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NYPD gave me ticket for riding the sidewalk for < 10 yds….(29 posts)

NYPD gave me ticket for riding the sidewalk for < 10 yds….LinuxDude
May 28, 2003 10:05 AM
As a regular cyclist commuter, here in nyc I always have followed the traffic rules. I never ride the sidewalks. In my 8 years of commuting I have never once had a collision with a car or a pedestrian. In fact I have one of those dorky bells mounted on my handle out of concern for the pedestrians. But you see, I have less than 10 yards of pedestrian side walk in front of my apartment before I can get to the nearest road. I always ride my bike out of door because my bike is usually loaded with panniers and is not that easy walk with. I take utmost care not to startle the pedestrians, let alone hitting them. Well the other day I was cruising along a usual road a couple of blocks away from my home when I realize that some car is slowly driving behind. I thought, that this must be some beginner driver who was scared to pass by me. So out of curtsey, I gave him plenty of space not knowing that the car following me was a cop. When I finally looked back I noticed that it was a white male cop. When he saw me look back he signaled and said to pull over on the side of the road. At this point, I was naturally really worried. I was thinking I haven't' done anything wrong so why is he stopping me?

Then he tells me I was riding on the sidewalks and I needed to show him my ID. I tried to explain that I live right there and it was only for less than a 10 feet of a block. I pointed to my address. He said that no I was endangering the pedestrians and so on. Then told me to clear the road and wait on the sidewalk and he closed his window. After a few minutes of calling in and looking up my records, he handed me a "court Summons" that required me to show up at the court with two choices:
1. Plead guilty and pay a fine of $25 or
2. Plead not guilty and defend myself
I told the cop that this was not right and should reconsider but to no avail. He said that in that case then I should plead not guilty and show up at court to confront him.

All this seems very bogus to me. The cop seemed like he had the order to hand out a certain number of tickets to fill the quota because of the budgetary problems. He just chose me as his victim because I seemed like a nice guy he could pick on. Even though, the fine is very small, I will not plead guilty even if that takes more of my time. Because I think, it is plain wrong to punish law-abiding citizens for the sake of money. If they need money that badly, may be they should ask for a handout like most bums on the street. Then I might be more generous.

Has anyone else had similar experiences, and can you please offer any ideas or suggestions? I was thinking of taking some pictures of front of my apartment to show the judge, or show some supporting letter form a bicycle advocacy group. Are there any lawyers, or law student who can offer some suggestions?

Thanks.
re: NYPD gave me ticket for riding the sidewalk for &lt; 10 yds….climbo
May 28, 2003 10:18 AM
that sucks, what a waste of time. Not worth the time to argue it, I'd just pay it. I would keep the ticket though. That would be good evidence to show drivers when they yell at you to get off the road. I could have used it quite a few times !!
Mayor Mike needs the money and how to beat the ticket....ss-nyc
May 28, 2003 10:20 AM
You obviously got a ticket because Mayor Mike (and the city) need the money. I assume you have been reading the papers and/or watching the news. Now, for the best chance at beating the ticket. Since the cop needs to show up in court and they usually hate to do that you can usually avoid the ticket this way.

Plead not guilty and ask for a court date. Before the court date say you can not make it and ask for a new court date. Make this date as far in the future as possible that they will allow. Next do this 3 times which is the maximum amount of times you can push a court date.

Odds are that the cop will have been promoted, transferred, or already been to court for all of the car moving violations he wrote the day you got the ticket and his Sargent is not going to let him go to court for an entire day to fight you on one silly bicycling related ticket.

At worse, he shows up at the final court date and you loose and have to pay the fine but at least you have postponed the fine and collected interest on the money while it sat in your banking account.

You just need to look for the cracks in the system. You pay the IRS everything you owe them, right?
NYCE (sic) one, I like that nmafrican
May 28, 2003 10:54 AM
10 yard rule?DougSloan
May 28, 2003 10:26 AM
If there were a driveway or garage on the other side of the sidewalk, you could certainly traverse the sidewalk (perpendicular?) to get to and from the street, right? Isn't this essentially what you were doing? Cars do this all the time.

