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New enforcement in California?

Old 11-22-22, 04:41 PM
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giemsa
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New enforcement in California?

Anyone else in California notice that they're getting fined where they didn't before? I got my first ever not-full-stopping-at-a-stop-sign fine ever in >10 years of regularly biking in this city. I totally understand how it applies to those crazy cycling clubs going 30 mph through stop signs. But until now I've never had a problem doing a 2 mph slow roll (even right in front of cops). A full stop with unclip has never been enforced before, I'm fairly heavy so not very fast, and I slow down at all cross streets to check for cars regardless of whether there's a stop sign or not. Then I realized that for the past few months I've been getting phone calls and mailers asking for donations to my local police department, which I've never gotten before in >10 years of living here. There's a study entitled "Taxation by Citation?" (I can't post a link as a new user) where they show citations/fines increase when city revenue drops. Has anyone else noticed that there's new enforcement recently and does it seem to correlate with some sort of revenue shortfall?
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Old 11-22-22, 04:51 PM
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Are the calls and mailers for donations to support the police union and not the police department?
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Old 11-22-22, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by KenCT View Post
Are the calls and mailers for donations to support the police union and not the police department?
Hmm that's a good question, I recall they said they were calling from the [city] police department but I don't know who the donations would actually be made out to. In the calls I don't recall the word "union" being mentioned. I threw the mailers away without looking closely (all I saw were "police" and "donation") so I will look again at the next one
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Old 11-22-22, 05:32 PM
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They might use something like benevolent association or police activity league (PAL) instead of union. There are also scammers that use police and fire department names as part of their scam.

I used to belong to a public employee union (not police) that runs fundraisers; 50% of what they raise they donate to other groups in town, the rest goes to the union for mostly legal fees.
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Old 11-22-22, 06:26 PM
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You should come and live in NYC. Every once in a blue moon the NYPD "cracks down" on cyclists, usually after some transgression that hits the news. I knew a woman, a cycle commuter got 3 red light tickets in a row, they followed her as she ran those 3 then pulled her over. I mean if she's breaking the law, stop her after the first one. *******s are typical NYPD beat cops
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Old 11-22-22, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
You should come and live in NYC. Every once in a blue moon the NYPD "cracks down" on cyclists, usually after some transgression that hits the news. I knew a woman, a cycle commuter got 3 red light tickets in a row, they followed her as she ran those 3 then pulled her over. I mean if she's breaking the law, stop her after the first one. *******s are typical NYPD beat cops
i'd think that's stalking/harassment
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Old 11-22-22, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by giemsa View Post
Anyone else in California notice that they're getting fined where they didn't before? I got my first ever not-full-stopping-at-a-stop-sign fine ever in >10 years of regularly biking in this city. I totally understand how it applies to those crazy cycling clubs going 30 mph through stop signs. But until now I've never had a problem doing a 2 mph slow roll (even right in front of cops). A full stop with unclip has never been enforced before, I'm fairly heavy so not very fast, and I slow down at all cross streets to check for cars regardless of whether there's a stop sign or not. Then I realized that for the past few months I've been getting phone calls and mailers asking for donations to my local police department, which I've never gotten before in >10 years of living here. There's a study entitled "Taxation by Citation?" (I can't post a link as a new user) where they show citations/fines increase when city revenue drops. Has anyone else noticed that there's new enforcement recently and does it seem to correlate with some sort of revenue shortfall?
I have not noticed anything different in Sacramento. What city are you referring to? This is a big state.
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Old 11-22-22, 07:37 PM
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It is called the law enforcement growth industry. Many towns in the USA rely heavily on tickets in order to stay afloat. Read "Why We Drive" by Mathew Crawford. He has a very healthy dedication of pages with references to this topic in that book. Many cop unions push for these kinds of victimless crime laws. More laws -> more potential crime -> more cops neccessary. Locally, the cops fight each other over who gets traffic detail for the last 5 years of their "career". They go nuts issuing traffic tickets because this effects their performance review and pushes up their bonuses. For the bulk of their "working" life, they'll get $108k/year. But, on traffic detail, their salaries go up to $160k/year and that is what their pensions are pegged to. They receive 60% of that $160k as pension (fully indexed to inflation) for the rest of their lives. It is one of the reasons I want to move away from here.
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Old 11-22-22, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
i'd think that's stalking/harassment
Prove it.
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Old 11-22-22, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I have not noticed anything different in Sacramento. What city are you referring to? This is a big state.
A city in San Mateo county

Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
It is called the law enforcement growth industry. Many towns in the USA rely heavily on tickets in order to stay afloat. Read "Why We Drive" by Mathew Crawford. He has a very healthy dedication of pages with references to this topic in that book. Many cop unions push for these kinds of victimless crime laws. More laws -> more potential crime -> more cops neccessary. Locally, the cops fight each other over who gets traffic detail for the last 5 years of their "career". They go nuts issuing traffic tickets because this effects their performance review and pushes up their bonuses. For the bulk of their "working" life, they'll get $108k/year. But, on traffic detail, their salaries go up to $160k/year and that is what their pensions are pegged to. They receive 60% of that $160k as pension (fully indexed to inflation) for the rest of their lives. It is one of the reasons I want to move away from here.
Wow, my trust in my local police went from an 8/10 to 1/10. An uncle of mine was visiting Moscow and a Russian police officer told him to give him all his cash or else he'd take him to jail. I got shaken down for 5x what my uncle handed over
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Old 11-23-22, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Prove it.
That's where bicycle recording devices lend proof.

When an area uses such tactics to generate revenue, they should also not expect much community help that could benefit the public services to which the tax payers already are paying for...

Recently experienced a flat during one of my night time rides on the road, & I walked it to a nearby unsecured business parking lot to address it (think small retail). Not too long after, I was greeted by an officer to inform me that I am trespassing & need to move. So, I did without saying a word. Wasn't asked if I am ok, or for my I.D. (which wouldn't be required in my state in this case) .
I have nothing against law enforcement. In any career field there will be that person.
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Old 11-23-22, 06:46 AM
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I thought I heard that California passed the Idaho Stop Law...or maybe it was Oregon or Washington

Here in Florida, we don't have the Idaho Stop Law; however, I practice it and never had a problem, even when I do it in front of a cop -- there's a cop station on my regular route coming home.



.
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Old 11-23-22, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
I thought I heard that California passed the Idaho Stop Law...or maybe it was Oregon or Washington

Here in Florida, we don't have the Idaho Stop Law; however, I practice it and never had a problem, even when I do it in front of a cop -- there's a cop station on my regular route coming home.



.
i haven't found the rationale for opposing that law being applied to all 50 states, but I'd be curious to read about the reasonings & not defaulting it to be linked to generating revenue & impeding citizens daily life.
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Old 11-23-22, 07:21 AM
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I got curious and looked into it and it was passed by the California legislature; however, Gov Newsom vetoed the bill.

https://www.planetizen.com/news/2021...rnias-governor

Jaywalking, Idaho Stop Bills Vetoed by California's Governor

Faced with the opportunity to redefine the traffic safety regime in one of the nation's most progressive states, Governor Gavin Newsom flinched.


October 11, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT


Friday was a disappointing day for pedestrian and bike safety advocates in California.

"Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday night vetoed a pair of bills designed to make streets more welcoming to non-vehicular modes of transportation, including a measure that would have decriminalized jaywalking and another that sought to allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs," reports Dustin Gardiner in a paywalled article for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Planetizen picked up news of both the jaywalking and the Idaho Stop bills after they passed the state legislatureóboth this site and the original sources allowed some assumption that the two bills were a certainty for the governor's signature. Gov. Newsom had other plans.

Assembly Member Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), authored AB 1238 in an attempt to undo some of the discriminatory practices of jaywalking enforcement. "In a veto message, Newsom agreed that the state must address how unequal enforcement of jaywalking laws, and other minor violations, are used 'as a pretext to stop people of color,'" according to Gardiner. "But Newsom said he vetoed the bill because California has a high rate of pedestrian fatalities, the eighth highest per capita, and he worries the measure would encourage people to unsafely cross streets."
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Old 11-23-22, 12:18 PM
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I think you should just file it under somewhat less suspicious things like ...
  • There's a first time for everything.
  • New guy on the job wanting to show that no infraction of the law is too small to ignore.
  • Cop just having a bad day and had to take it out on someone.
  • Or maybe just... you broke the law and the law won! So far, at least till you cop a guilty plea and pay or go to court before a judge.

