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  1. #1
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    Paid my bicycle traffic ticket

    Well folks. I paid my first bicycle traffic ticket for cutting a red light in New York City. Here’s what happened.

    I got to the violations bureau early in the hopes of seeing other cases so I would be able to defend myself. I checked the “board” to see what time my hearing was scheduled and was quickly approached by some young girl in tight pants and high heals. She started talking to me really sweetly and coming onto me like I was her boyfriend. Seriously. I though this was my lucky day! Get this folks. The girl then asks to look at my ticket and tells me she has a lawyer who would represent me for $120.00 dollars.

    I’m now starting to get a stinking feeling what this is all about. Needless to say, I give her the money and she takes me to a room where I meet this “lawyer” and he assures me he can get the ticket off and I don’t even need to be there! Furthermore, I’m told “don’t say a word and he would do all the talking”.

    Well I decided to stick around and see the action. Believe it or not, I was the one ticked who bothered to stay around. Once you paid these “lawyers” you could just walk out and go home! In the end, I was really saddened and depressed at how our traffic violations bureau system works. The system is NOT about justice and fairness, as people would think. There were people in the waiting room with 15 points but were still able to drive as the lawyers knew whom the “right” judges were to keep them from getting their licenses suspended. Others were being told by these “lawyers” NOT to pay the ticket and ask for a extension to get a better judge who would let them slide! Most of the people in the waiting room looked like they were down to their last dollar while paying these “lawyers” were walking around with a wallet full of tens and twenties making money off other peoples misery. It was like I was walking into a drug den but it was the lawyers who were walking around with and waving the cash. In fact, when I asked this lawyer if I could pay him by credit card, his assistant (hot looking girl) rubbed up against me and said “We would really prefer cash”. That just goes to show you how sleazy the whole thing is folks. I can go on an on but it’s really a travesty.

    Look. I was guilty. I would have paid the fine and pleaded guilty. But the traffic fines in New York City are ridiculously high and they are designed this way to extract as much money from the motorists as possible. It’s not about fairness at all. I forgot the exact amount but collections from traffic violations are in the city of New York is the hundreds of millions and used pay for police and firemen. As a result, the cyclist gets caught up in this whole scam and the only way out is pay one of these lawyers. The fine would have been $130.00 dollars, which includes court costs, three points on my license, and a surcharge of $30.00. That surcharge needs to be paid for four years and my insurance company would have been notified of the infraction that would mean a higher premium the following year. Overall, I estimate that traffic ticket would have cost me over $1,000.00 dollars between the fine, surcharge and higher insurance.

    During the court proceedings, the judge who was in shorts and a wacky tie was laughing at the police as they presented their cases. The lawyers and court assistants were also laughing to the extent at how the patrol officers had to go to get a conviction. It was insane.

    My case never went that far as my patrol officer simply met with my lawyer outside the court room and walked away. The whole thing was dismissed in ten seconds.

    I don’t know if I should be happy or sad about what happened today. It doesn’t surprise me why cyclists are killed and no one is punished. It doesn’t surprise me why drivers with multiple suspensions are still driving. The rules of the road are the following. THERE ARE NO RULES. It’s every man and woman for themselves and if that driver behind wants to take you out. He can.

    A lawyer will be there at the proceedings to make sure he doesn’t even pay the fine.

    Wear those helmets folks.

  2. #2
    Super Biker Mtn Mike's Avatar
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    Absolutely insane, but not too surprising given the completely wacked out nature of the big city. I am as enraged as I am glad I don't live in New York City.

    One of the absurdities of your story is that insurance and your drivers license would even be involved in this. What would have happened if you didn't have a license or insurance?

  3. #3
    The Cycle of Life Turbonium's Avatar
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    government couruped?? NAWWWWWWWW

  4. #4
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    So you broke the law, you paid a lawyer $120 (quite reasonable in any court) and saved yourself a net of $880. And that makes you unhappy.

    Next time, don't run the red light and it won't cost you a penny or a minute of time. Or do run the red light, don't pay the lawyer, and pay $1,000.

    For $120, your lawyer made your case go away. You done bad, your lawyer done good.

    FYI -- you are supposed to stop at those red lights so the cars don't crash into each other trying to avoid you. Even in New York City. The only place your "lawyer" failed you was in not yelling at you to drill this point.

  5. #5
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by gtdroadie
    So you broke the law, you paid a lawyer $120 (quite reasonable in any court) and saved yourself a net of $880. And that makes you unhappy.
    I think you missed the point of the original post.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Stubacca's Avatar
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    Interesting story. I still find it absurd in this country that bicycle violations can be counted against your driver's licence and auto insurance. :confused:

  7. #7
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by booyah
    Interesting story. I still find it absurd in this country that bicycle violations can be counted against your driver's licence and auto insurance. :confused:
    What's so absurd about it? If you run red lights on a bike, it would be reasonable to asume you run red lights in a car. It's about behaviour of the person, not the vehicle.

