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

Strong support at Wright Wride 2015

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

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

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

Huffman Award to Jim Sheehan

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

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

OBF Day 2015 at Bicycle Museum of America

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








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







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








V.                   C.A. Case No. 18207

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






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






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.


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:




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...


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.


  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.

Please click the START button below to join or renew online!