Don't read too much into the conspiracy theory you are suggesting.
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Old 11-23-22, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
i haven't found the rationale for opposing that law being applied to all 50 states, but I'd be curious to read about the reasonings & not defaulting it to be linked to generating revenue & impeding citizens daily life.
If itís a ticky tack first time offense and the officer gives you a warning, itís about safety. If they give you a fine, itís about revenue. The two groups that gain the most from the veto are cities that impose taxation by citation and auto manufacturers. According to the research paper, the California three strikes law flooded the prison and court system with new inmates, so to fund it they resorted to tacking all kinds of BS court fees on top of fines. An offense with with a $50 base fee becomes $300 and if you donít pay within a month they add another $300. If you canít pay that they send you to a for-profit jail at taxpayer expense, $75,000 per year. It truly is a system built to justify itself, using public safety as an excuse to shake down citizens through fines and taxes
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Old 11-23-22, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by giemsa View Post
If itís a ticky tack first time offense and the officer gives you a warning, itís about safety. If they give you a fine, itís about revenue. The two groups that gain the most from the veto are cities that impose taxation by citation and auto manufacturers. According to the research paper, the California three strikes law flooded the prison and court system with new inmates, so to fund it they resorted to tacking all kinds of BS court fees on top of fines. An offense with with a $50 base fee becomes $300 and if you donít pay within a month they add another $300. If you canít pay that they send you to a for-profit jail at taxpayer expense, $75,000 per year. It truly is a system built to justify itself, using public safety as an excuse to shake down citizens through fines and taxes
You arrived at this description and conclusion about "the system" from getting a ticket for not stopping at a stop sign?
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Old 11-23-22, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
You arrived at this description and conclusion about "the system" from getting a ticket for not stopping at a stop sign?
Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I think you should just file it under somewhat less suspicious things like ...
* There's a first time for everything.
* New guy on the job wanting to show that no infraction of the law is too small to ignore.
* Cop just having a bad day and had to take it out on someone.
* Or maybe just... you broke the law and the law won! So far, at least till you cop a guilty plea and pay or go to court before a judge.
Don't read too much into the conspiracy theory you are suggesting.
I began on this path by noticing that for the first time in >10 years the police in my area called and mailed me asking for donations, and almost simultaneously they began enforcing fines they'd never enforced in >10 years. Thinking this is too much of a coincidence, I read that it is consistent with a pattern called taxation through citation. As a new user I can't link the research study, but statistics show that when cities need revenue they start enforcing fines without warning, and it’s an open secret that police in many jurisdictions are instructed to go find some number of fineable offenses per hour. If it were actually about public safety, they would have enforced it before, and the first offense would just be a warning. And there’s no reason that multiple things can’t be true. i.e. the officer is a ************* *and* the city is compensating for revenue issues. Then I read a bit into what prairiepedaler wrote as well as multiple news articles I can't link as a new user, and how my county has been sued for snowballing these fees and incarcerating people for their inability to pay. And ultimately it costs taxpayers more to jail them than the revenue that the city gets from the fine. Setting aside the moral hazard for a moment, just from a practical perspective it would be 100x cheaper for taxpayers if they just paid for the fine instead of putting these people in for-profit jails, not even accounting for the fact that most of these people would otherwise work jobs and pay off loans and taxes. The first larger question is why a stop sign ticket that is nominally supposed to be manageable $50 ends up as an extortionate $300 when they actually send the fine (answer: court fees and city revenue). The second larger question is why taxpayers are sending people to jail at a cost of $75,000 per year over a $50 previously unenforced ticky tack offense (answer: legal system built to find ways to shake down citizens, self-expand, and inflate costs)

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Old 11-23-22, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
... Locally, the cops fight each other over who gets traffic detail for the last 5 years of their "career". They go nuts issuing traffic tickets because this effects their performance review and pushes up their bonuses. For the bulk of their "working" life, they'll get $108k/year. But, on traffic detail, their salaries go up to $160k/year and that is what their pensions are pegged to. They receive 60% of that $160k as pension (fully indexed to inflation) for the rest of their lives. It is one of the reasons I want to move away from here.
...do you have a link for this information ? It sounds a lot like some of the public pension "boosting" conspiracy theories I've heard repeated about California public safety pension employees. None of them turn out to be true here. Pensions are computed based on your highest base salary earning years, and bonuses or overtime pay are not considered in establishing the amount. I don't live in Canada, I live in California. But what you have repeated sounds familiar enough to prior erroneous statements that I would like to familiarize myself with the reasoning behind why your public safety pension system would be so obviously designed for manipulation.

