LAB Reform — The Kentucky amicus brief

LAB Reform heartily commends LAB for its role in the creation and submission of the amicus brief in the Kentucky Court of Appeals, Case No. 2002-CA-001751-MR.  This is exactly the type of work LAB should be doing in support of cyclists’ rights.

While we intend in no way to deprecate LAB’s and the clubs’ efforts, we must point out what we feel are statements in the Brief that are irrelevant to the case at hand.  Some statements may even hurt cyclists’ rights because they perpetuate common misconceptions about cycling.  It appears that the Brief was written entirely by the lawyers, with no cycling experts involved to correct the misleading and irrelevant information.

Misstatements or irrelevant details in the brief include:

None of the above applies to the case at hand.  This case involves an error by a motorist that caused injury to a cyclist.  The issue arises from the initial jury’s failure to apply the law as instructed by the judge.  That is the sole basis of the appeal and the amicus Brief.

The facts of the case are no longer in dispute.  Had this irrelevant information been left out, the Brief would have been about half as long as it is.  We recognize that a certain amount of background information is necessary to build the case and produce a successful acceptance of the Brief by the Supreme Court.  However, that information should have stressed the legal rights and equal status of cyclists as drivers of vehicles on Kentucky’s roads, and the improper application of the law by the jury.

We fear that the overemphasis on dangers of cycling, whether or not this case is successfully appealed, may promote calls for the Kentucky legislature to enact restrictions on cyclists “for their own safety.”

We recognize that as a practical matter LAB will not be able to assist in all similar cases because of its limited resources.  The League must intervene in only the most important cases — such as this one.

Still, having said all this, we salute LAB for its efforts in this case.  While we have found much to criticize in LAB, we do not hesitate to give praise when praise is due.

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