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  1. #1
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    A question for legal scholars

    On another thread, someone recommended carrying some other form of ID besides one's drivers license when riding. The reason given was that if stopped and cited, you might not avoid a fine, but you could avoid having a violation on your record.

    Now here's my question. I know if a police officer asks to see identification, I'm required to show it. I know if a police offiicer asks me my name, I'm required to give it. But if a police officer asks me if I have a driver's license (and I have not been operating a motor vehicle) do I have to answer the question?

    Personally I think it's bogus that bike violations go on my driving record and can cause my auto insurance to go up, especially considering that my insurer has no stake in the matter while I'm on my bike.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm all for cyclists obeying traffic laws, and being fined when they don't. However there is a fundamental difference between cycling and operating a motor vehicle in that my carelessness will generally only bring harm to myself while the carelessness of cagers will result in others getting killed or injured as well. When was the last time you heard of a family being wiped out after being hit by a Cannoindale at 20mph?

  2. #2
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
    When was the last time you heard of a family being wiped out after being hit by a Cannoindale at 20mph?
    Never heard of it happening as a result of a family being hit directly by a bicycle. Examples of multi- vehicle collisions initiated by motorists avoiding a bicycle or reacting to them however abound.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  3. #3
    Castiron Perineum Bockman's Avatar
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    Contrary to several contributor's opinions, simply because a policeman asks your name, it is not incumbent upon you to provide it.

    Dave
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  4. #4
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    That was me. A police officer can't ask you for a driver's liscense if you aren't driving a motor vehicle. He or she will ask you for identification.

    My souce has a small back story: One of our Tuesday riders was tickted for running a stop sign, and the violation appeared on his driving record and he incurred a higher insurance cost. He asked the lawyer in the group how he could get this corrected. The first thing the lawyer said was, " Don't carry your driver's liscense with you when you ride, but some other form of legal ID. The court's can't put the violation on your record without the DL."
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan
    The first thing the lawyer said was, " Don't carry your driver's liscense with you when you ride, but some other form of legal ID. The court's can't put the violation on your record without the DL."
    A cyclist lawyer who deals with cycling issues in his practice had a different take. He said that our state (Oregon) would connect a non-driver's license bicycling ticket with your driving record, if they could match your non-driver's license ID with your driver's license. For example, when your cycling ticket is entered into the system, if they can match you as a cyclist with your driving record by matching name and address, for example, they could make the connection. This might not apply in every state.

  6. #6
    Fly sillygirl's Avatar
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    According to bike law 101 on the SFBC site, you should not recieve a point on your record in CA, and thus your insurance should not raise your rates unless you tell them.

    http://www.sfbike.org/?ticket
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  7. #7
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sillygirl
    According to bike law 101 on the SFBC site, you should not recieve a point on your record in CA, and thus your insurance should not raise your rates unless you tell them.

    http://www.sfbike.org/?ticket
    I'm wondering if "Biker-X", the author of that piece, is a legal scholar. I'm skeptical of some of those claims, and there's no supporting information there to back them up. I think if you want real legal advice, you should consult someone who is a real lawyer, and really a member of the Bar in CA (and who has experience in this area).

  8. #8
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 'nother
    I'm wondering if "Biker-X", the author of that piece, is a legal scholar. I'm skeptical of some of those claims, and there's no supporting information there to back them up. I think if you want real legal advice, you should consult someone who is a real lawyer, and really a member of the Bar in CA (and who has experience in this area).
    I think you can be charged with lying to the police, though, if they ask if you have been issued a Drivers License, and you say "NO", then they find out later that you do. All answers to the police must be truthful. From another post last year, it was shown, especially to me, that people do not need to carry ID in California, and the police can only arrest you if they believe you won't show up in court. Soooooo, if you don't carry ID, stand right in front of the squad car's camera and keep repeating that you'll show up in court to pay the fine. I believe the case was McKay vs California.
    The other point for carrying some kind of ID is so someone can be called to authorize medical treatment if you are not "cognizant".

