Today a judge in Oregon ruled that fixed gear bikes without brakes are against the law. The proceedings of the case are actually quite amusing. I particularly like the defense lawyer, Ginsberg, questioning of the arresting officer.
Ginsberg (to Officer Barnum):
“When you approached the rider did she stop?”
“How’d she stop the bike?”
“I don’t know.”
“The gear itself stopped the bike.”
“But the gear is not a brake.”
The appropriate statue reads
A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement. strong enough to skid tire.
Fixed gear riders can definitely do this so I can't see the legal argument for finding the defendant guilty as the judge did. Personally I think its pretty silly to ride without caliper brakes, but thats got nothing to do with the law.
I am back to riding fixed now, which is really fun in a slightly scary learning to ride again way, but there is no way I am taking off my brakes.
More on the court case here
, and some lively debate in the comments section.