Kentucky Mom Prevails Against Cops Who Criminalized Her Bike Commute

This week in Kentucky, a judge held up the right of a single mom to ride her bike to work, after she was ticketed three times by local law enforcement for “reckless driving.”

Cherokee Schill was ticketed three times for riding her bike to work in Kentucky. This week a judge ruled in her favor. Image: WKYT

Cherokee Schill was ticketed three times for riding her bike to work in Lexington, Kentucky. This week a judge ruled in her favor. Image: WKYT

The defendant, Cherokee Schill, told Jessamine County Judge Janet Booth that she bike commutes 18 miles to her job at an auto parts manufacturer out of financial necessity. The commute takes her along some of the busiest roads in the Lexington area.

Schill told WKYT she suffers abuse from drivers, but that the commute has helped her lose weight and keep food on the table for her two children.

But the Jessamine County Sheriff’s Office argued Schill’s biking poses a danger to herself and drivers.

“It just creates a very dangerous situation when you’ve got somebody on a bike that’s difficult to see to begin with, on a very highly traveled road, with significant speeds and a lot of people don’t pay attention to what they should be while driving, so it all compounds itself,” Jessamine County Attorney Brian Goettl argued. One police officer said he’d almost hit Schill with his car.

But under Kentucky law, bikes are legal vehicles. Judge Booth has sided with Schill, WKYT reports, and she plans to continue bike commuting.

“I’m just trying to get home like everyone else, and I’m going as fast as I can,” she told the television station. “Some days I can go faster than others. The really big thing is, we all need to share the road.”