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Ticketed for Running a Red Light

Old 09-14-10, 08:26 AM
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Ticketed for Running a Red Light

I just got a ticket for running a red light in Brooklyn, NY, not in Manhattan where there is a bunch of people at intersections. This is my first time getting the ticket and the fine is $270. I really don't want to pay this. Is there a chance that it might get dropped if I go to court with it since it is my first time getting the ticket? Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-14-10, 08:58 AM
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Rules of the road are pretty simple. A bike is a vehicle and as such you have the same rights and responsibilities. You ran a red light... car or bike makes no difference. Unless you can prove that you didn't run the light than you are going to have to pay. I personally will wait for red lights. Stop sighns on the other hand I tend to use a yield signs. I generally ride in very quiet suburban areas, so I can see that there are no cars on the street for at least 1/10 to 1/4 of a mile in any direct so I feel that I am in no way putting myself or anyone else in danger. If I ride in heavy urban areas I have to make full stops more often. I know I could possibly get a ticket for rolling through a stop sign in quiet area. if I ever get caught by a cop, but since I look for ANY car on the road. The chance is pretty low, but if I ever get busted, I know it will be my fault. Granted virtually none of the cars I've ever seen in front of me have bothered to come to a full stop, but that is not excuse for me.

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Old 09-14-10, 09:11 AM
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Tough to fight it if you are guilty. I have run a red a couple of times recently, but that's after waiting for the light to change and failing because the road sensor isn't set for a bike.
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Old 09-14-10, 09:19 AM
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$270? - ouch!
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Old 09-14-10, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Adroitly
I just got a ticket for running a red light in Brooklyn, NY, not in Manhattan where there is a bunch of people at intersections. This is my first time getting the ticket and the fine is $270. I really don't want to pay this. Is there a chance that it might get dropped if I go to court with it since it is my first time getting the ticket? Thanks in advance.
If you want to get out of the ticket, getting a lawyer will be much more helpful then asking around on BF. If you want to avoid future tickets, don't run red lights.
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Old 09-14-10, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Adroitly
the fine is $270. I really don't want to pay this.
You spin the wheel, you take your chances.
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Old 09-14-10, 09:38 AM
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You can take your chances and fight it. A lot of traffic tickets get dropped because no one shows up to prosecute, and you get a default judgment in your favour.

However, if someone does turn up, you will lose. And if NY is anything like where I live, you'll also pay an additional fine to cover court costs for your spurious challenge. A good lawyer could probably find some technicality to argue, but you'd end up spending at least as much on the lawyer as you'll save on the ticket.

But here's a tip. If you don't run red lights, you don't get tickets. The rules of the road are not that complicated.
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Old 09-14-10, 09:38 AM
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You are not the only one. https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...bike-%28NYC%29
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Old 09-14-10, 09:47 AM
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Not sure if this whole show, and dance works for the boroughs but this is how it works in the rest of NY. First plead not guilty on the ticket (regardless whether or not you are), and mail it in. They will notify you of a court date. It used to be if the cop that gave you the ticket didn't show up you'd be off scott free, not sure if that still works, but even if he does show up, you'll more than likely be able to plead the ticket down to a lesser amount, or even a lesser violation like a parking a infraction. Basically if you have the time to go to court, and won't be losing to much missing work, it's worth it.
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Old 09-14-10, 10:06 AM
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Um. "Do the crime" and all that...
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Old 09-14-10, 10:27 AM
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My wife gets tickets all the time in the city. Nabbed by a camera running yellows...

Her last one was $50. In a car. Nearly $300 for a bike running a red is over the top.
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Old 09-14-10, 10:38 AM
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When I got a $300 ticket for running a stop sign, I told the clerk, "I'm not paying that!" She asked me if I wanted a court date, I said "Sure!" and when I stood before the judge, he said, "$300 seems a bit excessive, no? I'll take it down to $150." Since I did, in fact, run some stop signs, I said, sounds good to me. Then I paid my ticket.
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Old 09-14-10, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Standalone
My wife gets tickets all the time in the city. Nabbed by a camera running yellows...

Her last one was $50. In a car. Nearly $300 for a bike running a red is over the top.
It's the same fine if you do it in a car. It's a different offense from being caught by a revenue camera.
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Old 09-14-10, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Standalone
My wife gets tickets all the time in the city. Nabbed by a camera running yellows...

Her last one was $50. In a car. Nearly $300 for a bike running a red is over the top.
Yeah.... the camera tickets are legally the equivalent of a parking ticket; they don't go against the driver, the go against the registered owner, plus no points on the license. You can say they are just for revenue, but around here they've made a bigger difference in terms of prevent red light running than any other method I've seen, since they are there all the time, 24/7. It's not a question of taking your chances, hoping a cop is't there; you KNOW you will be ticketed and you stop. Since red light runners really grind my gears, I like the cameras.
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Old 09-14-10, 11:24 AM
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It happened to me once a while ago in Manhattan. I was nice to the cop and very apologetic and I got away with a $40 ticket "for improper operation of a bicycle".

