Motorist Always Gets the Ticket?
Sabrena asked: I am a safe driver for over 34 years, and I have ridden bikes on the road and encourage my 4 young children to ride their bikes. My dilemma involves an irresponsible bicyclist who traveled fast against traffic, downhill, without working brakes and with headphones on. This bicyclist is out of my view (about 120 feet away) due to the shape of the road. Upon my looking left, right (the lane the bike was travelling) and left again (for traffic travelling legally in my lane), I go over my speed bump at the top of the drive and pull out into the road. Upon my completion of the turn, the bicyclist swerves to the right (directly in front of me), instead of continuing in the 3 ft curb or going left into the grass. He hits me in the front of the car (My car was travelling about 5 MPH). THANK goodness that the bicyclist is not injured! It scares the crap out of my child and me since we do not see the bicyclist until he hits us.
I received the ticket from a FHP officer because the officer stated to me that the driver of a motorized vehicle always gets the ticket when it involves a bicyclist. The citation failed to mention no brakes and use of headphones. The cyclist verbalized and openly admitted the above facts, and says that he will continue riding against traffic and using headphones while riding. This ordeal has messed up my life for a month now, for I value life, and the thought of what could have happened to the bicyclist is so frightening!
I am writing you because your site promotes safety and education for motorists (bicyclist and motor vehicle drivers alike). Some bicyclists like this guy (who has knowledge of the FL bicyclist law statutes), are still choosing to ignore the law. It is daunting that despite this experience and close call for getting seriously hurt or killed, this particular bicyclist has learned nothing. Is it possible that the FHP officer did not know that he could have given the bicyclist a citation, for he was fully aware of the bicyclist not following the FL bicyclist laws? It is frustrating knowing that the collision could have been prevented if the bicyclist had followed at least one of the above statutes. I’m frustrated for I am left fighting a ticket, failure to have due care to a bicyclist because the bicyclist’s irresponsible actions caused the accident. My motto is safety, for accidents happen once. If bicyclists who are knowingly breaking the law are not held accountable, then these bicyclists are negating everything that you (conscientious, law abiding bicyclists who are concerned about promoting education and safety) have worked so hard to achieve.
Bicyclists breaking the laws should be held accountable just as others are. If the officer said the motorist always is cited in such cases, that is not true. A citation should be written based on the evidence. If the officer did not witness the incident, the ticket should be easily defeated if it is as you stated. It is recommended that you retain legal counsel.