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Old 02-20-07, 06:52 PM   #1
foehn
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Advice please: Husband just got a ticket in Glendora, CA. . .

Husband was commuting to work on a route he does regularly, on a bike with a very good head and tail light. He was westbound on Foothill Blvd. coming out from the RR overpass. The officer listed the place as Route 66 (AKA Foothill Blvd.) and Compromise Lane. Husband says the officer followed him from the previous light east of the RR overpass and then under and out of overpass and then pulled him over. Husband says road was roughly repaired after being torn up plus the road was narrow along that section, so he had taken the right third of the right-hand lane.

On ticket, the officer wrote on the first line "21202 (a) V.C. NOT AT EDGE-", Circled "I" for infraction and on the next line wrote "OBSTRUCT TRAFFIC" and then on the next line after that wrote "(Attempted Warning)" The weather, according to the ticket was "Dawn, Clouds" and "Dry" was checked; time was listed as 6:17 (a.m.). Under traffic, officer checked heavy AND medium. Husband says traffic was light to medium and he was traveling about 28mph at that point; speed limit there is 45mph or more. Husband says he tried to politely explain why he was away from the right, but officer did not want to listen (husband's mistake, I know! )

I feel my husband should go and take pics of the pavement and road before, under and after the RR overpass and go to court. I think the ticket is pretty bogus and the officer was bored or irritated or something.

Opinions or advice on action to take? Any other CA vehicle code we should look at?

The CA Vehicle Code 21202(a) says the following (the highlights are mine):

"Operation on Roadway
"21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

"(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

"(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

"(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

"(4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

"(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway of a highway, which highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.
Amended Sec. 4, Ch. 674, Stats. 1996. Effective January 1, 1997."

Last edited by foehn; 02-20-07 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 02-20-07, 06:58 PM   #2
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What are the lane widths and is a shoulder present and if so what is its condition? If there is no shoulder (likely in an underpass) and the lane is less than ~12' wide, a cyclist generally has a right to the whole lane, and the officer doesn't know the law, IMO.
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Old 02-20-07, 07:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randya
What are the lane widths and is a shoulder present and if so what is its condition? If there is no shoulder (likely in an underpass) and the lane is less than ~12' wide, a cyclist generally has a right to the whole lane, and the officer doesn't know the law, IMO.
Husband said the road there narrows before, under and just after the overpass; it is not wide enough for a car and bicycle to travel safely side by side. I remember traveling through that underpass and it is narrow. I could not say that what width the lanes are but they do seem to be less than 12 feet wide, but I could be wrong.

Is there anything in the CA Vehicle Code that specifically says he can take the whole lane?
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Old 02-20-07, 07:20 PM   #4
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Get the pictures now, decide later.
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Old 02-20-07, 07:38 PM   #5
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Pictures + court date.
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Old 02-20-07, 07:49 PM   #6
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And what does Section 21656 have to say?
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Old 02-20-07, 08:02 PM   #7
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21656. On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow-moving vehicle, including a passenger vehicle, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout by signs erected by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway, or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following it to proceed. As used in this section a slow-moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place.

Amended Ch. 448, Stats. 1965. Effective September 17, 1965.

Doesn't look like it applies, unless 5 vehicles were waiting behind him.....
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Old 02-20-07, 08:21 PM   #8
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Do the homework (prepare to cite those codes, practice your presentation) and contest the ticket. If the judge is not an ass, you have a good chance to win.
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Old 02-20-07, 08:39 PM   #9
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As with most any ticket in pretty much any jurisdiction: Call the telephone number on the back and politely talk with the clerk about what their procedure is. Usually it's quicker, easier, and surer than pushing a trial.
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Old 02-20-07, 09:04 PM   #10
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Take pictures, give up time at work, pay for parking at the court house, hope you get a sympathetic judge, deal with the other assorted headaches... Sounds like fun!

How much is the fine you are looking to save? Is it worth the effort.

If you are fighting for social justice, even if you stick to cycling, there may be better things to take a stand on.

If you are looking for hard core advice, the Advocacy and Safety forum will be a good place to post this message... But be prepared for some serious ire and proclamations that nobody who ever considered law enforcement as a career has ever had anything but unfair destructive attitudes against cyclists.
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Old 02-20-07, 09:36 PM   #11
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bogus ticket, but you have to decide if the opportunity cost is higher than the ticket itself.
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Old 02-20-07, 09:50 PM   #12
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Go to court, plead "not guilty" with the judge and he'll give you a court date.

