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$920 Traffic Ticket given to Cyclist in New Orleans

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$920 Traffic Ticket given to Cyclist in New Orleans

Old 06-28-18, 11:10 AM
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JoeyBike
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$920 Traffic Ticket given to Cyclist in New Orleans

Man, this is SO up your alley here:

https://www.wwltv.com/article/news/l.../289-568018552

Nothing good can happen to you at 4:00 a.m. on the streets of New Orleans. Fo sho.
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Old 06-28-18, 01:33 PM
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Sure sounds like extortion. There's absolutely no way four traffic offenses should add up to a $920 ticket.
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Old 06-28-18, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Sure sounds like extortion. There's absolutely no way four traffic offenses should add up to a $920 ticket.
Absolutely no reason one should be riding a bike the wrong way down a road with no lights on at 4am, either.
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Old 06-28-18, 02:21 PM
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LIGHTS... just makes sense. Perhaps write a law to reduce fines if one proves that they have either rechargeable lights or generator lights.

Wrong Way? It really depends on the situation. There are a couple of places where I find riding to the left (usually sidewalks) just makes sense. In one, an off street bike path ends at a traffic light with no way to activate the light to cross to the correct side of the road.

Registration? Noting the 1987 law, has a $100 minimum bike value (not really defining new vs used vs current). Inflation? Might as well argue for a JURY TRIAL based on the $20 rule from 1791. Have fines been increased since 1987 without updating the excluded values?
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Old 06-28-18, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Absolutely no reason one should be riding a bike the wrong way down a road with no lights on at 4am, either.
Would generally agree with that. And it sounds like a lot of the ticket can be forgiven with evidence of the purchase of lights after the fact.

It could be tempting to make arguments about short distances and areas well covered by streetlights, but those arguments don't have good boundaries - they become longer distances, and riding greenways or park laps at night with nothing, etc. Besides, lights are as much or more about being seen as they are about seeing. If the distance is too short to need lights, perhaps one should walk.

The one thing that does stick out is the bicycle registration bit. That does sound a bit like one of those silly laws rarely enforced, that then gets pulled out as a habitual hammer for oppressing segments of the population.
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Old 06-28-18, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Would generally agree with that. And it sounds like a lot of the ticket can be forgiven with evidence of the purchase of lights after the fact.
...
The one thing that does stick out is the bicycle registration bit.
I would agree on the bike registration bit. I'm guessing there is no visible way to know that law even exists, AFAIK most of those laws went away well before I was born around here.

And also agree on the lights would be better to be a "fix it" type deal, at least on the first offense. I blew out a headlight on my truck, literally facing a cop at a red light. Watched it pop, saw the left side go dark in front of me, and watched as the officer pulled a U-turn and pull me over. Fixed it the next day, took it in to prove it was done, and ticket dismissed.

But all in all, I don't know LA fines, but it really isn't hard for me to see how four infractions could hit that amount.
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Old 06-28-18, 02:54 PM
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And who thought that the NOPD did not have a really sick sense of humor? You know that those cops were laughing up their ass after writing these tickets.
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Old 06-28-18, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
And who thought that the NOPD did not have a really sick sense of humor? You know that those cops were laughing up their ass after writing these tickets.
100% with you on this.
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Old 06-28-18, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Absolutely no reason one should be riding a bike the wrong way down a road with no lights on at 4am, either.
I've ridden briefly and slowly up the "wrong way" at night with no lights. It is little different than walking up a street at night - especially when there are streetlights.

This shouldn't be someone's standard commuting route, but it really isn't that drastic of an action on a sleepy residential street.
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Old 06-28-18, 03:10 PM
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Rumor has it that if you just say "Yes Sir" a lot and act grateful for their service to the community and show some respect, our cops stop looking for additional infractions.

"Victim #1 ": "My left brake light is out?? Oh shoot. I am so glad you noticed and I will have that attended to first thing in the morning. Man, I could have caused an accident. Thank you officer." Then take your citation for the tail light and move on.

"Victim #2 ": "Why are you stopping me? Don't you have some murder to solve or something important? What's your badge number? I know why you REALLY stopped me......."

I don't really know for sure, but I have a feeling this looks like a Victim #2 scenario. Our cops are pretty lazy about minor infractions and all the paperwork, showing up in court, etc. You gotta really try to get their goat.
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Old 06-28-18, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I would hope a law enforcer would be professional, objective and fair in writing tickets, irrelavent as to the violator is nice or rude.
They are also people, and have the discretion to use their powers or not based on their intuition of whether the subject made an error or is likely unremorseful about violating the law.

Contrition is just as important when speaking to LE as it is when coming up for sentencing.


If you want cops to be objective, everyone is getting a ticket every time. Would you prefer that?
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Old 06-28-18, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
If you want cops to be objective, everyone is getting a ticket every time. Would you prefer that?
There are actually quite a few circumstances where that would be preferable.

If everyone got a ticket every time (and especially if there was always a cop there to see them), then we could expect that the number of tickets written would rapidly fall towards zero because either:
  • The risk would be too great to continue treating getting caught like bad luck
or
  • We'd change the laws to more precisely match what society actually expects
Consider something like speeding in a car or rolling through a red light on a bike. It happens, because while illegal, most of the time you get away with it, and there are often unwritten understandings of customary tolerance (5 mph over, 10 mph over..., at off hours with no one else in sight) and even many cases there's the direct pressure to do what everyone else is doing (drive with the traffic) even though it's technically illegal.

Last edited by UniChris; 06-28-18 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 06-28-18, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I would hope a law enforcer would be professional, objective and fair in writing tickets, irrelavent as to the violator is nice or rude.
Welcome to Louisiana Third World. Just say "Yes Sir (Mam)" a lot, take your ticket, and pay it. Really, really simple.

