Got a ticket on a road bike :roll:

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TLN
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:50 pm

by TLN

As title says. Was riding this monday, and lake front trail in Chicago was under construction.
Was trying to catch up with monday group, and ended up at normal road, which is prohibited for road-bikers (yea, I was :noidea: too). Road is two-way, two-lane, narrow, i.e. no side for bikers. I've found out a no-bike sign later, but I also see tons of intersections without it. Need to doublecheck though - I don't see it on a google map, but it might be old. Speed limit is 25mph, but I think it was 20mph (schooldays or somthing like that). I've neen doing, around 20-25mph, i.e. not slowing down cars behind me, and riding about speedlimit. (Avg speed for last ride is 30.5kmh (19mph) over 60-70km I think).

Many can convict such behavior and that's understandable. It was in US and I have three options:
1. Pay ticket ($120)
2. Pay ticket, take 4hr classes and it won't be on my record. ($120+42)
3. Court. ($?)

Which one would you take and how would you approach that?
I'm debating between taking the class, and going to the court. No idea if I can choose a date/time and how flexible I am with it: never been to court or even got a ticket before. Not to mention it's in another city, so I'll have to drive there (I got no car).

by Weenie


joejack951
Posts: 451
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 6:50 pm
Location: Wilmington, DE

by joejack951

I can get into lots of details if you really want but I've been ticketed for riding too far left on a narrow lane road (~8-9ft. wide lanes) with only myself and the officer on the road at the time. I fought the ticket in court and won as I was clearly in the right per the letter and intent of the laws regarding cycling in narrow lanes.

In your case, if there are clearly signs posted saying no cycling you are likely going to lose. However, if you care to make the situation better for cyclists, you could use the case (and your likely loss or unlikely win) as a way to get those signs removed. Prohibiting cycling on a 25mph roadway is an insult to cyclists. Note that you will have zero choice as to when or where the court case is held and you may need to make multiple appearances (one for an arraignment and one for the trial). You'll also want either the support of a (hopefully pro bono) lawyer or a local advocacy group as you may encounter a less-than-fact-based judge.

You'll only need to pay a fine if you lose in court. If you win, and do it without a lawyer (or getting lucky with some pro-bono support), it will cost you nothing.

In my case, the time and effort (no lawyer, so no money) were worth it in the end as my local advocacy group used my case as a springboard for revamping our state's cycling laws removing an hint of ambiguous language that might encourage another cop to ticket another cyclist.

joejack951
Posts: 451
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 6:50 pm
Location: Wilmington, DE

by joejack951

Do you have a Google Map link for the location? I'm curious to see this road.

TLN
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:50 pm

by TLN

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.033932, ... 312!8i6656

It's Ridge Ave, Evanston IL.
Pin above is Ridge Ave and Main st have no bikers sign. But if you look at Ridge and Lee st (1-2 blocks north) there's no "no bikes" sign.

joejack951
Posts: 451
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 6:50 pm
Location: Wilmington, DE

by joejack951

That's a residential street with a passing lane to boot. Excuse my language but F that. I'd start a conversation with my local advocacy group and get those signs ripped down. Absolutely no reason why cycling should be prohibited there regardless of the speed limit.

AJS914
Posts: 2384
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

You definitely don't want it to go on your record. I made that mistake for a minor ticket and it cost me a small fortune in extra insurance for 3 years.

TLN
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:50 pm

by TLN

joejack951 wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:21 pm
I can get into lots of details if you really want but I've been ticketed for riding too far left on a narrow lane road (~8-9ft. wide lanes) with only myself and the officer on the road at the time. I fought the ticket in court and won as I was clearly in the right per the letter and intent of the laws regarding cycling in narrow lanes.
In your case, if there are clearly signs posted saying no cycling you are likely going to lose. However, if you care to make the situation better for cyclists, you could use the case (and your likely loss or unlikely win) as a way to get those signs removed. Prohibiting cycling on a 25mph roadway is an insult to cyclists.
Well, mine is different: I was basically doing speedlimit on a bike in no-bike road.
I've googled and found out that city enforced 25mph limit eariler this year (two way 2 lane?).
joejack951 wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:21 pm
Note that you will have zero choice as to when or where the court case is held and you may need to make multiple appearances (one for an arraignment and one for the trial). You'll also want either the support of a (hopefully pro bono) lawyer or a local advocacy group as you may encounter a less-than-fact-based judge.
You'll only need to pay a fine if you lose in court. If you win, and do it without a lawyer (or getting lucky with some pro-bono support), it will cost you nothing.

In my case, the time and effort (no lawyer, so no money) were worth it in the end as my local advocacy group used my case as a springboard for revamping our state's cycling laws removing an hint of ambiguous language that might encourage another cop to ticket another cyclist.
Yeah, I'm not really excited about court personally. Several days off, driving there and extra stress is not really worth it.

TLN
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:50 pm

by TLN

AJS914 wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:43 pm
You definitely don't want it to go on your record. I made that mistake for a minor ticket and it cost me a small fortune in extra insurance for 3 years.
How long does it stay on my record? 2-3 years? I don't have a car, so, technocally I don't care. But I was thinking of getting one (in order to get to better roads).
Taking option #2 was my goto variant as well.

AJS914
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

3 years. It might also depend on the violation and how they classify it.

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ms6073
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Location: Houston, Texas

by ms6073

AJS914 wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:43 pm
You definitely don't want it to go on your record.
Yes, I do understand that cyclists are considered to be the same as motorists, but I have never understood how being ticketed while on a bicycle gets applied to ones motor vehicle license! My suggestion is to hire an attorney who deals with traffic offenses and most likely the attorney can either get the ticket either dismissed or get the judge to accept differed adjudication after which the ticket will be dismissed.
Michael - The Anaerobic Threshold is neither...