When you go to court for your trial, explain the situation. You'll be at the Citrus Court in West Covina, and they'll treat you just fine.
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Old 02-20-07, 10:13 PM   #13
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Yep, get the pictures of the poor pavement conditions and measure the lane if possible (espically if it's narrower). I say fight it...
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Old 02-21-07, 05:18 AM   #14
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(If the judge is not an ass) Where are you gonna find one that is not? Take a good bike att with you,let him do the talking,thats his JOB!
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Old 02-21-07, 06:18 AM   #15
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(If the judge is not an ass) Where are you gonna find one that is not? Take a good bike att with you,let him do the talking,thats his JOB!
I don't know what a good bike attorney will charge, but my divorce lawyer was $195 per hour. And count on at least 2 hours. One for preparation and one for the court appearance.

I just thought of an interesting alternative if social justice is the objective, and that is to pay the ticket, then work with the police chief or his designate to ensure that the department is trained properly on the rights of cyclists. In your work with the department, don't even mention that you got a ticket... Just express the issues a cyclist faces and positively express the need for safe roads for all vehicles, motorized or not.

If money is the issue, I estimate that the hidden costs would exceed the money saved by fighting the ticket, unless it impacts auto insurance rates, in which case things might change.
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Old 02-21-07, 06:31 AM   #16
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Most tickets I have gotten have the option of sending information directly to the district attorney for consideration. Most times I've walked away without so much as a fine.
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Old 02-21-07, 09:33 AM   #17
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The real problem is, if you don't successfully fight the ticket, the cop will continue to write tickets for the same 'infractions' forever. Your hubby will have to find another way to work, or quit riding altogether.
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Old 02-21-07, 11:11 AM   #18
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"When reasonably necessary" are key words and open to your/cops/judges interpretation(s).
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Old 02-21-07, 11:59 AM   #19
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an additional question: Will this go on my husband's driving record?

As my husband presented his driver's license to the officer, will this put points on his record and thus up our insurance?
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Old 02-21-07, 01:15 PM   #20
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This one sounds like you can fight it to me.

You want to request a trial by written declaration. Here is one site describing the process: http://www.ticketassassin.com/fight.html

Basically, you download the form here: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/ Select "traffic infractions" from the pull-down and download TR-205.

Take your pictures, fill out the form, attach additional pages, and submit it with the payment for bail, all by the due-date on the ticket. The officer will have a chance to fill out a similar form, and the judge will look over them both. If the officer doesn't fill out his form, you win, even if you wrote "I AIN'T GILTY" with an orange crayon. If he does fill out the form, you will still have a chance at winning. If you win, they refund your bail.

If you don't win, you then can request a SECOND TRIAL, this time in person.

The trial by writing has a few advantages over in person, because 1) it's more convenient for you and 2) the officer won't be compensated for filling out the form (they are compensated for appearing in court). It's a cheap and relatively easy way to shoot down the ticket. If you lose, you still have another shot.
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Old 02-21-07, 01:34 PM   #21
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This is a very good example of "bike prejudice" in action. For most people in Southern California, the space on roads is very congested and too valuable for slow moving vehicles-that means bikes, horses, wheelchairs, even walking or running and other such things-not what it says on any moter vehicle booklet. "Share The Road" is a ideal, not reality. Cars are valued, anything else implies that you are 1. too poor to afford a car, 2. illegal alien or some sort, 3. a health "nut" or bike "nut," 4. homeless or some other nonsense. I too live in one of the valleys. I simply learn to stay out of the way of law enforcement since they are for the middle class or better. Protection is not for one such as I. And stay away from fast streets such as Rosemead Bl. When you ride a bike in LA, you seem to give up your rights to anything humane.
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Old 02-21-07, 04:27 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by zeytoun
. . .

The trial by writing has a few advantages over in person, because 1) it's more convenient for you and 2) the officer won't be compensated for filling out the form (they are compensated for appearing in court). It's a cheap and relatively easy way to shoot down the ticket. If you lose, you still have another shot.
Great site, thanks. Have you personally done the Trial By Written Declaration? If you did, what were your results?

Thanks again,

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Old 02-21-07, 05:18 PM   #23
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I have not personally done a Trial by Written Declaration.
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Old 02-21-07, 05:48 PM   #24
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Fight it, Beat It, and then Frame that bogus ticket and hang it in your trophy room!
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Old 02-21-07, 06:50 PM   #25
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I'm sorry to hear this. I know exactly that stretch of road. I would definitely take this to court and fight it.
Perhaps this particular cop has this thing for cyclists. The big Montrose training ride passes through Glendora on Foothill Bl every Sat morning and I know cops in the past has had problems with such large number of cyclists on the road, mostly for stop sign violations.
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