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Just How Does That Work?

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Just How Does That Work?

Old 12-04-12, 03:03 PM
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Just How Does That Work?

Several people have posted how they use, or intend to use, pictures from GoPro or some other camera to have drivers ticketed or fined or whatever. I wonder just how that works. I understand that a cooperative PD that has time might talk to the "accused" based solely on the pictures. But, I'm not sure exactly how that goes on to a traffic ticket or a fine unless the cyclist is willing to file a formal complaint and, if contested, appear in whatever level court is involved.

So, mechanically what has been the experience of those who have actually done this, turned images over to the justice system for punitive action?
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Old 12-04-12, 04:43 PM
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My thought is that it would primarily be used for serious infractions such as a heavy vehicle user delibertly using their vehicle as a deadly weapon to attack a cyclist with. In which case you have a video footage record of the attack in question in progress which is hard for the cops to deny and do nothing about and useful in actually getting a conviction for the prosecution. I'm thinking ADW (fellony Assault with Deadly Weapon) charge or similar situation where having video footage of the attack in progress would be highly helpful especially if you end up needing to get restitution compensation for medical expenses out of the offending party.

I'm not running cameras yet so I don't know myself. I have had a few instances where I did get the cops involved and provided an eye witness account along with some physical evidence. Granted I haven't gotten what I wanted in most cases but in one case the offending parties were successfully charged with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. Unfotionatly, it was my word against theirs (it was a party on wheels situation with a bunch of punks packed into a rig) that it was a deliberate attack so they weren't charged with anything there. If I had had a camera and footage that might have turned out differently (although back then most reasonably priced video cameras were very big and weighed about 20 pounds and took the big old school VHS tapes so it wouldn't have been very practical back then).
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Old 12-04-12, 05:24 PM
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It is called a citizens citation and here in Oregon it falls under § 153.058¹ Initiation of violation proceeding by private party.

You can read more about Oregon's citizen citation law here, here, and here.

The way the BTA has it written (3rd link), it appears as though it is mainly to be used for serious injury or crashes "filing these cases over petty traffic standoffs is going to tax a tax-poor law enforcement and court system struggling to contain Oregon’s dangerous traffic offenders."
However I do not think cell phone use is a petty concern at all. It is a very serious concern that can and does lead to serious injury and crashes.

This law is exactly why I'm going to be getting a GoPro camera. My goal is to ride around and capture drivers on cell phones and issue them tickets. If I can successfully ticket 2 people my camera basically paid for itself! Every subsequent ticket is pure pleasure, lowering the cost even further...

Last edited by agent pombero; 12-04-12 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 12-04-12, 05:25 PM
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Two or three years ago a man filmed a bunch of teens in a car trying to grab a woman on a bike thru the rear passenger window. The owner of the car told the police he didn't know who was driving the car at the time (!!!) and as the quality of the film was not very good nobody got fined or anything, Fortunately the woman just got a few bruise when she fell down.
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Old 12-04-12, 06:32 PM
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around here if the person contests the citation you might be called to testify against them. It's not like the police have video of most crimes, the convictions are based on testimony
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Old 12-04-12, 06:54 PM
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This is where the GoPro comes into play OP. You'd be called in to testify and then fry the a***** with video footage.
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Old 12-04-12, 07:41 PM
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The one time that I reported an aggressive dangerous driver who almost took me out, the PD declined the offer to review the video and instead lectured me about all of the scofflaw cyclists they encounter. I'd guess that they might look at the video once you get hit, though.

