Ride leader ticketed in Santa Cruz
Thread started by tortuga_veloce
at 05.6.09 - 12:30 am
SANTA CRUZ - At the same time that an outspoken bicycle advocate pleads with city leaders to convert a neighborhood street into a safe bicycle haven, Micah Posner is fighting with them over his fine for leading a supposedly-unsafe bicycle parade down the middle of the street without a permit.
"We're not doing anything that shouldn't be done every day," said Posner, who along with many other cyclists wants King Street turned into a bicycle boulevard and alternative to riding Mission Street.
But police say the event was counter-intuitive, as it led small children down the middle of a street still open to cars. So they documented problems and handed the report to the city attorney, who filed "People vs. Micah Posner" and asked Posner to pay a $110 fine plus $264 in court costs.
"He's inviting families to come out, with their kids, to ride in the street," said Santa Cruz Police Capt. Steve Clark, who said that a permit could have ensured the road was closed and officers were stationed for the event. "To invite the unsuspecting community out to an event where you haven't bothered to take the proper safety precautions is wildly irresponsible."
At issue is a parade held last November, when Posner and more than 100 other cyclists flooded King Street to show their support for a proposed bicycle boulevard on the neighborhood thoroughfare, which could include bike lanes or rerouting thousands of cars off the side street. The street runs parallel to Mission
Street, where two cyclists were killed and one seriously injured within 18 months of 2007 and 2008. The group pedaled to Santa Cruz High School decked out with streamers, banners and even a trailer holding the Santa Cruz High School Ukulele Club.
The event is not the only unsanctioned parade in town. For example, the First Night DIY Parade, held downtown on New Years Eve, is a somewhat spontaneous event for whomever shows up to march down Pacific Avenue. Police have long complained that the group does not secure permits, but Clark said because that group does not have an obvious organizer, it is difficult to cite. In this case, Posner was advertising the event for weeks.
City leaders said they offered Posner complementary permits, but he refused. Posner said he did not like the conditions of the permits offered, which required that participants ride on the sidewalk or the right-hand side of the street. Instead, he wanted the parade to take over the entire street.
Posner said he understood Clark's concerns, but said the parade went off without a hitch so he doesn't know why it's an issue now.
"That might have been an interesting argument to have before we had the event, but now the event's over and it all went safely," Posner said.
Meanwhile, Posner said he still refuses to pay the fine and is organizing another King Street ride on Sunday to honor Bike to Work week, complete with a bicycle-powered smoothie maker and corresponding refreshments.