Holding the "Three Feet" banner in the Ohio Statehouse on May 21, 2013 minutes before testifying on our Safer Ohio Cycling Bill

With Emmy and Advocacy Organization of the Year Award at OBF Display

The Ohio State University Bicycle Racing Team visits the 3rd Annual OBF Ohio Bicycling Summit

Huffman Award to Jim Sheehan

OBF Chair Chuck Smith and daughter Julia arrive at statehouse on a tandem

OBF Chair Chuck Smith presents $1,000 check to Queen City Bikes for bike lights

Six members of the Upper Arlington High School Bicycle Racing Team (first Ohio high school racing team) visited their Senator Kris Jordan

OBF Day 2015 at Bicycle Museum of America

Team Stelleri Captain Pamela Semanik in new OBF 3 Feet Passing Kit in Cleveland Velodrome during OBF Day in Cleveland on June 3, 2017

Strong support at Wright Wride 2015

Ohio House Representatives Mike Sheehy and Mike Henne, sponsors of House Bill 154, during Ohio Bicycling Summit on April 22, 2015.

Taken from "Bicycle 'Right to the Road' Cases" by Fred Oswald as revised 6 Oct 2001 and published on CrankMail

On July 16th, 1999 at 7:20 p.m., Steve Selz was riding on Salem Avenue (state route 49) in Trotwood, Ohio (a suburb of Dayton). Police officer Mary Vance saw Selz riding "in the middle of the lane". She "felt that it could cause a traffic accident" so she issued a citation for "impeding traffic", in alleged violation of §333.04 of the Trotwood ordinances.

Selz was brought to trial on February 7, 2000 in Montgomery County, District Court represented by "Bikelawyer" This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of Cincinnati (case no. 99-TRD-4409, unreported). At trial, Judge Connie Price found Selz guilty and imposed a fine of $100 plus court costs. Because the case could have set a terrible precedent to deny cyclists access to arterial roads, the Ohio Bicycle Federation decided to help him appeal his conviction and established the Ohio Cyclists' Defense Fund to raise funds for the appeal and for any future such cases. In return, the OBF obtained a fascinating collection of documents about the case including: (1) The Defendant’s Trial Brief. (2) The Trial Transcript (which cost the defense $200). (3) The defense appeal brief. (4) The prosecutor's appeal brief. (5) An article by attorney Magas, "The Selz Case Revisited - an Important Decision for the Nation's Bicycle Operators". These are all available here at your OBF site.

We can learn a great deal from this case. Selz was charged with "impeding traffic" but the real issue beneath the surface was safety. The officer claimed that Selz would have caused an accident and indeed that she prevented the accident by issuing a ticket. She also testified that she had warned Selz a month before about making what was apparently a proper vehicular style left turn.

The prosecutor claimed that since the cyclist could not keep up with other traffic (speed limit 45 mph), he must get off the road any time there were vehicles behind him. Note, this is a five lane road with two lanes for each direction plus a turn lane. Delay to other traffic was minimal. Any delay that does occur is primairly because traffic "platoons" at stop lights. The prosecutor would have banned cyclists from the road anytime other traffic might be affected. He offered a useless concession:  Frankly, if it's 2:00 in the morning and there's no traffic around, there's no reason why he can't be on the roadway going eighteen or twenty miles an hour…

Attorney Magas, gave an vigorous defense, arguing eloquently that cyclists are part of traffic and thus meant to be on the road. Mr. Selz wasn't impeding traffic, he was traffic ... So he now becomes one thread in the fabric of traffic, if you will, along with the horses or whoever else -- the Amish buggies, whoever else has a right to use the roadway and is lawfully using the roadway.

The defense had an expert witness to testify about safe and proper cycling methods. However, the prosecutor objected to the testimony and instead offered to "stipulate" that the witness would testify that Selz was "operating his bike in a reasonable fashion". In effect, he conceded that Selz had operated correctly but prevented the defense from exposing the ignorance of the police officer or to educate the court about correct cycling, especially lane position.

