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flj^
08-07-2007, 06:07 PM
I recently got my first ever ticket on my bike, and i need some help to prepare for my court date. I was caught 'blowing' a red light ("failed to obey TCD") and now have a $242 ticket i have to deal with.

I was biking through the intersection of 16th and Sandy (eastside, and wtf apparently sandy is highway 30 also...), and right as i entered the intersection on a green light, the light turned yellow. I figured it was either slam on the breaks and possibly fishtail / flip over my handle bars, or I just ride it through (it seems like i would either be blocking the intersection or running a red light, both would get me a ticket). The light was shorter then i expected, as it was red by the time i was midway through the intersection. Luckily, a undercover cop just happened to be barreling down the right hand turn lane.
I didnt really feel like trying to argue with the cop about my reasoning for running the red, and sort of tuned out when he and another officer gave me the whole "its not worth your life is it?" / "had a guy just like you get clipped down the street" guilt-trip bullshit, and just admitted to running the light and gave him my info. I was on my roadie with spandex, clip-ins, helmet, 2 rear lights and a front 10w lamp, but I guess they figured i was just some crazy punk looking for cheep thrills... They even had a plain-clothes officer come out of nowhere and stand behind me as the two other officers wrote me a ticket.

So now i have a court date at the end of the month. I really dont want to pay $242, so im wondering what i can do to help reduce remove it. So far I've thought up:

-plead guilty but ask for a reduced fine, first time offender
-fight it and try and explain my position to a judge
-hope the cop doesnt show
-try and get in one of those "Scared Straight" classes for $60.

My real problem is i have no idea if any of these are good ideas or if they're even applicable to my position. So, if anyone here has been ticketed on their bike, i would appreciate some input. Thanks.


also, why are we all "site admins"?

Rixtir
08-07-2007, 06:42 PM
PM me for an answer.

Psyfalcon
08-07-2007, 07:02 PM
811.255 (3)

Steady circular yellow signal. A
driver facing a steady circular yellow signal
light is thereby warned that the related right
of way is being terminated and that a red or
flashing red light will be shown immediately.
A driver facing the light shall stop at a
clearly marked stop line, but if none, shall
stop before entering the marked crosswalk
on the near side of the intersection, or if
there is no marked crosswalk, then before
entering the intersection. If a driver cannot
stop in safety, the driver may drive cautiously
through the intersection.

I'm not sure how one would convince a judge that you can not stop a bike in time however.

flj^
08-07-2007, 08:33 PM
Yea, trying to debate the physics of riding and thus stopping a bike to a judge would be one of my last resorts. Would probably also suck if the cop was there too, as its just his word over mine.

toddistic
08-07-2007, 08:50 PM
i blew a stop sign right in front of a cop today, he kept driving. sorry for your luck

flj^
08-07-2007, 11:13 PM
yea, i love how even to this day, cops deny that ticket quotas exist...

Mofopotomus
08-08-2007, 09:35 AM
I'm pretty sure that it's legal to continue through an intersection if you are in it when the light turns red (I think the previosly mentioned safe stopping distance for a car might be what I'm thinking of). Either way i think you might be able to talk with the judge and plead it down. The cops might have just been trying to scare you and might not even show up.

At any rate good luck man, sorry to hear you got busted.

nishiki
08-09-2007, 12:32 PM
I recently got my first ever ticket on my bike, and i need some help to prepare for my court date. I was caught 'blowing' a red light ("failed to obey TCD") and now have a $242 ticket i have to deal with.

I was biking through the intersection of 16th and Sandy (eastside, and wtf apparently sandy is highway 30 also...), and right as i entered the intersection on a green light, the light turned yellow. I figured it was either slam on the breaks and possibly fishtail / flip over my handle bars, or I just ride it through (it seems like i would either be blocking the intersection or running a red light, both would get me a ticket). The light was shorter then i expected, as it was red by the time i was midway through the intersection. Luckily, a undercover cop just happened to be barreling down the right hand turn lane.
I didnt really feel like trying to argue with the cop about my reasoning for running the red, and sort of tuned out when he and another officer gave me the whole "its not worth your life is it?" / "had a guy just like you get clipped down the street" guilt-trip bullshit, and just admitted to running the light and gave him my info. I was on my roadie with spandex, clip-ins, helmet, 2 rear lights and a front 10w lamp, but I guess they figured i was just some crazy punk looking for cheep thrills... They even had a plain-clothes officer come out of nowhere and stand behind me as the two other officers wrote me a ticket.

So now i have a court date at the end of the month. I really dont want to pay $242, so im wondering what i can do to help reduce remove it. So far I've thought up:

-plead guilty but ask for a reduced fine, first time offender
-fight it and try and explain my position to a judge
-hope the cop doesnt show
-try and get in one of those "Scared Straight" classes for $60.

My real problem is i have no idea if any of these are good ideas or if they're even applicable to my position. So, if anyone here has been ticketed on their bike, i would appreciate some input. Thanks.


also, why are we all "site admins"?


Hi,

I had the EXACT same situation happen to me. The light turned yellow and I went through.

1- Plead NOT GUILTY to your preliminary.
2- On the second date (the one you receive by mail), the cop will either show up or not. If he shows up, let him talk to you or talk to him about the class. Get in front of the judge and done. $30

Wether you want to admit it now or not, you ran a yellow when you could have stopped. I brainstormed many different ideas that could have been relevant for court to (gravel on the road, car behind me could have hrut me etc..) but I can already tell you that the cop is right and you know you could have brake.

