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  #1  
Old 05-10-2006, 10:21 AM
David Keltner David Keltner is offline
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Default Cops busting bikers dragnet style on Salmon

This morning eight motorcycle cops set up a trap one block south of 23rd and Salmon where there's a 4 way stop sign. They were busting bikers right and left for disobeying the stop. When I rode by it looked like a bta convention, there were so many stopped riders. Everyone was getting slapped with $242 fines.

Anyone who rides that route knows the stop is in the middle of a huge 12 block hill and that visibility at that intersection is awesome. As a result, just about everyone rides through the stop sign.

There's no question running stop signs is a bad idea. There's also no question people do it all the time.

Has anyone had any experience fighting this sort of thing? The $242 definetly has me committed to showing up in court to try and get a reduction at the very least.

I've also been advised that if enough of the people busted that morning get together, we may be able to get a lawyer to fight the fines.
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:43 AM
SyntaxPolice SyntaxPolice is offline
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Default got a ticket

I got a ticket this morning, so did my girlfriend 15 minutes earlier. I'm thinking I might make some kind of donation of an equal amount to an organization for bikers rights. Sigh. Don't know if showing up to court is worth the trouble. A friend of mine says that when he showed up, the judge said that the most they can reduce it to is $190. If everyone else shows up maybe I will too.
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  #3  
Old 05-10-2006, 01:25 PM
klrpdx klrpdx is offline
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Default Re: Cops busting bikers dragnet style on Salmon

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Keltner
Anyone who rides that route knows the stop is in the middle of a huge 12 block hill and that visibility at that intersection is awesome. As a result, just about everyone rides through the stop sign.
How is it possible to get caught then? Were the cops hiding? Just wondering.

What do the cops consider a "stop"? I'm assuming it means foot on the ground, look both ways, and then go. A friend and I were arguing about this but couldn't find the definition anywhere in the Oregon driving rules.
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Old 05-10-2006, 01:32 PM
SyntaxPolice SyntaxPolice is offline
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Default

Quote:
How is it possible to get caught then? Were the cops hiding? Just wondering.
Yes, they were two blocks away and sorta behind parked cars.
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  #5  
Old 05-10-2006, 01:43 PM
Matt P. Matt P. is offline
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Default Re: Cops busting bikers dragnet style on Salmon

Quote:
Originally Posted by klrpdx
What do the cops consider a "stop"? I'm assuming it means foot on the ground, look both ways, and then go. A friend and I were arguing about this but couldn't find the definition anywhere in the Oregon driving rules.
ORS811.260 Governs traffic control devices. Section 11 of that statute reads:

(11) Stop signs. A driver approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if there is no marked crosswalk, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering it. After stopping, the driver shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.

The Oregon Bicyclist Manual simply says "Stop at STOP signs and red lights. Its the law to stop for a yellow light too, and it makes good sense rushing through a yellow light may not leave you enough time to make it across the intersection before the light changes."

I don't know what the cops consider a "stop", but the common sense interpretation would seem to support your opinion.

Side note: I've taken to carrying the driver's and cyclists' manuals with me from time to time to hand out to erroneous (non-violent) drivers, and I'm about to start taking copies of page 41 of the Oregon Driver's Manual with "you cannot stop, stand, or park your vehicle in these locations:" and "In a bicycle lane or path" highlighted to put under the windshield wiper of cars parked in the bike lane.

Hmm... Maybe we should start doing that to the trucks on SE Caruthers. 20 or 30 of them will probably irritate the drivers, but then they *are* breaking the law.
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Old 05-10-2006, 02:46 PM
SyntaxPolice SyntaxPolice is offline
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Default

Quote:
Side note: I've taken to carrying the driver's and cyclists' manuals with me from time to time to hand out to erroneous (non-violent) drivers, and I'm about to start taking copies of page 41 of the Oregon Driver's Manual with "you cannot stop, stand, or park your vehicle in these locations:" and "In a bicycle lane or path" highlighted to put under the windshield wiper of cars parked in the bike lane.

