Kentucky Bicyclist Challenging Road Laws Fined

September 16, 2014

A Jessamine County, Ky., woman who commutes to work on a bicycle is being fined for repeatedly violating a law on careless driving.

Cherokee Schill battled the violations in court, saying that she should not be forced to travel in the shoulder of U.S. 27 near Lexington.

A judge on Friday found that Schill had violated a law requiring slow-moving vehicles to move as far to the right “as practicable,” The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. She was fined $433.

Schill’s attorneys argued that it is safer for a cyclist to be in the lane of travel, so that cars behind her can see her clearly and have time to brake or merge left.

The 41-year-old Schill says she doesn’t plan to change the way she rides and she will appeal the judge’s ruling.

“This is the only case that I’m aware of in the country where a bicyclist who has a right to ride on the road has been ordered off the road,” said Schill’s attorney, Steve Magas, who has represented cyclists in Ohio and elsewhere. “The question was, how does this impact nationally? I don’t think it does. I think what it does is irritate cyclists and make them want to affect some change in Kentucky.”

Schill commutes by bike to help save on expenses. She was ticketed in Jessamine County three times this year, once while returning from work and twice while she was riding to off-work activities.

Police said she was causing a safety hazard for motorists on U.S. 27. Some 43,000 motor vehicles travel that section of road in northern Jessamine County each day, according to state traffic counts.

Jessamine District Court Judge Bill Oliver said on roads where there are no paved shoulders and the cyclist has nowhere else to go, the responsibility lies more with the motorist to give leeway to the cyclist. But the judge said when there is a paved shoulder available, the responsibility lies more with the cyclist to choose a safer option.

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