Friday, July 10, 2009

Should the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition sue San Mateo County Sheriff?

TIME'S UP sent a press release about Christopher Long's $1.5 Million lawsuit against the New York Police Department. You may remember that Christopher Long was the guy who was Just Riding Along when NYPD Officer Pogan bodyslammed Long, and then arrested him for assault. When a video popped up showing what really happened, Pogan was fired.

The press release has information on additional lawsuits against the NYPD for their harassment of cyclists. It mentions a similar incident in which cyclist Richard Vasquez was knocked down and arrested and a similar YouTube video showing that the arresting officer was lying.

Especially interesting, though, is mention of the Five Borough Bicycle Club's lawsuit regarding the NYPD’s selective enforcement and other civil rights abuses of cyclists participating in group rides because that's what's happening in San Mateo County right now. The county even called in reinforcements from the Menlo Park and Redwood City for all of those cyclists menacing the poor residents of Woodside. Meanwhile, people consistently drive like idiots in Menlo Park and Redwood City.

Local cyclist Dan Connelly's response to those who support this selective enforcement action is right on the money and I'm repeating it here (hope you don't mind, Dan):
Please document how many people in the greater Bay Area have been killed by cyclists who slowed but otherwise failed to come to a complete stop when crossing T intersections such as the one on Canada Road at Jefferson or at Portola and Alpine, both targets of this police action. Or how many have been killed by cyclists riding to the right of the roadway but not in the shoulder, another target. Then document how many have been killed by speeding drivers, drunk drivers, drivers using suspended licenses, drivers talking on cell phones, drivers under the influence of medication and just for fun excessively fatigued drivers falling asleep at the wheel. Now based on your results please make recommendations on how enforcement resources should be allocated to promote the public safety.


  1. Wow. Dan Connelly hits the nail squarely on the head.

  2. =v= Any NYC-area legal eagles who might want to offer pro-bono help for the 3rd suit listed in the TIME'S UP! press release -- CM vs. NYPD -- get in touch with our awesome lawyers at: cmcivil at gmail dot com

  3. Thanks for forwarding my comments! The lawsuit idea is an interesting one.

    Clearly there must be some rational basis behind how discretionary enforcement is applied, otherwise it becomes an unrestricted mechanism for discrimination. To specifically target a road user presenting a clearly inferior risk and to do it at locations where that small risk is further minimized has no basis I can forsee other than harassment.