Were the “MS-8” blasting through intersections and ignoring stop signs, cars and safety ? No. Such conduct would certainly be dangerous. Two of the Multiple Sclerosis (“MS”) charity bikers noted that they had slowed to about 1 mph before proceeding through a stop sign in Lovettsville, only to find a sheriff’s deputy nearby, who flagged them down. Were they given a warning ? Were they given information about rider safety or classes they could participate in ? Were they repeat violators who the authorities had stopped previously ?
“NO” to all of the above. They were stopped and given tickets for a moving violation. These citations carry not only a fine and costs, but points that will go on their driving record with the Division of Motor Vehicles (and may hurt their insurance rates and ability to get coverage as well). Following up on my July 1st post, I made a point to contact those riders whose information I had been given to see what I could do to help.
After speaking with several of the “MS-8” Defendants while in Connecticut for my and my bride’s birthday week vacation, the decision was made to come back early and try to help these bicycle riders and appear in Court on July 7th. In addition, I offered my services as pro bono defense counsel, meaning that I would appear in Court for them on that day free of charge because I felt so strongly about the situation and believed that it could have been handled differently. I do not believe that the cyclists I have spoken with are criminals, nor do I think that the Loudoun County Authorities meant to set up a “sting operation” for charity and recreational cyclists. There are ways to promote safe riding, educate riders and enforce the law. I hope to explore those next week. Stay tuned !