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  1. #1
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    Stopped by the law! ... Again!

    Well, perhaps God is trying to communicate with me somehow, but I was stopped
    AGAIN, for blowing a red light AGAIN. Or maybe the Seattle Police have issued a
    bulletin advising all police to crack down on cyclists. (I'd be interested in knowing
    if the bike couriers in town have seen any of this. I watched a group stream through
    the city the other day, violating every law known to man. It was a beautiful sight,
    although I don't personally advocate that degree of risk taking.)

    This time it was my morning commute. The best part of my commute is flying down
    Jackson Street from 15th to 2nd. It's a long straight hill with timed lights. I can hit
    every light just as it turns green. Bing. Bing. Bing. Bing. Bing. Bing. Unfortunately,
    this policeman determined that hitting a light just as it turns green consistutes
    blowing a red. He advised me to take it up with the judge. (In fairness, he also
    advised me that judges are lenient on cyclists.)

    So, yes, this time I was ticketted. $81. According to the policeman, this was
    lenient, as he could have given me a ticket for each of the lights.

    Ironically, just a few blocks before starting that descent I was run off the road by
    a woman in a Toyota Tahoma (monster truck) talking on a cell phone. She switched
    lanes and I had to jump a (fortunately low) curb to avoid being knocked off the street.

    Anyway, I have been (carefully, judiciously, and reasonably safely) riding in urban
    traffic for 25 years now. Never been in an accident. Never caused an accident. And
    I think I can count the times I have actually inconvenienced a driver on one hand.
    Only these past couple of weeks have I ever had any trouble with the police. It
    must mean something.

  2. #2
    Castiron Perineum Bockman's Avatar
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    Put the officer on the stand. Ask him: "Officer, was the light green or red when I passed under it?" 'Nuff said.

    Dave
    The best libertarian podcast on the internet! freedomainradio.com

  3. #3
    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunabayashi
    Put the officer on the stand. Ask him: "Officer, was the light green or red when I passed under it?" 'Nuff said.

    Dave

    Actually it is when you cross the white line whether it be the the line of the crosswalk or a white line painted across the lane as a mark for where traffic should stop. If there is no line then I would guess it would be the imaginary line formed by the two corners.
    Sunrise saturday,
    I was biking the backroads,
    lost in the moment.

  4. #4
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    My suggestion is to stop running red lights or stop complaining about tickets when you do.

    It is the officers job to ticket people for breaking the law don't get upset with him for doing his job.
    Matthew 6

  5. #5
    cab horn
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    ngateguy is that you in that avatar?

  6. #6
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    It's amazing how I've never seen a car pulled over for blowing through a red light. Nor have I seen a car pulled over for cutting me off or pushing me into the curb.

    Who's a bigger danger to others? A car running a red light. Or a bike.
    i may have overreacted

  7. #7
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    Well, I have seen cars pulled over for running lights. As they should be of course.

    I do agree with NGateGuy that I shouldn't be complaining about being stopped for breaking the law -- but of course it's a story to share, so even if it doesn't entirely put me in a good light, I like to share it. In this case, I think a case could be made that I wasn't breaking the law, but the fact is, I do cut those light close -- because I know their schedule by heart. In this case, I know my turf. I know I was riding alertly (although not alertly enough to realize I was being tracked by a motorcycle policeman, apparently several blocks back because it took him a while to catch up to me after I turned off Jackson), but to a casual observer it might have seemed that I was being careless, even reckless.

    What makes me more curious is the apparent (although it could be coincidence) crackdown on cyclists by the police. I am not riding any differently than I have always ridden, and I have never been stopped before. Twice in two? three? weeks is startling.

  8. #8
    okay maybe not. mmerner's Avatar
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    Just call the police dept and ask. They don't keep that stuff secret, but you do have to ask.

  9. #9
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    What bunabayashi said. It is legally impossible to run a red light if the light is green when you enter the intersection.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  10. #10
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I guess my concern would be that if you are hitting the light just as it turns green, there are always yo-yo cross-traffic auto drivers who are trying to beat their red (your green), giving a greater chance of broadsiding a late intersection-leaving driver.

    Perhaps this is not your situation - around here, drivers are always trying to get through the light even after the yellow.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  11. #11
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laggard
    It's amazing how I've never seen a car pulled over for blowing through a red light. Nor have I seen a car pulled over for cutting me off or pushing me into the curb.

    Who's a bigger danger to others? A car running a red light. Or a bike.
    Unfortunatly, if someone driving has tried to race his change, and you do the same @ the intersection.........and you collide.....
    The car will be fine, you however, might die.
    I'd blow in a car, not on a bike.

    I have less problems because I follow traffic rules, also cars can 'expect' or predict my actions, hence less accidents.

    >jef.

  12. #12
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    I guess my concern would be that if you are hitting the light just as it turns green, there are always yo-yo cross-traffic auto drivers who are trying to beat their red (your green), giving a greater chance of broadsiding a late intersection-leaving driver.

    Perhaps this is not your situation - around here, drivers are always trying to get through the light even after the yellow.
    True enough. My point was that it isn't illegal even though it may not be the safest practice.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  13. #13
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluejack

    What makes me more curious is the apparent (although it could be coincidence) crackdown on cyclists by the police. I am not riding any differently than I have always ridden, and I have never been stopped before. Twice in two? three? weeks is startling.
    I think you might want to chalk it up to bad luck. I have not seen or heard of any "crackdown" it usually pops up in th emedia when they do it.
    Matthew 6

  14. #14
    Castiron Perineum Bockman's Avatar
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    Taking a tip from Siu Blue Wind, I too am typing a lengthy passage of text down here to demonstrate the enormous amount of space available should one wish to use it-- in sharp contrast to the avatar text above this part.
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    What exactly were you charged with? What does it say on the ticket?

