San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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October 16th, 2008
San Marcos Police are putting the brakes on fixed-gear bicycle riding, literally.

Sergeant Martin Manzi with the San Marcos Police Department says that fixed gear bicycles are in violation of state law which prohibits the operation of a bicycle not equipped with a brake. “A ticket or citation for the violation is really up to the discretion of the officer,” said Manzi. “A person may not operate a bicycle unless the bicycle is equipped with a brake capable of making a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement,” states transportation code 551.104.A fixed gear is a simple single-speed bicycle with the inability to coast, which means that the rider must keep peddling at all times to the keep the bicycle in motion.

Texas State Police Officer Otto Glenewinkle doesn’t see a huge problem with fixed gear bicycles but does acknowledge that aren’t in compliance with transportation codes. “The only problem that I can see with someone riding a fixed-gear bicycle is that could not come to a stop in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas in reference to equipment required by a bicycle,” says Glenewinkle. “A bicycle is recognized as a vehicle; therefore, bicyclists are expected to adhere to all of the regulations a motorist does.”

Alex Lincoln, co-owner of The Hub says these bicycles aren’t for everyone. “The whole issue that has been brought up is that they don’t have any sort of break, the breaking is by your legs, when you stop peddling it locks the rear wheel up. Some cyclists are strong enough to do, a lot of the beginners definitely aren’t,” says Lincoln.

The addition of a hand break, which is suggested, is an effortless modification but contradicts the intended simplicity of the bicycle.

Texas State Senior and avid fixed gear rider, Jason Baker, has been riding for more than a year despite police warnings and enjoys the simplicity of a fixed gear bicycle.

“I feel like it’s a pure form of the bike and it takes a little bit higher skill level to ride my ride without a brake and I just like the way the bike looks without a brake,” says Baker.

Up to date only one warning and one citation have been issued, according to San Marcos Police.

by: Ashley Cass
Scene Section Editor

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