Tickets in Miami

for not riding far enough to the right.

Read about it here.

11 replies
  1. john
    john says:

    The front line of equal rights begins with effective and fair law enforcement. Until the public can be assured that police departments are well informed and support written laws/policies, cyclists on roads will be seriously impaired.

  2. Keri
    Keri says:

    As more and more cyclists are becoming informed and empowered, I’m not surprised to see some transitional turmoil. For one thing, most officers are not familiar with bicycle statutes. With good reason. They have a 2-inch-thick statute book, the bike laws are a page and a half of that and we’re culturally irrelevant until we get in the way.

    There are 2 things going on, one is ignorant motorons calling 911 because an uppity cyclist made them have to change lanes, the other is officers simply seeing a cyclist commanding the lane and it looks wrong to them. If they know any part of 316.2065, its the first sentence.

    That’s why the FBA Law Enforcement Toolkit is so important… and why several of us are continuing to work on it without pay while we attempt to find more funding.

    On the local level, I have prepared an educational piece for the OPD Bulletin with the help of Ofc. Edgar. When I return from Sopchoppy, I’ll post that for others to use in their cities.

    • fred_dot_u
      fred_dot_u says:

      Keri, your comment is so timely, it’s astonishing.

      The genius officers at the Port Orange Police Department have decided to harass me once again. Monday, I was stopped by an officer who introduced himself thus:
      “You may not remember me, but I remember this bicycle. I wrote you a citation for riding in the center of the lane and you’re doing it again, obstructing traffic.”

      The video shows seven cars passing me, three which had to change lanes on a six lane road. The officer is also shown in the video arriving from an intersecting road too late to observe anything other than my start from a red traffic light.

      That didn’t prevent him from citing me for my favorite, 316.2065 (5)(a), disregarding the (3) section below that. I did ask him if he was aware of the previous citations being dismissed. He asked me about the “alleged” dismissal and then asked me if the dismissal was done without an argument. I told him that the argument was part of the motion to dismiss. He said, “No, an argument from the state” as if the “state” had any real argument. I said, “I don’t know about that” even though I wanted to say, “I didn’t break the law, so there’s no argument”, but held my tongue.

      I now have two more citations, nothing in the system yet, so no court date, since I picked up another one, today, Wednesday, while driving on the road which passes the new POPD station. He was standing in the driveway waiting for me and waved me in. This time, I heard the motorcycle officer refer to a motorist call.

      In both of the recent stops, there was no conversation from the officers, since they clearly think none is required. There is new wording on the citations this week compared to the last two. “Obstructing traffic” which isn’t part of 316.2065, so I think it’s pretty much meaningless.

      I’m hopeful that with the assistance of a lawyer that these citations will also be dismissed.

      Strange thing in today’s stop, the cop was standing in the roadway, snapping a photo or photos of me as I approached. Lane width eleven feet eight inches today, eleven feet on monday. I measured today’s lane while the officer observed, and told him of the measurement as well.

      I wonder if the photo will be distributed to the patrol cars so they know who to pull over and cite every time they see me. Sure seems like harassment to me.

      At the end of the first stop, the cop gave me three options, pay the fine ($166), go to court, or take “driver improvement class” to prevent getting points on my license. I said, “I don’t think the class applies to cyclists” to which he replied in a pretty grammatically screwed up sentence that it’s a moving violation and because I’m operating on a roadway, I get charged just like a driver and get points. Since it was his parting shot, I fired one back and said “That’s not correct, but I’ll let you believe it.” If he heard, above the traffic noise, he didn’t show it. That’s as bad as my mood was for that stop.

      On today’s stop, I noted a fifty dollar reduction in the fine, asked the cop about it and he said “It’s a non-moving violation” so the fine is not as high. When asked about points, he said “I don’t know, but I don’t think so.”

      I know that these cops don’t know every statute in the book, but when they look them up, and have the exceptions pointed out (I am getting to dislike that word) and still choose to ignore them, it’s just wrong.

      The second cop stop cop said “I’ve never heard of a traffic citation being dismissed” and I held my tongue again and didn’t say, “Now you have!”

      Please hurry back from Sopchoppy, as I think your special piece may be useful to me.

      Does anyone know a good lawyer for filing a civil harassment suit? I really don’t want to do that, but if these citations continue, or worse, build up until they are resolved, I’m going to lose it.

      • Eric
        Eric says:

        Sorry to hear about your news.
        I had a case dismissed, but that was 35 years ago. I wrote it up myself with help from a Bender’s Forms book.

        All I can tell you is what was true back then.
        The chief (or someone in his office) knows your cases were dismissed, since a copy of the dismissal is normally sent to the agency. If not, copies of the dismissal with a sharply worded letter from an attorney might stop all this.

        Keep track of your time. Start a log of what happened when and what time you spent doing what. If this turns into a lawsuit, then the log will come in handy. You are allowed to refer to it when under oath and it can be used for damages. Easy to say, harder to do, but legally it is golden.

        • Keri
          Keri says:

          What Eric said! Log all the time spent. Of course, your videos are a bonus, especially for the obstructing nonsense. The Chief has to be aware that the citations were dismissed. I’m in Tallahassee at the moment. Geo is in Sopchoppy reviewing the Toolkit video lesson on the 316.2065 exceptions this afternoon. I’ll call him. He lives in St Augustine and might be willing to pay a visit to POPD with you.

          If the Chief won’t make his officers cease and desist with the harassment, then I think it’s time for a civil suit.

      • Jayeson
        Jayeson says:

        Fred, it sounds like this was while driving your velomobile. 316.2065 (5) refers to bicycles. According to 316.003(2) bicycles don’t include vehicles with low seats. It would seem that the only subsections of 316.2065 that apply to you are (1) and (10).

        Maybe I’ll spring for that recumbent trike after all.

        • fred_dot_u
          fred_dot_u says:

          Jayeson, it’s to my advantage to be treated as a cyclist operating a bicycle, and the link Eric provided also notes that “any vehicle operated by human power” is the qualification.

          The uninformed uniformed law enforcement officers are confused enough as it is, so I’d rather keep things at a level they are more likely to understand. That said, they clearly don’t have a clear understanding, and I’m hopeful that the support I’m receiving from our cycling community will resolve this matter on a permanent basis.

  3. andrewp
    andrewp says:

    Is there any traction with any groups to get legislative changes to get rid of the FRP portion of the law or have clarification on the “impeding traffic” section — it would go a long way towards clearing up misconceptions of how the statutes can be applied to cyclists.

    What language would you want to have (or not have)?

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      Florida’s impeding statute is clear enough, it says “motor vehicle.”

      From what I’ve seen, legislative changes are a tiptoe through a minefield. The FTR law was eliminated in PA through careful negotiation and relationship-building by a handful of advocates. I think that’s the only way to get it done without a potential to backfire and make things worse. As long as the culture of speed is dominant, attempts to get rid of discriminatory laws intended to keep us out of the way will have the potential for backlash if not done carefully.

  4. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    Change the culture and law changes with it. Way easier said than done, of course.

    Memes that might need spreading:

    1) Bicyclists are the only roadway users required to share a lane with other traffic, even though they’re the most vulnerable.

    2) Bicyclists have the right to drive defensively, like every other driver.

    3) All states without FTR laws have lower bicycle fatality rates than Florida. (Of course all states have lower fatality rates than Fla., FTR law or not; but hey, maybe it’s time we use propaganda to our benefit.)

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