Officer Vance made several statements that implied that Selz was operating dangerously. These were not refuted by the defense. [He was riding] In the middle of the roadway and sometimes veered over to the traffic lane, the marked lanes there.  Question:  Now, is it your testimony that an accident was imminent had you not stopped him?  Is that what you're saying?  Answer  I believe so.  She described an incident a month earlier where he had merged to the turn lane as follows:  ... he had traveled across two lanes, the divider lane and then the northbound traffic, and it was like he was oblivious to the other traffic traveling so I pulled him over ... and tried to explain to him why it was so dangerous and to please avoid either driving on Salem Avenue or ride to the side of the road.

Statements by the police officer show that she is ignorant about bicycle operation, and particularly lane position:  Yeah, I've ridden a bike. I know enough to ride to the side of the road. You have X amount of feet you're allowed from the curb.  She showed a tendency to exaggerate by claiming that following traffic had to stop (rather than just slow) behind Selz when he was moving 14-18 mph and by insisting he was in the middle of the lane rather than in the right tire track. Unfortunately, her ignorance was not pointed out to the court and thus, her testimony was accepted. Thus the judge believed the superstition that cycling on this arterial road is "dangerous" and she ruled Selz guilty.

Officer Vance's testimony made Selz appear reckless and dangerous. I have three theories to explain her claims: (1) It is possible that she was correct that Selz does ride dangerously; but from other testimony, this seems unlikely. (2) The officer is clearly ignorant about cycling and afraid of traffic. This would strongly color her perception and may cause her to "see" things incorrectly. (3) She may realize that she made a mistake but lacks the courage to admit it and instead embellished her testimony to make Selz look bad.

Selz Case Appeal

With the help of the Ohio Cyclists' Defense fund, and pro bono legal services from attroney Magas, Steve Selz appealed his conviction to the Second Appellate District of Ohio (case no. CA 18207). In his appeal brief, attorney Magas set out his case as follows:  THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AS A MATTER OF LAW IN HOLDING THAT A BICYCLE OPERATOR CAN BE CONVICTED OF "IMPEDING TRAFFIC" UNDER AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING A VEHICLE OPERATOR FROM "IMPEDING THE NORMAL AND REASONABLE MOVEMENT OF TRAFFIC" WHERE THE BICYCLE OPERATOR IS TRAVELING AT A NORMAL AND REASONABLE SPEED FOR A BICYCLE RIDER, WHERE THE BICYCLE OPERATOR IS NOT STOPPED OR TRAVELING AT A "REDUCED SPEED" FOR A REASONABLE BICYCLE OPERATOR, AND WHERE TRAVELING AT THE SLOWER SPEED IS "NECESSARY FOR SAFE OPERATION OR TO COMPLY WITH LAW."

Magas give a brief "history of bicycle operation on roadways", including the fact that Bicycle operators played a critical role in the betterment of the nation’s highway system.  He described the police officer and prosecutor actions as attempting to banish bicycles from major roads by raising an impossible standard—riding at the 45 mph speed limit. The SOLE reason for issuing the citation was "...his slow speed..."

Magas ignored the police officer's contention that Selz was about to cause an accident. He did not attack the officer's ignorance. He apparently wanted to avoid calling attention to her claims that Selz was riding erratically, "veering toward traffic". Over a defense objection, the court allowed Officer Vance to testify about a prior "warning" which she had given to Appellant. Other than provide Officer Vance with a motive to target Appellant on the day in question, this testimony clearly lacks relevance.

The defense strategy may have invited trouble on the subject of lane position by giving the following comment without discussing the reasons cyclists should sometimes NOT ride at the edge of the road. A bicycle operator’s right to use Ohio’s roadways is clear from the inclusion of bicycles as "vehicles."  Bicycles may be operated on the roadways, but must be ridden "as near to the right as practicable."

Magas summarized his primary claim:  Clearly, it cannot be seriously disputed that bicycling is encouraged by the State of Ohio and State Legislature and that bicycle operators have a RIGHT to use Ohio’s roadways and a RIGHT to expect some accommodation stemming from physical limitations inherent in the vehicle!   Local police authorities cannot simply unilaterally take on "parens patrie" duties out of some vague opinion that operating a bicycle in a particular neighborhood is bad, or dangerous or crazy!  Here, the appellant/cyclist was at home in traffic, was riding appropriately and had every right to use the roadway in question. Appellant cannot be BANNED from the road because he was going slow for the Officer’s sensibilities. It is undisputed that he was traveling as fast as he could and traveling at a reasonable speed for a bicyclist!

