The Chainlink

Speed Trap Alert! Where there are Chicago Bike Ambassadors there are Cops Ticketing You

It's 5pm on a late summer day, the sky is dark, and I hear thunder in the distance. I am biking south down Halsted trying to beat the rain home, while trying my best not to get hit by angry rush hour commuters who are speeding heavily after barely making the light on Roosevelt. Up ahead I see a line of cars stopped for the light on 18th St. Making a rapid assessment of my surroundings I see that there is no oncoming traffic and the sidewalk is clear. So instead of biking along the right side of the queue of cars and then trying to cut the cars off and make a quick left hand turn in the intersection I decide to cross the street and hop on the wide sidewalk for the brief 20 meters to the crosswalk.

Everything is going perfectly, until I hear someone scream at me, "WRONG SIDE!!!! OFF THE SIDEWALK!!!" To this I simply start biking faster, smile and think to myself, Whatever, this is a great line and it is safer then if I would have obeyed the road law of cars. Then I hear the screeching of tires and revving of an engine. FUCK!... I don't even have to look because I know that it is a cop. Sure enough a block down 18th St I hear the distressing sound of a cop siren "RWWWUPP, RWWUPPPP"

I slow down and the cop pulls up next to me. "Hey! Turn around and go back to 18th and Halsted."

"Why?" I inquire.

"You are being cited for blowing the intersection."

"Seriously?"

"Yeah, now go back to 18th and Halsted."

So, I turn around and bike back to 18th and Halsted. All the while the cop is slowly tailing me making sure I don't dip down a side street... I won't lie, the thought did cross my mind. When I get there I am greeted by another squad car, two bike cops and three Chicago Bike Ambassadors. They then spend 10 minutes lecturing me on the rules of the road, and that they are trying to raise awareness. I explain my situation, I was trying to get home before the rain and am sorry I broke the laws (I could not tell them what I really thought because I can not afford the $200+ ticket) and they let me off with a warning.

And here is the warning, "Bikers beware. You are subject to the same laws of cars and the CPD will start ticketing soon."

I don't know if this is complete bullshit, but with the parking meters being privatized the cops may not have enough cushy ticketing to do/quotas being met. If that is the case prepare for bike speed traps, bike parking tickets, and tickets for having no brakes!

If you are still reading, please use this thread to post bike speed traps and stories where the law is cracking down on cyclists. Also, keep an eye out for those pesky Chicago Bike Ambassadors because they are now working with the 5-0

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The overwhelming majority of cyclists blow red lights on my commute to/from the Loop. Let's say there are two hundred blown red lights during a morning rush hour at Chicago and Milwaukee alone. At $200/pop, that's $40,000 for Da Mayor.
Yeah, they were after me for blowing the red light.
Sounds like you got warned for jaywalking(jaybiking?) and riding on the sidewalk when you crossed in the middle of the block and hopped on the sidewalk.

But, you say you were ticketed for blowing a red - if the Halsted(N/S) light was red, how the hell could you have blown it by crossing Halsted in the middle of the block then riding the sidewalk to the intersection?

Am I missing a piece that would make this all logical?
Some years back I tried to become a "Mayor Daley's Bicycling Ambassador." During the road test, I neglected to use those weird 1950's drivers-ed hand motions no one understands that take your hands way away from the bars where they belong.....and because of this I "failed" the road test. I can't believe these guys are working with the cops to bust bikers. Do they get a cut? Do the cops buy them chicken dinners to scarf down in the back of the squad car a la Bubs the snitch on "The Wire"?
Yeah but c'mon...seeing the ambassadors and the fuzz ridin' tandem isn't good for either's image or reputation.
One of my best friends lives in Charlottesville VA, aka, the middle of nowhere. He was riding home one night and came up on an intersection, in the middle of a desolate farmland area, with no cars in sight that had a red light. Doing what anyone on a bike would do, he went through the light. There just happened to be a squad car parked nearby that witnessed this and chased him down, give him this crazy lecture about how he should have waited till the light turned green and wrote him a $200 ticket. If they do that in the sticks without traffic whatsoever you can bet they will start doing it here.

Are they going to start ticketing rollerbladers, skaters, joggers and pedestrians for crossing the street at a red too? I can understand wanting to ticket a bike for full-on blowing through a red light intersection but to treat bikes exactly like cars is idiotic. You don't need a license or an id to ride a bike. You don't need required insurance to ride a bike. You don't have inspections and registration fees for a bike, and you don't have to pass a cycling test to ride a bike, not to mention 0 age restrictions to ride, yet the city wants to ticket us like we are in a 3 ton car that is subject to all of the above. I call bullshit!!!

I am getting so f-ing fed up with the way this city is run. F-you Daley for claiming to promote cycling yet finding any way to stick it to us at the same time. Some of these bike lanes are a joke, they dump you off at the most dangerous locations and force cyclists to improvise out of a need for safety. Now they want to ticket us for their poor planning skills? Assholes!!!
It's $110 to $135 in court fees plus your ticket, if you have to go to court. I am not sure what the costs are if you simply mail it in.

http://www.chicago-il-trafficlawyer.com/feescostsApril2008.jpg



h3 said:
So they're doing this because of a desperate need to find new revenue sources? Do you think they gave all the other cyclists tickets and just let Michael off the hook with a warning?
Where did you guys get $200 from, anyways?
Hey Tank,

The warning for blowing the light would be the same for a car pulling through a gas station at a corner so as to not stop at a light. You are not allowed to avoid traffic signals according to traffic law.
Yea- was heading to the North Branch trail the other day and got pulled over for going thru a red with no cross traffic coming. We were told that there is a big crackdown this year on cyclists running red lights. We got a warning however....
Damn, actually changed that to "warned" upon editing. Oh well, ticketed (read:warned).

h3 said:
Reread. He was not ticketed.

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
Sounds like you got ticketed for jaywalking(jaybiking?) and riding on the sidewalk when you crossed in the middle of the block and hopped on the sidewalk.

But, you say you were ticketed for blowing a red - a light that was red when you crossed the street in the middle of the block?

I need a diagram! :)
Where's the blowing of the light? He crossed the street midstream and still had to wait for the light at Halsted and 18th.

Am I correct there Michael?

As for Ryan L's rant, I totally agree.

Gabe said:
Hey Tank,

The warning for blowing the light would be the same for a car pulling through a gas station at a corner so as to not stop at a light. You are not allowed to avoid traffic signals according to traffic law.
oh no! looks like the free and easy life of the bicycle renegade(as we know it) is over!

i dont know which part of this bothers me more, the part about being cited/warned for biking- even though the rider qualifies himself as experienced, in a hurry, and facing the threat of rain(read: self-absorbed and distracted motorist plows through crowd of pedestrians because he had to get to the movies) or the part that implies that cyclists arent subject to the same penalties a motorist would be for irresponsible behavior in traffic.

the law is the law until it is no longer the law.

so quit your bitching, cause it only makes you(and me, cause i ride a lot) look like a douchebag.

if youre traffic enough to take a lane, then you're traffic enough to stop at the light.

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