Barefooters are well-aware that it is not illegal to drive barefoot. Yet, I regularly hear of people getting ticketed for doing so.
But who says the cops know what they are talking about?
I am prompted to write this entry from a rather strange story I came across: Unicycling teen gets sidewalk summons tossed.
It took place in NYC. In it, the teen was given a ticket for riding a “bicycle” on the sidewalk. Of course, a “unicycle” is not a “bicycle”. In fact, here’s the definition of a “bicycle” in the New York City Administrative Code, §19-176:
The term “bicycle” shall mean a two or three wheeled device upon which a person or persons may ride, propelled by human power through a belt, a chain or gears, with such wheels in a tandem or tricycle, except that it shall not include such a device having solid tires and intended for use only on a sidewalk by a child.
OK, so “tricycles” are “bicycles”, but unicycles sure aren’t. The law is the law.
But not for the judge. The first time the teen appeared before the judge, she offered him a plea deal. He refused to take it—the law is the law. So after a continuance for a trial, the teen showed up again.
This time the judge actually looked at the law (imagine that!). Case dismissed.
We’ve seen that before. In Drivin’ Down the Road I mentioned a case of somebody having to go to court and having the judge allow the cop an hour to search through the statues trying to find the law. There wasn’t one, and the case was dismissed.
Fellow barefooter Myranya spends some time on Twitter debunking the people who keep tweeting about how driving barefoot is illegal. And every now and then the person replies with something like this:
@Myranya what a lie… Bc I got a ticket for it…
Well, there is nothing preventing a traffic cop from giving you a ticket for something that’s not illegal. If you don’t pursue it in court, like our unicycling teen, you might end up being sure it is illegal.
But I also sometimes wonder if these folks just aren’t making up crap.
Here’s another set of tweets that Myranya responded to. It was a longer conversation.
how is driving with no shoes illegal ? they would never know #idrivewithnoshoesallthetime #criminal
@Myranya jersey it is
@Myranya no new jersey USA
@Myranya that was 18 years ago it’s a new law that was just passed within the past month
@Myranya it’s been on the news the past few days it is illegal
Funny, but Google News never heard of any of these news stories. In addition, it is possible to see the legislative action going on in New Jersey here.
Nope. No such law.
What we have here, I suspect, is somebody just out-and-out lying (I’ve seen that before, too).
It’s no wonder we have such a hard time fighting this myth.