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Unbelievable. An innocent lunch time ride turned into a brush/smack with the law. I don't claim to be a saint, but I do respect the rules of the road and make an effort to be a courteous cyclist. Today while riding through a residential neighborhood with a couple four-way stops, I met my match. I did my normal, break, stand up, look both ways, and roll through the intersection (if there are no cars of course - if there are cars I wait my turn). There wasn't a car in sight and I was on my way. About 45 seconds later I hear the siren and look back to see Johnny Law blaring the lights for me to pull over. I felt a little put out that this would eat into my riding time, but was prepared for his warning and I'd be on my way. I was polite with the yes sir, no sir, etc. but this guy gave me the rubber glove treatment and I ended up with a $100 ticket and a bad attitude for the rest of my ride.

I've never even heard of another cyclist actually getting a ticket before. Plenty of lectures and warnings, but never a ticket. So I'm curious if anyone out there has had their own brush with the law. I'm also interested in any advice on how to handle this one. I think I'll go to court and offer my "give me a break" plea but not sure if there's a better strategy. Any ideas?

PS....how do you exit gracefully after being pulled over on a bike? In a car you can throw a little gravel, maybe squeal the tires, but on a bike??? Stand up and slap your butt as you pump away as hard as you can???
 

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Sorry to hear. As a kiddie, I was lectured by the local sherrif about my riding practice. At 12, what does a kid know so I learned on that curb. I'd rolled through a yellow light across an intersection. I've been cited on my bicycle before for ignoring traffic control devices/signs.

Generally, resiential streets aren't a big deal but perhaps this one has been the location for other pedistrian, bicycle, vehicle encounters. The local law will be quick to spread the word by citing people who travel this location and not follow the law.
 

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Try this

You really should just pay the ticket and be done with it. As I'm sure you know, cyclists have to follow the same rules of the road as other vehicles ( except in Idaho I think it is, where you can roll stop signs if there is no cross-traffic). You really don't have anything to stand on to fight it, it will just be a waste of your time.
I got a ticket for going through a stop sign last summer. It was in a residential area at 7:30am, no car traffic in sight. it cost me $146.
 

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$100 is a bargain. My recent ticket for the same thing has a base fine of $242. (In Oregon we're getting tough on traffic violators.) I talked with a local "bike lawyer" who said that there was a 30% chance the cop wouldn't show for a trial. Generally, if he did show, I'd not have much of a defense, but I got a bit of a break. He wrote the wrong intersection on the citation.

My goal in my hearing will be to impeach him on the contradiction between what he describes in court as having happened (at intersection A) and then point out that the citation is directed to intersection B. If I get a chance, I'll even get him ahead of time to say that what I did at intersection B was either legal, or that he didn't see it. Then I point out what the citation says.

If not for that error, I'd just pay my fine.
 

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NeoRetroGrouch
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Dirt-Rode said:
Unbelievable. An innocent lunch time ride turned into a brush/smack with the law. I don't claim to be a saint, but I do respect the rules of the road and make an effort to be a courteous cyclist. Today while riding through a residential neighborhood with a couple four-way stops, I met my match. I did my normal, break, stand up, look both ways, and roll through the intersection (if there are no cars of course - if there are cars I wait my turn). There wasn't a car in sight and I was on my way. About 45 seconds later I hear the siren and look back to see Johnny Law blaring the lights for me to pull over. I felt a little put out that this would eat into my riding time, but was prepared for his warning and I'd be on my way. I was polite with the yes sir, no sir, etc. but this guy gave me the rubber glove treatment and I ended up with a $100 ticket and a bad attitude for the rest of my ride.

I've never even heard of another cyclist actually getting a ticket before. Plenty of lectures and warnings, but never a ticket. So I'm curious if anyone out there has had their own brush with the law. I'm also interested in any advice on how to handle this one. I think I'll go to court and offer my "give me a break" plea but not sure if there's a better strategy. Any ideas?

PS....how do you exit gracefully after being pulled over on a bike? In a car you can throw a little gravel, maybe squeal the tires, but on a bike??? Stand up and slap your butt as you pump away as hard as you can???
You broke the law, you pay the ticket. I think most of us roll through stop signs on the bike and in our cars and we have to be prepared to pay the consequences. - TF
 

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LOOK lover
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Instead of this:
"...my normal, break, stand up, look both ways, and roll through the intersection..."​
Try this:
...my normal, brake, track stand, look both ways, and then roll through the intersection..."​
and you should be okay.
 

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Fight the ticket! It's a pain in the ass, but you can win. Postpone your court appearance, that makes it more likely that johnny law will miss your date - and say that you know how to trackstand (better learn if you don't know how) and when you talk to the judge, say that you are able to stop completely w/o taking your feet off of the pedals - and that you stopped - if you admit to rolling the stop sign, you'll not win.