Will this count as a moving violation on your driving record? That could make a difference for insurance or potential loss of driving privileges. I'd find out.

Don't bother arguing a de minimum violation, everyone does it, or harrassment. Won't get you anywhere. It's either legal or not. There may be mitigating factors that might affect punishment, but a $25 fine is fairly minimal, and courts typically up the minimum fine if you contest something.

First thing you do is look up the precise law you are cited for violating. See if you really did violate it. I once represented a truck driver charged with "passing in an intersection." Problem was, no law made that illegal (in Missouri at the time). May not have been wise, but it wasn't illegal. When I pressed the prosecutor to cite the law, he couldn't do it. Case dismissed.

Doug
Dumb copSteve_0
May 28, 2003 10:50 AM
most states have 'reckless' and 'careless' driving to cover such circumstances. Surely, a court could find passing in an intersection to be careless, if not reckless.

Anyhooo, PDs loss is your gain.
not necessarilyDougSloan
May 28, 2003 10:59 AM
To be careless, there would need to be additional facts, I'd think. It's harder to prove. If something, otherwise legal (or not illegal), can be considered to be automatically careless, then it should expressly be made illegal.

Oops, I wasn't correct above. Actually, it was "changing lanes" in an intersection, 2 lanes in each direction. That's not necessarily the same as "passing." Sorry.

Doug
How do I find the law?LinuxDude
May 28, 2003 11:34 AM
Google didn't help.
How do I find out about this law in NY? Section: 4-07, Sub: C3I.
thanks.
forget google.Steve_0
May 28, 2003 11:55 AM
Go to NYC or NYS statutes. If they're not online (which I guarantee they are) than cityhall and/or the statehouse have them.
yes; should be statute number on ticket nmDougSloan
May 28, 2003 12:58 PM
state law or city ordinance?DougSloan
May 28, 2003 1:02 PM
Check here:

http://www.findlaw.com/11stategov/ny/laws.html
Did you get a good look at him?SnowBlind
May 28, 2003 10:27 AM
Are you sure he was'nt from the Redmond PD? :)

Fighting it is tough, the judge will believe the cop over you 9 times outta ten, and that is what this case comes down to, who does the judge believe?

I won one only because the photos I took of the ticketing cop showed he was too short to be seen behind the cars when the traffic was turning left. He was 4'10".
The judge decided that the cop had a responsiblity to stand on a box, or be in front of the traffic at all times. He also decided that the PD was at fault for putting a Narc officer on traffic duty without proper training. (I heard later from a friend in the department that he was busted for taking "favors", and placed on traffic duty as punishment)

Boy was he pissed.
Did you get a good look at him?LinuxDude
May 28, 2003 11:10 AM
i Are you sure he was'nt from the Redmond PD? :)
> LOL.
More likely a SCO PD with cooperation of Redmond PD.
if you know what I mean. :)
http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104_2-1001609.html
quit complainingQuentinCassidy
May 28, 2003 10:32 AM
Dude, you're not the first and you're not the last. And you're not the worst off by a long shot. NYC is writing tickets like crazy to cover a budget shortfall, and you won't believe what little you have to do to get a 50 dollar ticket.

http://nydailynews.com/front/story/85136p-77787c.html
http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/87174p-79426c.html
How about the pregnant lady - Ticketed for sitting on stairs....ss-nyc
May 28, 2003 10:47 AM
http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/87462p-79641c.html
Too bad . . .RJF
May 28, 2003 10:51 AM
Too bad "failure to excercise proper birth control" is not against the law, or the cop could have written up this pregnant highschool senior for that too.

She shouldn't worry -- she'll get the money back and then some in social services.
to be fair...Steve_0
May 28, 2003 10:46 AM
you broke the law.

Was the guy being a jerk? Sure. Then again, for all we know, the PD was instructed to enforce pedestrian right-of-way in light of an increase in bike-pedestrian collisions on sidewalks. Doubtful, but possible.