Magas quoted a revealing statement by the judge followed with an interesting observation about "Parens patriae":  "I certainly understand the impassioned defense on this case because I do believe that bicyclists need a place to ride and it is not safe a lot of times to ride it on the streets on 49. I don’t think I’d ride there at 2:00 am, just because of the traffic. I don’t think it’s safe."   Then Magas added:  Again, this is precisely the sort of "parens patriae" approach that caused cyclists to fight for being included as "vehicle operators" under state law. With all due respect to the court’s opinion, it really does not matter whether the court, the prosecutor or the arresting officer "feels" it is safe. The legislature has already determined that cyclists have the right to use the roadways.

Magas ended by defining "Parens patriae":  Curiously, "Parens patriae" originates from the English common law where the King had a royal prerogative to act as guardian to persons with legal disabilities such as infants, idiots and lunacy. Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Ed., 1003. It is submitted that this "prerogative" does not exist today to give police officers the authority to ban legal behavior they feel contains some element of danger.

The prosecutor changed his strategy for his appeal brief. Rather than continue with the untenable argument that a cyclist must travel at the speed limit or get off the road, he tried to ex post facto accuse Selz of violating the requirement to ride "as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable."  He partly succeeded in this duplicity. Here are two of his statements:  (1) The lower court, therefore, correctly found that by going at such a slow speed, coupled with driving in the middle of the lane rather than to the right, that the cars behind Defendant/Appellant were forced to stop, thereby unlawfully impeding traffic.   (2) For argument purposes only, the City would concede that a different case might be presented to this Court if the testimony by the Officer, or the facts as found by the lower court, were that the Defendant/Appellant was driving as far right in the lane as practicable.

In a 2-1 decision the Second Appellate District of Ohio overturned the trial verdict:  ...the judgment of the trial court is Reversed, and the Defendant-Appellant is ordered Discharged.  Attorney Magas called the decision "a slamdunk victory for Steven Selz!"  While it is certainly a victory, if you read further, it is hardly a slamdunk.

We conclude that a bicyclist is not in violation of the ordinance when he is traveling as fast as he reasonably can. Although Selz may have been in violation of R.C. 4511.55(A), requiring a bicyclist to travel as far as practicable on the right side of the roadway, he was not charged with a violation of that statute.  (Note: R.C. refers to Ohio Revised Code.)

 

The appeals court effectively declared that Selz violated §4511.55:  Selz was not charged with the violation of R.C. 4511.55(A). Had he been, the evidence in the record would be sufficient to support a conviction on that charge.  There are three serious problems with this statement: (1) Since Selz was not charged with violating §4511.55(A), he did not defend himself against this charge. (2) Worse, his expert witness was not allowed to testify about bicycle technique. (3) The appeals court essentially invited Trotwood to cite Selz again but this time using §4511.55(A). The justices have no business pronouncing a violation of this law because they heard only one side of the dispute and, more importantly, they do not understand the issue.

Another troubling aspect of this case is the dissenting opinion of Judge P.J. Grady:  The elements of the necessity defense implicate the greater issue of whether Selz should have been riding his bicycle on Salem Avenue at all under the conditions which then prevailed. Selz, who is a bicycle enthusiast, invokes an absolute right to do that. However, that assumes that other, reasonable alternatives were unavailable to him. It also "trumps" whatever hazard his slow-moving bicycle created for other traffic on the road, which is a legitimate concern of the ordinance. Also, what was reasonable for Selz might not be reasonable for another, less able cyclist, who might claim the same absolute right.

