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  1. #1
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    2 Moving Violations on Bike with 1 Stop

    Ouch!

    Got em on the way home from
    a nice 30 miler around dusk.

    I ran through a red left hand turn lane
    since no one was coming in either of
    3 other directions and the light has
    not functioned properly on 3 other occasions.

    The Female Cop didn't see that but I admitted
    to it unwittingly when stopped.

    What I got stopped for was running a stop sign
    where no human being or vehicle was in sight.

    The woman cop called for a backup when I got
    off my bike and she threw the book at me.
    I think I must have been my IMPEACH GEORGE
    BUSH bumper sticker on the rear basket on my bent.

    She claimed that both violations were the same
    as a moving violation in a CAR. If so, I am in
    for a lot of pain. That, and now I will be a whimp
    and probably stop for every f'n stop sign for the
    rest of my f'n life!

    Mumble Mumble,... Grumble Grumble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    :O)
    Ned Goudy, Glendora, CA USA
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  2. #2
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    First, get back out there at a time with very light traffic and determine definitively whether or not you can trip the left turn signal. If you genuinely are unable to trigger the signal, consider appearing in traffic court and noting this fact. (Of course, if you can trigger the light consistently, you'll have to find a different defense.) As for blowing through the stop sign, throw yourself at the mercy of the court, hoping that the judge realizes that a fine appropriate for a motor vehicle is generally excessive for a bicycle (this worked years ago for a friend in west Los Angeles). You can also hope that the officer decides it's not worth her time to show up in court that day.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  3. #3
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Ned,

    Good luck on your legal battles... Traffic school may be effective in dealing with one of the tickets if you haven't done that in the past 2 years, or whatever the time frame is... While it is true that you will give up a few hours of your time, in exhange you could ensure that a room full of people understand the right for a bicyclist to be on the road.

    Quote Originally Posted by nedgoudy
    That, and now I will be a whimp
    and probably stop for every f'n stop sign for the
    rest of my f'n life!
    Personally, I think a person is less of a wimp if they stop... It proves that they are willing to give up their valuable momentum in order to do the right thing.

    Good luck on dealing with this.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. #4
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    One more point. I am not a lawyer (nor even been in court), but for the ticket related to the red light, you should be able to argue that the officer never saw it, and therefore the ticket is invalid. If the officer lies and you have no evidence otherwise, you will probably lose, but it is probably worth a try.

    Simplified...

    Judge: "How do you plead on the charge of running a red light?"

    Ned: "Not guilty."

    Judge: "What is your defense?"

    Ned: "Your honor, the officer didn't see me roll through the light."

    Judge: "Did you roll through the light?"

    Ned: "I plead the fifth."

    Judge: "Charge dismissed. How do you plead on the next charge?"

    If the officer lies, be prepared to see if the judge will ask her to describe in detail what she saw (lane position, hand signals etc)

    If she claims you signalled, then (if true) point out that if you had run the light because there was no traffic you would not have signalled, and if she says you didn't ask why she didn't write a ticket for that offense.

    I wouldn't go so far as to lie to get out of a ticket, but I would think that you have the right to not pay a ticket based only on what you said to the officer... Unless the charge is based on the fact you threatened the officer or something.

    Personally I think this is a better defense than the argument that the light doesn't change sometimes... I think a judge could logically take the stance that the light would still have to be treated as a blinking red... a full stop, then proceeding when safe... just like a car.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  5. #5
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    First of all, I would never advocate not stopping at a red light - traffic or no - if we want to gain respect as legitimate users of the road, then we must obey all laws. If the signal is not tripped by a bicycle, treating the light as a stop sign is legitimate and legal. I CMA on this by sending in post cards to the department of transportation regularly on all the signals on my commute route that are not triggered by a bike. I know which ones they are (there are 3), and I treat them as stop signs.

