View Full Version : Update: Bike ticket (traffic violation)

07-26-2007, 06:13 PM
For the record:
(what would be the most useful search term for the subject heading?)

I posted a few months back about my friend and I getting tickets for taking a right at a stop sign. We were each given $242 dollar tickets, with the option of taking a "share the road/Trauma Nurses Talk Tough" class for $60 cash, in order to get rid of this fine.

It turns out that the day we were ticketed April 26 was a city wide day of bike ticketing.

I went to court twice to hand in our tickets. We were supposed to plead not guilty and then take the class.

The class was not that helpful. Two hours of cops and a judge, and male nurse with a power point presentation. No women, and the bike representative was Awol.

There must have been at least 200 people at the class, a mix of drivers and bikers, but most seemed to be bikers picked up that day in April. (we only talked to a few of them)
At the end of the class we received a "certificate"

Our court case was recently. We presented our certificate to the arresting officer and he presented them to the judge and our case was dismissed.

It is a relief to have it all done with, but it was a long process. I'm glad it's over. Now I watch out for cops and stop at most stop signs and red lights.
I am not a speedy unsafe rider. In fact I'm more of a lazy rider, now I'm a lazy paranoid rider.

In better news My friend and I did bike to the coast at Manzinita this past weekend. But I'll post that somewhere else.

07-26-2007, 08:54 PM
jewis22, I hope you sent the city a critique of the class. At $60 ea for 200 people, with $12,000 in their hand, they ought to be thinking of taking advantage of such an excellent opportunity to convey information that is really helpful to road users. I'm not sure right off hand what that might be that would be different than what is currently presented, but it's a shame if that many people's time is being mostly wasted.

Greg Raisman
07-27-2007, 08:03 AM
A couple of things.

First, the class is $30 and the largest class so far has been around 100 people. This $30 fee plus two hours of time in class seems like a much lower impact than the $242 fine. We also think that it helps people who are first time offenders because they simply didn't know what the law was.

If someone feels like they'd rather just pay the fine, they can chose to do so. The class is not mandatory. It's a voluntary alternative to paying the fine or taking the issue before a judge.

The fee is used to support the class and the small amount of additional funds are rolled into the Trauma Nurses Helmet Program which distributes up to 10,000 helmets each year.

We do before and after surveys. About 90% of people have said they thought the class was a good use of their time and that they learned important information. That's pretty good. However, we'll never please everybody.

People are telling us that they like to hear about law from the judge, how enforcement works from police, and health impacts from trauma nurses. I honestly can't think of a better group of people who can provide real world info on how those areas work.

We also take comments about the class content on those surveys. We have read every one and are using the total sum of comments from all class participants to update the curriculum. The update will likely roll out in early fall. I hope that you provided productive comments on your survey on things you think could be strengthened about the curriculum. Feedback from class participants on those surveys will continue to shape the curriculum throughout the life of the program.

It's true that all people who teach the class don't show up every time. This is largely because some of us are doing it as volunteers and the class leads to most of us having about a 14-hour work day. So, two more 14-hour days a month can get tiring. There are times I just need to see my wife.

We don't like that there were no women teaching the class the night you took it, either. I think that's the only time that happened. The three women who are involved with teaching the class all had conflicts that night as it turned out.

Greg Raisman
Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership
Portland Office of Transportation
(503) 823-1052