Originally Posted by travelmama
That guy is a complete idiot.

"I think its a little unfair considering I honestly didn't know the rules" - ignorance of the law is never an excuse

"I am new to biking and wasn't aware that bikes had to stop on a red light" - don't they teach that in grammar school?

Talking like that to a cop will guarantee you a maximum fine.
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Old 09-14-10, 11:42 AM
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Hire a lawyer and/or talk to the prosecutor or whichever gov't agency handles traffic tickets in your area. Often they'll drop the price (or charge, at the very least) just for asking if your record is clean. A traffic lawyer may be pretty cheap for this.

I've done this numerous times when I've been guilty as sin (for traffic violations in a car, that is) and it seems to work well. Absolutely do NOT just pay the ticket, then it will be on your record, and if you happen to run a stop sign again it will show up, lessening your chances of getting your second find reduced/eliminated. Get the charges lowered (for example, I had a large speeding ticket reduced to "operating a vehicle with a improperly attached muffler" and a hefty fine) at the very least to keep your record clean.

Employers often check your traffic record, along with credit agencies, landlords, etc - it is in your best interest to keep it clean.

FWIW, after a few expensive tickets I decided it was cheaper/smarter/safer to drive slower and more legally and haven't gotten a ticket in years now. Although I do coast through stop signs on my bike...

Last edited by DirtRoadRunner; 09-14-10 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 09-14-10, 12:02 PM
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Get a lawyer if you want, pay what you have to, stop f&&*king running stop lights. It makes all cyclists the bad guys in the eyes of the driving public.
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Old 09-14-10, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by dcrowell
If you want to get out of the ticket, getting a lawyer will be much more helpful then asking around on BF. If you want to avoid future tickets, don't run red lights.
or dont stop
found out in tokyo, a bike is MUCH faster than a car in the city
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Old 09-14-10, 12:40 PM
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$270 seems a bit crazy you may be able to get it lowered if you go to court.

I run red lights, but only after slowing way the hell down or stopping, and looking. I might get a ticket for that eventually but I know that running lights (after confirming, and double-checking that I have a clear way through) is safer for me in NYC traffic, since it puts me on an empty road with a stoplight behind me. I don't run lights at long major intersections, even if it is totally clear, only short simple intersections where I have a clear view in both directions (even if it is one way). I also look for cops, if there is a cop around, and no traffic to disappear into, I don't run the light. If there is traffic I don't worry because the cop can't keep up.
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Old 09-14-10, 01:08 PM
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Tell the judge or cop next time that you promise you will stop twice to make up for it.

I tried that line to a cop one time when he stop me for driving my car through a stop sign. We laugh and guess what? It don't work
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Old 09-14-10, 01:21 PM
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Don't know about Brooklyn but here you have a 3rd option besides paying the ticket or seeing a judge. You can schedule an appointment with an "officer of the court" (I forget their exact title). If your driving record is pretty clean they'll give you a couple of options, - a reduced fine or keeping the infraction off your permanent record as long as you don't have another one in the next 12 months.

You're basically pleading guilty. Trying to convince the officer of the court that you shouldn't have gotten the ticket is pointless. They can't make a determination on guilt or innocence. They're only authorized to cut you a deal within well defined parameters.

I think other municipalities are doing this too to reduce the backlog in the courts. If you don't like the options you're presented with, you can still go to court.

From an ethical standpoint I don't really like it. People who don't or can't read the fine print on the ticket won't even know it's an option.

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Old 09-14-10, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by yokotas13
or dont stop
found out in tokyo, a bike is MUCH faster than a car in the city
That may be so, but if you get caught you will be spending some time entertaining Bubba in jail...
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Old 09-14-10, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by colleen c
I tried that line to a cop one time when he stop me for driving my car through a stop sign. We laugh and guess what? It don't work
I was riding through Belletown ( busy, somewhat residential district with lots of food, clubs and retail on the edge of downtown ) and a few other cyclists were on the same road. I went through a yellow, and another guy came up behind me. He said "Damn. I told a cop I wouldn't run any more red lights today." Apparently he'd been yelled at on his bike, said "Sorry! Won't do it again today!" and continued to ride on. The cop didn't chase, and he broke his promise.

If the guy had done that in a car, the police would have chased him down and caught him.
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Old 09-14-10, 01:48 PM
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Go to court and take your chances. I did that with a seatbelt violation and got my fine greatly reduced.
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Old 09-14-10, 01:55 PM
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$270 doesn't seem out of line to me. I wouldn't expect ANY ticket to be less than $150, and running a red light is one of the more serious charges of those not involving actually hitting something.
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