Words Escape Me

By Rick Bernardi

What does one say, in the middle of the night, when once again, a cyclist lays dead and our system of injustice gives us its grotesque pro forma ritual of shifting the blame to the cyclist, and exonerating the driver? What does one say, when over and over again, the justice we receive is nothing but a mockery of justice? What does one say, when all one feels is a cold fury at the lies that perpetuate our system of injustice? What does one say when there are no words? What does one say?

I will try to find the words.

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Are Portland bicyclists showing signs of an unfortunate new trend?

 This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

The Oregonian: Are Portland bicyclists showing signs of an unfortunate new trend?



This bicyclist pretty much had the eastbound walkway of the Hawthorne Bridge all to himself one night earlier this year. But a Portland attorney says that when things get crowded, bicyclists are beginning to lose patience with each other and fights sometimes erupt. (John Killen/The Oregonian)

Dana Tims, The Oregonian By Dana Tims, The Oregonian

June 13, 2013

As both a cyclist and an attorney who specializes in cycling-related cases, Portland's Bob Mionske knows a good deal about road rage incidents pitting motorists against bicycle riders.

But for whatever reason -- warmer weather? More people taking to two wheels to get around? -- Mionske is seeing an ugly new wrinkle this year, played out through what he says are increasing numbers of instances where two angry, fist-clenched bicyclists are facing off in the Rose City.

"I have so many friends who are suddenly regaling me with stories of fights on bikes," Mionske said. "Someone is riding along, someone else flies by them in an unfriendly way, words are exchanged and just like that, people are threatening each other with fisticuffs."

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The Truth Emerges

It was a summer evening, the last night of August nearly four years ago, when two worlds violently collided on Toronto’s posh Bloor Street. In the aftermath, a cyclist lay dead, and the driver he clashed with stood accused of criminal charges in that death.

But let’s get real.

Motorists rarely face serious charges when cyclists die at their hands. After all, cyclist deaths are “just accidents,” and we don’t want to hold people accountable for “accidents.”

Except this death was no “accident.” The driver’s actions were, according to the nineteen witnesses who stepped forward, intentional.

Still, let’s get real. The cyclist, Darcy Allan Sheppard, was Métis, and had a history of substance abuse and anger control issues. In contrast, the motorist, Michael Bryant, well, he also had a history of substance abuse and a reputation for a "pugnacious streak." But unlike Sheppard, Bryant was an attorney—in fact, Ontario’s former Attorney General, educated at some of the world’s finest universities—and a rising star in Ontario politics. For all of our comforting illusions about the Rule of Law, people like Michael Bryant don’t answer for the deaths of people like Darcy Allan Sheppard.

But there’s still at least the appearance of the Rule of Law to adhere to. Michael Bryant couldn’t just be let off without even a perfunctory nod to the Rule of Law. In the immortal words of Vincent LaGuardia Gambini, there was no way this was not going to trial.

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Why Big Oil May Be Afraid of Bicycles

Treehugger: Why Big Oil May Be Afraid of Bicycles

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

A.K. Streeter
Transportation / Bikes
February 15, 2012

By now you must have read somewhere in the blogosphere that the Transportation Bill (officially The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, or H.R. 7) being shepherded by chair of the House Transportation Committee John Mica (R-FL), is considered a distaster for active transportation. The bill has been called a variety of bad names, including "horrible" by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, "troubling" by Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, and "a bill only Big Oil could love," by Streetsblog.

Bob Mionske, the bicycle lawyer who writes frequently on cycling policy and legislation, details exactly why H.R. 7 is so horrible for cyclists, as well as for pedestrians and transit users.

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Confronting the Scofflaw Cyclist

By Rick Bernardi, J.D.

You’ve probably seen “the comment.” It goes something like this. A news article reports that a cyclist was injured, or maybe even killed. The cyclist was following the law. The driver was not. Maybe the driver was just being careless. Maybe the driver was deliberately targeting the cyclist for harassment, or worse.

It doesn’t matter, because “the comment” always follows the same logic: “When cyclists stop breaking the law…” Regardless of what actually happened, regardless of the fact that this particular cyclist was following the law and this particular driver was not, some aggrieved motorist feels obliged to point out that cyclists break the law.

This is the myth of the scofflaw cyclist.  

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Red Light Runners

By Rick Bernardi, J.D.

The reason most often-cited by motorists for the animosity between motorists and cyclists is the disregard that cyclists have for the traffic laws. And one complaint in particular always comes up in any discussion about cyclists—the well-known disregard that cyclists have for stop signs and red lights.

Well, it’s true that many cyclists do not follow the traffic laws when it comes to required stops. But it’s also true that many cyclists do follow the law. And yet it’s virtually guaranteed that whenever the subject of cyclists comes up, motorists will volunteer their observations that cyclists have no regard for stop signs and red lights. And these observations are offered regardless of circumstances. A motorist right-hooked a law-abiding cyclist? A driver has no explanation for why he didn’t see a brightly-clad law-abiding cyclist in broad daylight? A road-rager uses his vehicle to assault a cyclist and bully him off the road? No matter. Somebody will mention that cyclists break the law. 

So with all of that sanctimony, one might reasonably believe that drivers are themselves paragons of lawfulness, especially when it comes to observing stop signs and red lights.

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Is BUI like DUI?

By Rick Bernardi, J.D.

Should bicycling under the influence (dubbed “BUI” by Bob Mionske) be legal? Should it be illegal? And if it is illegal, what is the proper penalty?

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Drunk cycling: Is Denver's new bike DUI policy harsher than rules in other states?

This news article featuring Bob Mionske and Rick Bernardi has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

Westword: Drunk cycling: Is Denver's new bike DUI policy harsher than rules in other states?

By Sam Levin Tue., Nov. 27 2012

 Yesterday, we reported that Denver Police are now enforcing state drunk-cycling laws -- meaning intoxicated cyclists can be charged with DUIs just like inebriated drivers. Some cycling advocates question whether this is good public policy -- and a look at parallel laws around the country shows that Denver's approach is harsher than some other states' enforcement rules.

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Bike lawyer: cyclists often a 'target'

This blog article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our media archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

Bike lawyer: cyclists often a 'target'

Former Olympic cyclist Bob Mionske, now a cycling attorney, discusses the growing tension between motorists and cyclists as more and more bikes hit the road.


Video" Bike lawyer: cyclists often a 'target'

 

Hey, angry driver: Smile for the bike cam

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

Hey, angry driver: Smile for the bike cam

As commuting by bike becomes more popular, bikers are mounting small cameras on their bicycles to document what they say is aggressive driving. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

Video: Hey, angry driver: Smile for the bike cam

 

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