    I have a brother in law who was a cop. He used to work graveyard shift and he was sitting, enjoying his doughnut and coffee when he saw a car roll up to a red light, stop, then roll through the intersection against the red. He issued a ticket to the lawyer driving the car. He ended up in court defending his ticket - and when on the stand this was the exchange:

    Lawyer: "Did you observe my actions as I approached, entered and exited the intersection?"
    Officer: "Yes"
    Lawyer: "Did the manner in which I was driving my vehicle at any time present a danger to myself or any other individual?"
    Officer: "No"
    Judge:"Dismissed"

  6. #6
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sauerwald
    First of all, I would never advocate not stopping at a red light - traffic or no - if we want to gain respect as legitimate users of the road, then we must obey all laws.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by sauerwald
    If the signal is not tripped by a bicycle, treating the light as a stop sign is legitimate and legal. I CMA on this by sending in post cards to the department of transportation regularly on all the signals on my commute route that are not triggered by a bike. I know which ones they are (there are 3), and I treat them as stop signs. ...
    Mark, you'll be happy to know that the City of Carlsbad has been very responsive (so to speak) to my emailed complaints of insensitive traffic signal detectors. I am now able to trigger every through or left turn signal I encounter on my daily 15-mile /25-km round-trip commute. I am batting a bit over .500 in Encinitas, but we are at least making steady progress.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
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  7. #7
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Tough break. I tend to agree with the other posts. I try very hard to cycle following the same rules I would if in an auto. Hence, stop signs and traffic lights get my full respect. For those times when I can't trip a traffic light sensor, I still stop, look for a button that can be pushed to change the lights. If there is no button, I look both ways and then proceed. My belief, correct or not, is that if I want to be treated as a legitimate vehicle operator on the roads, then I need to act like one. Hence, I don't ride up along cars waiting at a traffic light; I wait in line like everyone else. I use hand signals.... I'm probably a real ****** when it comes to these things, but I'm sticking with it.

    I suspect that the running a red light is one you can beat if the officer didn't see you do it, but the stop sign violation you're probably stuck with.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
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  8. #8
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    Speaking as a police officer (who has never written a ticket to a cyclist, BTW), I would say that there seems to be a general ignorance of traffic laws on the part of cyclists, or as well an attitude that as a cyclist they can freely disregard laws they find inconvenient.
    Truth to tell, traffic enforcement directed at cyclists is rare, as they are involved in very few accidents proportionately, and when they are they are frequently the only casualty.

    Still, in most states cyclists are subject to the same laws that are any other vehicle operator, and it's the opinion of various safety "authorities" that cyclists do best in traffic when they act like other vehicles. Gaining respect, as it were.
    Also, it's well to bear in mind that though enforcement is rare, your insurance company will certainly perk up if they find that your accident was the result of illegal behavior on your part.

    For myself, I think that cyclists riding in traffic should make an effort to obey the law. What does it cost?

  9. #9
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikewer
    Speaking as a police officer (who has never written a ticket to a cyclist, BTW), I would say that there seems to be a general ignorance of traffic laws on the part of cyclists, or as well an attitude that as a cyclist they can freely disregard laws they find inconvenient.
    Truth to tell, traffic enforcement directed at cyclists is rare, as they are involved in very few accidents proportionately, and when they are they are frequently the only casualty.

    Still, in most states cyclists are subject to the same laws that are any other vehicle operator, and it's the opinion of various safety "authorities" that cyclists do best in traffic when they act like other vehicles. Gaining respect, as it were.
    Also, it's well to bear in mind that though enforcement is rare, your insurance company will certainly perk up if they find that your accident was the result of illegal behavior on your part.

    For myself, I think that cyclists riding in traffic should make an effort to obey the law. What does it cost?
    +1 to this AND (just to reinforce my being a ******) I'd say that if police officers pulled cyclist over and issued citations for violations more often, it would get safer on the roads than it is now. In my 20s while attending a L.A.W. GEAR 80 rally, I remember one of the speakers saying that the thing that keeps you safest on a bike is being predictable. Hence, if we act like the rest of traffic (although moving slower) we become more predictable.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
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  10. #10
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikewer

    For myself, I think that cyclists riding in traffic should make an effort to obey the law. What does it cost?
    I agree. I try to remember that kids may be watching. I don't want to model bad behaviour.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  11. #11
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedgoudy
    Mumble Mumble,... Grumble Grumble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ned,

    This is the wrong list to Mumble and Grumble about not following the straight and narrow of approved cycling technique.

