[*BCM*] Are Fixies [Without Separate Brakes] Illegal?
jym at econet.org
Sun Aug 13 15:40:09 EDT 2006
[I've changed the Subject: title a bit, since some fixies do
have separate brakes.]
> Does this get resolved by discussing semantics of the laws
> or is a safety study performed to prove the stopping power
> of a fixed gear bicycle?
=v= Dunno how it will get resolved (it ain't over yet). I'd
like to see it resolved by people who know how bikes work!
My take (and IANAL) is that the law is a bit ignorant of what
actually stops bikes, and that the judge in Oregon added further
ignorance, and on top of that, chose to interpret the law as if
it said something it did not.
=v= The law (and there is similar wording in other states) is
that a brake has to make a bike skid on dry pavement. Well,
a rear brake could do that but a front brake may not, since it
tends to work better. The fixie rider in this case was told
to put on a front brake!
=v= what's more relevant in this case is that the judge clearly
has no clue about the mechanics of bikes. At one point he said
it would have been okay to have "a stick" to stop the wheel
with! This was all in the course of him making a ruling based
on a interpretation that's not actually written: that the brake
must be a separate device.
=v= Fixies without brakes stop by a combination of pedaling
backwards and having a fixed-gear hub. Contrast with other
bikes that stop by having a combination of pedaling backwards
and having a coaster-brake hub. Both stop. One was ruled
illegal by a judge who doesn't know how things work.
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