Host-Jablonski
Day Host-Jablonski poses with her bike outside her east-side home.

After Day Host-Jablonski was struck by a car in April, she called the cops. The officer investigated the situation, then, to Host-Jablonski's surprise, handed her a ticket.

She fought the ticket, and about a month ago won her case.

Host-Jablonski, 32, says she feels that at least a little bit of justice was done. But while her ticket was dismissed, the driver got away with breaking the law.

"It felt like they were taking someone else's word over mine," she says of the police department.

On April 26 Host-Jablonski was biking home from work on Paterson Street on Madison's east side. She stopped at the stoplight at East Washington Avenue, and when it turned green she crossed the busy intersection. She was behind another other biker, riding a couple of feet to the left.

"I was trying to stay close to her so we would be sort of one visible unit," she says. "And then I made sure that I was a little staggered to her left so that if she stumbled for any reason she wouldn't be right in front of me and we wouldn't have an accident."

But as Host-Jablonski crossed the 62-foot intersection, a 44-year-old Madison woman drove up behind and honked her horn. The driver then followed Host-Jablonski as she continued south on Paterson, the other biker still ahead of her. That's when the driver passed her, hitting her on the wrist with the passenger-side mirror.

According to Host-Jablonski, the driver pulled over and said, "Bikes shouldn't be in traffic." Host-Jablonski replied, "Bikes are traffic."

Host-Jablonski, who wasn't seriously hurt, rode off, then later called the cops. Officer Shawn Kelly investigated the case and determined that Host-Jablonski was illegally riding two abreast.

Her attorney, bike injury lawyer Clayton Griessmeyer, contended that the driver should have gotten the ticket for not giving Host-Jablonski 3 feet of clearance before passing, which is required by state law.

Neither Kelly nor the driver responded to messages seeking comment.

It didn't hurt Host-Jablonski's case that the city attorney's office forgot to subpoena the driver.

"I had to proceed with just the defendant as a witness, and as you might imagine that didn't go very well," says Lana Mades, the assistant city attorney prosecuting the case.

After hearing testimony from Host-Jablonski, Municipal Judge Daniel Koval threw the case out.

Griessmeyer says he's not even sure Kelly, the officer, or for that matter many other Madison cops, are aware of the 3-foot law.

"At least now they know it exists," Griessmeyer says.

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