-G
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Old 12-04-12, 07:50 PM
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So far it appears that the photos are merely evidence in a normal citizen's complaint action. If a cyclist wants something done a formal complaint must be filed which then runs its' course. Depending on exactly how the action proceeds the GoPro or other camera product may, or may not, be needed or effectively used?
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Old 12-04-12, 08:33 PM
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While I am all for appropriate penalties for anyone who intentionally (and seriously) harrasses or places another person at risk or in fear for their safety, to be fair to law enforcement, the advent of camera phones and other digital imaging technology has lead to a proliferation of video vigilantes. Everybody seems to be out to catch someone else "in the act" and they all have photos or video to "prove" their case. Cops get tired of people waving pictures of delivery trucks blocking a driveway or proof that it is the neighbor's dog that pooped in their yard. You might be the fifth guy today who came in with video of someone who passed too close, or honked at you, or flipped you off. They are not very likely to pursue traffic violations based on citizen video unless there is significant criminal conduct and the video provides sufficient documentation. If you do have video/photos of a criminal act like assault, battery, vandalism, or theft that clearly shows the person comitting the crime, and law enforcement doesn't seem to want to take it seriously, you can take it to the city attorney, your city council or commission, or other governing body with appropriate authority. You also may be able to use the digital images as evidence if criminal charges are brought or in a civil court if you sue for injury or property damage.

I've only had one time I have been able to provide a useful photo to law enforcement (nothing to do with cycling) and that involved an accident between two other vehicles. One of the drivers, a man about my age and size, began physically threatening the other driver, a smaller older man. I snapped a photo of his pickup and license plate with my cell phone and dialed 911 while yelling to both drivers that an officer was on the way. The driver of the pickup swore at me and said something about that he wasn't going to take the blame for this (it was the other driver's fault anyway) and got in his damaged pickup and took off. I checked on the other driver and when an officer arrived a couple of minutes later he looked at the photo to get a vehicle description. I had given the plate number to the 911 dispatcher already, but it was clearly visible in the photo as well. I have no idea what eventually came of it all, but I got a call from the officer a couple hours later to take a statement over the phone.

Last edited by Myosmith; 12-04-12 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 12-04-12, 08:59 PM
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In South Carolina, the only way someone can be cited is if an officer witnesses the violation. However, there is a harassment law here that has some teeth. Charleston PD tells complaining cyclists to keep the video in case there's a slew of complaints against one driver that they can use to arrest.

RK
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Old 12-04-12, 09:13 PM
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I'll let you all know how it goes with writing tickets for drivers on their cellphones here in Portland. I have a GoPro on its way for Christmas :-). I'm very excited about this process of citizen citation. All drivers need to be off their cellphones, just doing my part to make sure it happens.
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Old 12-04-12, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by rjkfsm View Post
In South Carolina, the only way someone can be cited is if an officer witnesses the violation. However, there is a harassment law here that has some teeth. Charleston PD tells complaining cyclists to keep the video in case there's a slew of complaints against one driver that they can use to arrest.

RK
Are you sure? When I have asked local law enforcement about this issue, they have said the exact same thing. However, if you note my OR location and the posts by agent pombero, you will see that my local cops were lying to me.
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Old 12-05-12, 11:33 AM
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it's a little ridiculous that cops try to get away with saying they have to witness an offense. How many shoplifting incidents have they witnessed? That would be a ridiculous standard for their involvement. We might as well get rid of them if that was the case.
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Old 12-05-12, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
it's a little ridiculous that cops try to get away with saying they have to witness an offense. How many shoplifting incidents have they witnessed? That would be a ridiculous standard for their involvement. We might as well get rid of them if that was the case.
I think this is a wee bit misstated. My understanding is they have to witness the act or evidence for them to file the complaint and take a person into custody. But they can also take a person into custody based on citizen complaint. Then they are just acting on behalf of the shopkeeper or cyclist or whoever.

But, then YOU are the one on the hook. Best be sure what you are doing before you deprive a person of their liberty and cause them inconvenience and expense. The other person has legal rights too and if you aren't sure and willing to take it all the way you might find yourself in a big blowback situation.


I asked about how the bike camera would work. At this point those who so loudly proclaimed how this would be a game changer seem to have faded into the mist. We are left with the idea that when the idea of cameras is thought through it is just one more tool and depends on the willingness of a cyclist to step forward in the legal system.

Last edited by ModeratedUser150120149; 12-05-12 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 12-05-12, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
This law is exactly why I'm going to be getting a GoPro camera. My goal is to ride around and capture drivers on cell phones and issue them tickets. If I can successfully ticket 2 people my camera basically paid for itself! Every subsequent ticket is pure pleasure, lowering the cost even further...
Do you get a bounty on the tickets you initiate as a snitch? if so, I'd save some of it as a reserve fund to pay your expenses when one of the fined persons decides its payback time and collects in flesh.

