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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It is also an excellent way to make things much, mush worse.

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
1. A bicycle cannot outrun a car - not even a bicycle with electric assist.
2. You CANNOT outrun police radios.

Eduardo Acosta said:
Dude, why did you stop? I've would have kept rolling. Race from hell is what they want, they gonna get!
I'll add to this thread since it is the most relevant topic in the search, even though I prob shouldn't discuss legal matters in a public forum...

My luck finally arrived and I was ticketed for not stopping at a stop sign at Morgan and Randolph on the side street heading east. Obviously, I violated an ordinance, no disputing that, but the officer wrote muni code 9-52-010, which is not listed on the ticket as a mail-in option. He also wrote "obey traffic control devices" as the offense. -- Do I have to go to court? -- This website lists the ordinance, it is only a $25 fine.
http://www.amlegal.com/library/il/chicago.shtml

The funny part, he asked for the make, model and year of my bike, which he also wrote on the ticket. It made me feel like a legitimate user of the road :)

I'm guessing none of the bike related ordinances (9-52) are listed on the preprinted tickets, and accordingly, would not be listed in the list of "mail-in options" either. It could have been worse. It sounds like you could just as easily have been ticketed for failure to obey a traffic control device, which carries a minimum fine of $90.00. I would bet they'd cheerfully accept your $25 check in the mail. You don't hear of this happening very often. Were there some extenuating circumstances, such as your maneuver causing the police officer to spill his or her coffee?



Eric Roach said:

I'll add to this thread since it is the most relevant topic in the search, even though I prob shouldn't discuss legal matters in a public forum...

My luck finally arrived and I was ticketed for not stopping at a stop sign at Morgan and Randolph on the side street heading east. Obviously, I violated an ordinance, no disputing that, but the officer wrote muni code 9-52-010, which is not listed on the ticket as a mail-in option. He also wrote "obey traffic control devices" as the offense. -- Do I have to go to court? -- This website lists the ordinance, it is only a $25 fine.
http://www.amlegal.com/library/il/chicago.shtml

The funny part, he asked for the make, model and year of my bike, which he also wrote on the ticket. It made me feel like a legitimate user of the road :)

Show up at court date, bet the cop doesn't even show. You walk.

"...maneuver causing the..." this is exactly what occurred. I was - carefully - rolling through the previous stop sign as he quickly backed out of a parking spot causing him to slam on his brakes. I didnt see them in the SUV until I was halfway through the intersection. I stupidly went through the next sign even though my reasoning/ frontal lobe/ whatever told me not to do so. I picked the wrong battle.

Hopefully they accept the check in the mail. I would like to make it to court to fight the good fight but Im not using PTO off for such.


Kevin C said:

I'm guessing none of the bike related ordinances (9-52) are listed on the preprinted tickets...


Eric Roach said:

I'll add to this thread since it is the most relevant topic in the search, even though I prob shouldn't discuss legal matters in a public forum...

I am thinking that due to the earlier than normal warm weather and greater increase in the numbers of  cyclists on the road, that more and more cyclists may start getting tickets this spring and summer. 

Possibly. My situation may be an isolated incident as I brought it on myself, I guess, by not being aware of my surroundings and by making a cop wait for me while I was violating the rules of the road.

Melanie K said:

I am thinking that due to the earlier than normal warm weather and greater increase in the numbers of  cyclists on the road, that more and more cyclists may start getting tickets this spring and summer. 

You are correct that if the complaining witness (in this case the police officer) is not present, the case will be dismissed. As part of their duty schedule, police officers have a scheduled court date on which all of the tickets they've written for the past month (3 weeks?) are heard. Not showing up on that scheduled date with any frequency will earn them the disapproval of their sergeant and the corporation counsel assigned to that courtroom. I can't say it never happens, but it happens less frequently than you may think. 

Chuckchuck said:

Show up at court date, bet the cop doesn't even show. You walk.

Kevin your inductive reasoning skills are spot on!  Which is what's so cool about the internet.  Eric R shares an incident which could potentially happen to many of us in this community.  But add some insight and voila our awareness is expanded.      


Eric R, the story is interesting.  Your not asking, however my .02¢, frame the citation an pay the fine.

Then you can embellish said story for family and friends.  'Well yes, they hauled me over doing 41 mph in a 30 mph zone.  Massive quads, don't you know.'   ; ) 

Kevin C said:

You don't hear of this happening very often. Were there some extenuating circumstances, such as your maneuver causing the police officer to spill his or her coffee?


Eric Roach said:

I didnt see them in the SUV until I was halfway through the intersection. I stupidly went through the next sign... 

The officer said he did not have to be present at the court date since the violation was recorded on the dashcam.

Kevin C said:

You are correct that if the complaining witness (in this case the police officer) is not present, the case will be dismissed. As part of their duty schedule, police officers have a scheduled court date on which all of the tickets they've written for the past month (3 weeks?) are heard. Not showing up on that scheduled date with any frequency will earn them the disapproval of their sergeant and the corporation counsel assigned to that courtroom. I can't say it never happens, but it happens less frequently than you may think. 

Chuckchuck said:

Show up at court date, bet the cop doesn't even show. You walk.

Except I was going a blazing 10-12 mph on a cruiser with panniers, basically the speed a car would go while rolling through the same stop sign.  The upside, $25 is still considerably less than filling up a cage with gas :)

Steel Driver said:

Kevin your inductive reasoning skills are spot on!  Which is what's so cool about the internet.  Eric R shares an incident which could potentially happen to many of us in this community.  But add some insight and voila our awareness is expanded.      

Eric R, the story is interesting.  Your not asking, however my .02¢, frame the citation an pay the fine.

Then you can embellish said story for family and friends.  'Well yes, they hauled me over doing 41 mph in a 30 mph zone.  Massive quads, don't you know.'   ; ) 

Kevin C said:

You don't hear of this happening very often...

Eric Roach said:

I didnt see them in the SUV until I was halfway through the intersection. I stupidly went through the next sign... 

Cops are not under any compulsion to tell you the truth.  In fact, they can lie right to your face to get you to do what they want or to give up your rights and admit to something or to submit to a search that they otherwise wouldn't be able to to legally force you into.

They can and do lie right to your face and tell you that "they will go easy on you if you tell them X"  and any other lie they can think up to chum up to you and make you think they are your "friend" and they might help you out if you cooperate with them.  The courts have backed this up many times.

But if you lie to THEM you will be prosecuted for it.   Ask Martha Stewart about that ;)

Eric Roach said:

The officer said he did not have to be present at the court date since the violation was recorded on the dashcam.

Kevin C said:

You are correct that if the complaining witness (in this case the police officer) is not present, the case will be dismissed. As part of their duty schedule, police officers have a scheduled court date on which all of the tickets they've written for the past month (3 weeks?) are heard. Not showing up on that scheduled date with any frequency will earn them the disapproval of their sergeant and the corporation counsel assigned to that courtroom. I can't say it never happens, but it happens less frequently than you may think. 

Chuckchuck said:

Show up at court date, bet the cop doesn't even show. You walk.

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