02

Blog

So a driver just cut you off, flipped you off, or otherwise harassed you. It’s happened to all of us. I have had a blaring horn scare me and nearly cause me to crash. I would have loved to pull the minivan driver from his seat and give him a piece of my mind or worse. Maybe you have felt the same way.

Not so fast cowboy! Here’s a primer on what not to do.

Let’s first talk about assaults and confrontations. Kansas, where I live, is what’s called a “stand your ground” state. In Kansas, there’s no duty to retreat from a confrontation or “run away from a fight.” A person can use force to defend himself if he has a “reasonable” belief that force is necessary. The law doesn’t exactly spell out what “reasonable” or “belief” means. Because of the ambiguities in the law, there are a variety of responses to threats that can lead to deadly consequences.

In 2015, the Kansas Court of Appeals tried to clarify the law but to me it’s still as clear as mud. In 2014, Marlon Handy was arrested for assault in Wichita after shooting a man. The shooting followed a fistfight at a party. As you might expect, the stories as to what led to the shooting differed. At the preliminary hearing, a trial judge dismissed the charge against Handy on a self- defense/stand your ground basis. Case over? Not hardly. The Sedgwick County District Attorney appealed. The Kansas Court of Appeals overruled the Preliminary Hearing Judge and directed that the case go forward.

The Court of Appeals noted in its decision that if there is a conflict in testimony, (which happens almost always—ed.), self defense becomes a question for a jury. So, if confronted, you can stand your ground, but you must be reasonable. We will have to wait to see what the jury says about the reasonableness in shooting someone after a fistfight.

However, in the gun-toting areas of the country, it is best to not press one’s luck and hope that a jury will properly sort things out later.

What follows is what you absolutely should not do, out on the road when confronted with an aggressive motorist. Do not ever reach into a person’s vehicle. Breaching the car could lead to a deadly response.

KSA 21-5223 is the law pertaining to the defense of a dwelling, place of work, or OCCUPIED Vehicle.

Section (a) of the law states that use of force is justified when it appears to the person occupying the vehicle, and that person reasonably believes, that the use of force is necessary to prevent unlawful entry or attack upon the vehicle.

Section (b) gives occupants of buildings and vehicles the right to use DEADLY force to terminate unlawful entry or attack upon a dwelling, place of work, or OCCUPIED vehicle, if necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to that person or another. Once again, it’s a subjective standard. One’s word against another’s may be all it takes to avoid prosecution after such an encounter—especially if one of the parties is no longer around to give his or her side of the story.

Section(c) does not require a person in a building or motor vehicle to retreat if is using force to protect such person’s dwelling, place of work, or OCCUPIED vehicle.

Missouri is a “castle doctrine” state, which basically means you can use deadly force when your home is invaded and you feel threatened. In 2007, the law was expanded to include intrusion into motor vehicles. (Missouri Revised statute 563.031, et seq.)

Comments

Peter Wilborn Jan 13, 2021

As a Minneapolis-based attorney, I live, work, play and bike in the city. Although my city might be known for its lakes and our infamous Juicy Lucy, Minneapolis’ dedication to having safer streets for all should be included in that list. To reach the safe streets goal, numerous non-profit organizations and groups are working tirelessly […]

Read More
Ambassador
Rachael Maney Jan 11, 2021

Applications for the Bike Law Foundation Ambassador Program are now live. CLICK HERE FOR THE APPLICATION. The deadline to apply is Sunday, January 24th. Those selected will be notified on or before February 1. Thanks for your support and willingness to work together to make bicycling safer for all. We are committed to you, to one another, and […]

Read More
3-foot passing close call
Charlie Thomas Jan 11, 2021

It happens all the time: Someone emails me video footage, clearly showing they were biking along when a car buzzes past, coming within inches of a horrible crash — and there’s nothing I can do about it because we don’t have the laws in place to do something to help. Luckily, that might be about […]

Read More
killing cyclist bike law
Rachael Maney Dec 22, 2020

BIKE LAW ANNOUNCES THE INDICTMENT OF CARL BEHLER FOR KILLING CYCLIST AND INJURING OTHERS   Today, Carl Behler appeared in court for the first time for killing cyclist Arthur Carter and injuring others. He was indicted on Friday (12/18) by the Anne Arundel County Grand Jury and promptly arrested and detained for 7 crimes related […]

Read More
Bicycle Mayor
Bruce Hagen Dec 03, 2020

When I (Maria of Bike Law Georgia) called Pattie Baker, the first Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor, she was trudging through marshland on her bicycle on Alpharetta’s Big Creek Greenway. I pictured her in my mind with her bike, wearing her signature skirts, and mud on her sandals. Always on the go, the newly minted Metro […]

Read More
Alabama Bike Advocacy
Danny Feldman Dec 02, 2020

When Alabama bike advocate Jamie Miernik was growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she dreamed of being an astronaut.  And today, although she is not an astronaut, as a chemical engineer who worked for Boeing on the NASA space station project, she put her knowledge and talents to use keeping the astronauts safe and sound in […]

Read More
Local bike shop Atlanta Bike Shop Mechanic
Bruce Hagen Nov 06, 2020

We have so many amazing local bike shops in the Atlanta Metro Area and in Georgia that it’s hard to single out any for the service that they provide, but here’s a short list of some of the shops from various parts of town and throughout the state. Eight Great Local Bike Shops in Georgia […]

Read More
Justice Ginsberg Bike Law
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Nov 03, 2020

Last month after Justice Ginsberg passed away, I went on one of those long solo rides to pedal things out.  I was hoping that time in the saddle would help settle the emotional torrent within me.  On one hand, I was feeling driven, empowered, and more motivated than ever to step things up a notch […]

Read More
Women on Bikes Rachael
Peter Wilborn Oct 11, 2020

Rachael Maney is the Director of the Bike Law Network and of the non-profit Bike Law Foundation. As most of you know, she has spent the last two weeks on these pages profiling 16 Women on Bikes leading up to yesterday’s inaugural Women’s Cycling Day. If you haven’t yet, read her profiles of and conversations with […]

Read More
Load More