  8. #8
    Super Biker Mtn Mike's Avatar
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    Not really supcom. I occasionally run red lights on my bike if it's safe, but don't in my car. Your logic just doesn't cut it. I am not ashamed of this either.

    And as far as I know, I don't need a drivers license in my area to operate a bicycle. Therefore violations committed on a bicycle should not affect my drivers license. The difference is this: A car is an extremely dangerous machine, capable of harming OTHER PEOPLE. A bike is not dangerous to other people. Driving laws and drivers licenses are presumably there to protect the general public, not the individual.

  9. #9
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    >>>So you broke the law, you paid a lawyer $120 (quite reasonable in any court) and saved yourself a net of $880. And that makes you unhappy.
    Next time, don't run the red light and it won't cost you a penny or a minute of time. Or do run the red light, don't pay the lawyer, and pay $1,000.<<<<<

    You missed the point. No one did right. Not me. Not the Judge. Not the Lawyer.

    The implications of such a system is far broader than one might expect. If the system is corrupt, then what really is justice? Is running red lights illegal? Or is it really legal so long as I have a lawyer who can abuse the system? Do you understand what this means to the cyclists who is seriously injured by a motorists with multiple infractions?

    I'm sure New York City is the only town that is this corrupt. One would like to think the law cannot be bought but that is not the case. The moment we lose sight of what really is the law we are all in trouble.

    Furthermore, I did not like the attitude of the judge and asistants who thought this was one big joke. I had no idea these tickets were tossed out by the truck loads. You see folks. They know the traffic ticket situation is corrupt and used to make millions for the city. This is why it's not taken seriously and tickets are discarded once counsel shows their face.

  10. #10
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    You seem surprised to learn it's all about money.
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

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    I've already decided that if I ever get stopped on my bike, I am not showing the cop a driver's license. I will show him several other ID's, but not a driver's license.

    I asked a county policeman with whom I am acquainted what would happen and he said "probably nothing." The "probably" is kind of scary, though!
    "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

  12. #12
    Nam
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    I run red light all the time, when I used to live in WA state, the difference is, I jumped out of a bike and run like pedestrians running a red light. Hopefully, that won't count for violating the law , especially here in NY.

  13. #13
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Nam
    I run red light all the time, when I used to live in WA state, the difference is, I jumped out of a bike and run like pedestrians running a red light. Hopefully, that won't count for violating the law , especially here in NY.
    Hmmm... wouldn't that be considered jaywalking?
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  14. #14
    山馬鹿 Spire's Avatar
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    Originally posted by TrekRider
    I've already decided that if I ever get stopped on my bike, I am not showing the cop a driver's license. I will show him several other ID's, but not a driver's license.

    I asked a county policeman with whom I am acquainted what would happen and he said "probably nothing." The "probably" is kind of scary, though!
    That doesn't work in Montreal, you still get the ticket, when they get back to the SAAQ (government bureau in charge of this stuff) you will get the points tacked onto your liscence.
    http://www.cyclistsroadmap.com/eng/ - Cyclists' road map. Checkout which roads are good for cycling and rate roads in your area.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by booyah
    Interesting story. I still find it absurd in this country that bicycle violations can be counted against your driver's licence and auto insurance. :confused:
    Bicycle is suppose to have the same rights to the road as a car so it should be ticketed the same when breaking the same laws.It makes us all look bad when a cyclist runs a stop sign or a light or other wrong stuff because the car public already hates us.

  16. #16
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Mtn Mike
    Not really supcom. I occasionally run red lights on my bike if it's safe, but don't in my car. Your logic just doesn't cut it. I am not ashamed of this either.

    And as far as I know, I don't need a drivers license in my area to operate a bicycle. Therefore violations committed on a bicycle should not affect my drivers license. The difference is this: A car is an extremely dangerous machine, capable of harming OTHER PEOPLE. A bike is not dangerous to other people. Driving laws and drivers licenses are presumably there to protect the general public, not the individual.
    I'm sure an insurance company would simply view it as a failure to obey traffic laws. It's immaterial whether you are riding a bicycle, motorcycle, automobile, or tractor trailer rig. Whether a license is required to ride a bike is also immaterial. The fact that you have a drivers license only means that you have one less excuse for violating traffic laws.

  17. #17
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Hmmm...It sounds like your 'lawyer' paid the cop off to not appear in the courtroom with part of the cash you gave him, resulting in dismissal. I seriously doubt the guy you paid was a real lawyer, and it also sounds to me like you could be indirectly guilty of bribing a police officer???

    BTW--a first time stop sign or red light violation in Portland will cost you $175.00, soon to go up to $212.00, so NYC isn't the only place w/ exorbitant traffic fines for bicyclists.

  18. #18
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by TrekRider
    I've already decided that if I ever get stopped on my bike, I am not showing the cop a driver's license. I will show him several other ID's, but not a driver's license.

    I asked a county policeman with whom I am acquainted what would happen and he said "probably nothing." The "probably" is kind of scary, though!
    If you don't want to show your DL to a cop, then leave it at home. If you have in your possession, you may be required to show it.

