrs. Rantwick. I'm stubborn like that.
Now if you had called her, she might have driven to Texas to help you out. She's nice like that.

I found this a delightfully charming comment. Well done, dear Rantwick!

Anonymous said...
I am trying to figure out sir, why would you continue doing this activity when you know you are going to be arrested or cited for it? What are you trying to prove?

PM Summer said...
@Anonymous: Why? Because A) He needs to get somewhere, B) He doesn't have a car and uses a bicycle for transportation, C) Under Texas law (the Transportation Code), a bicycle is a legal vehicle, and the operator of a bicycle shall be granted all rights, and be subject to all duties, applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle.

Thanks PM! That was what I would’ve said!

Dear Anonymous; Since when does a freeborn citizen need to justify acting in a lawful manner? I say this to show that I am magnanimous in entertaining your question.

I suppose I also have this quaint and romantic idea that the law will be respected. I therefore decline to be a road sneak. I will not retreat into the shadows as though I am unclean, but assert the simple dignity of my rightful place on the public road.

Can you say that you actually have a right if it is unexercised because of duress? I have the certainty that I have no practical right to freely travel on the public road on a bicycle for a time. But because this is a natural right that does not descend from the whims of men, nor from man’s government, I am certain this right will be restored to me.

I intend to KNOW when that happens. Therefore I continue this activity.

Anonymous said...
Wow! This has been a grand adventure indeed!On one hand, I'm glad that you were treated with care in your incarceration(s).On the other hand, I don't think I could be as rational being confronted for doing that which is completely legal AND being hauled off to jail.I hope the Judge(s) find you innocent (or would that be guilty?) of your legal actions.I have to shut up now as the semantics are starting to give me a headache.(This is JTGYK over at bike forums...for some reason Blogspot doesn't like me commenting under AIM)

Anonymous said...
jtgyk againNote that I was not the first Anonymous commenter nor do I share his views

Thank you JTGYK, I’m glad you stopped by. It is a little like a trip through the looking glass, isn’t it?

Rantwick said...
"operating a bicycle on the roadway"! Unbelievable. Here's hoping the judges hearing your case show the same sense as the first one you mentioned in this post.Carry on! You continue to impress me with your civil writing about being treated so unfairly.

I must admit, Dear Rantwick, after that charge was leveled at me, I am more inclined to believe your dwarf attack was not something you made up.

The Big Fella said...
This is quite the serial you have posted! If you have to establish the "ChipSeal Bicycling Legal Defense Fund," I'll be happy to contribute . . .As a fellow bicycling Texan, thank you for standing up for our legal right to be "granted all rights, and be subject to all duties, applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle." While I'm proud of your conviction (pun unintended), I'm saddened by the necessity of it.

Nice to “meet” you Big Fella! Thank you for the offer! (And Keri and Eliot too!) I may yet require some help, but if so, it will be reluctantly.

Anonymous said...
If you really think your rights were violated shouldn't you report that to a federal agency like the FBI?

Principled Pragmatist said...
Get a lawyer. Somebody's head has to roll for this kind of blatant abuse of police power.When you're told what the charge is, the reasonable expectation is that it be a violation of some law. If there is no legal violation, that's unlawful arrest!

Whoa! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

To Anonymous; I doubt suing for an abuse civil rights will get me to where I hope this can go- and besides, the Feds are not really needed to right this wrong. If I were to be convicted, and lost on appeal, perhaps. But even then it may not be the wisest course.

Principled Pragmatist; Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the enthusiastic support! But I am not sure this is deliberate abuse of power beyond my musings in my last post. I think that the Officers in question are sincerely doing their duty to advance what they believe is in the interest of public safety.

WonderBiker said...
PP, I do not think it was a blatant abuse of power. Rather, it seems more to have been a blatant display of stupidity.

