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Cyclist gets $1500 in fines for running red lights

2011-08-22 00:26:29.661199+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

Another from Shadow: Manhattan bicyclist Juan (JC) Rodriguez has racked up $1500 in fines by running 3 red lights.

Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Nick Cantiello says cyclists are subject to the following fines for red-light violations: $190 for the first offense, $375 for the second, $940 for the third.

They don't, however, face $80 in surcharges that motorists get and there are no license points to worry about.

So my sympathyometer is reading zero.

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comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2011-08-22 17:14:52.935787+00 by: Mars Saxman

"If cyclists expect to be treated as cars in traffic, they should act like cars in traffic."

I may not be a shining example of obedience to traffic laws, especially when it comes to speed limits, but traffic signals and stop signs seem like the most fundamental parts of the road system, after deciding whether to drive on the right or the left. You can drive faster than the speed limit and nothing bad is really going to happen; you can get sloppy with your turn signals and do nothing worse than annoy people; but if you start ignoring stop lights, someone will get hurt, and it won't take long.

So it seems particularly bizarre that bicyclists, at greater risk of bodily harm than anyone else on the road, would so frequently choose to ignore this particular rule. On my way to work this morning I passed a bicyclist on 23rd Ave, who promptly cruised through a red light a moment later... a few miles later, another cyclist merrily ignored three stop signs in a row. And this is just an average morning on my normal route to work: I see this kind of behavior almost every day.

But somehow they get away with it, and mostly don't die. What this tells me is that "share the road" doesn't actually make sense: bicycles just aren't the same as regular road traffic. They're a weird intermediate zone between pedestrians and cars, and they're only getting pushed into vehicle traffic because there's nowhere else to put them.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-08-22 15:59:52.625249+00 by: Dan Lyke

I believe that in California the rule of "if the street light appears to be malfunctioning, treat it as a 4 way stop" applies to all vehicles.

I think the worst thing about this guy's whining is that it helps people to gloss over the abuses that New York City cops have perpetrated against cyclists. A few more high profile whines like this and we'll be egging on the bicyclist punching policemen.

The other thing about this is that this guy's a pedi-cab operator: That means that if you get in his jitney you've committed to going through intersections against traffic. And can you imagine what a professional driver, like a taxi or bus driver, having a third traffic light violation would be paying for insurance? And yet there's no permanent record for the perpetrator here.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-08-22 14:55:30.915523+00 by: Larry Burton

In Tennessee and Georgia motorcycles and bicycles are given special dispensation at traffic lights that are controlled by in-street sensors. Historically these sensors don't register motorcycles or bicycles and you will sit there forever or until a car drives up behind you to trip the light. So at these lights the law allows motorcycles and bicycles to proceed after stopping if it is safe. Other than that, yeah, I'm asking to be treated as an equal to motor vehicles while on the road so I should follow the rules of the road and pay the same penalty when violating them. This guy's whining is doing all cyclist a disservice.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-08-22 01:43:30.98392+00 by: Nancy

Irritates me no end when cyclists sharing the road don't follow traffic laws.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-08-22 01:19:32.927539+00 by: meuon

If cyclists expect to be treated as cars in traffic, they should act like cars in traffic. You can't have it both ways. I understand NYC and especially Manhattan has different traffic issues and he's probably a messenger.. but technically, yeah, no sympathy here either.

I had gotten good at adjusting to the light timing downtown... helps a lot.