Dealing with biking tickets — not so easy

Ever since the bicycle ticket incident, the four hapless riders have been trying to decide how to deal with their citations.

Pippa (“I shall go to court because I’m British and like a good argument” – gotta love her) filled in a form stating that she wished to contest the fine and mailed it in. She should hear from them within 30 days regarding the next step.

Bob is mulling it over. He wanted to go to deferred adjudication or take a bicycle safety class (similar to a defensive driving class) to reduce or eliminate the fine, but those are not options. Another blog quotes a local judge as saying a bicycle violation will not affect your driving record, and since that’s the most important outcome Bob is seeking, he might pay the fine. But he hasn’t decided.

Judy is going to fight it. She thinks $217 is excessive, and the way the ticket is written it looks like she ran a red light (she turned right without stopping, but after slowing).

And Penny, seen getting the ticket in the original post, decided to just pay the fine and get it over with. But she found it’s just not that easy. Penny tells the story from here:

It’s funny how a society will create its own rules in the absence of structure. Daughter Emily and I arrived at the Manchaca municipal court substation to find a line out the door. But these folks weren’t standing. They were sitting in a row of chairs lined up along a wall. It was apparent that we would be in for a long wait. So we took our place in line.

As each person was called to the service counter, the whole row of people would get up and move one chair down. Everyone understood the implied order — everyone moved.

Penny with her ticket. You'd look a little put off if you'd waited in line for an hour, too.

Penny with her ticket. You'd look a little put off if you'd waited in line for an hour, too.

When we reached the counter, I presented my ticket, explained that it was for running a red light (on my bicycle) and asked if it would reflect on my insurance. This discourse on my part was met with a blank stare. The clerk didn’t know so she offered to let me speak with a prosecutor. No thanks, I told her. I wanted to pay and do whatever I needed to do to keep this off my record. Bicycle traffic offenders are not offered the deferred adjudication or defensive driving options.

So, she tried to call a prosecutor to get the answer. Dial, busy signal, hang up, dial, busy signal, hang up — this went on for awhile. I watched mesmerized as the partially-painted fingernail punched relentlessly at the telephone keys.

No answer in the prosecutor’s office so she called the judge. Well, actually, she called his office. They didn’t know but said they would ask the judge when he got out of court. They would call back.

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

In the meantime, Bubba next to me gets his call to the counter. He peels off $168 in small bills and hands it to the clerk.

“Well, how ‘bout that,” he muses. “I still have enough for a beer.”

The clerk thinks this is a great idea and comments that she would go with him if she didn’t have to work.

“Oh, you don’t wanna go with me,” he exclaimed. “I go to Expose’.”

I could see my daughter’s face — giving some thought to this.

“What’s Expose’?” she asked as she watched me roll my eyes. “Oh, I get it…Mom, can you do that with your eyes again?” Bubba is still talking to the clerk. He doesn’t have a clue.

Finally, the judge returns the call. If the ticket is coded properly for bicycle violation it does not go against insurance.

I pay my ticket — $217. Bubba pays his ticket, and we walk out together. How special. Bubba comments that he’s just wasted $168. We’re thinking he must have been fined for “child riding in bed of truck,” or “too many people in vehicle.”

I looked at Emily. She looked at me.

“I guess that means he doesn’t have enough money for a lap dance tonight,” I said.

She rolled her eyes.

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5 thoughts on “Dealing with biking tickets — not so easy

  1. How can the city justify such a steep price for a violation like that? Looking at the fine schedule it seems the monetary value is equally applied for vehicles and bikes. However, I fail to see why a deferred adjudication isn’t allowed for a cyclist as well?

    There’s a lot of room for cycling advocates to help iron out these details because as more people begin cycling and cities step up enforcement some middle ground will have to be found.

  2. The fine is based on the violation, running a red light, period! Going straight or slowing to make the turn is still running a red light. It didn’t make it “more legal” because: “the way the ticket is written it looks like she ran a red light (she turned right without stopping, but after slowing).” Neither is it based on the weight of the vehicle we operate. I wish my Ford Ranger was cheaper to violate traffic laws than my friends F250, but it doesn’t work that way. So why should a bicycle blow a stop sign for 50 bucks and a car do it for 150? Either way, someone gets hurt or killed, it ties up the cops, EMS & AFD for a couple hours to clean up the mess.. assuming no one dies. In that case you are looking a days or weeks of investigation and finger pointing.

    I slow.. I go.. I take my chances, until they change the law

  3. I re-read my post and thought, what ? What I was attempting to say was the violation is based on the violation.. NOT the weight. What the court should take into account is blowing through or slow, looking then going. I have treated a stop sign like a yield and a Red light like a stop sign. Just because I’m careful doesn’t make it right.

  4. What a snootie c*nt! Someone put a trap on her and teach her manners. I could care less of her plight with her prejudicial and irrelevant musings.

    Good luck to the rest of you. As for you, Miss Walks on Clouds, go hit the Botox and turn your nose into your own stink before you judge others.

    Why post such garbage?

    • Couldn’t agree more with your post. It’s the snoot factor that keeps
      me out of group rides and cycle clubs. Hopefully her daughter
      wont grow up with a view of the world that looks straight down her
      nose at others as well.

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