$141 Citation for not coming to a complete stop at Ayelsboro and Negley
Today I was biking home heading up Aylesboro (toward Shady) and came to a good nice slow-down (next to a car that also came to a good nice slow-down) but not a complete stop at the stop sign at Ayelsboro and Negley (it’s a T stop there). I hear sirens and thought the police wanted to pass me. But – instead, he asked for my driver’s license at which point I decided to just keep quiet and not react. He went into his car, wrote up a citation (that I assumed was a warning) and gave it to me. I stuck it in my pocked and pulled it out at home – $141. Not a warning. A $141 citation! Is it worth contesting? Or do I make this donation to the City and get on with it?
I think that if you going before the judge and express sincere regret and convince them that you’ve learned your lesson you’ll get it reduced.
I saw a motorcycle officer pull a cyclist over on South Braddock some months ago. I was pretty flabbergasted.
Ridiculous, if you had completely blown through the stop sign without even looking and complete disregard for anyone’s safety I can see justification for a warning or a citation. But if it happened the way you described, absolutely ridiculous. I would defiantly fight it, tell the magistrate your side of the story (without ego) and let the chips fall where they may. Don’t be surprised if the magistrate is annoyed by the officer wasting everyone’s time and throws it out (happened to me once because an undercover PGH drug officer wrote me a traffic citation, the magistrate was not impressed). It’s shocking to hear stories like this considering the laws I see being broken daily all around me with a MOTOR VEHICLE putting lives at risk and the police ignore it.
Is cyclist ticketing rampant enough to start a thread? There would be value in tracking such things.
This isn’t whataboutism. Cyclists should be just as accountable as drivers.
Thing is, in ten years of living across different parts of this city I’ve never heard of, let alone seen, an officer pull over a driver for an infraction.
If there’s evidence of a growing bias toward one type of user, especially when it’s not the type who – you know – kills people every single year, then it must be exposed. If the city ever does move toward Vision Zero policies including enforcement, the evidence across American cities is that cyclists and pedestrians will be targeted more than drivers, particularly cyclists and pedestrians of color.
I saw the police stop a cyclist for not having lights once. And somebody reported here getting a ticket for running the red light at Forbes and Murray. So enforcement does happen. It’s just even more rare than enforcement versus motorists.
What argument won’t work is “motorists do this all the time so why me?”. Because this isn’t about the motorists not stopping. It is about if you stopped or not. Also if you come out with guns blazing the magistrate will just say “f em, this is a sq hill resident who can afford the $140 and is wasting my time.”
I’d go with @jonawebb. Sincere regret. You want the streets safe for your kids and old people. You typically stop because you know what it’s like to walk the neighborhood on foot. You’ve already changed your behavior. Etc. Etc.maybe you were rushing home to get your kid from school? Maybe your mom is sick? Make it personal. Elicit sympathy. Make it so the magistrate would say, “geez maybe I’d do that too in worried rush.”
Set up a conflict within the magistrate that if he/she doesn’t reduce the fine or throw it out then he/she will feel like a bully or like they’re being mean.
Thank you to everyone who replied! Based on initial replies, I decided to contest it so I’ll let you know how it goes. I agree with those of you who have recommended a sincere apologetic front and will tell them I’m a mom with kids and I regret not having come to a complete stop. And @edronline – yes, I like your eliciting sympathy and making it personal. Let’s hope I’m not too frustrated to do that!
I really do wish there’d be better enforcement of cars going 40 mph on side streets, and that the police would not need to pull power trips on cyclists. Alas, I will compartmentalize these frustrations.
Oh, and the citation says that I get a fine plus up to 3 points?! But my guess is that they will *at least* forgo the points. That seems ridiculous. Although I did look it up.. Pennsylvania cyclists are supposed to follow the same laws as drivers (I still think it’s weird that the cop made me give him my driver’s license).
One more thing. There was a big SUV that was just next to me, to my left. We were at the stop sign at the same time. I suppose the car came to a complete stop but interestingly it definitely wasn’t 4 feet away from me! I wish the cop would have pulled the car over to let the driver know there should be a 4 foot wide distance between car and bike. Isn’t THAT the law as well?! And I wouldn’t want the driver to get a fine. But a warning would be nice.
Magistrate won’t care about other cars speeding, not stopping, or being less than 4 feet away from you. As they say in Book of Mormon, “Turn it off.”
Magistrate will look at you to be culpable for your own actions.
Elicit sympathy, and aim for no points. The $141 in nothing in comparison to the points.
As you don’t need a driver’s license to ride a bike, unclear what happens to threat of points for those without one. Would be an interesting test case- punishments differ depending on DL status sounds discriminatory. However you are not the test case!
They’re allowed to ask for ID to write you a ticket. If you can’t provide it they’ll hold you until they’re satisfied they know who you are.
If you have a DL you get points but if you don’t have a DL you don’t get points? That’s the issue. You don’t need a DL to operate a bike. It is just being used as a form of ID…
FWIW, a lot of the reports I’ve seen of tickets for cyclists have been around Shadyside / CMU area. Mostly seemed to be for crossing on ped signal at all way ped crossing.