Too bad you got an a-hole cop. I'd have told him that I feel a lot safer knowing he's patroling bicycles in residential neightborhoods w/ zero traffic around vs. doing some real work. I respect cops, but not that one...
 

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You need local advice

I am a lawyer. But, my traffic court experience, with one notable exception, has been limited to representing myself. My notable exception taught me that you never should venture into a traffic court unless you know the local, unwritten rules. A friend had asked if I could go to traffic court with her boyfriend, who had been ticketed in a county about 75 miles from where I live. Every time I had been in traffic court, people in similar circumstances had gotten off with a fine and nothing else even though in theory one could be sent to jail for up to 60 days for the violation. Well, in this far flung county, one of the judges had a real issue with people who had commited violations like this one. As I stood there, he sentenced several with similar violations to serve several weekends in jail. Luckily, one of the lawyers in the courtroom recognized that I was an out of towner, took me out in the hall and told me how to get a postponement until a day when a different judge would be on the bench.

Before you do anything, find out how things are handled in your local court. For example, here in Maryland (in most places) if you are a first time offender, you never pay a ticket and instead go to court. If you plead not guilty then admit what you did and then say you are sorry, the judge usually will give you something called probation before judgment ("PBJ" -- Zeytin posted about this in NCD a few weeks ago) and fine you. But, if you don't have another violation during your probation period you don't get any points on your driving record -- something that you would get automatically if you just paid the ticket.

Good luck.
 

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I met someone who received a ticket for riding during dusk without a headlight. I forget how much the fine was, but considering how many <i>cars</i> drive around after sunset without headlights, I think the cop's time could have been better spent.
 

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I'm no legal expert, but if you did the crime, pay the fine. That's my legal advice. I won't charge you a cent for it. Unless you are prepared to lie in court, I don't know what your defense would be. Best you could do is hope he doesn't show up.
 

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Overweight, aging athlete
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California trackstands

Recently a training partner was cited for not stopping at a stop sign. This was after an envious track stand. The CHP that cited my buddy said that cyclist are required to put one foot to the ground to be "stopped". Not knowing the law we have all made this a practice.
However the local CHP officers tend to be extremely anti-cyclist and we have all had run ins and words with them.
Too bad your ticket wasn't for speeding...then you could frame it and put it on the wall.
Pay the fine...mutter under your breath and move on.
 

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PdxMark said:
$100 is a bargain. My recent ticket for the same thing has a base fine of $242. (In Oregon we're getting tough on traffic violators.) I talked with a local "bike lawyer" who said that there was a 30% chance the cop wouldn't show for a trial. Generally, if he did show, I'd not have much of a defense, but I got a bit of a break. He wrote the wrong intersection on the citation.
.
I got a ticket for going 25 mph on the freeway in stop-n-go traffic. Went to court, the CHP
idiot lied and the judge believed. First, I sat through alot of shet, hearing other people agrue
their cases and losing. Traffic court IS A KANGARRO COURT, you will not win unless you
have solid facts..
See if you can postpone until this cop has vacation days or a day off if you can, and go then. That is what someone on the TV advised people to do when wanting to beat tickets. Also, check the violation number code on your citation/ ticket. He he made a mistake and wrote
the wrong number for your violation, you will win. Good luck

Edit: Obviously I was in a car, not on my bike
 

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Chp

Geezer said:
Recently a training partner was cited for not stopping at a stop sign. This was after an envious track stand. The CHP that cited my buddy said that cyclist are required to put one foot to the ground to be "stopped". Not knowing the law we have all made this a practice.
However the local CHP officers tend to be extremely anti-cyclist and we have all had run ins and words with them.
Too bad your ticket wasn't for speeding...then you could frame it and put it on the wall.
Pay the fine...mutter under your breath and move on.

I live in California, and have heard of the "one foot on the ground" rule, but I believe it was invented by the CHP to write more tickets. I cannot find any reference to this requirement in the vehicle code, and I'm sure you could successfully challenge this in court. On a century ride I saw several CHP officers around the corner from a stop sign. One was video taping cyclists, one was flagging them down, and a couple were writing tickets. Now that's harrassment in my opinion, and the CHP should be making better use of their resources with all the maniacs on the road. I have recieved only one moving violation on my bike in 20 years, and that was from a CHP. The local police have never stopped me for rolling stops, etc. My only advice to Dirt-Rode is to make an appearance, apologize and hope for a reduced fine. :(
 

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you can't even do that here. Technically, the law defines a "stop" for a two-wheeled vehicle as putting a foot down.

It helps if you have cyclocross tyres. You know, to... go places that cars can't go and...
 

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Call me a Fred
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There wasn't a car in sight and I was on my way. About 45 seconds later I hear the siren and look back to see Johnny Law blaring the lights for me to pull over.
You have to expand you vision to look for law enforcement vehicles 'near' the intersection. If they can see you, you can see them.
 

