City Hall

After Two More Dismissals, Bicyclist's Crusade Against City's Helmet Law Marches On

It's been a rough, off-road kind of journey through the courts for helmet-free bicyclists' rights activist Paul Woodfield, who, you surely recall, has spent years fighting the constitutionality of the city's law requiring bike helmets.

When we last checked in with him back in August, he'd just seen his federal suit against the City of Dallas (along with Dallas County and the State of Texas) thrown out by Judge Jorge Solis. At the time, though, he said that since he'd gotten his latest ticket for riding without a helmet (he's had a few) removed to federal court, that just made the civil case redundant.

So if this morning, as you threw on that extra layer of Spandex bike pants for a cold ride to work, you got to wondering whether cops can still ticket you for riding bare-domed -- the answer is still yes, by all means, buckle up. For now, at least, Woodfield says.

It's all a lot of legal back-and-forth, he tells us, but on December 3, Solis ruled that his contested helmet ticket wasn't ripe for federal court, dismissing the case and kicking it back to municipal court. Writes Woodfield, when we asked what he thought of the ruling:

The gist is the Federal Court said that federal jurisdiction was not obvious on the face of the Plaintiff (texas) complaint, so they went with the "well pleaded complaint rule". Even though the defense raised a federal question, they declined to rule at this time. So it is back to muni court and the Texas criminal system for now.

Woodfield's got himself an April 15 date in muni court. Jump for the text of Solis' ruling.

State of Texas v. Woodfield Ruling