Anyway, pay the fine. You've already admitted to the policeman that you were, in fact, riding on the sidewalk (never admit to anything). Unless the judge is a sympathetic cyclists, you're gonna lose anyway.
Uh oh...Matno
May 28, 2003 10:51 AM
Thanks for the warning. I regularly ride down the sidewalk in front of my house, including the part that goes past the precinct building half a block down! Guess I'll go straight to the road from now on. Is there a rule against riding at a crosswalk?
As for going on a driving record... any truth (anywhere)...PdxMark
May 28, 2003 11:01 AM
to the notion that using an ID other than a driver's license will protect your driving record? Is that just the practicality of not having a driver's licence number to fill-in on the ticket?
As for going on a driving record... any truth (anywhere)...GregJ
May 28, 2003 9:24 PM
I kind of doubt it. In California at least pedestrian and bicycle infractions do not count as points on your driving record. (Recent personal experience.)
First of all, never ever tell the police what you did wrong...eschelon
May 28, 2003 11:04 AM
Don't admit you did anything wrong. You tell the judge that you did not ride on the sidewalk...you tell the judge you used the sidewalk to get to street. In the matter of law and cops and jerks, it's not about who is morally right...it's about what ammunition you can muster to fight prosecution. It's your words against his. The police are not your friend...nor is the justice system. They will screw you if you let them...you have to play the game like they do. You are on a good start...you obviously don't actually believe that traffic enforcement has nothing to do with public safety...it's about money.
Fight it on general principle...dante
May 28, 2003 11:13 AM
Claim not-guilty and ask for a supporting deposition (if there's a box for it, I know there is one on the moving violations tickets). This makes the cop go through a whole bunch more paperwork, which will end up costing the city money for the ticket that they wrote. Figure in Policeman's time stopping you, writing the ticket, all the paperwork, the Judge's time, the Court time, the peope who process your payment, etc. So even if it's raised to $50, it's still costing the city several hundred. Then maybe Mayor Mike will realize that they can't make up the city's budget deficit by giving out frivolous tickets. The problem is 90% of the people say "ok, it's only $25, I'll just pay it" and so the city thinks of it as a money-making scheme.

Good luck, maybe the cop won't show.
dante
Around here, they EXPECT you to ride on the sidewalk ...Humma Hah
May 28, 2003 11:18 AM
... Per Virginia code, we're supposed to ride on the streets, but the local constabulary seems to EXPECT us to ride on the sidewalks.
10 yards, or 50 yards, now you know the law.MR_GRUMPY
May 28, 2003 11:42 AM
Next time, walk your bike to the street. It'll save $25.
I got ticketed once too.elviento
May 28, 2003 1:08 PM
It was pretty lame. That rainy Sunday afternoon, I was on one of those asphalt paths in Central Park that looked perfect fit for cycling but not open to cyclists according to the cop. The park was empty that day. On the court date the judge basically waved me by . No fine, just oral warning.

My thoughts on your incident: The ticket was BS, but its not worth the hassle to contest it. Literally you probably broke the law. It's not a big deal.
my new solution to avoiding tickets in NYC ........Spirito
May 28, 2003 1:12 PM
in the last few years i have been asked to show ID an harassed by the cops at least twice a month ..... on the bike, on the subway, buying milk at my deli, driving aound, twice whilst i was a passenger in a taxi .... even for sitting on the grass at central park enjoying the rare periods of sunshine.

i aint a criminal, nor am i a terrorist, nor am i posing a threat to anyone, nor am involved in any illegal activities. why do they keep bugging me ?????

well .... i started wearing a skull cap and i havent been stopped once since .... its not for cultural or religious significance but it works.

ciao
But does it meet the CPSC standard?...nmbicyclerepairman
May 28, 2003 3:32 PM
Alternately, would wearing a kaffiyehbicyclerepairman
May 28, 2003 3:42 PM
get you the Abner Louima treatment?
Spirito, you have a Mr. Clean cut, right? nmJS Haiku Shop
May 29, 2003 5:19 AM