got a jerk's license plate #. Now what?

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dani
Participant
#

some dillweed did that illegal right turn to cut me off while i was in a bike lane. i usually don’t have the mental capacity to remember license plate numbers for more than a minute, but i got this one. what do i do with it? i figure my only option is to try and find out who it is, and talk smack on them on the internets, but that’s stupid. is there a point to getting somebody’s plate # if they didn’t actually hit you?


Pierce
Participant
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I think you can still file a police report and it can go in some system on the off chance he runs into somebody in the future

I really wish/believe there should be a WHOIS-type system for license plates so people cannot drive around recklessly with immunity

I’d relish the opportunity to talk to all the people in the world who feel the need to shout something at me out the window that I cannot understand


quizbot
Participant
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Posting the plate # out on the net isn’t a bad idea… if the jerk actually does hit someone, at least it helps establish a trail of prior reckless behavior. If you felt that you were in danger, I’d call 911 now and ask to file a report. You might luck out & get a cop who will take it seriously enough to follow through & help you press charges.


rachel_ding
Participant
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I’m glad you asked this! I wonder this all the time. I would also like to know if anyone has experience filing a report like this.


Nick D
Participant
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Tweet it to @PGHCantDive


quizbot
Participant
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I’ve called 911 on the spot 3x over the last 7 years or so. Two years ago, I was forced off Negley at Rural St (had to bunnyhop the curb to avoid being splattered by a jagoff driving one of these up my ass). The cop that took the report was a cyclist, tracked down the plate to a local hauling company, and was willing to help me take it to the local magistrate. I let it go at the time but in retrospect I regret not making a bigger deal out of it.


melange396
Participant
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i agree with those above: post it. make/model/color details and location are probably good too. dont forget to search for that plate number! the database of bad drivers is useless if nobody cross-references it.

if youre hurt or otherwise planning to go litigious, posting incident details might not be the best idea (see umpteen other threads w/ lawyer advice saying so). without hard evidence or witnesses or demonstrable loss, the legal battle might not be worth it to you — but if you feel strongly about it or think it might help the cause, please follow through.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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This is a good use of Twitter, if only to document the plate #. I second Nick’s suggestion about @PghCantDrive (note the typo in post above, though the link itself is right).


ajbooth
Participant
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Would it be worth bouncing this question off the Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator for the city? I’d love to hear what course of action he recommends.


rsprake
Participant
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Unless it was deliberate with the intent of intimidating or harming you I would just document the license here.


dani
Participant
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thanks for all the info. i’ma go ahead and tweet pghcandrive, since i’ve done that before concerning a school bus that swerved into me to go straight from a turning lane. i’d feel silly contacting an authority about it. there’s been so many times that i’ve really felt like my life had been endangered, but of course those are the times that the driver is long gone before i can read a plate. this was probably the least threatening incident i’ve had with somebody disobeying a traffic law.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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If you don’t document it, it didn’t happen.


ejwme
Participant
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Parvipica – Managing to remember a whole plate number is impressive, well done! I’ve tried to do it a number of times and just failed. After about 10 seconds if I still have one or two digits, I’m lucky. I can’t even remember my own plate :(

I think it was from the story of an off duty cop who was a cyclist and got severely harassed on the road and actually managed to call it in and they stopped the guy (epic story, don’t remember what the thread was that shared it)…

Anyway, I heard that a plate, while better than nothing, is not as good as a plate plus a description of the driver (which is almost impossible to get – that’s what the cop in the above story said was most of the problem with incidents like harassment or hit and runs with bikes – no description of the human actor, no dice).

Just interesting that we have to rely on our memories during an incredibly stressful, adrenaline infused situation when they’re bound to function the least. If we had cameras everywhere like some other countries, is it easier? Anybody have any London experience or similar places where big brother records what happens? I could see the man power needs balancing out the opportunities lost, but I don’t know. Just curious, not wanting to start a red light camera flame war.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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@ejwme – it was a dc cop, and the guy purposely “bumped” her. here is her blog.


melange396
Participant
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one problem with twitter is that after a certain amount of time tweets become unsearchable. if only google still indexed the twitterverse…


Kordite
Participant
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“Managing to remember a whole plate number is impressive” I will repeat the number out loud until I get a chance to stop and use a sharpie to write it on my arm.


ejwme
Participant
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Kordite – that works when you don’t interrupt yourself too often. I never respect me enough to let me finish what I was saying.


