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kris
October 22nd

This popped up in SN&R (Sacramento News & Review) today. Its a bit about how the brake “law” is being enforced here in Sacramento. There definitely has been quite a stir about this as of late with many people getting tickets or being hassled.

John Cardiel dashed down Ninth Street on his fixed-gear bike, tearing southward in the right-hand lane, when he heard yelling, which grew louder and closer. He looked over his shoulder and saw two Sacramento police officers on bikes trailing him, hollering, “Stop!”

Cardiel explains that he “skidded to an immediate stop.” Then, he describes that the cops applied their hand brakes and slid past him. “One guy almost fell over. I had more control than they did,” Cardiel remembers.

A professional skateboarder and expert cyclist, Cardiel appears in Colin Arlen and Colby Elrick’s film Macaframa, a documentary showcasing precision tricks and maneuvers by skilled fixed-gear bikers that screened to a sold-out Crest Theatre crowd earlier this year.

But mere blocks from the Crest, Sacramento bike police had pulled the accomplished rider over because he didn’t have a hand brake, which is in violation of California Vehicle Code 21201(a). Fixies, whose popularity has blown up in recent years, have no free wheel and cannot coast, so riders come to a stop by going against the crank’s rotation and skidding instead of using a hand brake.
the rest here.

Its funny, most people either know Officer Valdez or have heard plenty about him from others. On the other hand, we’ve bumped into a couple of bike cops (usually the same two) who really dig what we do even asking us to do tricks for them. Most of us here in Sacramento don’t fly through traffic, dangerously run reds or put anyone in danger. There is no shortage of beach cruisers and mountain bikes riding the wrong way on one ways streets, in the bike lane to boot. There’s definitely more “dangerous” cyclists that could be put in check. Like Sage says in the article; unsafe bicyclists should be targeted, not specific bike types.