Rowinsky v. Massachusetts State Police
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Civil Action No.
State Trooper John M. Walsh;
Joseph S. Lalli, Commissioner of Public Safety;
Jane Perlo, Secretary of Public Safety;
Colonel John DiFava, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police and the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts;
AFFIDAVIT OF PAUL SCHIMEK
I, Paul Schimek, do depose and state as follows:
- My name is Paul Schimek, and I reside at 15 Custer Street, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. I am the current President of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, an appointed member of the City of Boston Bicycle Advisory Committee, and a former appointed member of the City of Cambridge Bicycle Committee. I hold a doctorate in transportation planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and am the author of several academic papers relating to bicycle policy.
- I use my bicycle frequently for transportation and recreation and I also use my automobile and MBTA services for transportation.
- At approximately 9:00 PM on October 27, 1998, I was lawfully riding my bicycle eastbound on Perkins Street in Jamaica Plain, a roadway owned and operated by the Metropolitan District Commission.
- As I approached the intersection with Jamaicaway, another roadway owned and operated by the Metropolitan District Commission, the traffic signal turned green, and I made a right turn to head southbound on Jamaicaway.
- I accelerated to approximately 20 mph. I was riding about 3 or 4 feet to the left of the raised curb in the right-hand lane, which is approximately 9 feet wide in that location.
- In a short while, I heard that traffic had caught up to me, and I suddenly heard a voice from a loudspeaker, "Get on the bike path now! Get on the bike path now! Your head is going to be a sponge!" I glanced back and saw a police car following at an appropriate distance. I pointed to the curb, trying to indicate that I could not jump over the raised curb to get on the adjacent sidewalk.
- After a few moments I approached the intersection with Pond Street, where I had intended to make a left turn. It was much simpler to make my intended turn than to try to get off of the road to the right. I looked back, merged near the center line and made a left turn on to Pond Street while I was facing a green left arrow. The distance between Perkins Street and Pond Street is approximately 3 mile.
- I turned right from Pond Street on to Centre Street.
- After a brief moment, the police car that I had seen behind me on the Jamaicaway approached, and a State Police officer (with badge number 808) emerged from it.
- I spoke to the officer for about 15 minutes. He did not ask me for identification nor did he give me a citation nor threaten to give me a citation. He cited no law that I had broken. After a while I realized that he was upset because a driver had dangerously swerved into the passing lane instead of slowing and following me. Instead of citing that driver for an illegal lane change, the officer decided to tell me to get off the road."
- He told me that if there is a bike path I must use it. He said that even on a road such as the VFW Parkway, which has wide lanes and shoulders, bicyclists should use the sidewalk.
- I told him that I have a right to use the roads, but he was unconvinced.
- He said, "I don't care if your helmet is made of steel, it won't protect you." He said he didn't want to Ahave to go to the scene of a bad bike accident.@ More than once he pointed to my bicycle and said, "this is not a vehicle." Apparently he did not know that Massachusetts statute and both MDC and State Highway regulations explicitly include Abicycle@ in the legal definition of Avehicle.@
- He left and I went home.
Signed and sworn under pain and penalty of perjury this day of ---, 2001