Conclusions:

Steve Selz celebrates his victory
Steve Selz celebrates his "Impeding Traffic" appeal and acquittal at an Ohio Bicycle Federation Fall 2000 Meeting.
  1. The officer, prosecutor and judges were, and still are, ignorant about cycling technique and safety issues. They were not educated on these matters during the trial.
  2. Attorney Magas provided an excellent defense on the overt issue, the right to use the road, although he did not address bicycle safety issues.
  3. Magas's pro bono representation and the Ohio Cyclists' Defense Fund of the Ohio Bicycle Federation made the defense possible. Without such help, an ordinary citizen is at a huge disadvantage fighting the deep pockets of city hall.
  4. Materials that might have been used to educate the court about lane position include: (a) Section 11-1205a of the Uniform Vehicle Code "Position on Roadway"; (b) An excerpt from p. 63 of the Ohio, Digest of Motor Vehicle Laws that says "Cyclists can travel in the middle of the lane if ... the lane is too narrow to share safely with a motor vehicle.";  (c) The Pennsylvania Bicycle Driver's Manual; and (d) John Forester's books Effective Cyclingand Bicycle Transportation.
  5. Police and courts assumed that cyclists have no right to delay other traffic for any reason. However, all vehicles delay other traffic at times. The effect of bicycles on traffic is explained in Bicycle Transportation, which shows that cyclist-caused delays are very minor. It might have been wise to remind the court that transportation cyclists do not burn imported oil, or generate greenhouse gasses, ground level ozone, noise or other environmental problems.

RECEIVED OCT 20, 2000

 

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, OHIO

 

CITY OF TROTWOOD

          Plaintiff-Appellee

 

vs.                         C.A. Case No. 18207

 

STEVEN 0. SELZ            T.C. Case No. 99-TRD-4409

          Defendant-Appellant            FINAL ENTRY

                    ...........

 

          Pursuant to the opinion of this court rendered on the  20th day

of  OCTOBER, 2000 the judgment of the trial court is Reversed, and

Defendant-Appellant is ordered Discharged.

 

Costs to be paid as stated in App.R. 24.

 

THOMAS J. GRADY, Presiding Judge

JAMES A. BROGAN, Judge

MIKE FAIN, Judge

 

 

                   2

 

Copies mailed to:

 

David H. Fuchsman

120 W. Second St., Suite 2000

Dayton, Ohio 45402

 

Steven M. Magas

3536 Edwards Rd., Suite 201

Cincinnati, Ohio 45208

 

Hon. Connie S. Price

195 S. Clayton Rd.

New Lebanon, Ohio 45345

 

RECD OCT 20, 2000

 

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, OHIO

 

CITY OF TROTWOOD

 

Plaintiff-Appellee

 

V.                   C.A. Case No. 18207

STEVEN 0. SELZ                   T.C. Case No. 99-TRD-4409

 

Defendant-Appellant

 

...........

 

0 P I N I0 N

 

Rendered on the 20th day of October, 2000.

 

...........

 

DAVID H. FUCHSMAN, 120 W. Second Street, Suite 2000, Dayton, Ohio 45402, Afty.Reg.#0018407

Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee

 

STEVEN M. MAGAS, 3536 Edwards Road, Suite 201, Cincinnati, Ohio 45208, Atty. Reg.#009131

Attorney for Defendant-Appellant

 

.............

 

FAIN,J.

 

Defendant-appellant Steven 0. Selz appeals from his conviction and fine for

 

violating Section 333.04(a) of the Trotwood Municipal Code, which provides as follows:

 

No person shall stop or operate a vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when stopping or reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or to comply with law.

 

Selz contends that the evidence in the record is insufficient to support the conviction, because it is clear from the evidence that he was pedaling as hard as he could to travel at 15 m.p.h., uphill, on his bicycle. The State argues that his conviction can be predicated upon the fact that he was traveling in the middle of the right-hand lane, thereby impeding traffic.

 

We conclude that a bicyclist is not in violation of the ordinance when he is traveling as fast as he reasonably can. Although Selz may have been in violation of R.C. 4511.55(A), requiring a bicyclist to travel as far as practicable on the right side of the roadway, he was not charged with a violation of that statute.

 

Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is Reversed, and Selz is Discharged.

I.