  9. #9
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Cycling infractions absolutely should not show up on one's California Department of MOTOR Vehicles record or on one's automobile insurance record, just as pedestrian infractions do not. If I ever do get cited while cycling and it somehow does end up on my driving record, I definitely will challenge it.
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    Seems there was a rather recent Supreme court decision on this, involving a man that refused to identify himself, it was not even a matter of showing an ID it never got that far he simply refused to tell the police officer his name, much less produce an ID card. (Evidently it was already know to them anyway who he was) The outcome as I recall was you are required to identify yourself in some way verbally is accepted "Yes officer my name Is James T. Kirk" no mention was made to a requirement to produce a state issued ID, drivers liscense or equal, interestingly enough if you are an Anabaptist it would be a violation of your right to freedom of religion to even have a graven image made of you.
    Here is a link to one of the many article on the subject. http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/06/24/dorf.police.id/
    second better article http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0622/p01s01-usju.html

    THE ISSUE YET TO BE DECIDED AT THIS POINT IS IF WE ALL WILL HAVE A STATE or FEDERALLY ISSUED TATTOO FOR POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION, and of cousre in interest for national security and our safety.

  11. #11
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Here's a related question for Canadians.

    If asked for ID to be issued a ticket while cycling, and you don't have any (it's not required to carry ID at all times), what motivation would you have to give your real name and address?

    Could the officer check to see if the given name and address is true? If the name doesn't check out with the address, what could the officer then do to you? Hold you pending ID?
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Trab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunabayashi
    Contrary to several contributor's opinions, simply because a policeman asks your name, it is not incumbent upon you to provide it.

    Dave
    It depends on the state. The Supreme Court just upheld such a law for Nevada.


    Refusing to Give Name a Crime
    Supreme Court Upholds Nevada Law Requiring Identification
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2004Jun21.html

  13. #13
    Senior Member collegeskier's Avatar
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    I know in Massachusetts, a bicycle infraction is like max 15 dollar fine but failure to identify yourself is like 50 dollars. I also know that actually getting a state ID when you have a Drivers License can be hard some places.

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    The laws requiring you to respond to an officer's inquiries are (1) state-based, either in statutes, ordinances, or case law, thus will vary from state to state (although federal constitutional rights provide a level of privacy protection that states cannot violate, they can provide greater state constitutional protections) and (2) generally based upon the officer first having a factual predicate for stopping and questioning you--"reasonable suspicion" or "probable cause." (A version of this requirement is in the Nevada statute upheld by the US Supreme Court; a law or ordinance that did not would run afoul of Terry v. Ohio.)

    In PA, the rules are different for motorists and pedestrians, and I don't know where cyclists fall along that spectrum.

  15. #15
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Regardless of the law, play ID games with a cop at your own risk. If you try to be cute, don't expect the cop to graciously back down. If the cop has reason you violated some law (does your bike have all the required reflectors? City registration? etc., etc.), he has the right to verify who you are. If he thinks you are playing games with the truth, you might get a trip to the local jail while he verifies who you are.

    Maybe the idea of carrying an ID other than a DL might cause a snafu that keeps a ticket off your DL record (I leave that question to others), but you should give the cop enough informaiton to verify who you are. Me, I'll give him my DL.

    Another one of my refrains on this forum is: Don't rely on anything you see from anonymous posters (including me) as "legal advice." We have varying degrees of expertise about bike stuff, but you can't assume we know the law. Heck, a month or so ago, I caught one poster flat-out lying about supposed research he had done into state bike laws. A little before that, a poster who said he was a lawyer quoted a California Bike statute, but left out key language that disproved his point.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't argue about what the law is or should be. But if you want legal advice you can act on, talk to a local lawyer. You will have to pay a fee, but you are much more likely to get an accurate answer.
    Last edited by Daily Commute; 12-14-04 at 06:22 AM.

