Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rant: Faulty legal advice from a chump in a car


So this morning I was tooling my way to work from West Hartford when a guy started saying something to me as he drove by. I didn't hear him but his tone didn't sound aggressive, so when he stopped at a light and I caught up to him, I stopped and asked what was up. Here's the conversation:

Me: What's up?
Connecticut license plate 316 TEC: You're not allowed to ride in the street.
Me: Whaddya mean? Where am I supposed to ride?
CLP316TEC: On the sidewalk.
Me: Actually, the law says I am allowed to ride on the street, I promise you.
CLP316TEC: [drives off and turns onto the I-84 on-ramp]

Now, as a lawyer, I know better than to go around giving out legal advice to strangers. It's gauche and it's annoying. I also know better than to give out bad legal advice. So this guy's theory that I'm not allowed to ride on the street really irks me. Maybe he meant that I'm not allowed by him, in the same way that I don't allow most baseball teams to beat the Mets (and they frustratingly don't listen). But just in case he really thinks the law is on his side, or in case any of you other herbs out there think so, let me break it down for you:


Connecticut General Statutes Section 14-286a: Rights, duties and regulation of cyclists.
(a) Every person riding a bicycle, as defined by section 14-286, upon the traveled portion of a highway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of any vehicle subject to the requirements of the statutes relating to motor vehicles, except as to those provisions which by their nature can have no application and except that each town, city or borough and the State Traffic Commission within its jurisdiction as provided in section 14-298 shall have authority to regulate bicycles as provided in section 14-289 and said section 14-298, and except as provided by section 14-286c. No parent of any child and no guardian of any ward shall authorize or knowingly permit any such child or ward to violate any provision of the general statutes or ordinances enacted under section 14-289 relating to bicycles.


Got that, 316 TEC? Well, there's more. West Hartford, which is where you were when you tried to drop knowledge on me, actually forbids bicycle riding on many of its sidewalks but places no restriction on riding on any of its streets. (Don't believe me? Check here.) So thanks for the tip and everything, and thanks for being so polite about it (except for the driving-away-abruptly part), but shut the hell up.

13 comments:

Ben said...

you used "gauche" nice!

it is frustrating, i have had the same conversation several times.

chillwill said...

preach on brother!

Thomas said...

316 TEC Eat a dick up!

Karma said...

I had been meaning to search this out as I have this issue often, especially in West Hartford where drivers think they are ENTITLED to the road. I copied this text and have printouts of it in my bag so I can hand it out to misinformed motorists and assholes.

Brendan said...

Today was a particularly unpleasant day for getting along with motorists. Commute was fine, but people were not nice for our evening ride. Johanna corroborates.

Karma said...

+1 man. That woman in the Prius who couldn't even see over the steering wheel particularly irked me.

Brendan said...

that was no prius! that was an echo!

El Presidente de China said...

I was hoping you'd say, "That was no Prius. That was a space station!" 'Cause I'm a nerd like that.

Karma said...

You sure? Looked like one of the first generation Prius. Either way the woman couldn't tell if we were riding bikes, a Prius, a moon, or a spacestation!

Brendan said...

josh, I like the cut of your jib.

Helder said...

Thanks, El Presidente! I linked to this post from my blog, www.mirahartford.net as I've had this problem before. And while I've had plenty of issues with douchebag drivers - including buses that just storm by me - I did have one very considerate motorist today who slowed down behind me as we stopped at a light.

kerri said...

Thanks for posting this. I have had buses nearly plow me over and honk obnoxiously as they pull away from the curb without looking at what's already on the road.

Would it be gauche to print up copies of that law and just hand it to rude drivers?

El Presidente de China said...

If by "gauche" you mean awesome, then yes. I know I said it's gauche to give out unsolicited legal advice, but when someone acts like they have a legal right that they in fact do not have, and in the process infringes upon your legal right, they are soliciting legal advice. They're also soliciting a punch in the neck, but Connecticut General Statutes Section 53a-60 tells us that a punch in the neck is a Class D felony.