On July 16, 1999, Trotwood Police officer Mary Vance was patrolling Salem Avenue when she "noticed vehicles traveling in the southbound lane in the 4800 block or slowing to a stop, and as (she) looked up Salem, Mr. Selz was driving in the middle of the traffic lane causing cars to stop and have to go over to the other lane to get around him." The posted speed limit was 45 m.p.h. Vance testified that Selz was traveling at no more than 15 m.p.h.

 

Vance testified as follows:

 

Q. Now, is it your testimony that Mr. Selz was riding at a slower speed than he could have otherwise ridden?

A.  No.

 

Q. He was riding at a reasonably normal bicycling speed, wasn't he?

A. Yes, sir.

 

Selz testified that at the time he was stopped he was going about 18 m.p.h., and that "that's about an average pace for a cyclist in a fitness training."

 

Selz was cited for a violation of Section 333.04(a) of the Trotwood Municipal Code quoted above. Following a trial, he was found guilty, and fined $100.00 and court costs. From his conviction and fine, Selz appeals.

 

Selz's sole assignment of error is as follows:

 

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AS A MATTER OF LAW IN HOLDING THAT A BICYCLE OPERATOR CAN BE CONVICTED OF "IMPEDING TRAFFIC" UNDER AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING A VEHICLE OPERATOR FROM "IMPEDING THE NORMAL AND REASONABLE MOVEMENT OF TRAFFIC" WHERE THE BICYCLE OPERATOR IS TRAVELING AT A NORMAL AND REASONABLE SPEED FOR A BICYCLE RIDER, WHERE THE BICYCLE OPERATOR IS NOT STOPPED OR TRAVELING AT A "REDUCED SPEED" FOR A REASONABLE BICYCLE OPERATOR, AND WHERE TRAVELING ATTHE SLOWER SPEED IS "NECESSARY FOR SAFE OPERATION OR TO COMPLY WITH LAW."

 

Selz contends that although the speed at which he was operating his bicycle may have impeded traffic on Salem Avenue, his reduced speed was necessary for the safe operation of his bicycle. In fact, it was the highest speed at which he could reasonably operate his bicycle along that stretch of road. The State argues that Selz was in violation of the ordinance because his failure to operate his bicycle as near as practicable to the right side of the roadway in compliance with R.C. 4511.55(A), impeded the flow of traffic.

 

Selz was not charged with the violation of R.C. 4511.55(A). Had he been, the evidence in the record would be sufficient to support a conviction on that charge.

 

Selz was charged with violating Section 333.04(a) of the Trotwood Municipal Code, which is similarto R.C. 4511.22(A). This ordinance prohibits operating a vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal or reasonable movement of traffic, but it excepts from its operation circumstances in which reduced speed is necessary for safe operation. Based upon the evidence in the record, it is clear that along the stretch of road in which Selz was operating his bicycle, he was traveling at the maximum speed at which he could possibly operate his bicycle, safely or otherwise.

 

We agree with Selz that the ordinance cannot reasonably be read as prohibiting bicyclists from using a public highway. In this regard, the case before us is similar to Lott v. Smith (1980), 156 Ga. App. 826 275 S.E. 720. The statute involved in that case, although not applying to bicycles, was similar:

 

No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation. Lott v. Smith, supra, at 721.

 

That court held that an operator of a corn combine could not be found to have violated the statute:

 

The uncontroverted evidence in this case shows that the corn combine was traveling at or very close to, its highest possible speed of 17 or 18 m.p.h....

 

The operation of the corn combine, though possibly negligent for other reasons, was not negligent for lack of sufficient speed. The corn combine, . . . , was traveling at or near its highest speed. To permit the jury to impose liability on the basis of the speed of the combine would be tantamount to a holding that the operation of farm machinery such as appellants' on the public roadway typically constitutes negligence per se. . . . We cannot endorse such a holding. Title 68A [of the Georgia Code] does not exclude farm machinery from the public roads.

 

Id (Emphasis in original).

 

The facts in the case before us are virtually identical, except that a bicycle is substituted for the corn combine. In both cases, the vehicle was being operated at, or close to, the highest possible speed. In either case, holding the operator to have violated the slow speed statute would be tantamount to excluding operators of these vehicles from the public roadways, something that each legislative authority, respectively, has not clearly expressed an intention to do.

