Bike photos by Steve Magas, a race in Walnut Hills, a bike rack at Ride Cincinnati, A ghost bike dedication ceremony and a beautiful bike bell

Protecting The Rights Of Those Who Ride

Steve Magas is Ohio's Bike Lawyer. He has written about Ohio Bike Laws, bike crashes, bicycle advocacy and court cases for some 30 years. Soon we'll be adding a series of features about your favorite Ohio bike shops.

OH EM GEEEE – THE SKY IS FALLING! er… well… maybe not so much

The Washington Post published an article with a headline that “Cycling Crash Deaths Are Soaring!”  What…? Wait a minute… soaring?  What numbers are they looking at?

The WP cites to a new report – from the Governors Highway Safety Association – called “A Right to the Road-Understanding and Addressing Bicyclist Safety.”  Did that report say cyclist deaths are “soaring?” What’s going on here…

Maybe a little bit of Chicken Little…

Why do I say that?

Read the rest of this entry »


Beer, Bicycling & Cincinnati: A Storied Past!

In 1880 the Cincinnati Cycle Club was founded… as was the League of American Wheelmen [and many other bicycle groups around the country].
Another local club, the Brighton Bicycle Club, was founded, and funded, in that late 1800’s era by two of Cincinnati’s early Beer Barons, John Windsich and Eddie Mulhausser. The BBC had regular rides and races out to the Windsich/Mulhausser farms in Butler County, where the Beer Barons grew barley and hops for their brews.

Read the rest of this entry »


Cyclist Killed in NYC – She “Slipped Off her Bike” says NYPD? Huh???

In NYC cops say a cyclist … SLIPPED OFF HER BIKE… and was hit by a truck driver who “made a left turn from the rightmost lane” onto East 9th Street…

Wait… she’s to the left of the truck – the truck driver makes a left turn from the right lane as she is on the left…

“After a box truck driver fatally struck 31-year-old cyclist Kelly Hurley as she rode in the First Avenue bike lane twelve days ago, the NYPD issued a single summons to the driver for not having a crossover mirror. “He didn’t have any issues with his license, he was not driving under the influence, the victim sadly slipped off her bike,” NYPD spokesman Detective Ahmed Nasser told the Voice.”

Read the rest of this entry »


“SAFE RIDING REGULATIONS FOR BICYCLES” – Your Ticket To Stupid Laws

How many Ohio cyclists are familiar with their local “bike” ordinances? Can you find them? What do they say? What sort of crazy stuff is buried in there that, while never enforced, might come back to haunt you if you are involved in a crash.
Here’s an example – a rider in Pickerington is struck from behind by an elderly driver. A severe head injury results. The police report comes and says it was the CYCLIST’s fault.. why? Because he was riding on the road instead of the sidewalk and a local ordinance said cyclists must use sidewalks..
But… but… this can’t be right… state law says we can’t be forced off the road…

Read the rest of this entry »


THE BIKE LAWYER’S BIKE LAW CLASS – May 2 – Columbus – Part 1: A History Lesson

On May 2, 2017 I will be presenting a 3 Hour “CLE” [Continuing Legal Education] class at the Columbus Bar Association.  I did a one hour CLE for the Cincinnati Bar Association in 2016 and am excited to expand this to 3 hours.

BIKE LAW 101 - CLE for Lawyers 5-2-17

 

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »


ZERO DAYS IN JAIL FOR KILLING A CYCLIST…

Wow… just wow… ZERO days in jail [and a mild finger wagging] for killing a cyclist and running away  – I think that’s a new “record” –

On October 10, 2015 cyclist Charles Startup was killed by a hit/run driver. Charles Startup was riding east on Butternut Ridge Road. The motorist, Ronald Dicenzo, was driving behind him, also eastbound. Another motorist at the scene witnessed the entire incident. According to the witness, Startup was riding in the shoulder when the vehicle struck him, which Perry described as a “dark, sporty 4-door sedan”. Perry saw the driver slow down after the crash, presumably noticing what happened, before fleeing the scene.

Charles Startup's Bicycle

 

Read the rest of this entry »


Helmet … or No Helmet?

What is UP with Helmets? “Should” you wear one? Are they any good? Are they Magic Blocks of Styrofoam that Prevent Death?

I can remember wearing my first helmet in the 80’s… and being mocked by little kids while riding down the street… Today, every story about every crash involving a cyclist has the stock line about whether… or not [Gasp!] the cyclist was wearing a helmet.

My position has long been – wear one or not, it’s YOUR decision. The STATE should NOT be in the business of telling you what kind of HAT to wear when you ride your bike.

