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Old 05-31-07, 09:52 AM   #1
briand97
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Got a huge ticket this weekend, need advice

So here is the whole story.

3 of us were riding a new route in northplains Oregon (pop 500, approx 20 miles from portland). Had a long (2 or 3 mile) straight away on a country road. We were practicing drafting so the people behind me were looking at my wheels - they didn't see the stop sign.

I grabbed a drink of water and missed putting it back in its basket cleanly so spent more time then normal looking down and not ahead. When I finally looked ahead saw that we were about 30 ft from a stop sign that I hadn't previously noticed and we were going 20 mph. Made attempt to stop but realized I was going way too fast to safely stop (especially with people behind me). So made quick look to make sure no traffic was coming and rode through.

Of course a cop was sitting in the bushes just past the intesection and pulled all 3 of us over and nailed us with $350 tickets a piece. I've been given the option of going to court or to pay the full $360, take drivers ed, and have it erased. Not sure if my defense is going to be worth going to court and asking the judge to lower fine...

the Defense

#1 - we were totally in the wrong - we ran the sign but it was not on purpose (we also understand how lucky we were that no traffic was coming)
#2 - last ticket was 10 years ago in a car
#3 - the circumstances - never been on road before, odd placement for a stop - long straight-away with a T-intersection (we were on the continuing road but have the stop; the road that deadends into our rode has a stop but right turn permitted without stop), taking a drink and not seeing the sign until too late, we did not impede traffic - there was one car on the road 200 ft away coming from deadending road.
#4 - this is not how we ride (blowing stop signs) we are very safety conscious and this was just a mistake.

I can totally understand getting the ticket and I am not claiming that the cops are out to get us but am hoping that a judge might see how an unfortunate set of events lead to us running the sign and that it was not just a bunch of bikers deciding which laws to choose to obey.

Any advice would be nice -
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Old 05-31-07, 09:56 AM   #2
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get a traffic lawyer like www.theticketclinic.com and just pay them $ 79 to fix it for you.

Most likely, all you will need to pay is the court costs ($ 40 or less) ? and be home free with no points, and nothing on your record.
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Old 05-31-07, 10:01 AM   #3
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Old 05-31-07, 10:25 AM   #4
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Take driver ed. You have no defense. You ran the sign. It's your responsibility to see it.
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Old 05-31-07, 10:34 AM   #5
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If you get a ticket on your bicycle, does it affect your driving record/driver's license or insurance? What about people who get tickets on their bicycles but don't have a driver's license; does it affect them differently?
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Old 05-31-07, 10:36 AM   #6
briand97
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my insurance agent said yes it could affect insuarance - this is first ticket in 10 years so they said more than likely rates won't be affected for me though.
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Old 05-31-07, 10:39 AM   #7
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Yes go to court and tell your story. It's likely that you'll get a lower fine and no points.
Good luck.
Joe
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Old 05-31-07, 10:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeprim
Yes go to court and tell your story. It's likely that you'll get a lower fine and no points.
Good luck.
Joe
Don't know the law there, but when I got my first ticket (this was a while ago) I got off with traffic school and court costs, I believe. Court is definitely a good option, act contrite and plead for mercy.

In all seriousness though, please be careful. We had a few cyclists get killed on the local MUP in the last year under very similar circumstances.
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Old 05-31-07, 10:58 AM   #9
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You were in the wrong and got caught. Why waste a day going to court? Pay it or take driver's ed.
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Old 05-31-07, 10:59 AM   #10
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What if instead of stop sign it was a much slower cyclist or pedestrian ahead?
Would you have crashed into them?
Would you have quickly and with insufficient notice to the drafters, swerved left/right to avoid them, with the two cylists following you instead crashing into them?

I know the penalty for running a T-intersection stop across the top seems steep, but given other circumstances the lack of attention by you and the following cyclists (they should not be only watching the wheel of the rider ahead) could have resulted in far worse consequences and not just to you.

That said I do hope you can reduce the fine, but consider the lesson as well. I also believe you are a safety concious rider as you say and you also note you were lucky, so I have no doubt the lesson has already started to hit hard.

Al
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Old 05-31-07, 11:04 AM   #11
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Its North Plains and your screwed. They hold court there in a run down old church and the judge is buddies with the cops.
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Old 05-31-07, 11:07 AM   #12
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Unfortunately lack of attention is what causes accidents, minor or otherwise.

"I don't know what happened officer, I was just reaching for the __(insert noun here__ and when I looked up we crashed."

Do the traffic court and get the ticket taken care of. Then call the city/county and ask why there is a stop sign on long stretch of road with a T-intersection where a single stop sign (on the terminating road) would handle the requirements.

Expensive and it blows, but unfortunately, that's life.
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Old 05-31-07, 11:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avmanansala
Unfortunately lack of attention is what causes accidents, minor or otherwise.

"I don't know what happened officer, I was just reaching for the __(insert noun here__ and when I looked up we crashed."

Do the traffic court and get the ticket taken care of. Then call the city/county and ask why there is a stop sign on long stretch of road with a T-intersection where a single stop sign (on the terminating road) would handle the requirements.

Expensive and it blows, but unfortunately, that's life.
The sign is there as a revenue generator.