  12. #12
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    First, sorry about that mishap, it's been an ongoing bad fantasy of mine.

    So can I hijack this thread in a slightly different direction?

    After I blow through a stop sign (I always slow down and look both ways, I rarely stop) I often have this recurring fantasy: I'm pulled over by a cop for a possible ticket.

    Fantasy 1: Cop: Where's your ID? Me: I'm not carrying any (True) Cop: Then we must presume your bike is stolen. Result: Bike is impounded, I somehow get home on my cleats and attempt to dredge up proof that the bike is really mine, meanwhile awful things happen to the bike in impound.

    Fantasy 2: Cop: Where's your ID? Me: I'm not carrying any. (But: I really am!). Cop: We're taking you in for transporting stolen property. Result: They search me, find the ID, and also add a charge of lying to the cop.

    I realize this is an overactive imagination after tiring on a long ride, but it is a recurring fantasy. Has anything like this ever happened to anyone? Anyone know what our legal rights/requirements are as to carrying ID -- and disclosing ID -- when on a bike? (I seem to remember a homeless person busted for walking around a wealthy neighborhood without ID successfully argued his case up to the Supreme Court).

  13. #13
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    I fantasize that the cop is a woman and she has handcuffs....

    Oh wait, wrong forum.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  14. #14
    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88
    +1 to this AND (just to reinforce my being a ******) I'd say that if police officers pulled cyclist over and issued citations for violations more often, it would get safer on the roads than it is now. In my 20s while attending a L.A.W. GEAR 80 rally, I remember one of the speakers saying that the thing that keeps you safest on a bike is being predictable. Hence, if we act like the rest of traffic (although moving slower) we become more predictable.
    That speaker's point was a good one thirty years ago, but to act like the rest of traffic today you will be rollimg through stop signs and running red lights. It is a rarety when I see a vehicle come to a complete stop at a stop sign unless they have to wait there turn. Then look at the number of cars that go through an intersection after a light has changed from yellow to red.


    To the OP I am sorry you got caught, but laws are laws. I do like the defense about the bicycle not being able to trip the light sensor.
    Born Again Bicyclist! I found my Faith.

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  15. #15
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    Ned,

    If you don't to appear in court try filing a contest by affidavit. Spend some time crafting a letter to the court explaining that your bike will not set off the signal and that you took care in looking both ways prior to movement. I have done this a couple of times in CA and actually got off of a couple of questionable motor vehicle tickets. Taking time off to sit in court for a day is not pleasant.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackberry
    I fantasize that the cop is a woman and she has handcuffs....Oh wait, wrong forum.
    Don't be so quick to judge...we're open minded in here!!!

    Oh, and by the way...

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...6/wloren06.xml
    Last edited by Big Paulie; 07-11-06 at 01:26 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    Mark, you'll be happy to know that the City of Carlsbad has been very responsive (so to speak) to my emailed complaints of insensitive traffic signal detectors. I am now able to trigger every through or left turn signal I encounter on my daily 15-mile /25-km round-trip commute. I am batting a bit over .500 in Encinitas, but we are at least making steady progress.
    John

    I have a 15 mile (each way) commute, which takes me across two towns and the city of Portland - the two towns (Cumberland and Falmouth) are both pretty good, although there are a total of only 2 lights in those first 10 miles - the last 5 miles of my commute, through the city of Portland is a different story - the roads are in poor repair, the signals unresponsive, there are manhole covers which are not properly seated etc. There is a program here in Maine ( http://www.maine.gov/mdot/opt/spot-me.php ) where we can notify the state department of transportation of issues, and in theory they address them - the reality is that they are sometimes addressed, sometimes ignored.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackberry
    I agree. I try to remember that kids may be watching. I don't want to model bad behaviour.
    A few months ago there was posting on another forum from a guy who rode through an empty intersection on a red light. However, he didn't see a group of school children waiting on the other side of the street. As soon as he rode through, they ran across the street without looking, assuming that the light had changed.