So... with that said, you live in a great city that will cut your ticket to $30 AND it will not show up on your license.
Don t sweat it, it s allll good

flj^
08-10-2007, 12:00 AM
Hi,

I had the EXACT same situation happen to me. The light turned yellow and I went through.

1- Plead NOT GUILTY to your preliminary.
2- On the second date (the one you receive by mail), the cop will either show up or not. If he shows up, let him talk to you or talk to him about the class. Get in front of the judge and done. $30

Wether you want to admit it now or not, you ran a yellow when you could have stopped. I brainstormed many different ideas that could have been relevant for court to (gravel on the road, car behind me could have hrut me etc..) but I can already tell you that the cop is right and you know you could have brake.

So... with that said, you live in a great city that will cut your ticket to $30 AND it will not show up on your license.
Don t sweat it, it s allll good

Yea, this seems like it will probably be the best route.

If i ask for "the class", what should i call it? When I plead not guilty for the prelim, do i "talk' to the cop on my own before the trial or do i have to like talk it out with him in the actual courtroom? And if he doesnt show up, am i off the hook?

Thanks for your response.

wsbob
08-10-2007, 01:45 AM
"....and right as i entered the intersection on a green light, the light turned yellow." "The light was shorter then i expected, as it was red by the time i was midway through the intersection." flj^

If that's what happened, tell the judge that. If you really did enter the intersection on a green light, why accept a violation for running a red light when the green signal and the yellow signal gave you the go-ahead to proceed through the intersection (with caution in the case of the latter signal).

Were you and your bicycle the only vehicle approaching the intersection in your lane as you approached the intersection and the green light? Especially if this intersections signals are activated by pavement sensors, why assume that the traffic control signal device reacted to your bicycle as it would have to a motor vehicle? Or, why even assume that the signal was operating properly, period?

It doesn't make sense to me, even with a large intersection, that if you had the green upon entering, and the yellow as you proceeded on, that you would get the red while you were still only at the middle of the intersection, unless I suppose, you were traveling at a very slow speed, or again, if the signal wasn't functioning properly.

"Luckily, a undercover cop just happened to be barreling down the right hand turn lane." flj^

What is that statement saying? Were you in the left lane and the cop in the right lane approaching you from behind where he might have been able to see the whole thing transpire. Guess I'm not quite figuring this part out.

The cop may not have seen the entire phase; you approaching, entering and crossing the intersection with the light changes you note. The cop may have only noticed you at the midpoint of the intersection when the light was red, leaving him to assume that the light was red the entire time you passed through the intersection. Have the judge ask the cop what the situation was.

It's nice that the undercover cop expressed such concern about your welfare, but if you're telling the truth about what happened, it's not right for you to be penalized for something you really don't have control over.

flj^
08-10-2007, 09:14 PM
Well 16th is just a normal 2 lane street, and as far as i can remember, i did enter it on a green. There was nobody behind me though. The cop was traveling up sandy and was turning onto 16th. My 'luckily' comment was being sarcastic, as it just had to be that the only car who would only see me 'blowing' a red light just happened to be a cop. I don't really think he was looking out for my welfare either, probably just the first piece of action he'd had all day. His tone and vocabulary made it seem like he assumed I wanted to risk my life just to shave 2 mins off my commute...

The fact that he probably didnt witness the first 3/4 of me crossing the intersection would seem like it would help my case, but if its just my word against his and all he has is "i saw him traveling through the intersection on a red and he admitted to it", they I don't know if debating my side to a judge will help. But then again, I've never been in the position before.

Psyfalcon
08-10-2007, 10:04 PM
If he is willing to lie to make a traffic ticket stick, you're done. Nothing can be done about that, wether youre on a bike or in a car. Those sorts of officers are the bane of the justice system, perjury for a ~$200 ticket.

Luckily, it is perjery, even in traffic court, so that usually won't happen. Admitting to it doesn't usually help though. A huge number of car tickets are reduced, lets just hope it also works in your favor.

wsbob
08-11-2007, 12:40 AM
flj^, I got the sarcasm bit. I may also have a little better idea of where you and the cop were in the intersection: You said "The cop was traveling up sandy and was turning onto 16th.(right turn as you said suggested in the earlier post)" I expect that means he was traveling east, away from downtown, and turning roughly south. It sounds like you had to be traveling north on 16th.

O.K., the cop would likely not have seen the entire signal light sequence that you were approaching. Depending upon where the signals are hanging in the intersection, there's probably two ways he could get an idea you were crossing against the light: (1) watching the signals in his direction of traffic and deducing from them, your relationship to the intersection as the lights in your direction went through the green-yellow-red phase. (2) Upon getting to that point of the intersection where the crosswalk is, if your signal light was hanging somewhere midway in the intersection, he may have been able to look up and to his left and have seen the light red and you also in the middle of the intersection.

This is getting too complicated for me without seeing the intersection, but anyways... .

Don't lie, and don't debate or expect to debate. Just tell the judge what happened. Remember, good judges are very smart about human nature, gestures, disposition and all that. You have to be sure you're telling the truth about entering the intersection on the green and haven't just imagined doing so out of wishful thinking. Machines, as in traffic signal devices, break down and malfunction just like all mechanical devices do.

Whatever the cop says, don't assume or directly suggest that the cop is lying, because he might not have been, even though his conclusions about your having been in the intersection at the time he saw you, led the officer to give you a citation. What you both know, is that he saw you and a red light, but he might not have noted other important details of the light change that would determine that you reasonably entered the intersection. I would think it's not in your favor to talk to the officer before you speak to the judge on the day you go in.