What do you do when you know your area's bike laws, but the police don't?
A few months ago, I received a phone call from a cyclist with an incredible story about an incident in Lawrence County, Ohio. Because the cyclist-a guy named Tony Patrick-was in need of an attorney, I hooked him up with Steve Magas, a contributing author to Bicycling & the Law, and a well-known bicycling attorney in Ohio. After hearing Tony's story, Steve took his case. More about that later; first, let me tell you about Tony.
Weekdays, Tony runs his small construction company in Huntington, West Virginia. Weeknights, and weekends, Tony, a Cat 2 racer, can often be found hanging out at Jeff's Bike Shop-that is, when he's not out on a training ride, or racing. And that's not unusual; Jeff's Bike Shop is the center of a vibrant racing scene in Huntington, the second-largest city in West Virginia, and the home of Marshall University.
That racing scene means regular training rides, all of which start out and end up at Jeff's. There's a ride every other day, each geared to a different set of riders, but the real hammerfest is the Tuesday night ride. That's the ride where the locals try, as Tony puts it, to hurt each other over the course of a 23-34 mile route that takes them across the Ohio River, into the back roads of southern Ohio, before looping back across the river into Huntington.
And that's how Tony found himself just outside of Chesapeake, Ohio, one Tuesday night in August of 2008, heading into town to take the bridge back across to Huntington. Tony was riding with "Ryan," a then-16 year old nationally-ranked racer with a 4.2 GPA. ["Ryan" is a pseudonym; I've concealed his identity because he's a minor.]