I have in my hands the transcript of my "reckless driving" trial of August 17 last year. I hope to have the entire transcript digitized shortly.
Here is the closing argument made by Ms. Christin Barnes, Assistant County and District Attorney.
Thank you. Judge, like I stated in my opening statement, we were here we are here to hold Mr. Bates accountable for his actions and his choice. And as he stated in his own testimony, the limitations under the statute don’t apply to a bicycle in terms of riding or driving on an improved shoulder. He has access to that improved shoulder. And we’re talking about someone making a choice, a deliberate choice, when the improved shoulder is available, to instead, ride on the main road of traffic on a very heavy trafficked highway.
He has been asked, told, by officers on several occasions, do not ride in the middle of the roadway. And there’s a reason for that. And that reason is that it is dangerous. That is common sense. It is dangerous, not just for himself, but for the other motorists on the roadway. And because the officers repeatedly told him, Mr. Bates, don’t get back on the road, he made a very conscious and deliberate disregard or indifference for the safety of those around him.
It is common sense that when a bicyclist rides on a roadway in the middle of a very heavy lane of traffic at night time, it is common sense that harder to see a bicyclist. It is common sense that he is riding at a speed very well below the speed limit. It is common sense, as the video showed, so many vehicles traveling adjacent or aside to him at a speed that was high rate of 65 miles an hour or above, and yet he thinks it’s safe for him to just continue to do what he does.
We know from the testimony from Lonnie Creager, who’s an Ennis firefighter, that he witnessed, and the reason for his call to 911, is that he witnessed Mr. Bates riding on his bicycle. Before he saw that bicycle, he saw vehicles, including an eighteen-wheeler, make an abrupt stop. And his testimony was it was scary what he saw. And as he made his way around the eighteen-wheeler, he saw right in front of it, Mr. Bates in the middle of the roadway traveling and that eighteen-wheeler had to come to an abrupt stop to avoid colliding with him, to avoid swerving from him, to avoid having an accident.
His action, for the sake of principle to ride in the middle of this roadway when he could easily choose the improved shoulder to travel, is nothing but downright dangerous. And the warnings and the pleadings and the requests and the orders from police officers for his safety and for the safety of others have been disregarded by Mr. Bates, completely and totally disregarded.
So I ask that you find him guilty based upon the evidence that has been submitted to the court because he has, he has driven recklessly. And as I stated in the opening statement, Your Honor, a bicycle is considered a vehicle. And it is defined under the Transportation Code as a device in or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a public highway other than a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks. And it falls within that definition of a vehicle, Your Honor. And reckless driving statute does not say, specifically, it applies to a motor vehicle, but to a vehicle which includes a Bicycle.
And in this case, I think it’s imperative that we’re here today in front of this Court because we want to protect our citizens in our community. And whether Mr. Bates recognizes it or not or wants it or not, we’re going to try to protect him. The evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that he did drive in a reckless manner and he did show a conscious indifference and he did make a choice that was deliberate and I ask that you find him guilty.