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Old 06-28-18, 04:13 PM
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My experience with NOPD as a bicyclist is they DGAF. I run two traffic lights right by their St Louis Street sub-station on my weekend ride. There are always cops out and about around the station. I'd be willing to bet that the bicyclist got mouthy. Statistically speaking, two of the most dangerous things a bicyclist can do is ride against traffic and ride after dark without lights. The officer was well within his right to stop the bicyclist. It was a good stop. We'd want that same officer to stop a car that was similarly violating the law. We'd scream at the cop to ticket a motorist that passed too closely. But we raise hell when that officer tickets a bicyclist for two serious infractions.
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Old 06-28-18, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I would hope a law enforcer would be professional, objective and fair in writing tickets, irrelavent as to the violator is nice or rude.
You can hope for that all you want. I can assure you that most officers take attitude into account. For certain offenses they know when they stop you that they are going to ticket you. Other stops they exit the car with an open mind.
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Old 06-28-18, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I'd be willing to bet that the bicyclist got mouthy.
Or was merely black.

We really can't know about behavior or motivation, only take unfairly wild guesses from things documented to have happened in other circumstances.

Statistically speaking, two of the most dangerous things a bicyclist can do is ride against traffic and ride after dark without lights. The officer was well within his right to stop the bicyclist. It was a good stop.
Yes, though it's also a valid question how consistent they are about this. Around here, they'd have to be very bored, or specifically assigned to do so for PR purposes.

But we raise hell when that officer tickets a bicyclist for two serious infractions.
One thing that is a bit unclear is what the second three hundred dollar charge is for. The first is for wrong lane (presumably the wrong way), then second just says that "TRAFFIC LAWS APPLY TO PERSONS RIDING BICYCLES", so it's not clear what specific wrongdoing that next three hundred bucks is for. Then the lights and registration violations are listed, each around one fifty.
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Old 06-28-18, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
There are actually quite a few circumstances where that would be preferable.

If everyone got a ticket every time (and especially if there was always a cop there to see them), then we could expect that the number of tickets written would rapidly fall towards zero because either:
  • The risk would be too great to continue treating getting caught like bad luck
or
  • We'd change the laws to more precisely match what society actually expects
Consider something like speeding in a car or rolling through a red light on a bike. It happens, because while illegal, most of the time you get away with it, and there are often unwritten understandings of customary tolerance (5 mph over, 10 mph over..., at off hours with no one else in sight) and even many cases there's the direct pressure to do what everyone else is doing (drive with the traffic) even though it's technically illegal.
And we could have strict sentencing guidelines, so when you do go to court for anything, you know you'll receive the maximum sentence regardless of the particulars.
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Old 06-28-18, 04:43 PM
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Before I make an opinion, I'd like to know what kind of fines are issued to motorists who violate traffic laws when there are no traffic around.
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Old 06-28-18, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Before I make an opinion, I'd like to know what kind of fines are issued to motorists who violate traffic laws when there are no traffic around.
I've never had any sense that the presence of other traffic factored into it at all, or if anything, you're more likely to get away with things in busy traffic.
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Old 06-28-18, 05:02 PM
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This seems to be one of those things that a fine should be capped for an event.

So, an officer can list 20 infractions, but the fine is capped at say $200. Somehow have some wiggle room so that extreme circumstances can be dealt with outside of the limit.

Or... perhaps like sentences are often served concurrently, fines should be reduced to the most expensive fine of the set.

So, if there is a $100 fine, $200 fine, and a $300 fine, then the total would be reduced to the most expensive fine, $300, and the others would be ignored.

My guess is that the "Improper Lane Usage" was the most expensive fine, and probably applies mostly to motorists going the wrong direction on a one-way street, although in Missouri, apparently they'll cite a person for pulling from a driveway into the center lane, then merging.
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Old 06-28-18, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
I've never had any sense that the presence of other traffic factored into it at all, or if anything, you're more likely to get away with things in busy traffic.
The cyclists did what he did because there was nobody else around at 4am. So I'd like to know if drivers who violate traffic laws when nobody else was around would be fined the same as this cyclist.
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Old 06-28-18, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I imagine this will encourage people running from the law. A bike could easily go into alleys a Crown Vic can't.
For some stupid violation, a chase is going to put the public at huge risk.
ALso is is going to increase the distrust in police by a large segment of the population.

LOoks like NO is being mismanged.
With the propensity of the police to be so eager to shoot someone these days, that would be risky venture.
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Old 06-28-18, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
The cyclists did what he did because there was nobody else around at 4am. So I'd like to know if drivers who violate traffic laws when nobody else was around would be fined the same as this cyclist.
Do you have any basis for thinking the presence or absence of other traffic has anything to do with it in the car context? To me, that seems like a somewhat uniquely bike argument.

As long as it's not a close call, I'd suspect that a cop is going to bust a car rolling a stop sign or an illegal turn mostly based on if they feel like it.

And in terms of say, speeding tickets, schooling behavior seems to be heavily at play. Even if they decide to ticket, they can usually only get one out of the bunch at a time.

I'd hope that driving a car the wrong way would always attract attention, apart from very unique circumstances like obstructions, getting a large vehicle to a loading dock, bringing two hood-to-hood for a jump start, etc. Factors there would probably be more about legitimacy of purpose and safety of how it was done (slowly and carefully with flashers or helper outside the vehicle?) than about other traffic. The bike equivalent of such exceptions would be to walk it.

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Old 06-28-18, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Before I make an opinion, I'd like to know what kind of fines are issued to motorists who violate traffic laws when there are no traffic around.
I know a girl you could ask. She ran a left turn red light when "no one" was around, except for the cop she didn't see.
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Old 06-28-18, 06:35 PM
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