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Old 03-23-11, 08:51 PM   #1
fancymolding
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fighting nyc bike tickets?

so a few weeks back i was visiting a friends in brooklyn (i live in boston) I was heading south on ocean which is south of prospect park parallel to flatbush, ran 2 reds at woodruff and caton, and got pulled over by an undercover cop. they issued me two tickets for both the lights, both saying that i was on a bicycle. it really stunk to get them but oh well, my fault. so i go to pay them online this week and one was the bike ticket i expected, but the other listed me as a regular vehicle, charged me more and put 3 points on my license.
so i wanna know if its worth trying to fight the second one since they both say bicycle on the tickets but one has me as a vehicle online.
im really not trying to have 3 points on my license for this and owe nyc $650, so thanks for any help in advance
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Old 03-24-11, 06:54 AM   #2
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It's weird that they would charge you more for one and not the other, I thought that bikes are (stupidly) subject to the same fines as cars.

If I could argue by mail instead of appearing in person, I would plead not guilty. Although, I think I heard that some of these tickets are summonses which force you to appear if you're pleading not guilty... I don't know for sure. Don't know if it's worth it for you.

I'd bring, (or mail, if you can) a print screen of the online error showing the inconsistency in penalties, and a copy of both tix to show you were on a bike. It may be possible that multiple "serious" infractions like red light violations in quick succession might add points to the license, if you were in a car. But I thought it had to be three violations within a 3 month period or something like that. And, obviously, you were on a bike... It doesn't seem in the spirit of the law that you accrue real driving penalties for the bicycling equivalent of jaywalking.

That said, if your tickets are being handled by the Traffic Violations Bureau, then the Administrative Law Judges who are in charge don't have the power to reduce fines or let you plea to a lesser charge and get off easier. It's pretty bad-ass: all or nothing. And you're pretty much guilty until proven innocent. The full Vehicle and Traffic (VAT) law is on this page, if you care to waste a few days trying to find what you need to prove that your penalty is unfair: http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/me...MMONQUERY=LAWS

Good luck! Also, ask your insurer (or somebody else) if NY & MA have reciprocity for points accrual. I got a speeding ticket in PA a few years back and it didn't affect points on my NY license.

Last edited by FattyArbuckle; 03-24-11 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 03-24-11, 08:40 AM   #3
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Five of us were ticketed in NY for riding on the sidewalk. we were on a cross country with 38 other riders whe we were seperated and lost.
My wife e-mailed the court with a breif explanation and the case was dropped. This was the letter.
July 9, 2009

Criminal Court City of New York
Summons
346 Broadway
New York, NY 10013

Re: Summons # 425904492-8

This letter is a request for information on how to resolve a summons I received for a bicycle on sidewalk. I am from out of state and will not be able to appear in court. I was in New York for the beginning of a cross country bicycle ride with 42 other riders on 6/25/09. We were lost and trying to get out of New York when I received the summons. Please advise me on what I need to do to take care of this summons.

Sincerely,

David A. Detmar
From this example they seem to be reasonable. Couldn't hurt to try.
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Old 03-24-11, 09:09 AM   #4
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yes, of course fight them and do it in person.
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Old 03-24-11, 09:28 AM   #5
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I think sidewalk riding is a general NYC crime, like littering or something so it gets handled in the Criminal Court system. If you're in the street and run a red light, though, it might be under the Traffic Violations Bureau.

Criminal Court would be better b/c you can write a letter and maybe "plea it down" or get it dismissed outright. No such niceties w/the TVB.
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Old 03-24-11, 01:44 PM   #6
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that ticket charging you as a car is probably no good for not being written properly, you get off completely on technicalities on so many tickets in NYC.
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Old 03-25-11, 02:30 PM   #7
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ah thanks a lot for the responses, i'll check out that link for the laws some time tomorrow and try to figure out a date to go down, reducing these tickets would definitely be worth the trip for me. and the tickets are being handled by dmv by the way. i've heard good things about tickets getting thrown out when someone pleads not guilty, simply because the officers don't feel like appearing in court.
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Old 03-25-11, 02:33 PM   #8
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Ride a bike go to jail!
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Old 03-26-11, 08:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
that ticket charging you as a car is probably no good for not being written properly, you get off completely on technicalities on so many tickets in NYC.
A bike is a vehicle, so are skateboards rollerblades wheelchairs etc. You are subject to the same rules as a motor vehicle. You can't run red lights, ride drunk, not signal turns. Heck you can even lose the privilege to drive a car by what you do on a bike lol.

I got flagged down once for running a stop sign on campus and I just booked it up a hill and lost the bike cop lol

You should be able to send a letter and try to get it watered down, prob have to appear in court for that tho
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Old 03-26-11, 08:11 PM   #10
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From what I've heard, riding on the sidewalk is an ECB violation and NYPD may not have jurisdiction to issue a ticket. That's one explanation as to why it would be thrown out of traffic court.

If you've received a ticket definitely report it to Transportation Alternatives
http://www.transalt.org/campaigns/bike/ticket

You might also want to look at the Bicycle Defense Fund for tips on fighting it.
http://www.bicycledefensefund.org/

Last edited by Stacy; 04-01-11 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 03-31-11, 06:55 PM   #11
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Crackdown on Central Park cyclists bad for business, bike shops say

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/...shops_say.html
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Old 04-01-11, 01:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dspaff088 View Post
A bike is a vehicle, so are skateboards rollerblades wheelchairs etc. You are subject to the same rules as a motor vehicle. You can't run red lights, ride drunk, not signal turns.
Not true, NYC recognizes the right to use skateboards and roller blades on sidewalks which inherently makes them subject to pedestrian laws with the only stipulation that such devices be used at a speed and in a manner that is safe for other users of the sidewalk. Wheelchairs are not considered motor vehicles and never will be regulated to the same rules as a motor vehicle.
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Old 04-01-11, 06:56 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dspaff088 View Post
You are subject to the same rules as a motor vehicle. You can't run red lights, ride drunk, not signal turns.
While it's not recommended, according to an article that appeared in the NY Times just about two years ago, it's not against the law in New York City to ride a bike under the influence.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...on-two-wheels/
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Old 04-02-11, 04:56 PM   #14
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I hate to say this but when you ride in 'minority' neighborhoods watch out for the police as they enforce laws more aggressively. If you are white they may also lock to ticket you to make it seem like they are not just harassing black people. All the ticketing that I have witnessed and considered bogus has been in minority neighborhoods.
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