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Surprise Police sting reaction and results

Posted by on January 25th, 2006 at 5:10 pm

The Portland Police staged an unannounced stop sign enforcement action this morning in inner southeast Portland. Unlike previous “enforcement actions” that were highly publicized beforehand and with signage in the road, this morning’s operation was more covert and unexpected.

Check out the reaction to it on the Shift email list and a bit more, including a poll in the forums.

So how did it go? This just came in from bike lawyer Mark Ginsberg:

  • Car tickets – 29
  • Car warnings – 5
  • Bike tickets – 20
  • Bike warnings – 12

While many folks will complain about cops wasting time and money on this type of enforcement, I think it’s important for them to send a message to road users that stop signs need to be obeyed. Now whether or not bikes should have to come to a complete stop at all stop signs…that’s a debate in itself that I’ll save for another day.

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how much are bike tickets vs car tickets?


as it is still the law, yes, if there’s a cop in the vicinity and you don’t have a benjamin or so to spare, bikes should come to a complete stop at stop signs.

i was annoyed a month or two ago, though, by a cop busting bikes crossing the hawthorne bridge. i’d worked a long day, then ridden down through some freezing rain from ohsu. i felt like a starving, grouchy icicle.

i saw the cop busting folks up ahead and knew i was not in the mood to be detained and harrassed in the freezing cold. (my rear bike light had recently burned out and i hadn’t had time to fix it.) so i hopped off my bike and walked back downtown to catch the bus.


Ticket parked oversized vehicles breaking the law. Get out your measuring tapes and cell phones, and start reporting. Help both cars and cyclists to safely roll stop signs, and save lives!

Jonathan Maus

Bikes and cars pay the same amount for the same infraction. There is more about this here and here’s a list of common violations and there fines.

Jonathan Maus

this just came in from head of the BTA:

“The police have talked about doing 12 enforcement operations this year focused on bicyclists, 12 on motorist behavior around bicyclists, 12 on motorist behavior around pedestrians, and 12 on pedestrians. If you’re concerned about the number of police operations aimed at bicyclists, or have suggestions on how to make these more valuable and effective, write to:

Mayor Tom Potter
1221 SW 4th Ave #340
Portland, OR 97204
(or e-mail him – )

I’d suggest you CC:
Derrick Foxworth, Chief of Police
Portland Police Bureau
1111 SW 2nd Ave
Portland, OR 97204″


I was one of the unlucky people who got a ticket while biking through Ladd’s addition. I am planning to go to court to see if I can get my ticket reduced. Has anyone had any luck doing this? If it was reduced, what did you wind up paying?



You also have the option of paying the full fine and writing a letter asking for a fine reduction. From what I’ve heard, it’s usually relatively automatic (if you have a good record) to get a 25% refund.

That’s an easier way to reduce your fine than going to court.

Jonathan Maus

I talked with Commander Bill of the Portland Police at the rally on Friday and he said what happened at Ladd’s Circle wasn’t a sting, but that some cops just happened to drive by and saw a bunch of bikes flying through the stops.

I’ve asked Bill to tell me more about all this and I hope to post a statement from him soon.