If not, what are you talking about as far as the tickets paying for the price of the camera?
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Old 12-05-12, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
It is called a citizens citation and here in Oregon it falls under § 153.058¹ Initiation of violation proceeding by private party.

. . . . . . . . . . .

This law is exactly why I'm going to be getting a GoPro camera. My goal is to ride around and capture drivers on cell phones and issue them tickets. If I can successfully ticket 2 people my camera basically paid for itself! Every subsequent ticket is pure pleasure, lowering the cost even further...
I read the links you provided and I have the same question as ILTB. Did I miss something? I didn't see anywhere that the person filing the citation gets any compensation for issuing it. The only compensation eluded to at all was for a citation issued by a party that had sustained injury or property damage in an accident. While it doesn't sound like what you are proposing is illegal, it smacks of cop wannabe turned video vigilante. It would be one thing to use your GoPro as supporting evidence for a citation when a driver on a cell phone right hooks you. It is quite another to actively prowl the streets looking to "collar some perps". I see by your signature and its links that you feel you should be able to violate laws that you don't agree with or see benefit in, but you want to profit by holding others to a law they obviously don't agree with. Keep it up and soon we'll have video vigilantes in cars following cyclists around writing citations for every red light or stop sign rolled. My guess is that it won't take long before you find yourself on the receiving end of a citation when someone gets video of you rolling a red light while you're trying to get video of somone driving and calling. Just sayin' . . . You might as well get a jersey with a bullseye on the back.

Last edited by Myosmith; 12-05-12 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 12-05-12, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by HawkOwl View Post

I asked about how the bike camera would work. At this point those who so loudly proclaimed how this would be a game changer seem to have faded into the mist.
it's a game changer, and people are being cited for things that were captured on helmet cameras. Two different local police organizations have cited people based on the helmet camera video. One of them was an egregious close pass in violation of the 4' law -- would have been in violation of the 1' law. I was actually riding in front of the person with the camera and because of that it was indisputable that the pass was too close. The other was when someone went straight from a right turn lane. That was sent to three police organizations and they all agreed they would cite for it but only one of them had jurisdiction. It was really hard for anyone to argue with the evidence in those cases. We have professional police around here and when they see video like that they cite. There is the possibility you will have to go to court as a witness if the person decides to take it to court, but this hasn't happened.

If the video isn't conclusive, they are much less likely to cite, but if they can see for themselves what has happened it's a different story. I'm sure if people have problems getting a response that pushing it a little will get more action.
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Old 12-05-12, 04:48 PM
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I get no financial kickback for issuing these tickets. What I do get is happiness that the driver must pay $142 AND more importantly a message to NOT text or make calls while driving, per Oregon law. This law wasn't created just to give drivers a bad day. There is endless research that shows the dangers of driving while texting or making phone calls, which all of us here on BF are all aware of. So, GoPro camera at its cheapest is $199. All I need to do is get a minimum of two drivers successfully ticketed and I feel as though my camera is "paid off". Every subsequent ticket is pure joy! Wouldn't it be nice to have issued 50 tickets, for a total of $7100? That means I spent $35 for issuing a ticket. Overtime I can get it down to the cents per ticket issued. This of course is for the greater good of other motor vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. A large # of people here in Portland are still on their cellphones will driving. This afternoon I was at a coffee shop sitting outside and counted 33 drivers on their phones in the span of 15 minutes. Disgusting and 100% unacceptable. I will be running all of these idiots through the court system.
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Old 12-05-12, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
I get no financial kickback for issuing these tickets. What I do get is happiness that the driver must pay $142 AND more importantly a message to NOT text or make calls while driving, per Oregon law. This law wasn't created just to give drivers a bad day. There is endless research that shows the dangers of driving while texting or making phone calls, which all of us here on BF are all aware of. So, GoPro camera at its cheapest is $199. All I need to do is get a minimum of two drivers successfully ticketed and I feel as though my camera is "paid off". Every subsequent ticket is pure joy! Wouldn't it be nice to have issued 50 tickets, for a total of $7100? That means I spent $35 for issuing a ticket. Overtime I can get it down to the cents per ticket issued. This of course is for the greater good of other motor vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. A large # of people here in Portland are still on their cellphones will driving. This afternoon I was at a coffee shop sitting outside and counted 33 drivers on their phones in the span of 15 minutes. Disgusting and 100% unacceptable. I will be running all of these idiots through the court system.
If you are issuing tickets does that mean you are a law enforcement person and are just using the camera to support the ticket?
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Old 12-05-12, 07:33 PM
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Agent,

