Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 07-07-11, 09:56 AM   #1
Phil_gretz
Bike Commuter in training
Thread Starter
 
Phil_gretz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Bikes: '88 Fuji Saratoga, '12 Jamis Sputnik, '13 Motobecane Fantom29 HT, '16 Motobecane Turino Pro Disc, '16 Motobecane Gran Premio Elite
Posts: 3,775
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Should I Fight A Traffic Citation?

First off, I was "in the wrong" on this, so I'm not looking for sympathy...

Scenario:
1) I've crossed this intersection hundreds of times.
2) Approaching intersection at a major highway crossing controlled by a traffic signal. Left turn lanes in my direction and opposing. The crossing highway has a RED light and is stopped. The opposing side goes first, with both its left and its straight drivers going simultaneously.
3) I reach the intersection on the edge of the right-hand "straight" direction lane, to cross. I roll to a stop, but remain upright (not unclipped), and do a semi trackstand waiting for our turn, which (by my experience) is about three seconds away.
4) The opposing side clears, meaning NO CARS in sight coming from the opposing direction. The crossing highway cars are stopped fully. Our green light is now about two seconds away.

You can see this coming...

5) I enter the intersection while our light is still red, and begin to cross. A motorcycle police officer swings out from the crossing shoulder (my left periphery) with his siren on as I get midway into the intersection. The light is now green in our direction (the delay might have been two seconds, but more likely 1 - 1 1/2 seconds before changing).

6) The officer, a sargeant, would not offer to warn me, but insisted that he wouldcsite me for "disregarding a traffic signal". Fair enough.

So, my only defense in court would be whether the officer acted "reasonably" in citing me. I don't mind the fine or the impact to my VA driver's license. I just have the feeling that he didn't need to go to this extreme to make his point.

Again, I'm in the wrong here. Flame away, and thanks in advance.

Phil
Phil_gretz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 10:10 AM   #2
Brew1
Senior Member
 
Brew1's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: SE Wisconsin
Bikes: Lynskey Helix, Wilier Izorad XP, Specialized M2 and a Trek 8500
Posts: 202
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Don't ask me, I have a bad feeling these days about police being over zealous in giving out citations. Also I went to court once to fight a ticket and the #@*$& judge would rather listen to himself then let me state my case.
Brew1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 10:12 AM   #3
rck
Senior Member
 
rck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: monroe (sw) wi
Bikes: cannondale 400st, dean el diente, specialized hybrid
Posts: 1,284
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You have no defense and I, personally, wouldn't waste my time fighting the degree of punishment.
rck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 10:30 AM   #4
Doohickie 
You gonna eat that?
 
Doohickie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Fort Worth, Texas Church of Hopeful Uncertainty
Bikes: 1966 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist, 1973 Schwinn Varsity, 1983 Raleigh Marathon, 1994 Nishiki Sport XRS
Posts: 14,320
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
When I lived in Michigan, some communities were more interested in the money than anything else. So when I got a ticket, I went to court to argue it. There is a plea called "Guilty with an explanation" and every single person in two hours of argued tickets who pleaded that way had the ticket thrown out, but the fine paid as "court fees." So no license points, but the wallet is still just as light. One person didn't pick up on the trend and pleaded Not Guilty. She was found guilty, paid the fine and got the points. (I got off entirely; I knew a cop in that jurisdiction.)

My point is that if you choose to argue it and want to represent yourself, you may want to prepare whatever argument you can in your favor, but show up to court early and see what works and what doesn't before your turn.
__________________
I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
Doohickie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 10:41 AM   #5
BluesDawg
just keep riding
 
BluesDawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Milledgeville, Georgia
Bikes: 2015 Specialized AWOL Comp frameset (custom build), 2015 Zukas custom road, 2014 Specialized Crave Pro 29, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB, 1980ish Fuji S-12S
Posts: 13,213
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
No. You say you are guilty. The cop was being very strict, but you did violate the law. That doesn't make you a bad person, but you did it, you got caught and you got a ticket. I would pay it.