    Dave
    The best libertarian podcast on the internet! freedomainradio.com

  15. #15
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    "Bicycle Rights Duties - Red Light" SMC 11.44.020

    Props for knowing his Seattle Municipal Code. The text of 11.44.020 is:

    "Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all
    of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to a driver
    of a vehicle, except as to the special regulations of this chapter and
    except as to those provisions of this subtitle which by their nature can
    have no application."

    It's a reasonable law. The laws on hand signals are (fortunately) ambiguous.
    I don't believe in giving the old left-hand-down to signal braking on a
    bicycle, and while the law requires it during the last 100 feet of deceleration
    or turning, it does not mandate it if "both hands are needed to control or
    operate the bicycle." Well, I use both hands to stop, and if I had a hand free,
    under normal circumstances, it would not be the left.

  16. #16
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    Here's a law I didn't know:

    "A person operating a bicycle across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, but shall yield to pedestrians upon and along a crosswalk. No person operating a bicycle shall suddenly enter a crosswalk into the path of a vehicle which is so close that the driver cannot yield safely."

    I could argue that this means I don't have to stop at stop signs because I am crossing at the crosswalk -- so long as I do not jump out in front of moving vehicles.

  17. #17
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluejack
    Here's a law I didn't know:

    "A person operating a bicycle across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, but shall yield to pedestrians upon and along a crosswalk. No person operating a bicycle shall suddenly enter a crosswalk into the path of a vehicle which is so close that the driver cannot yield safely."

    I could argue that this means I don't have to stop at stop signs because I am crossing at the crosswalk -- so long as I do not jump out in front of moving vehicles.
    Only if you are on the sidewalk not the street and then decide to use a crosswalk and pedestrians are told to stop and look both ways before crossing a street
    Matthew 6

  18. #18
    Senior Member Stor Mand's Avatar
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    Don't blow through lights and whine about being ticketed .. pretty simple.

  19. #19
    dotdotdot
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stor Mand
    Don't blow through lights and whine about being ticketed .. pretty simple.
    It's not like he went threw a RED light. It was green. If he was endangering anyone it was himself...pretty simple.

  20. #20
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    I guess my concern would be that if you are hitting the light just as it turns green, there are always yo-yo cross-traffic auto drivers who are trying to beat their red (your green), giving a greater chance of broadsiding a late intersection-leaving driver.

    Perhaps this is not your situation - around here, drivers are always trying to get through the light even after the yellow.
    In which case it should be the yo-yos that get ticketed. It is they, after all, that are going through a red traffic light. By the time a light is green, the cross traffic have had plenty of warning to stop, or clear the intersection if they hit the yellow.

    Getting ticketed for going through a green light is too absurd for words. Ok, maybe it's not adviseable, for the reasons Denver states above, to cut it too fine, but it's not illegal.
    Last edited by Allister; 08-12-04 at 10:17 PM.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  21. #21
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allister
    In which case it should be the yo-yos that get ticketed. It is they, after all, that are going through a red traffic light. By the time a light is green, the cross traffic have had plenty of warning to stop, or clear the intersection if they hit the yellow.

    Getting ticketed for going through a green light is too absurd for words. Ok, maybe it's not adviseable, for the reasons Denver states aove, to cut it too fine, but it's not illegal.
    Of course the driver running the red light should get ticketed - I never said otherwise.

    My concern was not whether or not it was illegal.

    From a defensive riding standpoint, to me it makes no sense to go buzzing through lights that have just turned green when it is possible the intersection has not yet safely cleared. Neither do I drive my car through the intersection without careful checking. There is a maxim in defensive driving courses: "The person (car or whatever) entering the intersection 1st is the one that gets hit."

    It is little solace if the car driver gets a ticket when the bicyclist has been hit.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  22. #22
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Of course the driver running the red light should get ticketed - I never said otherwise.

    My concern was not whether or not it was illegal.

    From a defensive riding standpoint, to me it makes no sense to go buzzing through lights that have just turned green when it is possible the intersection has not yet safely cleared. Neither do I drive my car through the intersection without careful checking. There is a maxim in defensive driving courses: "The person (car or whatever) entering the intersection 1st is the one that gets hit."

    It is little solace if the car driver gets a ticket when the bicyclist has been hit.
    I deal with this situation quite a bit, as I have a reputation for "lightening fast traffic-light take-offs" as soon as the blasted thing changes (which takes longer than a Halley's comet sighting around here). However, it's surprisingly easy to tell whether someone is intending to run a red light. Amber lights are wonderful things for gauging someone's intentions. Generally, as soon as someone sees one, they will make up their mind at that moment whether they are going to try to make the light or not. If they accelerate, they'll have a crack, if not, they won't. Either way, it gives me a good 3-4 second window of opportunity, which is quite a long time.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  23. #23
    Superman With Silver Guns bbarend's Avatar
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    What is the general law for a motion light when you as a cyclist cannont trip it? Do you treat the intersection like a stop sign? Stop, look and then resume riding? I cannot find anything about this in my states bicycle laws.
    "I'm your huckleberry."

    MTB, SS MTB, and Road

  24. #24
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    What is the law regarding red lights in Seattle? It may be that "hitting the light just as it turns" results in a violation -- being legally within the intersection during part of the red cycle.

    If so, my reaction is that it is good that Seattle cops are cracking down on red light runners. More power to them.

    Paul

  25. #25
    dotdotdot
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulH
    What is the law regarding red lights in Seattle? It may be that "hitting the light just as it turns" results in a violation -- being legally within the intersection during part of the red cycle.

    If so, my reaction is that it is good that Seattle cops are cracking down on red light runners. More power to them.

    Paul
    That IS good, but too bad he didnt run a red light

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