The problem is this:
L. Stancil offered a bill to repeal the law making biking on the sidewalk a crime. She did this because the courts are getting so backlogged by the bike crime cases that a woman judge asked her to initiate this bill.
Melvin Stukes, as chair, did not want to act on the legislation without a representative of the police present. The police Department has said that it will not support the repeal, but did not have anyone there to testify. Stukes wants to have a sort of commission set up to study this. Stancil wants to have the legislation put into effect soon to alleviate the court mess and to keep innocent people from being drawn into criminal prosecution. Let\'s all score a big one for Councilwoman Lisa Stancil.
I am thinking that we all need to pummel the City Council with emails, calls and letters saying that this bill needs to go through. I am going to email them some stats that I have requested from the Police Department which should confirm the increase in bike-related charges.
A Sunpapers reporter was there and talked to Mike Shea afterwards. Mike was arrested a couple weeks ago for, well, absolutely nothing really, except riding his bike. For those of you unfamiliar with his situation, go to http://baltimore.indymedia.org/newswire/display/7446/index.php.
Public opinion may be a major factor in this.
Most of all, I am going to ask some Council members what is the best way to pressure this through. They may suggest something other than the lobby-pummelling I suggested above. I will get back to you all.
If anyone has any questions at all about this situation, please email or call me (work: 410-685-2234 and say you need to speak to me about the City Council legislation). I am quite familiar with this entire situation.
PS If you are not already on the email list below and want to join a list designed to service bicyclists in the Baltimore area, please give it a try. As it is, I will be using that list in the future rather than emailing to individuals. If you have trouble getting yourself on the list, email me and I will have some computer-savvy person do it for you.
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