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Is It Worth Fighting a Bike Traffic Ticket

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Is It Worth Fighting a Bike Traffic Ticket

Old 02-28-12, 06:14 PM
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Is It Worth Fighting a Bike Traffic Ticket

im not from southern california and i was in carlsbad, riding east on vista way and didnt realize that it becomes a freeway when it crosses the 5. i realized it as soon as i crossed but by then it was too late. i stopped on the shoulder just past the on-ramp, trying to decide what to do and a cop came up on a motorcycle and issued me a citation for failing to obey posted signs. i went back to the intersection and there is a sign, but its not very obvious. i was concentrating too hard on traffic and missed it.

since i dont live here, i dont plan on being here for the date he gave me but i went on to the court website and the fine is $235!! i couldnt believe it. i figured that was a pretty minor offense. of course it is my fault and i really have nothing to contest but wow thats a lot! is that the normal fine or is it more because i was on a bike? anybody ever fight one of these before?
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Old 02-28-12, 06:47 PM
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"I didn't notice the sign" won't get you very far in court. You could hire one of those ticket fighting lawyers - but they'll charge at least $235. If you don't plan on visiting California again, you could just ignore it.
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Old 02-28-12, 07:25 PM
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Eastbound Vista Way/78 and I-5 is one of the most hazardous intersections in Southern California. When I go through it in my car, I rub my rabbit's foot, touch bobblehead Jesus on the dashboard, say a prayer and close my eyes. Pay the fine and thank God you made it out alive.
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Old 02-28-12, 08:04 PM
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You weren't following vicelord's map were you?
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Old 02-28-12, 08:11 PM
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I'm looking at the intersection in Google Street View and I don't see any signs saying that bikes are prohibited. There is a sign that says "Begin freeway". Which, by itself, does not mean that you shouldn't go there - bicycles are allowed on many freeways. If you're not supposed to go on the freeway, there's usually a separate sign that says "Pedestrians, bicycles, motor-driven cycles prohibited". However, I don't know how up-to-date Google Street View is.

Yes, California traffic fines are steep. $235 isn't as bad as it could be. A speeding ticket will cost you closer to $500.

You may be able to challenge the ticket by mail.
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Old 02-28-12, 08:42 PM
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Ignorance to the law, as we all learned in the 10th grade, is no excuse!! Therefore, fight it.
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Old 02-28-12, 09:05 PM
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Here's a link to the Department of Transportation web site, it says that there must be a sign that explicitly prohibits bicyclists from traveling on the freeway:

https://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/paffairs/faq/faq67.htm

If the sign isn't there, you may be able to beat the ticket. I would recommend to drive back to the intersection and to make a few pictures as evidence.
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Old 02-28-12, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by channelz28
i went back to the intersection and there is a sign, but its not very obvious.
What did the sign say?

California is broke. They're trying to make up revenue any way they can. Cops have been told to write cites and I'm pretty sure judges are not being very lenient, either. I'd pay it and be done.
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Old 02-28-12, 09:31 PM
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Next time you will know

to tell him your name is Eddy Mercx.
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Old 02-28-12, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by PhotoJoe
What did the sign say?
There's a 2x3 sign that says Begin Freeway that might get lost in the other signs and signals but it's hard to miss the big green ones over the lanes.

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Old 02-29-12, 08:28 AM
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I was nailed for failure to obey a few months back. I was going to fight the ticket and had a pretty good argument BUT after pondering the whole ordeal of taking on the MAN, I thought F it, I did what I did and in the end will get nailed regardless of my justification & rationalization.
My fine was $195. I guess these fines are like gas prices, they just keep going up....
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Old 02-29-12, 08:53 AM
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no, there is another sign that prohibits bicycles...the normal one on every freeway entrance that says "pedestrians and bicycles prohibited" or whatever. its just farther off to the side and you probably wouldnt notice it unless you were making a right turn on to I-5. but it is there.

