Bike Ticket: Ran Stop Sign

Messages
4,837
Location
Central Texas
Just returned from a pre-trial hearing, where I was hoping to have this charge dismissed. When that didn't happen, I elected to proceed to a jury trial "in a few months". Perhaps some lawyer/officer can explain this to me. Somethings disturbing about this whole scenario. Late in March 2016, on a Sat., around 4:45pm, I head out of my neighborhood to go biking along a very hilly roadway. I have to climb a rather LONG hill 200yrds?, just to get to the roadway. By the time I reach the top, I'm beat and doing circles to rest & cool off. Up comes a county sherrif deputy, pulls into the far, right hand land, waiting on a red light. He's eyeying me suspiciously. I move into position just off of his RR corner, about 20' back and slide off the seat as I can't reach the ground at all when on the seat. He's in the right lane, with a curb on the right, no sidewalk. He has no blinker on. This is a grassy median divided 2-lane hwy with traffic lights. I scan the intersection, wondering why he hasn't moved off. Traffic is rather light for the time on a Sat. The light is still red. I assume he's going to turn right, so the LAST place I want to be is even with him for my own protection. Yet he doesn't move. Is he talking on the phone? Looking at his laptop? Don't know. There are no cars behind me that I remember, as I'm fixated on him, waiting for him to move on. By now I'm surprised the red light hasn't greened. Growing impatient, I begin to move past him on the right side. I'm not able to pedal while next to his vehicle as there isn't enough space between the car and the curb. So I'm off the saddle, left foot on the pedal, right foot on the ground, moving slowly forward. I move past him, rt foot on pedal, move to the saddle and immediately turn right onto the shoulder, well to the right of the white line. I go about 20'. He immediately turns on his siren, pulls onto the shoulder, lights a flashing, exits his vehicle, comes up to me and is just indignant. YOU DIDN'T SEE THAT RED LIGHT? WHY DIDN'T YOU STOP? Now in my 55 orbits around our star, I've never been stopped for a bicycle violation, moving or otherwise. Furthermore, my driving record is clean. I think the last warning I received was for a tail light out, more than a decade ago. The last time I was actually issued a tkt?......20yrs ago? 25yrs ago? My tendency when confronted like this is to freeze, observe and think. "Me thinks he doth protesteth too much". He's not just mad, he's indignant. Why? I said I was stopped behind him, waiting for him to turn right, for several minutes. When he didn't, I moved ahead and immediately turned right to get away from him (or any car). I was already confused by his lack of action and now his attitude. So I only answered questions he asked. "Drivers license?" No. I do have my Tx DL# memorized but he wanted name & address. After doing the tablet-paper-work, he hands me a ticket. I'm looking at him and it through my very dark sunglasses, in disbelief. I contact the court as directed via email. Follow up with a phone call to insure they have received my contact. And finally received a pre-trial hearing date, which I attended today at 9am. I'm told I can plead guilty, pay a fine of ~ $300, for a Class C Misdameanor, have a moving violation appear on my driving record, which will up my "points" (?) Or ask for a trial, with or without a jury. I stare at the guy a bit, taking this all in, and ask him "for toeing a bike...into an intersection and turning right?????" I didn't note a speed on the ticket. "It doesn't matter...it's a moving violation". On a bike? moving along on my foot" This is absurd. More disbelief. I ask "Is this violation truly worth the courts, judges and juries time? I was hoping it would be dismissed". He's still typing on his LT. evidently not.... Given the options, I reply that I would like for a jury of my peers to hear this case and let them decide.I sign my request for trial and I'm out-of-there. Still amazed! So I need to prepare for my trial. I was told that the state has the "burden of proof", that I don't have to testify. Well those are legal terms, involving legal proceedures and I'm an engineer, not a lawyer. So I'm not sure how I should proceed. Ranting & raving isn't going to work. Not my style anyway. I can obtain a large map of the intersection. I can also take some measurements, slope angles, width of the lanes, distance to the curb and several photos showing different vehicles in the right hand land, waiting to turn left. How much space is left between a car & the curb. I get the feeling my action was interpreted as an open, blatent challenge to his authority and he didn't take it well at all. How dare I do such a thing? Much less expect a "warning". When I talked later with a neighbor, they replied some deputies were speeding around the neighborhood earlier, but not sure why. There were two deputy vehicles. Perhaps what they had to deal with then set this guy off? I don't know. His partner vehicle arrived shortly after he already had me stopped. He drove by very slowly, looking over, then sped up and took off, like he had somewhere to be. The county attorney believes it doesn't make a difference if I moved on at 1 ft/sec or 44 ft/sec (30mph). It's irrelevant. A moving violation is a moving violation is a moving violation. Period. Even in weird, wacky, Austin?? The hip/hop/flip/flop/be-bop/do-whop capitol "of the world!!!" So what's your experience with the police/sherrif and traffic violations on a bike? My 29 yr old bike isn't even worth $300. What's the best way to go about defending myself against such a high fine & "running a red light on a bicycle" in front of judge & jury? Convince them that this is WAY too heavy-handed and dismiss the case?
 
Messages
9,793
Location
Ontario, Canada
I wouldn't go with the "waste of time" defense. I would argue that you turned right on the red after stopping, just like any car. You did your stopping behind the police car and then was able to proceed safely.
 