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themidge
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:19 pm
Location: yer ma

by themidge

joejack951 wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:41 pm
That's a residential street with a passing lane to boot. Excuse my language but F that. I'd start a conversation with my local advocacy group and get those signs ripped down. Absolutely no reason why cycling should be prohibited there regardless of the speed limit.
x2! In Britain, you have to get up to a 70mph dual carriage-way/motorway for bikes (and horse-drawn vehicles and mopeds :D) to not be allowed! There are plenty of roads around where I live that I avoid riding on, but for it to be actually banned, especially on a road like the OP's, is patently ridiculous.
If drivers don't have to deal with cyclists on all roads (except the gigantic ones mentioned above, of course) then they will never get used to them, and be more likely to be unsafe around them. Also, if cyclists aren't allowed to ride in traffic, how are they going to get used to being safe around cars?

TLN
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:50 pm

by TLN

More interesting stuff:
Here's map. https://www.cityofevanston.org/home/sho ... nt?id=4374
Red - is the only streen where they prohibit bikes. Blue - recommended streets for bikes.

Ironically, there's a Bike evanston website, and claim that "Evanston Named “Bicycle Friendly City”" or "Evanston Ranked Among Top 25 Bike-to-Work Cities in the Nation": bikeevanston.org. I see articles on the right, but links doesn't work. There's also have annual bike festival, that happens... at the only street where they ban bikes:
https://www.cityofevanston.org/governme ... -the-ridge

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tymon_tm
Posts: 2612
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:35 pm

by tymon_tm

if law in US is any similar to where I live, then a sign is a sign. sure, you can fight the reasons behind prohibiting cycling there, but it's a separate case.

you could argue though you didn't see the signs - e.g. you turned at the intersection and there was no sign. or that despite the sign there was no other road to take to get where you desired (but that argument is kinda cheap)

I had a similar issue few years back, cops wanted to ticket me for riding through an intersection with a bike crossing - thing is it was on the opposite lane, and there was no bike line after the junction - so I'd have to teleport on the other side, cross the road, and then teleport again... I just told them my cousin's freshly baked lawyer eager to prove herself so they can take it to court because no way I'll accept that ticket - they just "verbally instructed" me and went away..
kkibbler wrote: WW remembers.

bilwit
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Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 5:49 am
Location: Seattle, WA

by bilwit

Outright absurd and stupid to ban cyclists on a 25mph, two-lane road like that. I have never understood what is so upsetting about needing to safely overtake a cyclist just like you would any other vehicle on the road, especially when there's another lane.

That said, I'd just eat the cost and pay the fine and take the class. Not worth the hassle, it's just the way our unenlightened driver-centric culture we live in is. "Fighting the good fight" is just like shouting at the sky when you don't have an excess of resources at your disposal..

by Weenie


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kbbpll
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:56 am

by kbbpll

It's been a long time since I lived in IL, so my questions and advice is probably worthless, but here goes. What does "on my record" mean, exactly? Here in CO, you get "points" on your license. I mean, this is just a "moving violation" / traffic violation, right? What that means here is 1) auto insurance sees that and can raise your rates or deny coverage; however, most companies have a certain number of "points" to exceed before they raise your rates, and it mostly impacts you when you're shopping around to change insurance - they all ask if you got a ticket in the last 3 or 5 years. 2) if you accumulate more than a certain number of points in a certain timeframe, your driver's license is suspended.

So, if you don't own a car, I see little impact. If you plan on getting one (and insurance), call a few companies and find out how a violation on a bike impacts your ability to get insurance on a car, or the cost.

Here's how something like this works in CO. The cop gives you a ticket (say, speeding). If you pay by a certain date (and plead guilty by default), it's $135 and 2 points. If you take it to court and are declared guilty, it's $185 and 4 points. There's a court date on your ticket. No, you don't get to decide date and time. If you decide to fight it, you show up at the date/time on your ticket, BUT THIS IS NOT A REAL COURT DATE. The clerk goes through a lot of sales pitch stuff ("are you really sure you want to fight this?"). Then they offer you $xxx instead, an amount more than the $135 if you just mailed in the ticket, but less than the $185 (or whatever) if you get found guilty, and then a guilty plea to some weird thing, like a mechanical problem with your car instead of the speeding violation you are actually accused of, and a number of "points" against you that is still less . Seriously. This actually happened to me. I was in complete disbelief at this point - I'm pleading guilty to something I'm not accused of? The clerk just smiles.

Then if you persist in fighting it, they give you the "real" court date, some month+ in the future. Here's where you can win easily. By that I mean, the accusing officer DOESN'T SHOW UP. This is what happened to me. You prepare your awesome defense, print out exhibits, get all fired up and nervous, sit there for an hour, the officer knows it's bogus, or it's his day off, or whatever, doesn't show up, boom, you automatically win.

But don't count on that. A good friend of mine got busted, on his bike, going 55 mph down a really steep hill in a 35 zone, with two buddies. One of the buddies was a lawyer. Talked them all into taking it to court. Got all the way through the process described above, cop shows up though, judge wasn't having any of it with their defense (not sure what it was, bikes don't have speedometers or something), and they all got fined.

Given all that and your trip to somewhere where you don't live in order to fight it, I would just pay the ticket. Clearly that road is marked "no bikes", and if gets to a judge you'll lose. You might get some publicity and get them to change the restriction on that road, but I bet you'll still be guilty, and only benefit others after you. If you have a lawyer friend it couldn't hurt to ask their advice though.

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