Anonymous #

Is @pghcantdrive still active? If not, guess I’ll document this here: a psycho in a red jeep on Butler Street drove along behind me for a while today revving his/her engine and spinning/screeching his/her tires (even though there was no oncoming traffic and plenty of room to pass). After this Foul Blot got bored, he/she revved tremendously and then buzzed me with less than a foot to spare.

Why? For what reason? Because I had the gall to be out riding my bike on a beautiful day.

No camera, but I did document the plate: 3756R, with a PA Disabled symbol.


Pseudacris
Participant
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Joanne, sorry this happened to you: there’s just no excuse for that kind of jagoffery. I hope you will consider filling out a police tip form, since some of these individuals seem to escalate their rage.

http://www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/police/html/police_tip_form.html


helen s
Participant
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I can only imagine this site being flooded by both cyclists and drivers pointing out the other group disregarding traffic laws. But then again, if all transgressions were reported, I suspect it would be overwhelmingly motorized vehicles being cited.


rice rocket
Participant
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Because bicycles don’t have license plates.

/cynicism


Anonymous #

Pseudacris–thank you. I will report it, since it was so obviously an intimidation attempt (rather than typical oblivious dangerous driving). That way at least it’s on record. Ugh.

On the plus side, I was mostly just annoyed–stuff like that used to ruin my entire day.


jonawebb
Participant
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In situations like this, I wish for two things, both of them illegal:

1) Someone to hack the license plate database so we could look up the whereabouts of these jerks and administer some justice.

2) A small EMP hand grenade with magnetic attachment that we could toss at a car and which would disable the car’s electronic ignition after suitable delay, falling off to be crushed by the next car afterwards. It seems to me somebody could put this together using a capacitor from a discarded TV set and a magnetic coil.

Ah, well.


Pierce
Participant
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@jonawebb

I’ve been thinking for a long time that license plates should be attached to addresses and that database should be publicly accessible. Like domain names, except without the ownership obfuscation that large registrars are now providing.


Pseudacris
Participant
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It this different in each state? I’m pretty sure its a common “pro-life” technique in Mississippi to stalk women in the parking lots of abortion clinics, take their plate #s then mercilessly harass their families and co-workers to shame the women out of the procedure during the mandatory 24 hour waiting period in that state.

As with surveillance cameras, we should be careful what we’re asking for.


Erica
Participant
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Whenever there’s a car behind me, and it’s safe to pass, I give them the wave, but by extending my arm all the way out and waving my hand at the wrist. It seems to work.


jonawebb
Participant
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@pseudacris, if it’s not illegal in Mississippi, I’ll bet those pro-life people have allies on the police force. Which begs the question, why don’t we?


Marko82
Participant
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Slightly OT:

When I reported a driver at the Whitehall police station earlier this year they typed the plate number into their system and not only had that info, but it automatically showed the drivers license photo of the vehicle owner (who was not the driver in my case). It makes one pause to think what else is “linked” together in their database.

Likewise, when filling out a pgh police report for a bus that ran me off the road recently they asked me what my occupation was. How is that relevant?


reddan
Keymaster
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@pseudacris, if it’s not illegal in Mississippi, I’ll bet those pro-life people have allies on the police force. Which begs the question, why don’t we?

It is illegal in all states, except in certain defined circumstances.

ETA: note that one of the driving forces behind this bill was the harassment of women seen at abortion clinics that Pseuda referenced.


Pierce
Participant
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In retrospect, why didn’t we go talk to those people who were talking to the abortion people? Now they just camp out at Planned Parenthood


Anonymous #

I was recently driving on 837 toward West Homestead when I witnessed a cyclist get passed very closely as the driver pulled into the right lane before it ended (where the cyclist was) to pass a couple cars. There was no contact and the cyclist was fine. At least he was fine enough to place his left hand in the air with the middle finger raised. At the next red light I was behind this driver and got the plate. So my question is, fill out the report or let it go since nobody was harmed.


Pseudacris
Participant
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If the driver blew the 4′ passing rule, I’d file it.

Chances are that nothing will be done, but there will be a paper trail in case the driver’s behavior escalates with other cyclists.


orionz06
Participant
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If you were riding along Evergreen and had someone in a blue Camry right hook you, while you were lit and wearing a reflective vest, you would be interested to know that the license plate for that car was EYF-4542 and they continued to drive erratically and over the speed limit for an additional 2 miles.

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