I wrote a quick news article today on Examiner.com about Upper Arlington's examination of State bicycle law and a loophole that says cyclists can only be charged if they're on a street or bike path. That wasn't something I was aware of. Here's the article.
So the situation here is that the guy was drunk. REALLY drunk - three times the legal limit. And he was riding his bike to the ATM (in a shopping plaza's parking lot) because he was trying to be safe by not driving his car.
Seems a pretty noble thing to do, right? He avoided being unsafe to other people by getting where he needed to go via a safer form of transportation. But he was still stopped for DUI. Granted, the charge was reduced because of the loophole mentioned in the article but that's really not the point here.
The point is that I'm concerned about laws that are designed to protect people from their own stupidity. I can totally understand automobile-related laws of this nature. Let's face it - cars kill. And the number one cause of car-related killings is irresponsibility. Using a cell phone or texting while driving, DUI, etc. are all forms of this. Groups like MADD have all sorts of statistics for DUI, and obviously there are plenty of laws going on the books about distracted driving related to cell phone, texting, etc.
But what about cyclists? One can make the argument that a cyclist who takes to the streets and doesn't pay attention, talks on a phone, or is even mind-numbingly schnockered is endangering other folks on the road - drivers may swerve to miss a cyclist who's riding a bit wobbly for whatever reason and hit someone else.
But in this case, it was 1:00 AM and the rider was in a parking lot. Was this traffic stop really needed? The police officer in question probably wouldn't even have noticed the cyclist if this had been daytime, and a normal number of cars was around to occupy his attention.
What do you think?
People, not speed.