Legislators and non-cyclists are often surprised that many cyclists are against Helmet Laws for adults. In 2006, when we were presenting our “Better Bicycling Bill” to the Ohio legislature a committee member tried to tack on a Helmet Law at the last minute and was surprised, I think, at the ferocity of our opposition.

 

 

 

Yehuda Helmet Law Read the rest of this entry »


2016 Fatal Crash Leads to 2017 Charges

On September 25, 2016, Don Bryant was driving an SUV eastbound on Holcomb-Newton Falls Road at 7:50 am when he slammed into cyclist Michael Hunyady, age 19, and killed him. According to this story, Michael took this road every day on his daily ride to work. Bryant told state troopers that the sun was in his eyes and he “couldn’t see” Michael riding ahead of him.

But…

This story indicates that Bryant’s drug test came back positive.

Michael Hunyady

Trumbull Hunyady

Read the rest of this entry »


Ohio Supreme Court Cuts Rapists Some Slack – $3,000,000 Worth of Slack

Here’s the state of “tort” law in Ohio – your 15 year old daughter goes to a “counseling” session with her pastor… and is twice raped by her pastor, who is convicted and sent to jail. You sue on the local church and the bigger church which helped create your local church on your daughter’s behalf on a negligent hiring/supervision theory – you go through a very painful jury trial and the jury awards a judgment of $3.6 million…

but…

The rapist’s employer then argues that due to “damage caps” contained in “tort reform” laws [passed 10 years ago when doctors were complaining of malpractice awards] your child is only entitled to collect $500,000.

Today, in a 5-2 decision authored by Justice Judith French, the Ohio Supreme Court decided to protect the pocketbooks of those who rape children [and their employers] and upheld  that result in Simpkins v. Grace Brethren Church, giving the rapist and his employer a nice break by knocking some $3,000,000 off what they owe to the rape victim…

Ohio Supreme Court

Read the rest of this entry »


Blast From The Past

Blast from the Past – Tony Patrick v. City of Chesapeake, et al…

Tasered Cyclist Tony Patrick Settles Excessive Force Lawsuit came up on my radar the other day – July 2010 – the last news blast on this case when we settled.

taser webpage

Tony Patrick and another younger rider were in to Chesapeake, Ohio – a Lawrence County deputy was sitting in a car in the library parking lot. They were riding side by side on a 2 lane, 25 mph road – they were ordered off the road, erroneously, by a deputy – a …um… verbal fracas… then ensued between Tony & the Deputy which gradually grew more profane as Tony debated the legality of the deputy’s order… the deputy then drove ahead, pulled the “Hawaii 5-0” move of sliding the car to a 45 degree stop in the road – he then got out & pulled his Taser – Tony pulled off into a parking lot & stopped – he was Tasered…twice… the first didn’t really “take” and the Deputy came after Tony with a baton. As Tony danced around the parking lot in cleats, keeping a $7000 racing bike between him and the deputy a 2nd officer from Chesapeake came up from behind and nailed him with the Taser – the second shot hit him behind and really nailed him, causing Tony to slam into the ground – he was cuffed… taken to jail… booked and charged with felonies and misdemeanors – he retained a good criminal lawyer and eventually had the criminal charges tossed out – we then filed an excessive force lawsuit in federal court –

dsc05113

Back in the late 1980’s I was fortunate to be involved in Russo v. city of Cincinnati – one of the very first cases in U.S. legal history in which the word “Taser” appeared. In researching the many other subsequent taser cases, I was not surprised to find that Tony was the ONLY Taser victim in legal case history to slam his head into the ground while wearing a helmet… this probably saved him from extremely serious head injuries.

Eventually, we took depositions of the responding officers in the civil suit – we learned… that the patrol car’s speedometer didn’t work – that the deputy was unfamiliar with “road patrol” issues and had never dealt with cyclists on the road, that evidence collection at the scene was…well… not up to snuff… we also saw the Taser logs and how often they used the Tasers -they claimed all the firings were “test firings” and not shooting “perps” but who knows…

taser_gfx_021805

 

We also learned that the incident may well have been captured on a cruiser cam but the “tape” was taken by the chief and put into a secret “evidence closet” in the chief’s office – a closet with no chain of custody record whatsoever – and the tape was probably taped over at some point – this was interesting because WAY before the lawsuit I filed an FOIA/Public Records request asking for cruiser cam video and was told there was none – Tony’s criminal lawyer did the same and got the same response… learning 2 yrs later in depositions that there WAS a tape was…well… intriguing to say the least…

Those depositions undoubtedly led to a favorable settlement… it took a few years, and some time and money to push through the litigation, but we got it done in the end… the city/county was embarrassed at all the Hoo Haa that erupted – the local paper just kept publishing stuff… and the story was voted one of the Top 10 stories of the year in its year end edition!