Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I just got a ticket! WTF?



Middle of the day. Hardly any traffic and I just got pulled over for not riding on the "right side." I'm no racer but 15mph on 2nd Street isn't going that much slower than car traffic through there.

I tried to explain to the officer that any closer and I would be in the "door zone." He seemed nonplussed.

I cited the vehicle code and told him that it said I was to ride to the right as "practicable" which is a big difference than "possible", because it was up to me to determine if there were any hazards. He didn't seem to care.

I told him that I was riding exactly where the new sharrows would be on 2nd street in a few months. The new wha? I don't see them now.

I was holding him up. Although I was on the right travel lane and he was on the left and he wanted me to know about it.

I'm about as law biding a cyclist as you can get in Long Beach. I ride in the correct direction of traffic. I don't ride on the sidewalk. One of the first things I keep trying to advocate for is that we have to educate the enforcement on the laws regarding bicycling. Maybe NOW might be a good time to start.

For those that are curious, the CVC as pertaining to bicycles is the following. I was exercising my right (3) because I was avoiding the rather unpleasant "fixed object"...aka door, but also because when I ride as far as the right as practical, I always get buzzed too close. Hence, riding more "practicable."

21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Let the good times roll...
Russ

20 comments:

hookjd said...

I assume/hope you are going to fight it?

Dominic Dougherty said...

you should post this on LBCyclists too

Matt said...

So the first question has to be:
Are you paying up or challenging?

Yokota Fritz said...

What a Barney.

Are you gonna fight it or pay the ticket?

RussRoca said...

Definitely going to fight the ticket....it's absurd. Especially since I was riding where the city is planning to put the Sharrows...

Abhishek said...

Go for it Russ. I would fight it even if there were no plans for sharrows.

HockeyRocker said...

Best wishes for fighting ticket.

ChasenSeleen said...

Did the obviously uneducated cop really cite you for "Must right to right of roadway"? That doesn't even make sense. Aw, LBPD's best, unable to write a complete sentence.

Apertome said...

Madness! I'm glad you're fighting it ... curious how this will turn out. I bet the cop won't even show up and you'll win by default.

david said...

must've been a slow day in LBC... jeez louise.

Gary said...

This is the same citation I defeated, when I was trying to get over to make a left. You can use similar arguments only you would focus on the passage on riding as far right as practical and what constitutes hazards, aka door zone, which is somewhat subjective in favor of cyclist judgment. You can get this tossed out, no problem slam dunk. However it's sadly a waste of time for all parties involved and a waste of tax payer dollars. Fight the man, if we keep pushing back and get all their bogus tickets thrown out maybe they will stop writing them.

weareloremandipsum.com said...

that is ridiculous! his ticket doesn't even make sense.

Mills said...

I've been hustled by a cop on 2nd for riding a half block on the sidewalk to the bike shop. He gave me a rash of s***, but no ticket. I couldn't believe the lecture.

He must not have gotten that bike for xmas when he was a kid...

BrianB said...

I'd say save your indignation and move on. A certain number of these will happen over eventually. Years back, I got one for actually having a light at night time but not knowing offhand whether it met a Washington State standard for being visible at a minimum of 500 feet. Yeah. Hasn't stopped me, shouldn't stop you.

For what it's worth, the time I challenged a citation, the judge basically threw me out -- saying it was a waste of his time, since he had more important cases. No kidding! If you have the time/patience, give it a try.

RussRoca said...

BrianB, I wouldn't be so indignant if the city wasn't making such a to do about being bicycle friendly without actually addressing the more serious issues that make a city bicycle friendly.

Namely, education and enforcement. I've written letters, I have tried to participate and explain why it's so important when I can, but nothing has been done---and this incident is just so reflective of that.

Yes, this ticket is small and insignificant in the cosmic sense, but it really speaks to the core of what it will take to have bicycle accepted as regular form of transportation.

If the police, those who are meant to protect and to serve, don't know the law or are actually bias against cyclist, then what hope do we have? What good is a 3 miles of cycletrack in a city, when in the rest of the city you're still a 2nd class citizen?

Jeanine said...

Russ,
When I first read this yesterday I thought you were over reacting, but my insomnia has allowed me to completely suss out your story and I think you should definitely fight this. As a cyclist myself, I completely avoid Second Street. It is not bicycle friendly at all.
I absolutely hate it when cyclists ride on the sidewalk. This should *never* be done--especially in the Shore it's too crowded. However, my understanding (from traffic school) is that if a cyclist is riding on the road it is considered a vehicle with all the rights and privledges a driver of a car has. You were doing the right thing--going with the flow of traffic, etc. I know first hand what happens when a clueless driver in a recently parked car opens their door into you as you ride by. It's pretty painful, and can even be fatal in the right circumstance.
I think if you fight this you can win.

well fed well read said...

WOW! in Australia, cyclists legally have the right to take up the entire left lane (which in your case would be the right lane) if we so please, and we are allowed to ride two abreast. As my partner pointed out, if you give drivers an inch, they will take a mile, often its safer to take up more space than you need just so you don't get squeezed into a bad position. I say fight it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your ticket. I would have done the exact same thing though. As a matter of fact I got the same ticket for riding down 4th street. It was between the Red Room and the V Room. And no, I wasn't at either one of those places earlier! Any ways they took for ever figuring out what to right me up for. The officers were talking to someone at dispatch or headquarters. They ended up citing me for the exact same thing. I haven't gone to court yet, but I plan on fighting mine. They're just going to keep righting these tickets up if no one shows them in court it wrong. My argument is pretty much the same thing you're saying. Plus I will point out I was riding to the right of the roadway. If the lane had imaginary center line drawn down it, I would have been to the right of that line. So I was to the right of this centerline and out of the door zone. That doesn't give very much room for the bike rider. Much less a bike rider and a car to use the lane together. Which I assume is what the officer has in mind?

Kwikfile said...

Russ,

Fight the freakin ticket! What a joke - You of all people to mess with. I have a tight squeeze too near my home and I always take the lane. Rather do that, than get jacked by a car. I really dislike this Car centric attitude in our society. Knock this one out of the Ball Park for all the cyclists!


Carl

bikinginla said...

Russ, I have to agree with most of the other commenters. You should definitely fight this, although, as someone else said, chances are the cop won't even show up for the hearing.

Be totally prepared, though. Bring charts and photos of the street, showing exactly where you were at the time you were stopped, and bring a graphic that shows proper riding position to avoid dooring — Streetsblog has a good one on sharrows today, http://la.streetsblog.org/2009/05/07/sharrows-are-coming-to-los-angeles-or-are-they/.

And take some riders with you who will be willing to testify to the dangers of being doored. Chances are, you'll get a judge who hasn't been on a bike since grade school, and you'll need to convince him/her how dangerous it can be.