Cops vs. Bicyclists, Montgomery County Style
Bicyclists beware. When cruising the roads in Montgomery County, watch out for…stupid cops?
That’s at least according to one tri-athlete who was training along FM 149 when he had a run in with an officer from the Constable’s office.
He's also an attorney at a huge law firm, so Montgomery County may have bitten off more than it can chew.
Then again, the lawyer did talk himself right into the ticket.
Kendall Gray was peddling along his merry way one morning last April when out of nowhere, he says, an officer came flying past him in a marked truck, honking his horn.
According to Gray, the officer slammed on his brakes and pulled over to the side of the road, cutting Gray off and almost causing a collision. Startled, Gray yelled at the deputy, who was shouting at Gray to get over to the far side of the road and that he had to keep to the right of the white shoulder line.
Gray, an attorney with Andrews Kurth, says he told the deputy that, no, the law stated that he did not have to ride to the right of the white line, but if the deputy wanted to give him a ticket, fine, they’d duke it out in court. Well, the deputy did not issue a ticket, says Gray, and instead kept yelling at Gray about the rules of the road. Finally, the deputy drove off and Gray continued along his 90-mile workout.
“He basically just wanted to bully me,” says Gray. “I said I was going to write his superiors and complain about his conduct, and of course he said, ‘Nothing would make me happier.’ Yeah right.”
A couple weeks later, Gray did write a letter complaining about the deputy. In response, he received pretty much a form letter saying the constable’s office would look into the matter.
Then on July 9, Gray got another letter in the mail from the constable’s office. It stated: “The department’s investigation indicates the facts to be different from what you described. You referenced in your first letter that a citation should have been issued so the matter could be decided in court. Enclosed is [a] citation ….”
According to Transportation Code 551.103, the one Gray was cited for violating, a bicyclist on the road shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway. That is unless the lane is less than 14-feet wide and does not have an adjacent bike lane.
“It’s legally impossible for me to have been in violation,” says Gray. “It’s not like I want to sue anybody, I just want the guy to do his job. All I ever wanted from the officer was essentially, he’s got to apologize, admit he was wrong and go to bike cop school.”
Gray says he is waiting to find out when his court hearing will be. And how much was the fine? Gray says he has no idea. The citation is so obscure that the fine isn’t listed anywhere that he can find.
-- Chris Vogel