To the OP: none of that is even remotely possible anywhere in California, where public safety pensions are primarily administered through CalPers.

But if you want to believe it (it sounds like you do), don't let me stop you. I get a pension from CalPers, so I might be in on the conspiracy.


They did used to run periodic "cycling enforcements" here in Sacramento. Stop signs and bike lane violations were the favorite citations. It's been years since the local constabulary has done this, though. I, myself, was involved in an advocacy effort here to put an end to it. But I guess it could come back, under a different city administration. Mostly, I think it's just easier to take whatever share the county gets from red light camera tickets, which rolls in automatically, and requires no personnel for enforcement. Both county and city cops here have been pretty short on numbers for the past 5-6 years at least.
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Old 11-23-22, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
They did used to run periodic "cycling enforcements" here in Sacramento. Stop signs and bike lane violations were the favorite citations. It's been years since the local constabulary has done this, though. I, myself, was involved in an advocacy effort here to put an end to it. But I guess it could come back, under a different city administration. Mostly, I think it's just easier to take whatever share the county gets from red light camera tickets, which rolls in automatically, and requires no personnel for enforcement. Both county and city cops here have been pretty short on numbers for the past 5-6 years at least.
Thanks, how did you run the advocacy to end it?

Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Don't read too much into the conspiracy theory you are suggesting.
Turns out I just found this article dated May 25, 2022 entitled "City of San Mateo exploring tax increases: Higher property transfer and sales taxes under consideration by city council" ... "San Mateo is considering introducing a ballot measure ... to raise revenue for city infrastructure projects. 'Unfortunately, we are so limited in our power to generate revenue,' Councilmember Joe Goethals said. 'These are the only opportunities, and I worry about those shortfalls that are around the corner.'" Since I can't post links you can Google it. On other boards there are recent threads about BS fines near San Mateo too. I'd say these facts are supportive of the conjecture

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Old 11-24-22, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by giemsa View Post
Thanks, how did you run the advocacy to end it?

...quietly, and with multiple e-mails to city council people in office at the time. Also a couple of carefully worded FOIA requests over to the cop shop. There was never any official acknowledgement of an end to these bicycle enforcement periods, but I know they stopped. I think that it just looked easier to stop the ********, than to deal with all the harassment they were receiving about the ********. And nobody likes responding to detailed FOIA requests. Those always get referred to the city legal counsel, and those guys are never looking for more work.
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Old 11-24-22, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by giemsa View Post


Turns out I just found this article dated May 25, 2022 entitled "City of San Mateo exploring tax increases: Higher property transfer and sales taxes under consideration by city council" ... "San Mateo is considering introducing a ballot measure ... to raise revenue for city infrastructure projects. 'Unfortunately, we are so limited in our power to generate revenue,' Councilmember Joe Goethals said. 'These are the only opportunities, and I worry about those shortfalls that are around the corner.'" Since I can't post links you can Google it. On other boards there are recent threads about BS fines near San Mateo too. I'd say these facts are supportive of the conjecture
...most certainly this varies by locality, but generally traffic violation fines do not go directly to city general funds, to be used for whatever. You can Google this yourself with some phrase like "how does My City use traffic fine revenues ?"

See this, and this one. This report by the California State Auditor's office, back in 2018, has had some positive effects in reducing the abuses that did exist in various jurisdictions here in California. But no place is perfect.

