Wednesday, June 25 2008 @ 03:25 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
[From Bike Washington list]
Just wanted to post that I had a successful day in court and was found
not guilty by the judge.
I had been cited for failure to stay to the right. I was westbound on
Wilson between 10th and Monroe, occupying the center of the right hand
lane when I was pulled over and cited.
The ticketing officer was there today. She gave her side of events
(along the lines of "He was all over the road.") I gave my side which
included the fact I was in the center of the right hand lane. That the
lane varies in width from 12-10 feet. That AASHTO recommends a
minimum width of 14 feet for lanes shared between cars and bikes.
That Arlington County's Bike Arlington website hosts a WABA safety
guide recommending occupying the center of a lane too narrow for a
bike and car to be abreast. And that my center lane position allowed
me to pass on the left of a car that actually made a right hand turn
in front of me.
The judge listened to both sides, thumbed through the regs, and said
not guilty, case closed. I didn't even need to show my photos or
testify to my speed (22 in a 25 zone). I think I came off more
professional and courteous than the officer. The officer tried to
bring up some bogus "And he went through a red light after I cited
him, too, but I didn't bother give him a ticket for that." I said that
I didn't recall such a thing happening. The judge ignored the
officer's claim, which when she said it sounded to me petty and
childish. Maybe it came off the same way to the judge, I don't know.
Since I was the first real case of the day (after all the very minor
No Registration cases), the best part was the judge taking my side in
a courtroom full of a dozen Arlington officers and a room full of drivers.
Of course, wouldn't you know after leaving the Courthouse and biking
to work in DC, I had a car honk and curse at me for occupying the
center of the rightmost lane on H Street, NW, while keeping up with
traffic. It's not a daily occurrence, so the coincidence was uncanny.
It just goes to show, even when the cyclist is right, we still have
to be careful for the whack jobs who will never understand.