Friday, May 18, 2007

Traffic Court Update

Sorry for the delay.

I went back to court for the continence of the trial this last Tuesday. My first objective was to make a verbal Motion to Dismiss due to the destruction of the audio tape previously mentioned. I had the subpoena as evidence to this fact, but the judge stated that the audio recording was after the fact of the violation and did not have any relevance to the case. I argued that it did, mostly just so that I could throw it back in his face later in the trial...and I did.

I wasn't extremely worried if the Motion was denied, I was fully ready to argue the case. After review of the officers statements responding to my declaration I drafted up in AutoCAD the diagrams (to scale) of the entire intersection and locations of vehicles and my bike.
The officer stated that as I cleared the Southbound lane two cars enter the intersection. Using the formulas for distance traveled per second (speed x 1.4666) and the 85th percentile of Foothill Road I calculated with extreme accuracy the amount time I had before the cars reached the location where I had crossed. It turns out that the vehicles still had to travel 116' before they would even reach that location.
Note; I was already clear by 11'.
It would have taken the vehicle 1.7 seconds to reach the location where I had crossed which at the speed I was traveling (18MPH) would have put me an addition 45' clear of the Southbound lanes and virtually clear of the Northbound lanes.
I made copies of this diagram for everyone.

The trial quickly moved from facts to opinions and a comically became a bickering match between the officer and myself. I explained to the judge that the signal was malfunctioning and the volume of traffic on the street I was on was extremely low. I explained that the road I was on was a usual training route and that I had been through this intersection hundreds of times and had never seen a vehicle traveling in my direction. This was to point out that waiting for a vehicle to trigger the signal was not reasonable under the circumstances.

The officer at one point pleaded that we need to understand his perspective as he just dealt with a incident where a 3 year old child was hit by a car. I objected with vigor and explained "I am not a 3 year old". I then explained to the judge that I had been racing and training for over 10 years and was an accomplished cyclist, that not only raced and rode but built up my own bikes. In addition I explained to the judge that I have been designing traffic signals and roadway geometry for nearly 7 years and had a certain expertise.

Towards the end the officer admitted to not know how long I had waited before crossing. I explained that I waited for the apposing left turn movement to complete and that based on the phase diagram for the intersection I would have been next in the cue for a green indication had the detectors sensed me.

After a bit more bickering the judge appeared to have a good grasp of what really happened that day on the road. He stated that he would not grant the Motion to Dismiss, but due to the complexity and quantity of detailed facts to consider that he would take the case under submission and set a hearing for September 11. He stated that if I could avoid another violation on my bicycle he would dismiss the case.

My guess is he didn't want to rule against the officer, but he also didn't want to rule against me. This was likely the best way to give both sides what they wanted with out directly offending anyone.

Provided Officer Jones doesn't stalk me and trump up more frivolous traffic citations, I should get my $361.00 back in September.

-Nome Out

7 Comments:

Blogger Auffderbach said...

Sounds like you could have a promising career as a lawyer, if
you wanted.

Gott go all summer without a ticket? Ouch!

1:05 PM  
Blogger Nome Agusta said...

I went 10 years, I think I can fly under the radar for 120 days.
I just need to keep a watch over my shoulder when on the groups rides...and keep my big mouth shut.

It's really tough being a know-it-all...but I am so good at it.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Chico Cyclist said...

LOL - That's great. I bet that cop didn't know what to do once you started reading him the law....and the physics!

3:16 PM  
Blogger Warren T said...

Keep fighting the good fight. I stumbled across your blog while searching for information on traffic signals not triggered by bicycles. I had a rather frustrating ride this last weekend and am tired of hoping off my bike to run over to try to trigger a cross walk.

This morning I got stuck at a T with the traffic very heavy on the road I was trying to turn left to join. I sat and sat as cars would pull up to my right and turn right on red. Finally, a car pulled up behind me - but the driver was over-polite and didn't pull up far enough to trigger the signal. After that driver started getting a bit agitated, I finally motioned them forward as I rolled a little further into the intersection. There has to be a better way.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Nome Agusta said...

There is...video detection.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Warren T said...

Would you mind if I linked to your blog on CommuteByBike? I was going to post on my recent discussion with my local PD regarding this same issue and thought the CBB readers would enjoy your posts...

3:03 PM  
Blogger Nome Agusta said...

Sure.

7:27 PM  

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