Bike Footrests and Metal Knuckles: There's a Difference

The case stems from a 2007 encounter involving an LAPD officer and cyclist

What's the difference between a bicycle footrest and illegal metal knuckles?

Ask the state Supreme Court. The Justices handed down a decision Monday that says the law does not prohibit people from carrying footrests.

The LA Times reports on how the issue came before the high court: 

Los Angeles police stopped bicycle rider David V., 14, one afternoon in August 2007 because he was not wearing a helmet. The office found a metal bike footrest -- a cylinder about 41/2 inches long and about 11/2 inches in diameter -- in the boy's pocket and determined it did not fit anywhere on the boy's bike. David was charged with illegal possession of metal knuckles. A juvenile court judge, determining that David carried the device as a weapon, sustained the petition, and an appeals court agreed.

The high court disagreed. Its 10-page ruling states: "Metal knuckles of the usual sort, which are fitted to the hand, generally with holes for the fingers, are 'worn... in or on the hand.' But a metal cylinder like the footrest in this case is not, in ordinary usage, said to be 'worn' when held in the hand."

The whole "worn in the hand" thing comes from the attorney general's office -- and the fashion industry. The AG argued that the footrests, like clutch purses, are "worn in the hand."

Justice Carol A. Corrigan wrote that no matter what the fashion industry says, "it is unlikely that the Legislature would have considered it in connection with a weapons statute."

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