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    Actually, I think in general you can lie like a dog to your local police without consequences for lieing assumming no swearing in ceremony...but if you lie to an FBI agent or US Marshall at any time...that is a felony...This is actually one of the problems with Martha Stewart's difficulties...I am not a lawyer but I, prior to MS would have talked to an federal agent without a problem...now I wouldn't discuss what time of day it is without a lawyer present...Of course, that didn't seem to do Martha any good either as she evidently had lousy lawyers...

  17. #17
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    There is a difference between a "legal" answer and a "practical" answer. Courts and legislatures define your legal rights. Very useful, if you are standing in a courtroom, in front of a judge.

    But, if you are standing in front of a police officer who is holding a club and a gun, remember that the officer does not know or care what a judge thinks. He is going to do his job HIS way. And, YOUR job is to make that officer happy. Or else.

    In my city, officers respond to a refusal to provide a name or an ID card by arresting you and putting you in jail. They know that you will NOT be released from jail until you provide a name or an ID card. So, your choice is to provide those things to the officer on the street, or go to jail. (The charge will be "disorderly conduct", or whatever the officer's imagination can create - if he smells alcohol on your breath, the charge will be "public intoxication".)

    As a PRACTICAL answer, not a legal answer, give the officer anything he wants, with a smile (draw the line at providing sex - some Houston police officers trade sexual favors for tearing up tickets - that is providing more than is necessary).

    Texas provides an "official" Texas ID card. Police accept it as "equal" to a drivers license for people who are not driving. Any adult riding a bike on a public road ought to have one to provide the police when stopped. (Which happens never, for a white male in a wealthy neighborhood, and daily, for a black male in a poor neighborhood).
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 12-14-04 at 06:25 AM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member vincenzosi's Avatar
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    What other legal ID would suffice for a police officer, other than a Driver's license? Passport? Military ID? EBT (Equiv. of Foodstamps in NYC) card? I mean, how many people realistically have these government issued ID's? I for one am not in the military and don't have a passport and am not on public assistance. What do I show them?

    I'll just keep showing my driver's license, though. If anything ever shows up on my driving record, you can bet your butt I'll be in court fighting it, seeing as you don't need a driver's license to ride a bike. Why should some 16 year old who can't drive yet be able to blow a light without getting a ticket but I get a ticket and points?

    Disclaimer: I stop at all red lights, most stop signs, etc., I was just making a point.
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  19. #19
    Compulsive Upgrader cyclingshane73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    Here's a related question for Canadians.

    If asked for ID to be issued a ticket while cycling, and you don't have any (it's not required to carry ID at all times), what motivation would you have to give your real name and address?

    Could the officer check to see if the given name and address is true? If the name doesn't check out with the address, what could the officer then do to you? Hold you pending ID?
    Here is the Highway Traffic Act Section in Ontario.

    Cyclist Must Identify

    Now there is a grey area there as with most law. Thats is, it is open to interpretation of those enforcing it, defending it, and yes even breaking it. You can verbally give the officer your name and address which is said is sufficient.

    However, if you tell the officer your name is Mike Kockisitchy at 6969 B.J. Lane, he'll probably haul your ass to the curb. It's your call. Last I checked though, officers have a wonderful tool called C.P.I.C. (Canadian Police Information Center) which they can use to look up pretty much anything on anyone they have in the database. If they don't happen to be in a cruiser, like, on a bike (shock!), they can call info into dispatch and the dispatcher can look up info for them. If you have a D.L. they will know. Secondly. If they find out you are lying, I'll bet your day is just going to get longer.

    Here is the traffic law pertaining to your question in B.C.

    B.C. I.D.

    So, if your found in contravention of the Traffic Act in B.C. you are required to identify yourself. Once again, if you feel like being Mike Auckslong that day then do so at your own risk.
    "No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs. We should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power." -P.J. O'Rourke

  20. #20
    Senior Member ajay677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    Here's a related question for Canadians.