 

Selz's sole assignment of error is sustained.

 

Selz's sole assignment of error having been sustained, the judgment of the trial court is Reversed, and Selz is ordered Discharged ........... BROGAN, J., concurs.

 

 

 GRADY, P.J., dissenting:

 

Section 333.04(a) of the Trotwood Municipal Code exempts slow‑moving vehicles from its requirements when "reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or to comply with the law." R.C. 4511.22(A) contains the same provision.

 

Defendant‑Appellant Selz does not argue that the speed at which he was riding his bicycle, which was reduced in relation to other traffic moving in the same direction, was necessary for the "safe operation" of his bicycle or to comply with the law. Rather, he argues that it was not reasonably practicable for him to travel as fast as the traffic around him. Therefore, his claim does not fit within the only exemptions which the ordinance provides for slow-moving vehicles.

 

Selz's claim is more properly viewed as a defense of necessity, which demonstrates an excuse or justification for conduct which otherwise is prohibited by law.

 

The necessity defense justifies conduct which otherwise would lead to criminal or civil liability because the conduct is socially acceptable and desirable under the circumstances. Akron v. Detwiler (July 5, 1990), Summit App. No. 14385, unreported, at 5, 1990 WL 95683. The common law elements of necessity are: (1) the harm must be committed under the pressure of physical or natural force, rather than human force; (2) the harm sought to be avoided is greater than, or at least equal to that sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense charged; (3) the actor reasonably believes at the moment that his act is necessary and is designed to avoid the greater harm; (4) the actor must be without fault in bringing about the situation; and (5) the harm threatened must be imminent, leaving no alternative by which to avoid the greater harm. State v. Prince (1991), 71 Ohio App.3d 694, 699.

 

"Necessity" is an affirmative defense, and like other affirmative defenses it is fact sensitive. Further, the burden of its proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, is on the accused. R.C. 2901.05(A).

 

The elements of the necessity defense implicate the greater issue of whether Selz should have been riding his bicycle on Salem Avenue at all under the conditions which then prevailed. Selz, who is a bicycle enthusiast, invokes an absolute right to do that. However, that assumes that other, reasonable alternatives were unavailable to him. It also "trumps" whatever hazard his slow-moving bicycle created for other traffic on the road, which is a legitimate concern of the ordinance. Also, what was reasonable for Selz might not be reasonable for another, less able cyclist, who might claim the same absolute right.

 

These issues cannot be resolved by a blanket, judicial expansion of the safe operation exemption in the ordinance. They present issues of fact, which the trier of fact must resolve. I would reverse and remand for a new trial, requiring Selz to prove his affirmative defense.

By This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Chair, Ohio Bicycle Federation

Steve on Bike near home

July 16, 1999 started as a normal day for Steve Selz. He rode through Trotwood on Salem Avenue, as he had done so many times before. Selz is a transportation bicyclist who does not own an automobile

The normality of this day ended abruptly when Selz was pulled over by a Trotwood Police patrol car. Selz was issued a ticket for impeding traffic under Section 333.04 of the City Of Trotwood code, which reads as follows:

(a) no Person shall stop or operate a vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when stopping or reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or to comply with law.

Selz was surprised to be given the ticket, particularly since Salem Avenue at this point has five lanes, providing motorists plenty of room to move around a bicyclist. Also, Selz said he was riding in the right tire tracks of the right lane, in no way blocking traffic.

The Trial

On Monday, February 7, Selz faced trial for this ticket. The Montgomery County Court found Selz guilty and fined him $100. Read the brief filed for Selz' trial.

One might say that all Ohio bicyclists faced trial with Selz on February 7. Ordinances like Trotwood’s lend themselves to arbitrary enforcement against bicyclists.

Cincinnati attorney and bicyclist Steve Magas donated his services to the OBF free of charge. The Ohio Bicycle Federation paid only for the preparation of the trial transcript, a requirement for appeal.