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-Warned for no headlight, Napa Valley
-Pulled over on a tandem at night... fully lit up, Napa Valley.. CHP wanted to know everythng was ok
-Ticketed for riding with "no brakes" San Francisco... showed up with similar looking red bike with brakes and was excused.
-Warned for speeding, Napa Valley
- Warned for running a stop sign after holding a track stand, waved a car through. I didn't put my foot down and got the good cop, bad cop treatment.
Ticketed for rolling through intersection, Berkeley, extended court date twice, on court date, cop never showed... excused.

I've been lucky so far.
 

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Geezer said:
The CHP that cited my buddy said that cyclist are required to put one foot to the ground to be "stopped".
I believe the law is similar here in Illinois. So what's to stop us from unclipping a foot, tapping the roadway at 15mph and continuing. That would meet the "foot to the ground" rule.
 

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Call me a Fred
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I'll put my foot on the ground when motorists start putting their feet on the ground.
 

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Argentius said:
you can't even do that here. Technically, the law defines a "stop" for a two-wheeled vehicle as putting a foot down.

It helps if you have cyclocross tyres. You know, to... go places that cars can't go and...
FIRST -- You should tell us what state you're in. State law with respect to bikes varies greatly.

"Break" means to snap in two, or take time off. "Brake" means to stop. Sorry, it's my field and what I teach.

In OREGON . . . the law views bicycles as somewhere in between motor vehicles and pedestrians.

In OREGON the law says you need to "put your foot on the pavement for a stop on a two wheeled vehicle" IF the vehicle is MOTORIZED. You're NOT on a motorized vehicle. You're on a bicycle. In some very real sense motor vehicle laws don't apply.

For instance:

You're not required to possess a driver's license, nor is the vehicle required to be registered/tagged.

The bike is not required to have "adequate fenders" "a horn" "working stop lights." "headlights/tail-lights" . . . for starters.

In OREGON, motorcyclists are required to wear an approved helmet. Helmets for cyclists are required only for minors under 16 yrs.

So, arguing OREGON laws here . . . You're not a motor vehicle in some very real sense. OREGON legal views about cyclists generally are that they're exposed to serious injury and, accordingly, that exposure ensures that they ride "reasonably and prudently" because they're going to bear the brunt in a bike/car accident.

HOWEVER, bikes are viewed as something other than a pedestrian in issues involving right of way between bikes/pedestrians.

OREGON -- (Just emphasizing that statutes vary state to state) has "The Basic Rule" which states that "All vehicles shall be driven in a manner which is reasonable and prudent."

"Reasonable and prudent" -- I argued this in a written explanation on a speeding ticket. I was obeying the speed limit posted on a sign up the road a quarter mile. I could read the sign and assumed I was in that speed zone. It was the border for the speed zone change coming out of the city limits. I noted that I was driving "reasonable and prudent," and the judge dismissed the ticket.

First of all I'd contact a local bike advocacy group. There's plenty of lobbying and legislation going on about bike laws access to the road, and how bikes are defined in motor vehicle statutes. You need to advocate for bike access in this matter. You're being badgered as a cyclist. That sucks in terms of municipal policy and law enforcement.

Next, I'd appear in court with your bike, your clipless pedals, and I'd even be prepared to get on the bike, clip in and do a "track stand" for the court.

Most police, judges, etc. don't realize that you're strapped to the bike -- AND that being strapped to the bike provides control that you don't have when you take your foot out of the pedals. (Ask the judge if he'd/she'd like to sit on your bike and clip into the pedals.) The courts need to realize that you're under control on this bicycle and serious about safety.

You're riding "reasonable and prudent" -- following the "Basic Rule." You stopped for the intersection, looked for traffic, and reasonably and prudently negotiated the traffic control (stop sign). Emphasize to the court that if you're not "reasonable and prudent" that you risk serious injury, even death.

The police are being over-zealous. You're NOT on a motor-cycle. You're on a bicycle, and I'm betting had a child coasted through that same stop, the police would have given a "safety talk" and not a ticket. That's an "equal justice under the law" issue.

You did right by not acting pissy. When the police officer shows up in court on your ticket. (He probably won't, not for a stop sign and a bicycle.), he'll note to the judge if you tossed gravel and squeeled tires as you left the scene.

Yeah, PIA for sure. But you need to appear in court and EDUCATE the judge and police about cyclist's rights on the road -- which in some very real sense are the rights of PEDESTRIANS and not bound by rules for motor vehicles. You sure as hell are not bound by the rules for a motorcycle -- which in OREGON means you put your foot down for a stop on a MOTORCYCLE.
 

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Soul Mining
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I was once ticketed for an illegal left-hand turn when I was riding home from work. The cops were doing a sting on an intersection where turns are illegal during rush hour. Whoops! A request for a warning and a subsequent visit to traffic court didn't let me off. I did, however, have the fine reduced from $75 to $35 when I plead that I was a poor university student who pinched his pennies. The student part was true. I didn't dare tell them I was headed to the LBS to shop for a shiny new Kona MTB.
 
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