Friday, February 5, 2010

Victory For "Take the Lane" Case At Trial

A few weeks ago an Ohio group, Consider Biking, successfully defended a bicyclist's right to take the lane. The defendant was cited by a Columbus police officer for riding in the middle of a lane of traffic rather than along the far right side of the roadway. The relevant local ordinance stated, “Every person operating a bicycle upon the roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable…." (2173.04). However, the attorneys defending the cyclist at trial emphasized the exceptions to the rule set forth in the statute which allowed cyclists to take the full lane when doing so offer the safer course.

Though the case sets no legal precedent outside of Columbus, it is, in my opinion, an important result nonetheless. Many American cities, Chicago included, have similar ordinances. Spreading word of how that case was handled and won will hopefully spread the message to law enforcement and to bicyclists that taking the lane is not only permitted, but advisable, necessary and legal under certain circumstances.

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