Ever wonder how such a run down small town is able to afford such a nice townhall/library? (most of you don't know the town so I wouldn't expect anyone to actually know)

Can you tell how much I like North Plains and their crappy little police department?
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Old 05-31-07, 11:45 AM   #14
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Be glad he didn't shoot you.
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Old 05-31-07, 12:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pityr
The sign is there as a revenue generator.

Ever wonder how such a run down small town is able to afford such a nice townhall/library? (most of you don't know the town so I wouldn't expect anyone to actually know)

Can you tell how much I like North Plains and their crappy little police department?
I thought they got all their revenue from the elephant garlic festival . they must pull in tourists from far and wide - hillsboro to forest grove and maybe a couple from aloha

So you think it isn't even worth it to talk to the judge... I kind of figured that. I can tell you chief whitehead was extremely pleasant to talk to; I especially loved his "I bet this ruins you holiday" remark. I have no problem with being ticketed just don't be a smug little ass when you are doing it...
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Old 05-31-07, 12:29 PM   #16
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I am afraid I haven't much sympathy as two weeks ago I got clobbered by another cyclist who ran a red light. Both wheels were destroyed on my Surly and I have knee pain that prevents me from doing any serious riding.

That being said, a $360 fine seems pretty heavy
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Old 05-31-07, 12:31 PM   #17
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You may be guilty, but there's nothing wrong with at least trying to get the fine reduced. Go to court yourself or find a lawyer who will do it extremely cheap.
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Old 05-31-07, 12:33 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by briand97
So here is the whole story.

3 of us were riding a new route in northplains Oregon (pop 500, approx 20 miles from portland). Had a long (2 or 3 mile) straight away on a country road. We were practicing drafting so the people behind me were looking at my wheels - they didn't see the stop sign.

I grabbed a drink of water and missed putting it back in its basket cleanly so spent more time then normal looking down and not ahead. When I finally looked ahead saw that we were about 30 ft from a stop sign that I hadn't previously noticed and we were going 20 mph. Made attempt to stop but realized I was going way too fast to safely stop (especially with people behind me). So made quick look to make sure no traffic was coming and rode through.

Of course a cop was sitting in the bushes just past the intesection and pulled all 3 of us over and nailed us with $350 tickets a piece. I've been given the option of going to court or to pay the full $360, take drivers ed, and have it erased. Not sure if my defense is going to be worth going to court and asking the judge to lower fine...

the Defense

#1 - we were totally in the wrong - we ran the sign but it was not on purpose (we also understand how lucky we were that no traffic was coming)
#2 - last ticket was 10 years ago in a car
#3 - the circumstances - never been on road before, odd placement for a stop - long straight-away with a T-intersection (we were on the continuing road but have the stop; the road that deadends into our rode has a stop but right turn permitted without stop), taking a drink and not seeing the sign until too late, we did not impede traffic - there was one car on the road 200 ft away coming from deadending road.
#4 - this is not how we ride (blowing stop signs) we are very safety conscious and this was just a mistake.

I can totally understand getting the ticket and I am not claiming that the cops are out to get us but am hoping that a judge might see how an unfortunate set of events lead to us running the sign and that it was not just a bunch of bikers deciding which laws to choose to obey.

Any advice would be nice -
If the cop wasn't there, would you have posted about this? Would you have even thought about it again? Would you have even remembered it the next day? The next week? Are you so sure that #4 above is true? How do you know you simply did not conveniently forget all the other times you did this, just as you probably would have in this particular instance if you had not been caught?

Choosing to run a stop sign is one thing, but not noticing it in time is something else again (not to mention not noticing the cop). What else are you not noticing out there, that you should be? I think the big lesson here is you need to be starting to pay a lot more attention for many reasons, chief among them, perhaps, is: in order to be able to obey the rules of the road. Pay the fine or go to school, but, most importantly, give your riding practices a lot of thought.
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Old 05-31-07, 12:40 PM   #19
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Geez, your Honor, this is the first time I drove drunk...I swear.


You did it. Pony up and admit guilt, but ask the court for a reduced fine, on the condition that you'll take a bike safety course or arrange for one/help promote one of the many that LOAB puts together.

Blowing a stop sign because you weren't paying attention isn't any different than speeding and not paying attention or running the sign in a car.
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Old 05-31-07, 12:42 PM   #20
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Nut up.
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Old 05-31-07, 01:26 PM   #21
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You were wrong, but so what, fight it anyway. Fight every ticket.
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Old 05-31-07, 01:43 PM   #22
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You were pulling a group, and you took a drink????

That's a real bonehead move...you never drink or eat when you're at the front of a paceline!!!

You should man up, and pay the fine. You should also offer to pay half of the fine for the other 2 riders, since it was your responsibility as leader to be aware of road conditions.

Last edited by SSP; 05-31-07 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 05-31-07, 02:46 PM   #23
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You broke the traffic law. Appear in court and beg for mercy. No excuses. Be careful next time. Next time might be your last time if your aren't more careful.
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Old 05-31-07, 03:01 PM   #24
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Flee the state...they'll issue a warrant for your arrest, but they're unlikely to extradite (especially if you get far enough away...say, Maine, or maybe Canada).

Just don't apply for a job or a mortgage until the statute of limitations runs out and you're home free.
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Old 05-31-07, 03:01 PM   #25
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Move out of state.
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