Messages
3,599
Location
Parts Unknown
Originally Posted By: rideahorse
Well. If you bicyclers want to share the road you need to use the road as just like all other vehicles have too.
This. As a cyclist, the minority that does not respect the rules of the road gives us a bad name.
 
Messages
3,159
Location
Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: UG_Passat
Originally Posted By: rideahorse
Well. If you bicyclers want to share the road you need to use the road as just like all other vehicles have too.
This. As a cyclist, the minority that does not respect the rules of the road gives us a bad name.
+1 I am not a cyclist but I cant tell you how many times they have almost been killed because they are not paying attention to the rules of the road.
 
Messages
7,485
Location
S California
Let us know what happens. I had a right turn problem but in a car. I pulled up behind a car in front of me. The car in front stopped well into the crosswalk so far that when I stopped behind him I was right at the first line of the crosswalk where one is supposed to stop. There was no traffic. When the car in front pulled out I did the same, after all I had stopped at the proper place not out into the intersection. A cop lit me up and started to write a ticket for running the stop sign. I explained what I did and the cop said wait a minute. He walked back the short distance to the intersection and looked around. He came back and said I was right and he apologized for his mistake. I thanked him for listening to my statement and we went our separate ways. I sent an e-mail to the police department explaining what happened and said I wanted to thank the officer for taking the time to understand what I had to say. I have no idea if anyone even read the e-mail but it made me feel better.
 

pbm

Messages
8,900
Location
New York
Originally Posted By: UG_Passat
Originally Posted By: rideahorse
Well. If you bicyclers want to share the road you need to use the road as just like all other vehicles have too.
This. As a cyclist, the minority that does not respect the rules of the road gives us a bad name.
I'm generally pro-police but it's CLOWNS like this 'deputy' that give cops a bad name. I'd heed the advice already given and go to court with pictures....stay calm....say you were walking the bike because the officer made the scene UNSAFE by standing there....I'll bet the jury clears you....in fact I bet these yocals won't follow through....they'll dismiss it when they realize they look like horses rectums..
 
Messages
2,053
Location
North Carolina
Originally Posted By: UG_Passat
Originally Posted By: rideahorse
Well. If you bicyclers want to share the road you need to use the road as just like all other vehicles have too.
This. As a cyclist, the minority that does not respect the rules of the road gives us a bad name.
Agree, Us cyclist get enough flack from motorist due to those that do not follow the ROTR. My biggest fear is getting hit because of someone texting and not paying attention. It is bad enough that we are hard to be seen. I wear bright colors and have bright flashing LED's. I look like a circus clown on the road.
 
Messages
838
Location
One Step Beyond
Unless a person is a total idiot, no bike-ride should cost him $300. from a Ticket. The Officer could have given you a toung-lashing. At Trial, could you plead guilty to a lesser violation such as a Parking Violation ? That's what I did with a recent Speeding Ticket. It cost me $150. with NO Points on my License. Good luck in Court. Let us know what happens.
 
Messages
157
Location
Chicagoland, IL
I would also get into the habit of referring to bicycle, not bike, every time you mention it. When I say I 'bike' people think motor, not pedal. And I also would claim to 'walking aspect" and ask how a non-motorized vechile can get a ticket intended for motor vechiles.
 
Messages
6,688
Location
New England
Unfortunate set of events and choice by you to pass cop. Now a colossal waste of time. i seriously doubt this will make it to court. The prosecutor will likely find larger fish to fry and throw this out. Let us know how it goes.
 
Messages
1,571
Location
Ca
If right on red is OK after stopping, I judge you innocent. I hope the cop admits you did stop and look before proceeding.
 
Messages
15,965
Location
NE,Ohio
WAIT WAIT.. Do I have this right.. you got your ticket for walking your bike around a police car that wasnt making a right on red? 300$ and DRIVER LICENSE POINTS???? Just be calm no jury of your true peers will convict you.
 

sleddriver

Thread starter
Messages
4,837
Location
Central Texas
Originally Posted By: madRiver
Unfortunate set of events and choice by you to pass cop. Now a colossal waste of time. i seriously doubt this will make it to court. The prosecutor will likely find larger fish to fry and throw this out. Let us know how it goes.
Indeed. I'll never do that again. Once was one-too-many. Matter of fact, I haven't riden on that road at all since. (My waist line & blood pressure show it....) The prosecutor did have a chance to dismiss this case; this morning, I thought. He chose not to. As such, I'm going forward and will note his decision in my prepared statement.
 
Messages
1,712
Location
VA
I'm not sure I understand what happened. You assumed he was going to turn right, even though he didn't signal it. Is that because the far-right lane was a turn-only lane? Also, where were you "doing circles" before he arrived? Maybe he had the idea that you weren't waiting your turn--he was there first, and you passed him to make your turn? Maybe there's a law against that, or maybe he was trying to show you who's in charge. Also, is a right turn on red legal? Do any local traffic laws refer specifically to bikes? For example, the city where I live allows bikes (and possibly even motorcycles) to go through a red light after stopping if it can be done safely. That's because the lights are activated by sensors, and a person on a bicycle isn't heavy enough to trip the sensor. I would be studying up on the traffic laws and maybe hiring a lawyer. The cost might be worth it if it keeps your record clean. As every bicycle thread on BITOG demonstrates, you can't assume all jurors will be on your side.
 
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