Last edited by BluesDawg; 07-07-11 at 10:45 AM.
BluesDawg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 10:41 AM   #6
Nightshade
Humvee of bikes =Worksman
 
Nightshade's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 5,363
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
First off, I was "in the wrong" on this, so I'm not looking for sympathy...
Three things here....
One, you admit your guilt. (Kind of a key point don'tcha think?)
Two, a bicycle is a 'vehicle' in all 50 states so it is the same as any other "vehicle" that operates on public roads.
Three, the cop did his job plain and simple.

So man up..... pay the fine and take the hit.
__________________
My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
Nightshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 10:46 AM   #7
Indyv8a
Senior Member
 
Indyv8a's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Reisterstown Maryland
Bikes: Austro-Daimler Olympian Trek 800, Giant OCR C3
Posts: 427
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
What are the benefits of fighting the ticket? As Doo said, you can sometimes get out of the points. My wife got a speeding ticket last year, went to court and just paid court costs. Fine and points waived. Is going to court worth the time and effort? will the points on your license cause you additional cost elsewhere? I'd consider fighting it, but I would need to know the possible benefits and costs.
Indyv8a is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 10:49 AM   #8
teachme
Senior Member
 
teachme's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Nederland, Texas
Bikes: 2011 Specialized Sectuer, 1988 Bianchi
Posts: 1,441
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Police are sworn to keep us safe from others and ourselves... Venturing into an intersection while your light is red is a dangerous habit. Next time search for the officer before going through a red light. Take time to analyze the situation thoroughly.
teachme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 11:00 AM   #9
NOS88
Senior Member
 
NOS88's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Bikes:
Posts: 6,490
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
No, the courts (even traffic courts) are clogged enough now, and you are, by admission, guilty of the infraction. Frankly, I might have thanked the officer for actually treating me like I belong on the road.
__________________
A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831
NOS88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 11:18 AM   #10
ItsJustAHill
Senior Member
 
ItsJustAHill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: NorCal
Bikes:
Posts: 188
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The job of a motor officer is to enforce traffic laws. He did that. If you want to take it to court, it's going to be a very short trial. If your record is clean, you may be offered a reduced fine in exchange for your attending traffic school.
ItsJustAHill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 12:07 PM   #11
bigbadwullf
Senior Member
 
bigbadwullf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: West, Tn.
Bikes:
Posts: 1,763
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
What's the worst that can happen? The fine stay the same?

I'd go just to see if the judge will back the fine off. Might want to say that being on a bike you need extra time to cross and sometimes there isn't enough time and you just anticipated the light a little too soon. Don't try to bull **** and admit your guilt but make it sound good.

I got caught fishing without a license(thought I had one). Got a ticket and the judge threw it out because I went and bought one before I came to court. Maybe the judge rides. Never know. I'm telling you, after living in Maryland most of my life and then moving to the South, the stereotypes about southern cops and judges is completely backwards. Nicest people your ever want to meet. Maryland not so much.

Last edited by bigbadwullf; 07-07-11 at 12:17 PM.
bigbadwullf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 12:11 PM   #12
Phil_gretz
Bike Commuter in training
Thread Starter
 
Phil_gretz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Bikes: '88 Fuji Saratoga, '12 Jamis Sputnik, '13 Motobecane Fantom29 HT, '16 Motobecane Turino Pro Disc, '16 Motobecane Gran Premio Elite
Posts: 3,775
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Great Point

Quote:
Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
No, the courts (even traffic courts) are clogged enough now, and you are, by admission, guilty of the infraction. Frankly, I might have thanked the officer for actually treating me like I belong on the road.
My father, now deceased, was a Marine in WWII and a judge by profession. He taught us to respect authority unquestioningly. I did, in fact, thank that officer for doing his job. I told him that I needed reminders to maintain the highest level of safety. He appreciated my saying so.