Hmm... Maybe we should start doing that to the trucks on SE Caruthers. 20 or 30 of them will probably irritate the drivers, but then they *are* breaking the law.
The cop who ticketed me emphasized that he had gotten "a lot" of phone complaints about cyclists not stopping at that intersection. Perhaps cyclists should be phoning the police more about cars parked too closely to the intersections and parked in bike lanes. I wonder how vocal the typical cyclist is? I have more or less just assumed that cars behaving badly is a way of life. Perhaps I'll be more vocal now.

peace,

isaac
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  #7  
Old 05-10-2006, 03:37 PM
Matt P. Matt P. is offline
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Default

I'm curious as to how many complaints they get about cars not stopping at that intersection. Cyclists are far less dangerous than cars, even at speed.
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  #8  
Old 05-10-2006, 05:58 PM
dylanmc dylanmc is offline
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Default The court experience

I was a "victim" of the last police sting (you know, the one in response to a cyclist getting assaulted by a TriMet passenger). I honestly thought I had a reason to contest my ticket, so I asked for a court date. I was aghast at the judge's lack of not just sympathy, but empathy with the plight of cyclists. It's pretty clear the man had never been on a bike in traffic. I'll post more details of my experience later if I can muster the calmness to do so, but in short, the judge I saw was almost hostile and definitely condescending towards me and the other cyclists he saw. (He also blatantly "racially profiled" a native American: "haven't I seen you before?")

Further, my ticketing officer was a very friendly guy, and someone who does have (or at least project) bicycle empathy. However, I think he was disingenuous both to me, as well as to some folks who were pulled over today about the "show up in court and get your ticket significantly reduced" tale. The judge cited a 2003 law that kept him from reducing our $242 fines below $180-something. In my book, for all the "pain and suffering" involved in preparing for a date in court, a $60 reduction is not remotely significant.

The thing that really steamed me was that most of the tickets in my day in court were for moving automobile violations, many of which endangered lives of others as well as the driver. And the judge lowered those fines, based on clean prior records, to the same $180.

Of course, your mileage may vary -- I'm sure (or at least would hope) some judges have more empathy for our plight.
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  #9  
Old 05-11-2006, 08:19 AM
pdxbikerboy pdxbikerboy is offline
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Default complaints about cars

I would suggest that from now on, each cyclist out there call the Portland traffic division, at least once a week, and demand enforcement against 3,000 lb vehicles running stop signs in his/her neighborhood.

Obstensibly, what the cops are saying, by their actions, is that of all the traffic problems, bikes rolling stop signs is the biggest and the most demanding of immediate attention.

As a sometime pedestrian who finds it nearly impossible to cross busier streets because cars won't yield at intersections, as required by law, I humbly suggest that there are bigger (by thousands of pounds) fish to fry.
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2006, 09:17 AM
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Jonathan Maus Jonathan Maus is offline
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Default Re: complaints about cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxbikerboy
Obstensibly, what the cops are saying, by their actions, is that of all the traffic problems, bikes rolling stop signs is the biggest and the most demanding of immediate attention.
pdxbikerboy,
I don't think it's fair to put the onus on the Traffic Division. It's not quite that simple. They are like the Army...they take orders and enforce the letter of the law. Sure, they sometimes act unjustly and their personal feelings about certain groups might get in the way of their policing. They are human and they are fallible like the rest of us.

The police take their orders from the Mayor. They enforce laws put on the books by lawyers, legislators, and bike adovocacy groups. They work streets that are engineered and designed by the City of Portland and ODOT. I think you see where I'm going with this.

You might be interested in this article I just posted:
http://bikeportland.org/2006/05/11/p...-to-complaint/

Bottom line is that we all need to follow the rules of the road, whether we're in our cars or on our bikes.
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