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View Full Version : Got a huge ticket this weekend, need advice


briand97
05-31-2007, 08:19 AM
So here is the whole story.

3 of us were riding a new route in northplains. Had a long (2 or 3 mile) straight away on a country road. We were practicing drafting so the people behind me were looking at my wheels - they didn't see the stop.

I grabbed a drink of water and missed putting it back in its basket cleanly so spent more time then normal looking down and not ahead. When I finally looked ahead saw that we were about 30 ft from a stop sign that I hadn't noticed and we were going 20 mph. Made attempt to stop but realized I was going way too fast to safely stop (especially with people behind me). So made quick look to make sure no traffic was coming and rode through.

Of course a cop was sitting in the bushes just past the intesection and pulled all 3 of us over and nailed us with $350 tickets a piece.

Have any of you successfully had your ticket lowered in northplains? Or should I just pay the full $360, take drivers ed, and have it erased?

I can totally understand getting the ticket (I was suprised we didn't just get a warning) but am hoping that a judge might see that none of us have any prior tickets (bike or car) and the might see how an unfortunate set of events lead to us running the sign and that it was not just a bunch of bikers deciding which laws to choose to obey.

lynnef
05-31-2007, 12:40 PM
West Union and Glencoe? Just on the east side of town? Good luck. That is a known trap.

nuovorecord
05-31-2007, 12:45 PM
Show up for traffic court and plead your case. The judge will probably lower your fine. That's always been the case when I've gotten tickets.

Cecil
05-31-2007, 01:46 PM
Just be advised that by statute the judge cannot reduce the ticket more than 25%.

And Lynne's right about that intersection - it is a "full-put-your-foot-down-every-time" stop if there ever was one . . .


Show up for traffic court and plead your case. The judge will probably lower your fine. That's always been the case when I've gotten tickets.

fetishridr
05-31-2007, 09:35 PM
you're line of reasoning is perfectly understandable to me as a rider/racer, but if you put yourself in a car doing the same thing it would be ridiculous.

"i was messing with my water bottle and didnt see the stop sign until it was too late" thats sounds just like plain old bad driving.

word to the wise, pacelining still involves looking forward. if you are surprised, yell "slowing" and put your left arm back and down to signal to your buds. They should also be aware of the road ahead of them even though they are behind you.

TiAx
05-31-2007, 11:33 PM
I never spend any time out there, but is this a high traffic area? Or one prone to accidents? Either involving cyclists and cars, or just cars?

I ask because while I think that cyclists that blatantly run stop signs and lights deserve tickets, I think it's ridiculous to have police officers park out in remote areas, simply because it's easy to write tickets to cyclists there. It's basically a waste of police resources and tax payer dollars.

In some instances cyclists have had the option of going to traffic court to reduce the tickets, which I think is a good idea. Was this option not available here?

wsbob
06-01-2007, 12:01 AM
North Plains high traffic area? To be fair, I haven't been out there for years, but I'm inclined to think it's still quite a bit like it was back then: the country, with North Plains having just a very small main commercial street. I'm not sure North Plains is officially a town or a township or some other designation. Whatever it's calling itself, it sounds like it's trying to make a little money.

If you have the time, maybe you could do community service instead of paying the fine.

Matt P.
06-01-2007, 09:35 AM
[QUOTE=wsbob;4540]North Plains high traffic area? To be fair, I haven't been out there for years, but I'm inclined to think it's still quite a bit like it was back then: the country, with North Plains having just a very small main commercial street. I'm not sure North Plains is officially a town or a township or some other designation. Whatever it's calling itself, it sounds like it's trying to make a little money.[QUOTE]

North Plains is an incorporated city with its own police department - 2 full-time officers (I think that includes the police chief) and a few reserve officers. They do not have 24 hour police coverage, which means it's likely that only 1 of the 2 officers is on duty at any given time, except for the shift overlap.

In other words, North Plains is a podunk little 'burg with virtually no crime. That means they're going to sit out at a corner somewhere and bag speeders and people who don't stop for stop signs. At $360 a pop, one or two per day per officer probably pays for their entire salaries.

I agree with the above - plead your case in court, if you have a clean traffic record, stress that. Be polite to the judge and the officer, and hope the officer isn't able to make court. Be prepared to pay the full fine, and hope that you get the 25% reduction.

Since there are only 2 officers, you have a reasonable chance of circumstances preventing them from getting to court. Was the ticketing officer named either Whitehead or Thurber? If not, you got one of the reservists, and they probably would make court.

Hope any of the above helps.

lynnef
06-01-2007, 02:00 PM
North Plains is a speed trap, period. They ticket everyone. Don't speed on Hwy 26 passing through North Plains, either. My husband has tales of his golf partners that were late because, yeah, well, speeding through North Plains...

Rickey Smith
06-01-2007, 06:25 PM
This has been going on for a couple years. Also they know this is a favored route for bikers. 2 years ago they tickeded a group of PWTC riders. He knew when they were coming threw because of there schedule. If I recall they lowered there fine but they had to go to traffic school.