The Appeal

  • In early May, 2000, attorney Steve Magas filed an appeal to the February ruling. Read the Selz appellate brief.
  • Magas filed a Motion for Oral Argument on appeal.
  • In late July, Trotwood filed its brief in response to the Selz appeal.
  • On October 2, Selz attorney Steve Magas presented his oral argument before the three judges of the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Dayton.
  • On October 20, the court reached a 2-1 verdict in favor of Selz.

The Decision

Read the favorable official opinion of the 2nd District Court of Appeals concerning the Selz appeal.

Celebrating with a special Cake
A special cake appeared at an Ohio Bicycle Federation Fall 2000 Meeting to celebrate Steve Selz' "Impeding Traffic" appeal and acquittal.

A Legal Defense Fund

The Ohio Bicycle Federation has established a Legal Defense Fund for defending bicyclists who find themselves in situations like that of Steve Selz. This fund made the Steve Selz appeal possible...

Contributions

To contribute to the Fund, send a check made out to "The Ohio Bicycle Federation" to:

Ohio Bicycle Federation
Legal Defense Fund
P.O. Box 253
Xenia OH 45385-0253

Share the Road" Auto License Plate

License Plate

Goal: To sell 1000 plates each calendar year

Why this goal? Because the State of Ohio will cease issuing the license plates unless 1,000 are sold each calendar year, January 1 through December 31. Thus, to insure future availablity, we have set this annual goal. Remember that the funds generated by the sale of plates are used for publication of the valuable bicycling safety pamphlet, Ohio Bicycling Street Smarts. So it's important for all of us to buy or renew the special plates, and encourage others to do likewise.

For the years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 we sold 919, 1,546, 1,805, 2,092, 2,137, and 1,997 license plates, respectively, for a total of 10,496 plates in all. This has brought in $52,480 for the publication of Ohio Bicycling Street Smarts, at $5 per plate

How to obtain your license plates

You may obtain your plates in one of three ways:

  1. Visit you local Deputy Registrar office.
  2. Dial 1-800-589-8247
  3. Go to the BMV Web site at oplates.com If you choose this option, follow these steps:
    1. Select "SPECIAL PLATES" in the left column
    2. Select vehicle type
    3. Highlight "SHARE THE ROAD" under "SPECIALTY PLATES"
    4. Click on "VIEW THIS PLATE"
    5. Select whether you want to specify the letters and numbers on the plate or whether you want a stock plate.
Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if your local Deputy Registrar is not aware of our new Share the Road license plate, or if you run into any problems which Bureau of Motor Vehicle officials are unable to help you with. The Deputy Registrars should have received information on our new plate weeks ago.

 

 

Ohio Governor Bob Taft holds a proposed license plate during OBF's first Bicycling Awareness Day in the Statehouse Atrium. On the left is OBF Chair Chuck Smith and to the right is license plate designer Casey Smith.

On Wednesday, December 22, 2004 Governor Bob Taft signed our Share the Road license plate into law as part of House Bill 406. This law culminates five years of efforts by your OBF to create an auto license plate which will publicize the importance of motorists sharing Ohio's roads with bicyclists. Proceeds from the plates will go to the Ohio Department of Public Safety to ensure the continued publication of Ohio Cycling Street Smarts.

 

Woody Ensor (above) and Chuck Smith testifying before the Ohio House Transportation Committee on January 28, 2004 to support our Share the Road license plate bill.

History

  1. OBF's House Bill 176 was introduced March 21, 2001.
  2. After OBF officers testified to support the "Share the Road" license plate bill, it passed the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Committee unanimously, with one committee member joining the OBF!
  3. The Bill passed the Ohio House by a phenomenal 97-0 margin on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 (two Representatives did not vote).
  4. The bill was introduced into the Senate on Wednesday, October 17, 2001, where it was referred to the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee. The bill subsequently died due to the opposition of the Senate President, who wanted to restrict special license plates.
  5. The new House Bill 245 was introduced on July 10, 2003 and is now in the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee.
  6. The Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Committee voted unanimously on January 28, 2004, to approve our "Share the Road" auto license plate bill. License plate sales will ensure the republication and distribution ofOhio Bicycling Street Smarts, a primer on cycling in traffic by LAB Board Member John Allen. The vote followed testimony by OBF Chair Chuck Smith and Vice Chair Woody Ensor. Now, HB 245 goes to the full House for a vote, before moving on to the Senate.
  7. Our sponsor, Representative Arlene Setzer of Vandalia, arranged for the words from our bill to be added to HB 406, a bill which would prohibit Ohio motorists from using electronic devices to control traffic signals. HB 406 passed the Senate on December 8. The House agreed to the Senate changes (including our "Share the Road" plate) earlier this week.
  8. On Wednesday December 15, 2004, HB 406 was signed by Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder, and on Thursday by Ohio Senate President Doug White. Now it is awaiting pick up by Governor Bob Taft's staff.