    If asked for ID to be issued a ticket while cycling, and you don't have any (it's not required to carry ID at all times), what motivation would you have to give your real name and address?

    Could the officer check to see if the given name and address is true? If the name doesn't check out with the address, what could the officer then do to you? Hold you pending ID?

    Highway Traffic Act - Ontario

    218. (1) A police officer who finds any person contravening this Act or any municipal by-law regulating traffic while in charge of a bicycle may require that person to stop and to provide identification of himself or herself. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 218 (1).

    Idem

    (2) Every person who is required to stop, by a police officer acting under subsection (1), shall stop and identify himself or herself to the police officer. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 218 (2).

    Idem

    (3) For the purposes of this section, giving one’s correct name and address is sufficient identification. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 218 (3).

    Idem

    (4) A police officer may arrest without warrant any person who does not comply with subsection (2). R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 218 (4).

    So, if you fail to identify yourself, you may be arrested, without warrant. For the purpose of this act, telling the police your name and address is sufficient. You don't need to provide an ID card. If you are discovered to be furnishing police with a false ID, I believe the charge under the Criminal Code of Canada would be:

    Obstructing Justice

    139. (1) Every one who wilfully attempts in any manner to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice in a judicial proceeding,

    (a) by indemnifying or agreeing to indemnify a surety, in any way and either in whole or in part, or

    (b) where he is a surety, by accepting or agreeing to accept a fee or any form of indemnity whether in whole or in part from or in respect of a person who is released or is to be released from custody,

    is guilty of

    (c) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or

    (d) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    Idem


    (2) Every one who wilfully attempts in any manner other than a manner described in subsection (1) to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.

    Bear in mind that I am not a lawyer nor am I providing legal advice.

  21. #21
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    You can look up a DL in most states by last name date of birth, address, social security number, car tag number, last name first name, and any combination of above.

    "Anabaptist it would be a violation of your right to freedom of religion to even have a graven image made of you." In PA you can get a DL that shows no picture and reads "valid without photo". I had one of these when I was out of state attending school and could not come back to the state to get a photo taken. I told anyone who asked that I was a vampire and didn't show up in the photos, so they had to do something.

  22. #22
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclingshane73
    Last I checked though, officers have a wonderful tool called C.P.I.C. (Canadian Police Information Center) which they can use to look up pretty much anything on anyone they have in the database. If they don't happen to be in a cruiser, like, on a bike (shock!), they can call info into dispatch and the dispatcher can look up info for them. If you have a D.L. they will know. Secondly. If they find out you are lying, I'll bet your day is just going to get longer.
    Thanks, that's what I thought.

    I used to think if I was pulled over for some stupid thing that I may have done, that I would give someones name and address who I don't like very much so he would get the ticket. Then I thought, what if he had some outstanding warrents out on him? I could be far worse off.
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  23. #23
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I didn't realize I need to have my papers on me whenever I leave my house. I do understand I need to accurately give my name to the police if asked.

    Al

  24. #24
    Compulsive Upgrader cyclingshane73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    Thanks, that's what I thought.

    I used to think if I was pulled over for some stupid thing that I may have done, that I would give someones name and address who I don't like very much so he would get the ticket. Then I thought, what if he had some outstanding warrents out on him? I could be far worse off.
    Yeah, that would suck wouldn't it. I can see it now..."I did not, I mean, he did what!!! But Officer that really isn't my name! ...see I was only kidding! Here's my D.L. honest...Hey! Ow! That hurts dammit!..."
    "No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs. We should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power." -P.J. O'Rourke

  25. #25
    No pain, no gain. PainTrain's Avatar
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    I try to 'expect the unexpected'. I don't want to be in a scenario where I'm injured, unconscious, and have no ID or proof of insurance on me.

    I also wouldn't participate in a p1ssing contest with a cop. Whether they have the 'right' to demand your name or not, they can certainly wreck the next few hours of your life if they have a mind. Why risk it? I'm with Daily Commute on that one.

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