My wife is the "queen of the fine print" and can fight anything successfully. She insists that I should fight and is prepared to roll out any number of curious explanations and strategies to get the ticket thrown out. I'm more reluctant to blatantly ignore my guilt and plead for some technicality or nuance. That's why I asked the members of this forum. You guys are loaded with common sense and life experiences. Thanks. Phil
Phil_gretz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 12:27 PM   #13
Dan The Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 1,215
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I doubt you can beat it. This is why I always do a back check for police cars whenever going through an empty intersection. Also watch out for cars without hubcaps, they are often unmarked cruisers. Once I was about to run through a light in exactly your situation when I noticed a cruiser stopped at the intersection. I slammed the brakes hard and kind of straddle-walked backwards to the line. No ticket but I must have looked pretty dumb.
Dan The Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 12:30 PM   #14
PaulH
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Washington, DC
Bikes:
Posts: 3,307
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
He sounds like he acted perfectly reasonably. His "extreme" enforcement helps keep me and other cyclists from being t-boned by folks running red lights. I favor things that enhance my safety.

As mentioned, entering an intersection on the red is a bad habit. The opposing lane still had a green. No cars in sight, but are you sure there were no bikes? The yellow phases in Northern Virginia are very short. For example, in an uphill intersection, one can easily enter on the green and have the yellow phase end before exiting.

Human perception, including my own, is one of the things I trust least, so I want procedurization for an extra safety layer.

Paul
PaulH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 12:40 PM   #15
duceditor
Oldie but Newbie
 
duceditor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: The Monadnock Region, New Hampshire
Bikes: 1969 Raleigh Sprite
Posts: 112
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Boy, can one tell this is a Fifty Plus forum! Respect the law? Take your punishment as a man? When and where am I, in the fifties in a small town in America?

Personally I hate seeing the way that the police in many areas have come to be viewed as the "enemy." That, in my eyes, is as much from the way they are used by politicians as revenue enhancers as anything in the culture. But for all that it is a joy to read the mature comments here!

-don
duceditor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 12:48 PM   #16
bigbadwullf
Senior Member
 
bigbadwullf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: West, Tn.
Bikes:
Posts: 1,763
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Very well-put.

Put this in the road bike forum and see what happens(just for grins : )
bigbadwullf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 01:07 PM   #17
Phil_gretz
Bike Commuter in training
Thread Starter
 
Phil_gretz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Bikes: '88 Fuji Saratoga, '12 Jamis Sputnik, '13 Motobecane Fantom29 HT, '16 Motobecane Turino Pro Disc, '16 Motobecane Gran Premio Elite
Posts: 3,775
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbadwullf View Post
Very well-put.

Put this in the road bike forum and see what happens(just for grins : )
I don't seek advice in the road bikes forum. Too much testosterone for me. PG
Phil_gretz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 01:08 PM   #18
Brew1
Senior Member
 
Brew1's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: SE Wisconsin
Bikes: Lynskey Helix, Wilier Izorad XP, Specialized M2 and a Trek 8500
Posts: 202
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, my father (RIP) was a police officer for the City of Milwaukee for 32 years and I know he wouldn't have pulled over the OP. There is a thing such as common sense that seems to be missing these days and they are allowed to use discretion. Every one of use (including the police when off duty, some when on duty) probably violate a number traffic laws and regulations every day. Now if it was a cage endangering someone else that's a different story but a bicyclist maybe or maybe not endangering themselves, I think my Father would have let it slide and at worst offer a warning.

I was pulled over a month ago on the Interstate and I was wondering to myself "WTF did I do wrong"? I was going 67mph (in a 65) in the right lane and people are passing me going at least 75 mph so why was I pulled over? She didn't like my front window tint and the fact that I didn't have a front license plate displayed (because I changed the front grille after a sheet of ice flew off of a semi and smashed it). So I had to remove the tint and change the grille back to stock so I could display the plate. Then she starts asking me questions about the truck like "so what kind of gas mileage do you get with this thing and it sure is big". So either she didn't like pickups and people who drive them or she was a Chevy girl out to get F150's, I don't know.
Brew1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 01:12 PM   #19
daveF
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 738
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
First off, I was "in the wrong" on this, so I'm not looking for sympathy...

So, my only defense in court would be whether the officer acted "reasonably" in citing me. I don't mind the fine or the impact to my VA driver's license. I just have the feeling that he didn't need to go to this extreme to make his point.

Again, I'm in the wrong here. Flame away, and thanks in advance.

Phil
I am a former police officer (and no, I'm not going to do any flaming) & I don't see how "acting reasonably" or not enters into whether or not a judge will find you guilty. It is a more black & white interpretation of state statutes than that. At least in my experience.

