The Steve Selz Case
By Chuck Smith
Chair, Ohio Bicycle Federation
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.
On Monday, February 7, Selz faced trial for this ticket. The Montgomery County Court found Selz guilty and fined him $100.
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.
- In early May, 2000, attorney Steve Magas filed an appeal to the February ruling.
- 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.
Read the favorable official opinion
of the 2nd District Court of Appeals concerning the Selz appeal.
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