Glad you stopped in, WonderBiker! These officers are merely reflecting the windshield view of most Texans. Because bicycles are never driven on the roadway in our area, it must be illegal…

Principled Pragmatist said...
Arresting someone and keeping him in jail for a charge of "riding a bicycle on a roadway", or even for "impeding traffic", is certainly stupid, but it's also abuse of power, and it seems blatant to me, especially the obviously trumped up first charge.Arresting someone must be taken very seriously - a free society cannot tolerate unlawful arrests, and the only recourse is to have serious repercussions (like getting fired) for anyone who abuses the extraordinary legal power of arrest.The ACLU might be interested in this case.

The hapless Ellis County Deputy Z gave me a poorly considered ultimatum, and so he painted himself into a corner. He pretty much had to follow through on his threat to arrest me, thus the contrived charge. Sadly, the die was cast when he ordered me to drive on the shoulder. I would’ve slept less in my own bed than I did in jail had I obeyed him.

Anonymous said...
Given your arrests and that tickets have been issued, I would suggest that an alternative avenue would to find a high-quality civil rights attorney who could weave what on the face seems to be a deliberative attempt to violate your civil rights. I do not live in Texas, but I assume that there is in fact specific state civil rights. Sounds to me that the local bike advocacy groups should investigate that angle not merely more legislation.

Folks, I understand your anger. Revenge sounds sweet. It may even be possible. (ChipSeal, in astonishment, considers arguing a case that sounds a lot like Doohickie’s rejoinders about courtesy! He has to breath into a paper bag for awhile.)

I could raise a holy stink, and make life miserable for some people, and maybe put some lawyer’s kid through college, but I will cut off any possibility of partnering with local police in a civility campaign. It would be great for me, but a tragedy for my community.

Consider the sage words of Keri Caffrey:

Ultimately, these incidents are a manifestation of the bigger problem — what
Steve Goodridge describes in
Taboo against Bicycle Driving
. The problem must be tackled from a number of
directions. We are
working very hard to
build a mutually-beneficial relationship with law enforcement and to create a
program that will give them knowledge of the laws and help them understand how
we protect ourselves on the road. But law enforcement officers are a part of our
general culture. They’re people. They’re just as influenced as anyone else by
the biases of the society in which they live.
The fundamental rule of the
road is First Come, First Served. The distorted rule of the
of speed
is All Life Yields to Faster Traffic. When the roads are governed
by FCFS, pedestrians and bicycle drivers are people using public roads. When
governed by the culture of speed, they are merely
objects in the
has been noted here before
, the culture of speed causes some police to
flow vs safety
. Worse, they often don’t even realize that their concepts of
protecting safety are stealthy manifestations of traffic flow management (i.e.
the notion that speed differentials and lane changes cause safety problems
resulting from the presence of a slow vehicle rather than the incompetent or
aggressive behavior of faster drivers).
… We have work to do. We need grace, understanding and cooperation. And we need those in law enforcement to be our allies.

Before this happened my local police had no need to listen to a local cyclist about Texas’s slow moving vehicle laws. Scofflaw cycling is the proper way of operating in their minds, and is universally ignored. They will now have to speak to me about SMV law while under oath! I will be able to present to them (and a jury!) a cyclist’s view of the roadway. I can show them why it is safer for a cyclist to operate following normal traffic rules. Right now they don’t understand, and convinced by our culture that bicycles are toys, they are not interested in seeing it differently.

This is an opportunity. I want to make the most of it.

Rantwick said...
"Are they twisting the law to enforce their opinion of what they think would be a wiser choice on my part?"Yep.I wrote a post about you... check it out if you can stay out of jail long enough; I'm eager to know what you think of it, or would correct in it.

I am mortified to reveal to you that I failed to load it onto my flash drive, and so I have not yet read it. But if you are reading this post, I am also reading yours! Expect an e-mail soon.

Anonymous said...
Bates and only rides a bicycle...did you ever work at a med lab in Dallas?

Him? No, not me. He’s the handsome Bates of Dallas. I’m the ugly one.


  1. Hmm. This is a little like "National Treasure." The phone number belongs to the City of Ennis. Surely not a random choice, nor where you'd be calling if you were a criminal mastermind imprisoned there...

  2. That picture belonged just before "What I will do" in the repercussions blog, but I couldn't upload it!