TiAx
06-01-2007, 06:44 PM
This has been going on for a couple years...2 years ago they ticketed a group of PWTC riders...

Good Lord. The PWTC obey the law almost to a T. They probably did track stands down to .01 mph and with no one coming, didn't put a foot down and rode on.

Who's the mayor of North Plains? If it bugs riders enough, they could band and try contacting the Mayor about their policies, mentioning that because of this policy, we won't be riding in their town anymore, or spending our money there.

Then again, if they have no real crime to begin with, the mayor might think ticketing people that don't come to dead stops at stop signs (cars or bikes) is a great idea, and not worry about missing a few riders not visiting..?

Cecil
06-01-2007, 10:35 PM
Or we could just stop, put a foot down, and continue on. I ride through that intersection at least twice per month on a group ride. We have no trouble stopping, starting again, and still having a good time (and maintaining a pretty decent average speed for the course)

If it bugs riders enough, they could band and try contacting the Mayor about their policies, mentioning that because of this policy, we won't be riding in their town anymore, or spending our money there.

TiAx
06-03-2007, 08:29 PM
You do that at every stop sign? Even out in the middle of nowhere, with no one coming? (Of course, I do not know this area, so maybe logic, in addition to the law, requires one to come to a complete stop here).

Cecil
06-03-2007, 10:26 PM
Yes, actually, I do. Given that, old reactionary fart that I am, I believe in coming to a full and complete, no forward motion involved, stop, and given that I can't track stand at all, let alone a track stand that involves no forward motion, and given that I really don't like doing those silly Arte Johnson falls because I am cleated in and can't track stand, yes, I put my foot down. I don't then sit there for 3 minutes (unless of course it is a red light, in which case I sit until it changes to green) but I do stop and I do put my foot down. Would it be different if I actually could peform a track stand that would involve no forward motion? Probably not. I've also never gotten a ticket for running a stop sign. Funny how that works . . . <grin>

Plus, as someone who has spent much of her life living "out in the middle of nowhere," I can vouch that all the worst speed/moving violation traps are out in the middle of nowhere. Because that's where people think they don't have to obey the rules, and it gives the Barney Fife's of the world something to do . .

You do that at every stop sign? Even out in the middle of nowhere, with no one coming? (Of course, I do not know this area, so maybe logic, in addition to the law, requires one to come to a complete stop here).

wsbob
03-24-2009, 09:33 PM
For those that missed it, Tuesday's March 24th Oregonian had a small item (pg B2 Metro section) about North Plains and where some of the money from traffic fines have gone to:

Ex-court clerk given 18 months for theft (http://www.oregonlive.com/washingtoncounty/index.ssf/2009/03/news_update_former_court_clerk.html)

A line from the story:

"Sandra Kay Quesnoy The case: A former North Plains municipal court supervisor accused of embezzling more than $200,000 in traffic fine receipts was sentenced earlier this week."

K'Tesh
03-24-2009, 10:26 PM
Go to a BTA legal brief, if you haven't yet (http://www.bta4bikes.org/resources/legal.php). The next one is Wed April 15th 2009 from 5:30-6:30 pm at the BTA office, 233 NW 5th Ave, in Portland.

Don't know if it will help, but it certainly can't hurt. That, and you'll get a copy of Pedal Power, and may be able to talk to Ray Thomas. I'd also bring your riding buddies.

Best of Luck!
K'Tesh

wsbob
03-25-2009, 12:39 AM
Might Ray Thomas have something to say about corruption in small town government and traffic citation receipts lining the pockets of greedy people there? I've heard warnings raised about inherent dangers in making traffic citation rates too high. The North Plains experience with their municipal court supervisor could be an example of one such danger.

Even at $200.00 each for rolling (safely) stop signs, $200,000.00 represents a lot of citations and hard work done by a lot of people, now, probably all wasted on junk.

canuck
03-25-2009, 06:23 AM
Do you get points against you drivers license for an infraction on a bike?

If so, I don't understand why since the license is for the operation of a motor vehicle and is not required to operate a bicycle.

I would go to court just to have the infraction removed from my license.

Can you get a basic Oregon ID card from the DMV and use that if you aren't driving your car?

ConradJBurke
03-25-2009, 11:34 AM
I've you've got the time, it never hurts to show up for court. The worst that can happen is that you'll have to pay the fine and endure a lecture by the judge, but hey, the cop can't be out wasting anyone else's time and money if you drag him in to testify. Don't forget to prepare some ludicris defense, as well as endless questions to trip up the bonehead fascist on the stand.

Best case, the cop will be too busy in the station bathroom with his buddies to make it to court, and you'll go free. Wouldn't be the first time.

You will have to go to court twice probably though, and the first time they will strongly dissuade you from scheduling a "trial". That's because they prefer kangaroo justice, and know that cops often don't bother showing up in court, so don't listen.

Good luck!

K'Tesh
03-27-2009, 08:37 AM
Nice job on getting this thread active again Wsbob...

I didn't catch the datestamp on the original post... 2007?