I would like to plea with you not to take the approach you are considering. Sure, get a camera for your own safety and to document any unprovoked attacks/violations against you, but riding around as a vigilante will only give us all a bad rap.

Stay calm out there man. Breath the air and listen to the birds sing.
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Old 12-05-12, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Are you sure? When I have asked local law enforcement about this issue, they have said the exact same thing. However, if you note my OR location and the posts by agent pombero, you will see that my local cops were lying to me.
Well, I was in a motor vehicle accident in SC and the state trooper investigating said basically the same thing. Well, kind of. My understanding is that "home made" video is not always admissible in court because there is not always a clear chain of custody. Thus, LEO's are loathe to use shaky evidence on something "minor".
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Old 12-05-12, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
it's a little ridiculous that cops try to get away with saying they have to witness an offense. How many shoplifting incidents have they witnessed? That would be a ridiculous standard for their involvement. We might as well get rid of them if that was the case.
My conclusion exactly. "Was anyone hurt" is another excuse not to attend. So if there was a bank robbery would they offer that dumb excuse?
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Old 12-05-12, 10:19 PM
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@ Agent Pombero

I personally have no issues with civilian enforcement of the legal code provided it is done correctly. I have after all have represented myself in court plenty while managing to keep suffering a fool as my attorney (myself) to a minimum.

I would suggest that a stationary position "stake out" would surve you much better then using a bicycle especially if you can get some long good film of them sitting at a stop light getting some zoomed in full facial shots of them in action with their phones through the windows along with good shots of the vehicle and license plate and then driving up to the stop point with the phone in use and continuing to use the phone as they drive away.

I would also absolutely tell you to do a whole lot of study and research and to make sure every "t" is crossed and every "i" is dotted. And you might consider buying a ballistic vest and wearing it under a shirt that hides it (check OR law of course, in my state at least wearing a vest without commiting any crime yourself and while unarmed is considered a purely defensive measure) there was one time in my life where I had a dangerous job where I was unarmed and exposed to less then nice people on a daily basis and that was the only legal measure I could take to keep myself from being a total target victim. I am serious about that suggestion and I am also saying it to give you an idea what kind of response you are potential facing if you p*$$ of the wrong person.
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Old 12-05-12, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by HawkOwl View Post
If you are issuing tickets does that mean you are a law enforcement person and are just using the camera to support the ticket?
No, I am just Joe Blow citizen. Oregon law allows regular citizens to issue traffic citations (read post #3).
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Old 12-05-12, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
@ Agent Pombero

I personally have no issues with civilian enforcement of the legal code provided it is done correctly. I have after all have represented myself in court plenty while managing to keep suffering a fool as my attorney (myself) to a minimum.

I would suggest that a stationary position "stake out" would surve you much better then using a bicycle especially if you can get some long good film of them sitting at a stop light getting some zoomed in full facial shots of them in action with their phones through the windows along with good shots of the vehicle and license plate and then driving up to the stop point with the phone in use and continuing to use the phone as they drive away.

I would also absolutely tell you to do a whole lot of study and research and to make sure every "t" is crossed and every "i" is dotted. And you might consider buying a ballistic vest and wearing it under a shirt that hides it (check OR law of course, in my state at least wearing a vest without commiting any crime yourself and while unarmed is considered a purely defensive measure) there was one time in my life where I had a dangerous job where I was unarmed and exposed to less then nice people on a daily basis and that was the only legal measure I could take to keep myself from being a total target victim. I am serious about that suggestion and I am also saying it to give you an idea what kind of response you are potential facing if you p*$$ of the wrong person.
Excellent ideas, thank you. Won't be wearing any body armour though, no fear of a bullet here.
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