i will have to think of it as a donation to the california debt fund. $500 for a speeding ticket?? wow. i guess its been a long time since i was ticketed for anything.
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Old 02-29-12, 10:42 AM
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I just noticed that the ad on this page - at the top - is for "Fight and Beat Your Ticket, Guaranteed" for $179. I hit the link and went to www.ticketkick.com Interesting coincidence (I have no connection to this business by the way). If you have ever fought a ticket in CA, you'll know that it can be a colossal waste of time - I used to fight mine, but it is nearly impossible unless you have a really unique set of circumstances.
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Old 02-29-12, 10:49 AM
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I am more used to seeing people around me getting $500-700 tickets lately... (typically the camera ones...) Ticket price around $250-350 and than... all kind of interesting fees...! Wonder how much would be ticket price for speeding on bicycle... or blasting through stop -_-;
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Old 02-29-12, 10:58 AM
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If you have the time and you have a California driver's license, it's always worth at LEAST going to court to see if your cop shows up. No cop, no ticket. If you see him sitting over there chuckling with his pals, you can always get the judge to offer you traffic school (which you can do on line). I'm sure your car insurance will find out about it otherwise and jack your rates, even though you weren't in a car.

As mentioned above, take some pictures of the approach to the highway, try to find an angle where a tree obscures the sign or something and go with that.

And yeah, Governor Moonbeam signed new, dramatically higher fines into effect this year. Welcome to the wealth redistribution zone.
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Old 02-29-12, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by channelz28
riding east on vista way and didnt realize that it becomes a freeway when it crosses the 5. i realized it as soon as i crossed but by then it was too late.


No, too late would have been if you proceeded further and attempted negotiating where the two lanes coming off North 5 merge into East 78. Very high probability you would be a statistic at this point. Sorry about the ticket but count your blessings that nothing worse happened.

As far as the suggestion to just blow off the ticket, I don't know about that. A few years back a portion of President Obama's stimulus money was put into updating states Department of Motor Vehicles and the ability to "access" information from other states. Two years ago there was a hold on my CA DL renewal, after several calls I found out the hold was from an unpaid speeding ticket in Sanders, AZ from 1988.

Last edited by atmdad; 02-29-12 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 02-29-12, 12:17 PM
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Good point... I went to college in NY with a MASS driver's license, which was revoked by New York at one point (in upstate NY, you will get tickets for going 61 in a 55, in CA, you'll get run over). I changed states to Georgia, then Florida, then lived overseas for 3 years and roughly 12 years later couldn't get a CA license because of that little NY issue. Had to pay a $25 ransom to get my CA license.
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Old 02-29-12, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by channelz28
no, there is another sign that prohibits bicycles...the normal one on every freeway entrance that says "pedestrians and bicycles prohibited" or whatever. its just farther off to the side and you probably wouldnt notice it unless you were making a right turn on to I-5. but it is there.
Is it so far off to the side that you might argue that it only applies to the I-5 onramp?
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Old 02-29-12, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
(in upstate NY, you will get tickets for going 61 in a 55, in CA, you'll get run over).
You got that right.

That ticket I had was for doing around 75 mph or so eastbound on the I-40. Luckily I didn't caught for littering 20 miles down the road when I crossed the New Mexico border
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Old 02-29-12, 01:46 PM
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It is worth fighting but that means coming here, getting a court date to argue your case and then attending the court date.

Just an FYI all tickets in CA are expensive... ride cautiously.
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Old 02-29-12, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique
It is worth fighting but that means coming here, getting a court date to argue your case and then attending the court date.

No, I disagree. I was just in traffic court for making a rolling stop. I was there for about three hours before my case was called, and I can tell you that none of the defendants called before me caught a break. None won their case, including me.

Just an FYI all tickets in CA are expensive... ride cautiously.
Very very true. I was stunned by the fines and surcharges. As pointed out in a previous post, I think the state government/local governments are under severe financial stress and have figured that traffic tickets/fines are kinda "low-hanging fruits" to be ferociously plucked.
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Old 02-29-12, 03:15 PM
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You may wanna get a hold of the bike shop that is right there and see if they have heard of anyone else getting ticketed or out of tickets there.
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Old 02-29-12, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by eugenek
Is it so far off to the side that you might argue that it only applies to the I-5 onramp?
yes. that is the thought i had in my head. im gonna take their 30 day extension and see if i just happen to be around then. i tend to wander in and out of the area. thanks for all the "support" hehe.
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Old 02-29-12, 06:00 PM
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Look up trial by declaration. You may be able to submit a written declaration that may get you out of it. If you don't, then just pay the fine.
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Old 02-29-12, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Rumpled
Look up trial by declaration. You may be able to submit a written declaration that may get you out of it. If you don't, then just pay the fine.
It may also be possible to do a walk-in appearance and to deal with the ticket in the next few days, before you leave San Diego. Call the court and ask them.
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