  19. #19
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    Originally posted by khuon
    I think you missed the point of the original post.
    I didn't miss the point. I've heard it before. The poster missed all the points.

    Typical scenario: Guy breaks law. Guy gets busted. Guy hires lawyer. Guy gets plea bargain. Guy is better off. Guy is still pissed at "the system" and can't figure out that he got a good deal after doing a bad thing. So . . .

    Eventually, it happens again. And again. And again. Guy does time. Guy pays fines. Still doesn't get it. And so on . . . .

    The lawyer knows how to negotiate a deal and try the case, if needed. That's why you pay him to help you. It does not indicate corruption in the system. And if the judge is a jerk, well, the lawyer has to deal with that, too.

    The only problem evident in the original post is that the lawyer might (depending on New York rules) have used inappropriate or unethical marketing methods.

    What is obvious from the original post is that Guy broke law, Guy got good help, Guy got good deal, Guy doesn't get it, Guy is pissed at "the system", and it likely will happen again.

  20. #20
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    American laws, made by lawyers, enforced by lawyers. Who's best interest are the laws made for?? In this case guilty or not, seems as though NYC lost the fine and the lawyer pocketed the $$$. Fairly common. I'd rather be poor than do that for a career, but the system is made so that we can not do without it
    - Sad.

  21. #21
    Super Biker Mtn Mike's Avatar
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    I didn't miss the point. I've heard it before. The poster missed all the points.
    It sounds like we've got a lawyer in the forum. And the old saying might be true, "everyone hates a lawyer until you need one".

    The original poster broke the law and admitted to it. He was simply sharing his experience.
    What is obvious from the original post is that Guy broke law, Guy got good help, Guy got good deal, Guy doesn't get it, Guy is pissed at "the system", and it likely will happen again.
    Are you trying to say a system that allows this is an ideal system? I don't know a lot about the NYC legal system in question, but the fact that you even appear to defend this system takes away your credibility as an objective observer.

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    [i]Are you trying to say a system that allows this is an ideal system?[/B]
    There's no ideal system. Not yet, anyway.

  23. #23
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by gtdroadie
    I didn't miss the point. I've heard it before. The poster missed all the points.
    Maybe I missed the point. To me it seemed like Dahon.Steve was a bit disheartened at a system that allows people in general to do all this in the way it's currently done. I think he was making a statement about how we as a society treat justice and about how when you boil it all down, it's really all about making a buck. I hope Dahon.Steve can correct me if my impression of what he was trying to say is wrong.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  24. #24
    Super Biker Mtn Mike's Avatar
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    There's no ideal system. Not yet, anyway.
    I think Mtn Mike should rule the world. Cycling would be manditory of course.

  25. #25
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    Khuon's dead right on my statement.

    >>>>The lawyer knows how to negotiate a deal and try the case, if needed. That's why you pay him to help you. It does not indicate corruption in the system. And if the judge is a jerk, well, the lawyer has to deal with that, too.
    <<<<<

    That's the problem with the system. Why should I be able to "negotiate" a deal when I was dead wrong? Why did the patrol officer just walk away when confronted with the lawyer? Why was the judge and his assistants laughing at a patrol officer when he presented a solid case against a taxie driver only to have it watered down? Why were all these lawyers walking around around with a wallet full of tens and twenties like a bunch of drug dealers in the lobby?

    Folks. If this isn't corruption, I don't know what is? The city tried to stop this at one point but failed. I'm sure New York City is the only city in the country that has this problem.

    >>>>>>The only problem evident in the original post is that the lawyer might (depending on New York rules) have used inappropriate or unethical marketing methods.<<<<<<

    Having girls walking around the lobby in sexy clothing is only a small part of a much larger problem.

    Look folks. I'm happy and sad at the same time. I'm happy that I don't get stuck paying over a grand for a ticket that in my opinion should have been far less. This still does not change my overall feelings of the system that is designed to protect the public. You see folks when cities accross the country start setting fees so high, it creates employment for a middle man to come in that will extract revenue from the system.

    If my lawyer can make a red light green, I find something terribly wrong with this. What's wrong with stating this? I know the difference between right and wrong. What I saw was wrong. I can only imagine how many drivers are on the road this evening that shouldn't be driving at all. I can only imagine what would happen to me if I wanted justice after getting hit by some wreckless driver.

    While sitting in the lobby and watching all of what was going on, I started staring at these 'Lawyers' with a sad eye on what they were doing to system. Listening to these lawyers say out loud to each other "I can't believe you got him off with all those points" and "He still owes me $15.00 dollars or I'm not showing" was just incredible. I was looking at them shaking my head in disgust at what I was seeing. You know what folks. I made them feel uncomfortable. They knew what they were doing.

    The author of "Effective Cycling" mentions the injustice the cyclists often face when struck by motor traffic. I believe the problem is far deeper than what the author imagined and it effects EVERYONE that rides and walks on city streets.

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