Final Design

Bill Trentel's "Departing Bicyclist" license plate art was approved by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for the "Share the Road" license plate, with our web site URL added under the bicyclist. The BMV official said we will be the first organization with our web site URL on our license plate! (The plate still depends on passage of our bill early next year).

House Bill 389

On Saturday, June 17, 2006, Governor Bob Taft signed HB 389 into law before a crowd of GOBA riders during the 2006 GOBA opening ceremonies at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia. The new law went into effect on September 21.

The Better Bicycling in Ohio bill, known as House Bill 389, makes Ohio laws regarding cycling conform more closely aligned with the Uniform Vehicle Code (UVC). The OBF worked for years as a member of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances to make the UVC more cyclist friendly. Now, Ohio law will follow the UVC.

The new laws will

  • Substitute "far enough to the right to allow passing by faster vehicles if such passing is safe and reasonable" for "as close as practicable to the right-hand curb" in the "slow-moving vehicle" section of the Ohio Revised Code.
  • No longer require front and rear wheel reflectors if a red light is used in the rear.
  • Permit generator-powered lights.
  • Permit either flashing or steady rear light.
  • No longer require a bell or horn.
Other Articles
  • To see how the new law fits into the Ohio Revised Code, you may read this article by attorney and OBF board member Pete Precario.
  • For a more in-depth, up-to-date description, you may read this article by Fred Oswald and Cal Kirchick.
  • We have a simplified description of the bill contents, written before passage.
Legislative Co-sponsors

The co-sponsors of our bill include Rep. Jim McGregor (R-Gahanna), Rep. Mark Wagoner (R-Toledo), Rep. John Widowfield (R-Cuyahoga Falls), Rep. Shawn Webster (R-Hamilton), Rep. Denny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights),

 

Rep. Lorraine Fende (D-Willowick), Rep. William J. Hartnett (D-Mansfield), Rep. Sylvester Patton (D-Youngstown), Rep. Dixie Allen (D-Dayton), and Rep. Timothy DeGeeter (D-Parma).

Legislative History
10/24/05   Introduced into the Ohio House by Rep. Arlene Setzer (R-Vandalia).
11/10/05   Bill assigned to the House Transportation, Public Safety, and Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Rep. Steve Reinhard (R-Bucyrus).
2/23/06   Committee passed the bill unanimously and it will next be sent to the full house for voting.
3/7/06   Passed by the full House; to be assigned to the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee. 
3/29/06   State Representative Arlene Setzer gave her sponsor testimony before the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee
5/16/06   Several members of the OBF Board gave testimony before the Senate Transportation Committee on May 16 and 23.
5/23/06   The Committee passed the bill by 9-0.
5/24/06   The full Senate passed the bill unaminously. The bill now is officially an Act. 
6/17/06   Governor Bob Taft signed HB 389 into law during the 2006 GOBA opening ceremonies at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia. The new law goes into effect September 21, 2006. 

Testimony Team May 16 HB 389 Testimony Team, L–R: Tom McMurray, President of Westerville Bike Club; Chuck Smith; Sen. Armbruster; OBF Board Member Cal Kirchick; OBF Board Member Jim Swaney.

 

Testimony Team Governor Taft signs HB 389 while Chuck Smith and Rep. Arlene Setzer look on.

 

Testimony Team L–R: OBF Board Members Gordon Renkes, Lucinda Miller, and Chuck Smith with State Representative Arlene Setzer, HB 389 sponsor.