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Old 12-15-2002, 05:30 PM   #1
Gabe
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Default Help From a Guy With a Law Degree (but not an attorney)

First, let's remember that this is a story that doubtlessly has two sides. Here's what el chip-o will say:



"On routine patrol in my marked cruiser, I observed the subject vehicle passing between slowly moving and stopped lines of traffic at a speed much greater than the stopped vehicles. I was able to keep the subect vehicle in view and performed a routine stop. The suspect showed me his valid california driver's license and told me he thought it was OK to ride in the described fashion."



You see, there's nothing in the California Vehicle Code expressly prohibiting lane-splitting. You can share lanes on a motorcycle, but you have to do it "safely". So cops get to be judge, jury and executioner, deciding by the side of the road if you're safe or not. They have a lot of latitude. But they have to think of something to charge you with, as well.



We don't really have enough info to help you. First, we need to know what you were charged with! Was it "unsafe lane change"? Or reckless driving? Reckless is serious, but you do have the right to a jury trial. If you were written for a misdemeanor, you need an attorney to truly protect you rights.



For an infraction you should probably just take the traffic school. You'll have to prove a subjective thing (you did nothing unsafe) against the word of the fuzz.



If you do want to fight it, go right now to www.nolo.com and order the California edition of "Fight Your Ticket". It will reveal all kinds of procedural and technical ways to win in court.



Good luck!
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Old 12-15-2002, 06:15 PM   #2
dirtyd
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Default Re: Lane Splitting Ticket :-(

Think for yourself. Don't get caught. But in the spirit of the holiday season ;have your lawyer make the case that due to the fluctuations in traffic speed YOU made the decision that it was safest to split lanes because you were nearly rear-ended several times. If you were paying attention during the MSF course you'll know you can quote directly from the book. But don't blame it on hearsay. Haven't you ever seen Law & Order?
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Old 12-15-2002, 07:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Lane Splitting Ticket :-(

o.k., a point here. People don't realize this, but it is fact. Police are considered "judge, jury, and executioner" in a traffic stop because the standard of proof is different. Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt does NOT exist in traffic court. Preponderence of the evidence is the standard. As such, like I tell people who want to fight me in court, go ahead. I need a laugh. Police are regarded as professional witnesses, and are trained to look at minute things that everyone else will not see, then use that as evidence. Pay the ticket unless you can absolutely prove that you were travelling in a safe manner. (is the offense on tape? remember, this can hurt you OR help you, depending on testimony you and the officer offer)
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Old 12-15-2002, 07:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Lane Splitting Ticket :-(

I recently lived in Northern California for a year (Pleasanton, 22 miles up from San Jose on Hwy 680). Having move from Minnesota I was totally shocked to see people lane splitting. Over the time I spent in NorCal I road with many people, including a lot of CHP. I asked many CHP if lane splitting was "legal" and I was told "NO". Lane splitting is "Tolerated". The law that somewhat "allows" lane splitting is very vague, it says "A motorcycle may share a lane with a motor vehicle" (Page 15 of the hand book I believe). That's ALL it says. A friend of mine last year was lane splitting on 680 (on the start of the incline by Fry's Electronics for those of you who live in the area) when a person open a car door on him. Needless to say he was very messed up. Get this, he was sued and had to pay damages because of a seldom imposed law passed by the wonderful law makers in Sacramento that makes lane splitting illegal. Did I lane split? Yes. Did I know it was illegal? Yes. Did I care? No as long as I didn't get caught. After a year of California I moved back to Minnesota. My suggestion is to check with the courts and go to the CHP station and ask.
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Old 12-15-2002, 07:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Lane Splitting Ticket :-(

I recently lived in Northern California for a year (Pleasanton, 22 miles up from San Jose on Hwy 680). Having move from Minnesota I was totally shocked to see people lane splitting. Over the time I spent in NorCal I road with many people, including a lot of CHP. I asked many CHP if lane splitting was "legal" and I was told "NO". Lane splitting is "Tolerated". The law that somewhat "allows" lane splitting is very vague, it says "A motorcycle may share a lane with a motor vehicle" (Page 15 of the hand book I believe). That's ALL it says. A friend of mine last year was lane splitting on 680 (on the start of the incline by Fry's Electronics for those of you who live in the area) when a person open a car door on him. Needless to say he was very messed up. Get this, he was sued and had to pay damages because of a seldom imposed law passed by the wonderful law makers in Sacramento that makes lane splitting illegal. Did I lane split? Yes. Did I know it was illegal? Yes. Did I care? No as long as I didn't get caught. After a year of California I moved back to Minnesota. My suggestion is to check with the courts and go to the CHP station and ask.
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Old 12-15-2002, 09:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: Lane Splitting Ticket :-(

In Japan, lane splitting is tolerated and expected. I do it a lot to get by stalled traffic, but not at the speeds you do. I don't want to be splitting lanes when traffic is getting up to 40MPH!
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Old 12-16-2002, 01:39 AM   #7
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Default Yeah, I got a ticket for it, too!

But here in VA. I can understand moving between cars if they're all stopped, or moving very slowly. That was tolerated all over Europe when I lived there. But, I read your psting, and I see that the speeds were in the 30-40 MPH range. Sounds kind of high to me.





I hear California rders talk about lane splitting/sharing like it's some kind of right. sounds like it's an excuse to ride like an a**hole. Then again, I don't have to put up with your traffic.





I dunno, can you plead guilty, go to school, and keep it off your record? That's probably the pragmatic approach, depending on your record.
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Old 12-16-2002, 01:54 AM   #8
Throttlepansy
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Default Re: Lane Splitting Ticket :-(

As a rider in the UK, I can't imagine *not* lane-splitting; I commute over 100 miles a day, & for me, it's the raison-d'etre for using the bike. I typcally save 40-50 minutes one way on the world's largest orbital car park (the M25 around London). Obviously, you have to take care, and the police in the UK can pull you if they decide your filtering speed is too high - but as per usual, it's entirely up to them, as the law is a bit vague over here as well. I've never been pulled in 6 years doing it, tho'....
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Old 12-16-2002, 04:19 AM   #9
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Default Re: Lane Splitting Ticket :-(

...are trained to look at minute things that everyone else will not see...


(My emphasis added)


Is it standard for law enforcement officials to assume that every member of the public is completely ignorant?
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Old 12-16-2002, 04:52 AM   #10
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Default Yep, me too.

I received a lane-splitting ticket on the Ventura freeway out by Woodland Hills one morning in circumstances similar to yours.



Except, well, I've faced up to the fact that I was going faster than you say you were and deserved to get stopped. Not my finest hour.



So my advice is to go to traffic school and be done with it.



I've since moved to Washington State where lane-splitting is not legal nor is there the opportunity to make a ticket vanish by going to traffic school.



Although it's not to the point here, may I say that Southern and Central California get my vote for the best place in the country to ride motorcycles. Great weather, great roads, filter through traffic when the four wheelers are idling futilely, make one speeding ticket per year vanish through the magic of traffic school. I miss it sometimes.....
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