Citation and Substandard-Width Lane
Tom asked: So this is a multi stage issue/question. While I’m not particularly proud of how I handled the officer (He irritated me right off the bat) I think transparency would be best. The audio is horrible but there is a video of this incident here: https://youtu.be/9c33KWnAvrs
The things I would like to see accomplished are a reeducation of the Clearwater Police Dept on bicycle safety, and bicycle laws. I shouldn’t have been pulled over, much less given a ticket.
Some follow up from the police department as it is obvious from watching the video that after forcing me off the road while making it seem like he was pulling me over officer xxxx came dangerously close to my bicycle (within 3′)
Are there any options for people who can’t afford to go to traffic court when the ticket isn’t a legal ticket? Is there a way of getting this dismissed via correspondence or must I take a day off of work to show up and state such? Unfortunately a lawyer would likely cost more then a day off of work would cost me, so I’d be unable to afford that option as well.
Firstly, I suggest ignoring the “too close” pass by the officer. No way to prove it and it just complicates the issue. Keep it clean.
It does appear the lane is a substandard-width lane, which is one of the specific exceptions to the “keep right” law. It appears there was no impediment to other traffic since the other traffic passed you freely and easily. You can use the information in this post to respond in any manner you wish.
I suggest measuring the lane width to be sure.
Traffic court is always iffy in these cases. It is usually rushed and you never know the competency of the magistrate. As an alternative, you can file a motion to dismiss with the court, which requires the full attention and documentation by the judge before a traffic court appearance. That means someone has to actually read it carefully, review the applicable laws and respond to your motion in writing, thereby providing the necessary documentation for an appeal if necessary.
Separately, I will send you an example of a successful motion to dismiss for the same citation in another jurisdiction. I will also send this post to other interested parties for their consideration and comment.
You do not need an attorney to do that, but it would certainly help. I suggest calling the clerk of the court and asking the procedure to do so.
I recommend separately writing a letter to the police chief with the information in this post and asking that the department educate its officers in this and other laws about bicycling.
Please let us know the outcome of this case in comments below.