    With no traffic it was OK, but it shows how traffic safety is a really complex thing...

  19. #19
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Contact an expert in traffic violations, preferably bicycle traffic violations, and in your state at that. Check the specific violation code on the citation. If it is for a motor vehicle violation and there is a specific code for the same act committed by/on a bicycle you are home free. I had a friend nailed for doing 37 in a 25 MPH school zone. He got off when he showed the judge that he was not guilty of what he was cited for. This was in California.
    This space open

  20. #20
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedgoudy
    I think it must have been my IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH bumper sticker on the rear basket on my bent.
    You are bold guy. I always figured that having a sticker like that on my bike was just asking to get tiddly-winked off the tarmac by some redneck. I have to agree with the sentiment though.

  21. #21
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sauerwald

    Lawyer: "Did you observe my actions as I approached, entered and exited the intersection?"
    Officer: "Yes"
    Lawyer: "Did the manner in which I was driving my vehicle at any time present a danger to myself or any other individual?"
    Officer: "No"
    Judge:"Dismissed"
    Now this is gooooooood.
    Carpe who?

  22. #22
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikewer
    Speaking as a police officer (who has never written a ticket to a cyclist, BTW), I would say that there seems to be a general ignorance of traffic laws on the part of cyclists, or as well an attitude that as a cyclist they can freely disregard laws they find inconvenient.
    Truth to tell, traffic enforcement directed at cyclists is rare, as they are involved in very few accidents proportionately, and when they are they are frequently the only casualty.

    Still, in most states cyclists are subject to the same laws that are any other vehicle operator, and it's the opinion of various safety "authorities" that cyclists do best in traffic when they act like other vehicles. Gaining respect, as it were.
    Also, it's well to bear in mind that though enforcement is rare, your insurance company will certainly perk up if they find that your accident was the result of illegal behavior on your part.

    For myself, I think that cyclists riding in traffic should make an effort to obey the law. What does it cost?
    Question. What if you don't have, or have with you, a driver's license? I don't carry mine for that very reason. I do, however, carry other I.D. in case of accident.

  23. #23
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    Thanks to all for some very good ideas.
    I like to think of myself as a law abiding
    guy and it hurt me that this woman
    wrote me up for two violations. I am
    gonna study the specific citations
    however and ask the court if I can
    get NO POINTs on either violation
    by taking it to traffic school. If I can't
    then I will go to court and throw myself
    on the mercy of the court, noting the
    failure to RELIABLY trip the street sensor,
    And a couple of other technicalities I have
    thought through.

    Worst case scenario: I go to court and
    am found guilty on both. But I am
    planning to propose to the judge
    essentially a consent decree, whereby
    I assume some penalties and fines in
    exchange for not getting any points
    against my drivers license and promising
    to never do it again.

    I will keep you all posted...
    Ned Goudy, Glendora, CA USA
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  24. #24
    Banned. Scarface Diego's Avatar
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    Now cho lissen to mee, Ned! First thing choo doo, you tell that effing judge to go ef hisself! Then you pull out your Mac 9 and start shooting! No way they gonna ef wit yoo, NO EFFING WAY!!! And dat laidee cop dat busted choo? Chee's a *****. A effin' *****! Cho take it from me, Ned. Choo handle this thing da right way, and choo no got any more troubles out on your bike, ever!

  25. #25
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hammer Boy
    Question. What if you don't have, or have with you, a driver's license? I don't carry mine for that very reason. I do, however, carry other I.D. in case of accident.
    You are responsible for correctly identifying yourself; verbally if not through ID. The officer can get driver's license information easy as pie by enering your name and address into the computer in his car, or if not so equipped, can get the DL info by asking the radio dispatcher to get it. Although you won't get penalized for not carrying it while bicycling, you won't fool anybody.

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