Asking for no points may work but that wasn't your concern anyways. Also, showing up to contest it with the hope that the officer fails to show can sometimes work!
daveF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 01:49 PM   #20
bigbadwullf
Senior Member
 
bigbadwullf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: West, Tn.
Bikes:
Posts: 1,763
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Had a case one time where an insurance company was going to drop me for a wreck in a winter storm that I avoided about 15 cars and saw a dump truck behind me looking like it wouldn't stop. I worked my way thru all the cars, missing all of them, only to get sucked into an off camber shoulder and bounced off the guard rail. Basically I save the insurance company thousands of dollars and they still wanted to drop me. I showed up at the hearing and they did not and the mediator sided with me(of course). I then dropped them and never did business with them again in the 20+ years since. Insurance companies sometimes are their own worst enemy.
So, showing up may have it's rewards.
bigbadwullf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 02:12 PM   #21
bruce19
Senior Member
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Bikes: MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel
Posts: 4,399
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Just my opinion but you should always go to court. Do whatever you can to clog the system. Plus I've either beaten or gotten lesser fines when I've gone. Never on a pedal bike though.
bruce19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 02:13 PM   #22
Looigi
Senior Member
 
Looigi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 8,942
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I always go to court on traffic tickets, and always get a reduction in points/fine etc. Most recent; the officer cited me for 84 in a 65 and weaving through traffic. I explained to the judge I wasn't weaving through traffic but maneuvering to get over to exit just ahead. When he asked me where I was going in such a hurry I said Dunkin Donuts. Naturally, the citing police officer who was in attendance was sympathetic, and he agreed when the judge asked him if he should let me off, which he did. No fine, no points....

On another occasion, I had hit an intersection just as the light turned red. When I went to court I figured I'd be sitting there a long time so took some job related paperwork with me to do while waiting. It was a stack of papers in manila file folders. When I was called in, I had the stack of folders with me and set it on the table. The prosecutor saw the stack of papers and said, "I see you've been doing your homework on this," obviously assuming that the folders were copies of case histories or something. He said, "I'll tell you what, I'll cut it down to failure to signal a turn," which he did. That's 1 point instead of 4. I don't remember how much lesser the fine was, but it was substantial.
Looigi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 02:44 PM   #23
sauerwald
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: San Jose, CA
Bikes: Bianchi San Remo - set up as a utility bike, Peter Mooney Road bike, Peter Mooney commute bike,Dahon Folder,Schwinn Paramount Tandem
Posts: 1,838
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My brother in law was a cop for many years, and told a story about one of the first tickets that he wrote:

He worked graveyard shift, and it was very early morning, with virtually no traffic. He is watching an intersection and sees a car roll up to a red light, stop, there was no other traffic, so he then went through the red signal. He stopped the motorist, and issued a ticket for ignoring the signal. The motorist went to court and argued two things - One - that he had not ignored the signal, he came to a complete stop, looked for other traffic and when he saw that it was safe, went through the intersection. He then also made the argument that nothing that he had done had endangered either himself, or anybody else. The judge let him off much to the disgust of my BIL.

I am sympathetic with the OP since I often enter intersections on my commute in anticipation of the green, however whenever I do so, I look very carefully to make sure that nobody is going to jump and catch me - I can't believe that I would have missed a cop at the intersection. To me, the fact that the OP did not see the officer until he put his lights on, is an indication that he had not exercised due caution prior to entering the intersection.
sauerwald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 04:11 PM   #24
Phil85207
Century bound
 
Phil85207's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Mesa Arizona
Bikes: Felt AR4 and Cannondale hybrid
Posts: 2,253
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Go to court, what have you to lose? With towns and cities needing money it's iffy if you can get the fine reduced but, go for it.
Phil85207 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-11, 04:22 PM   #25
trackhub
Senior Member
 
trackhub's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Watching all of you on O.B.I.T.
Bikes: Gunnar Street Dog
Posts: 2,039
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Not sure what to suggest, but my "gut instinct" would be that a judge would let it stand.
In your state, do citations received when cycling go on your driving record?
trackhub is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:45 AM.