The Chainlink

Offense: Obey Traffic Control Device (While on Bicycle)


On the way to work this morning I was presented with a $75 ticket for running a red light.

At the intersection of Cicero and Elston I was stopped waiting for the light to change.  I saw the light on Cicero turn yellow, cars were slowing down, so I clipped in and started rolling into the intersection.  All cars were stopped and the light turned green (for me) when I was half-ish of the way through... I made it one block and a Chicago Police Officer pulled me over and handed me my awesome new prize.

I'm thinking of going to court on it (since it's lame and there's a principle to be fought for here) but I'm also thinking it'd cheaper to pay it and get my license back. 

Anyone else have experience in these matters?

~Ryan

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From now on only ride with a State ID.
They can still write you a ticket.

Pablo said:
From now on only ride with a State ID.
What is the principle you are trying to fight that makes it worth going to court for it?
You ran the light and it will be your word (assuming you say you didn't) vs. the officer's. If you contest in court and the officer doesn't show up, you'll probably win. If he shows up, you'll lose and be out $75 + $115 in court fees.
That sucks. I think you just had a dick cop. I do they same thing almost all the time. I stop at red lights (unless there are no cars around) especially if there is a cop in sight, and then take off before the light is green. I've done it even when there are cops watching me, but I guess maybe now I'll think twice about it. It won't hurt me to sit there a couple more seconds, I guess. It sure beats a ticket.
But at least they won't have your drivers license, if you drive.

Michael Perz said:
They can still write you a ticket.

Pablo said:
From now on only ride with a State ID.
Good luck - you ran a red light. We expect cars to stop for them so they don't kill us. If you want to be treated like you are traffic, act like you are traffic.
The cops take your license in lieu of bond. If you don't carry your license or a bond card (insurance companies used to issue them to clients) then you "might" have to go to the station/court house to post bond.

Amber K said:
But at least they won't have your drivers license, if you drive.

Michael Perz said:
They can still write you a ticket.

Pablo said:
From now on only ride with a State ID.
What principal are you going to defend?

It sucks and the cop was a prick because there was no need to write the ticket but he was in the right on this one. You entered the intersection on a red and that is illegal; if you saw a car do it would you want a cop to issue them a ticket?

This is a great example of why there needs to be bike specific laws.

It is also a great example of the fact that if you want to share the road and have laws enforced for cars you need to be prepared to have laws enforced for bicycles.
Agreed on the bike specific laws. My point is that what I was doing was not unsafe but had a been driving a car it likely would have been. I mean, under the premise that bikes must follow the same laws as cars he could have given me a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt or not using my turn signals or something else lame.

I'll probably pay the ticket but I don't agree with it.... He could have picked a time when I was actually doing something ticket-worthy... or if I had gotten honked at... really, just something more justifiable. I want my $75 worth, ya know?

notoriousDUG said:
What principal are you going to defend?
It sucks and the cop was a prick because there was no need to write the ticket but he was in the right on this one. You entered the intersection on a red and that is illegal; if you saw a car do it would you want a cop to issue them a ticket?
This is a great example of why there needs to be bike specific laws.

It is also a great example of the fact that if you want to share the road and have laws enforced for cars you need to be prepared to have laws enforced for bicycles.
Amen, Notorious Doug.

I keep finding myself agreeing with more and more of your posts.

notoriousDUG said:
What principal are you going to defend?

It sucks and the cop was a prick because there was no need to write the ticket but he was in the right on this one. You entered the intersection on a red and that is illegal; if you saw a car do it would you want a cop to issue them a ticket?

This is a great example of why there needs to be bike specific laws.

It is also a great example of the fact that if you want to share the road and have laws enforced for cars you need to be prepared to have laws enforced for bicycles.
Yeah, it is a ridiculous world. No joke.

However, think of it this way:

Round trip daily commute with fifty disobeyed traffic control devices, five days a week commuting over three years = $0.002 per offense.

Even if you disagree with the math, fighting it will be a waste of time. Suck it up and pay the fine.

Regarding bicycle specific laws: I'd rather spend my time lobbying for meaningful change, not legalizing my otherwise courteous and safe behavior which is already tolerated.

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