I was pulled over at night once for doing a super slow roll while doing a right on red while there was no traffic coming from any direction (around Ellsworth ave) and got let off with a warning. This was like 4 years ago though. Right after my ‘warning’ the same officers went right after another set of cyclists in the same area.
That’s ridiculous if cops are giving out tickets to cyclists crossing on an all-walk signal. If you’re cycling, as opposed to walking your bike, yes, it’s currently against the law, but it’s clearly a marginal case with few safety risks (as long as the cyclist isn’t speeding around pedestrians). It’s a law that should be changed, a law not worth enforcing.
There are so many cars running red lights, and even PAT buses running red lights, putting others at risk every day, but the cops pick on the cyclists because they’re easy targets, I guess. In New York City, BikeSnobNYC regularly excoriates the NYPD for their selective enforcement (profiling, you might say) on cyclists: https://www.transalt.org/bike-forecast/2018/14/february-15th-2018-enforcing-laws-dont-exist-ignoring-ones-do
I just can’t leave this topic alone because its so ridiculous on so many levels. The OP gets $140 fine and 3 POINTS on his motor vehicle driving record, for slowing down at a stop sign and proceeding with caution on a residential street. So what about all the kids who ride their bikes in that neighborhood or any neighborhood, do the same laws apply to everyone like motor vehicles? Obviously not. Here is another example, if I ride my bike on the sidewalk of a business district at 2mph (same walking speed as the pedestrians) like I have for 40 years, in many places its illegal to do so because they want the bicyclist on the street sharing the rode with the cars, does that mean all the little kids riding their bikes next to their mom while walking have to ride in the street without their mom, or their mom walking in the street? Nonsense.
Lets call this what it really is, over police’ing and a lot of BS. Same as what Paul said above… how many of you have actually been to the Netherlands and ever see how many cyclists there are mixed in everywhere on a daily basis even in the dead of winter, nobody is wearing helmets and nobody is over police’ing. Lets face it, this isn’t like motor vehicles where on size fits all, there are many differences types of bicycles and cyclists doing different things. Before you know it, government will want to have different classes for different ages and different bikes (sorry I mentioned that, don’t want to give them any silly ideas).
While I realize I sound like I have an issue with authority, that’s not the case at all. On the contrary, I’ve been the motor vehicle safety business for over 30 years and I’m more of a stickler on vehicle safety than most people I know. I realize this is an unpopular opinion and I’m in the minority, but the reason I don’t share the roads with drivers 99% of the time while riding my bicycle is because of the how dangerous it is today (sheer number of cars, aggressive driving, distracted driving, inconsiderate behavior, impatience, etc). There is no way in heck you will see me sharing a road with my back toward approaching cars when 1 in 5 drivers are on the smart phone nowadays, phhhttttt.
If I wanted all the BS of motor vehicle laws I would by a motorcycle. The reason I’ve been riding a bicycle for over 40 years is for the sheer joy and freedom of it. If I want to go from the street, to the sidewalk, through the parking lot, down the alleyway, onto the bike trail, through the city, into the industrial park, across the railroad tracks, through the woods and beyond that is my choice. I will yield at stop signs like I have for 40 years, but I will never come to complete stop. This is how I ride and will continue to ride that way, nobody is going to tell me how to ride my bicycle.
PS: For the record, I am extremely respectful and considerate of other cars/bikes/pedestrians/wildlife at all times, unlike some “so-called law-abiding bike enthusiasts” I see all over Pittsburgh.
- This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by 1GearOnly. Reason: spelling
I should video myself unicycling through Aylsboro and Negley, taking the lane, and coming to a full trackstand for a couple seconds, in front of a cop. My top speed is about 12; my cruising speed is about 8.
They would probably accuse you of being like that goofball that’s been on the news and in jail for last 2 years for consistently holding up traffic and flipping people off, claiming he is acting as a motor vehicle and within his rights to do so, lol.
I am not a legal expert, but it seems to me that the officer may not have understood the applicable laws when he added points to the O.P.’s drivers license. You aren’t required to have a driver’s license to ride a bicycle on public streets in Pennsylvania. Handing over your driver’s license as a way to identify yourself isn’t the same as presenting it to prove that you’re legally allowed to drive a car. (Or bike.) It doesn’t make sense that one’s driving record could be affected by non-driving violations.
I think the law applies to you as an operator of a vehicle on the public streets, not as a motorist. It’s not necessary to carry a driver’s license while bicycling, of course, but it serves as a convenient form of ID. If you can’t be identified to the officer’s satisfaction they can hold you until you do.
It is a moving violation by a licensed operator. I think the points are applicable. I bet you can get the officer or court to waive the points.
According to the PA driver’s licensing laws (Title 75, Chapter 15, Subsection 1535, Exception (d)), adding points to your driver’s license doesn’t apply if you were operating a bicycle.
- This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Greasypants.
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