Friday, January 13, 2006

Red Lights/Red Mist Part 3: Rights (Why I Hope I Get Ticketed for Running a Red Light)

The law says, “Every person driving a bicycle shall have all of the rights and all the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle by this Code…”

In light of the rights portion of this law, I think it would be interesting to present this problem to a court and see if it would determine that the city was not providing bicycles the provisions of the law.

I don’t see this as an argument that would bring sweeping changes to the way the city installs traffic sensors. It’s hard to imagine a court or this city declaring improved signal sensors a necessity for the 6% of the population that might ride their bike through this city this year.

I do think it’s a reasonable argument against paying a fine for violating the duties portion of this law. Someday I’d like to test it.

This approach allows for eayste’s quite agreeable suggestion that bicycles will never receive equal treatment.

It also fits uneasily into H’s Citizenship pillar of Character Counts!

“get involved in community affairs” – it was at a community bicycle planning meeting where the city transportation planner answered this problem with the suggestion to get off your bike, walk to the button to press it, and get back on your bike.

“respect authority” – I will not run from the policeman who would ticket me for riding through a red light. I will respect authority by challenging authority in the most appropriate of places, a court.

“protect the environment” – well, yeah. Perhaps you’ve heard of The MinusCar Project.

“obey laws and rules” – sigh, I can’t.


Anonymous said...

In the UK, there is an exemption for any vehicle to pass a red light if the traffic signals aren't functioning. I'm not sure it's ever been tested in court but I'd be willing to try it.

I'm fairly certain that all our lights here are supposed to detect cyclists or, if not, then to have a timed lighting cycle to ensure you get a green eventually. In many parts of the country, 6% of journeys by bike would be a massive increase.

Anonymous said...

Where I've ridden (mostly CA), I think I've always been able to trigger the signal by laying my steel-framed bike across the sensor, just above the ground, after clicking one foot out of the pedal. Have you tried this?