I'll give you something that a Cop told me once that really bothered me. I got a ticket for parking in front of a hydrant, I had seen others do it for a long time and didn't see a problem doing it my self. I understand all the risks with parking there, such as in the event of a fire, they would break my windows to access the hydrant from the truck. Anyways, no one ever gets a ticket there and suddenly I get one. I call the officer who wrote me the ticket and this is where I got real annoyed, he informed me of something called "The Spirit of the Law", where an officer can use discretion on whether to write someone a ticket or not. Talk about ALL the ways that could be abused, sheesh! Anyways, talked to the officer for 10min or so and he took the ticket back. I've received two tickets in my life, both parking violations and I got out of both by talking directly to the officer.
I think that most county sheriffs are elected. Cyclist should work to throw out of office any police enity that wont ticket drivers that hit cyclist.
You're right, of course. But that is more difficult than complaining on the internet.
Falls City, OR
1993 Rocky Mountain Fusion
2012 Fargo 2
Police are, usually, on site arbitrators and enforcers...they aren't subject matter experts. The legal issues are handled afterwards. The cop's job is not to understand the law, it's to follow a process based on the law. Because their role is effectively on site arbitration, they are given a lot of latitude, and yes...many abuse it. It's a balancing act...like everything else. Civil rights vs. officer safety vs. societal safety. It's an extremely difficult job...and it's a job that doesn't normally attract the brightest, most talented people because it's dangerous and dirty. Would you want to deal with the crap they deal with? I wouldn't.
We have a police department that I consider to be completely incompetent...far below the standards of others I've seen...but it is a hard job. They are dealing with the lowest common denominator most of the time...and the people they are dealing with increasingly have no stake in the system. It's hard to police people with nothing to lose. Bottom line - I want my police force to protect me and to maintain order...that gets balanced with my desire for civil rights, which we have to maintain for criminals if we expect them ourselves. These are hard balancing acts.
Also, if you don't speed and violate other traffic laws, you won't get "money grab" tickets. I haven't gotten one in 14 years, since I was 18. The one I got then was for 37 in a 25 zone, and the cop was waiting 5 feet past the sign where the speed limit dropped from 35. At the time, I thought it was kind of a garbage ticket, but it also taught me that you need to slow down fully BEFORE the speed limit sign when it drops, or you can get a ticket. So I never got a ticket for that again. If I'd just dismissed it as a "cops are ********" ticket instead of also examining my own responsibility for getting it, I wouldn't have improved my driving.
As to the original question, I suspect laziness and bias on the part of police (though mostly just the laziness). They also have a tendency to think of all traffic violations as "minor" crimes, because they are exposed to so much worse stuff all the time and because most motorist-motorist collisions ARE minor as far as injuries and death. Most of the time, either no one is hurt or only property is damaged. So usually it's mostly a civil matter where insurance companies and lawyers work out responsibility, rather than cops. Arguably, motorist-cyclist and motorist-ped collisions caused by motorist negligence are more akin to a kind of violent crime, but the police don't think of them that way because that's not their usual experience. So it's hard to overcome that rigid thinking and inertia, especially in the absence of laws that treat these collisions more seriously (which I think should exist, given the greater potential for serious injury and death in "minor" "accidents").
Might I offer a little advice from one of my other communities? 1. If an officer asks if you know why he/she stopped you, do not answer. Remember that nothing you say can, or will, be used in your favor. This applies to both driving a car and riding your bike. 2. As a minimum, have a good, small digital recorder always on you. Preferably one with video. You can use your iPhone for this purpose and can download apps that will stream any audio/video to the internet. 3. If you witness an incident, and especially if you are lucky enough to record audio/video of it, be sure to give the offended party your contact information. Preferably do this after the police have left.
Understand that I am not a lawyer and that you also need to check the laws of your state before recording. Also understand that I do not engage in cop bashing as I know quite a few good, honest cops who hate the bad cops almost as much as the rest of us do.
Law enforcement officers operate under a system of review. Do use that avenue if you feel it necessary.
I have experienced the tragedy of being a motorist involved in a car/cyclist accident as well as being hit myself. Whether you are ticketed or not these things affect your insurance coverage/rates. It's not fun for anybody. It's a miserable affair.
This thread is not a proper A&S topic. It's a rant, a complaint by the OP and not a subject that is being properly resolved, which is what Advocacy & Safety should be about.
Complaining about it to elicit sympathy is not the purpose of the forum. Instead of asking why do cops do whatever you need to ask how can I make my concerns heard and addressed?
The answer is not starting a rant but addressing the authorities as required.
Smile at Miles with a ROLLFAST!Originally Posted by 10 Wheels