This report concludes that Californiaís current approach to funding state and county programs through penalties and fees from criminal and traffic violations has proven problematic both for the programs that rely on those funds and for drivers who receive costly citations. Specifically, penalties and fees intended to help pay for various programs were added to state law in a piecemeal fashion over time, and the resulting revenue has been inconsistent. Although these penalties and fees generate more than $450 million annually for numerous state funds, the revenue is derived from penalty and fee amounts that do not appear to be based on the needs of the funded programs. Further, the revenue collected from penalties and fees is trending downward, creating challenges for many of the programs that rely on this revenue to provide services. For example, penalty and fee revenues for state funds have decreased by 14 percent to 25 percent over the last three years. Many of these funds rely on penalties for 50 percent or more of their annual revenue. These penalties and fees also create a financial burden on drivers, particularly low-income individuals who may be unable to pay them. In fact, the cost of certain traffic offenses increase six-fold after the penalties and fees are included. Further, many of the penalties are paying for programs that are not directly related to the traffic offenses for which they are incurred. To address the problematic nature of the current funding approach, the Legislature would need to make public policy decisions about whether and to what extent to fund the programs currently receiving penalty and fee revenue. We provide recommendations of possible approaches to address the concerns we identified.
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Old 11-24-22, 01:26 AM
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I certainly donít think any city is making any worthwhile amount of money on traffic tickets for bikes. I also doubt anything happening anywhere in CA happens on the same scale as NYC. But cities do sometimes decide to be buttheads. Maybe sometimes justifiable. There was Carlsbad that had a panic attack about e-bikes a few months ago.

We also have the most homeless here in CA and bikes are part of the profile. Maybe they used the traffic offense to pull you and when it turned out you were inoffensive they thought they had to make it look worthwhile. You watch cop reality shows and cops are nonstop pulling over sleazy looking people on thin premises to run their ID for missed court date warrants and search them for tiny bits of drugs
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Old 11-24-22, 02:03 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...quietly, and with multiple e-mails to city council people in office at the time. Also a couple of carefully worded FOIA requests over to the cop shop. There was never any official acknowledgement of an end to these bicycle enforcement periods, but I know they stopped. I think that it just looked easier to stop the ********, than to deal with all the harassment they were receiving about the ********. And nobody likes responding to detailed FOIA requests. Those always get referred to the city legal counsel, and those guys are never looking for more work.
Thanks, what were the FOIA requests for specifically? You have to know that the document exists first, and then you have to know the type of information on the document right?
Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...most certainly this varies by locality, but generally traffic violation fines do not go directly to city general funds, to be used for whatever. You can Google this yourself with some phrase like "how does My City use traffic fine revenues ?" See this, and this one. This report by the California State Auditor's office, back in 2018, has had some positive effects in reducing the abuses that did exist in various jurisdictions here in California. But no place is perfect.
In the links I didn't see anything that said the city isn't making money shaking down cyclists. $300 for 15 minutes of "work" is $1200 per hour. Five cops shaking down 4 cyclists an hour for 8 hours a day over 2 weeks is $672,000. And they seem to say that whenever the city wants to fund something but can't do it through taxes, they just add a new fee onto the fine. This fee allows them to slosh money from one part of the budget to another

Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I certainly donít think any city is making any worthwhile amount of money on traffic tickets for bikes. I also doubt anything happening anywhere in CA happens on the same scale as NYC. But cities do sometimes decide to be buttheads. Maybe sometimes justifiable. There was Carlsbad that had a panic attack about e-bikes a few months ago.
We also have the most homeless here in CA and bikes are part of the profile. Maybe they used the traffic offense to pull you and when it turned out you were inoffensive they thought they had to make it look worthwhile. You watch cop reality shows and cops are nonstop pulling over sleazy looking people on thin premises to run their ID for missed court date warrants and search them for tiny bits of drugs
In this area there are millions of bikes, hundreds of miles of bikeable roads (bike lanes, wide shoulders, and dedicated bike/pedestrian paths), and too many stop signs -- all over Stanford campus, Silicon Valley, dozens of schools. The drivers here are bike friendly, but the laws are not. NYC is famously corrupt, there was that good whistleblower cop that took the video of his supervisor telling them their ticket quota for that day. I was on a Scott disc brake road bike in clean Pearl Izumi spandex kit on a weekend afternoon ride, no backpack or bags -- definitely not suspicious
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Old 11-24-22, 02:20 AM
  #25  
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there are some jurisdictions in the Bay Area which are famous for citing cyclists, notably a couple in Marin county which have officers specifically dedicated to stop sign violations because of “resident complaints.”

I have not heard that San Mateo was one of them, but I’d think it more likely that they got some complaints and decided to make an example of some people than that they are imagining this as a serious funding stream.
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