Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, You're Cleared of all Charges

Devoted readers of this forum might recall an episode in early October, in which I was ticketed and fined for biking the wrong way on a one-way block of New Hampshire Avenue (you may also recall the vitriolic comment thread that followed). Needless to say, I contested the fine.

Well, Happy Christmas to me, the District has dismissed the violation:


I'd be happy to give detailed pointers to anybody contesting a similar violation, but the gist of my defense came out of a few helpful posts and comments on Greater Greater Washington. Basically, I argued that going the wrong way on NH was the only safe way to navigate that part of the city, and that DDOT has recognized this fact in their plans to install contraflow bike lanes on that very block. Victory!

13 Comments:

Blogger Rich said...

"Basically, I argued that going the wrong way on NH was the only safe way to navigate that part of the city"

ok, I'm not from the area, and I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but when you say riding the wrong way was the only safe way... what, the other streets are unsafe? What if that one-way block didn't exist, you would just not ride your bike?

I'm pretty hard ass about reporting people parked in the bike lane. If it's short term, and really not affecting anyone, I'll let it slide. But most of the time I'll report it, even if it's only one car. That may make me an asshole, but I'm an asshole who is trying to defend cyclists' rights. And every time a cyclist pulls a stunt like blowing (not just rolling) a stop sign, or worse, riding against traffic, it makes it tougher.

Yea, it may be safer, and the road may be empty, but it's against the law. And I think cyclists who pick and choose which laws to break and which to whine about are hypocrits.

Personally, I wish cops in my area would hand out some tickets for wrong way riding.

28/12/08 1:13 AM  
Blogger EdTheRed said...

@Rich: Um, yeah, you're likely not from the area. The intersections and blocks surrounding that particular one-way are brutal (the 16th St. / U St. / New Hampshire Ave. intersection...*shudder*). I bike them regularly, and fear for my life regularly. I don't ride the wrong way on that one-way block, but it's a very low-traffic block relative to the alternative routes. There's a reason the city is installing a contra-flow bike lane there - it's safer for cyclists.

That block is also in the part of DC (outside of the central business district) where sidewalk riding is legal...so you can ride opposite the flow of traffic on that one-way street if you stay on the sidewalk, and not risk a ticket.

28/12/08 3:19 PM  
Anonymous Ben said...

Seconding Ed the Red... that particular block of New Hampshire Ave. is more or less a parking lot because it's a one-way that doesn't serve as a major thoroughfare. There's minimal traffic and enough room for two car-size lanes in addition to parking spaces on both sides. The parking spots on the western side are even space-gobbling diagonal pull-in spots. A whole pack of cyclists could go the wrong way through there without bothering auto traffic-- and it's a lot safer than 14th and 16th, which are the closest alternatives.

If you don't believe me, take a look at the map (NH Ave is the diagonal one): http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&ll=38.917583,-77.035513&spn=0.001212,0.002414&t=h&z=19

28/12/08 7:21 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I don't mean to rain on your parade, but I doubt that the fact that you got dismissed has anything to do with the way you argued your case. Or really anything other than the luck of the draw.

This is the exact same letter you get when you contest a parking ticket by mail. I've had iron-clad cases with pictures get denied, and other ones that were downright shaky accepted.

I even had a mail appeal denied of a ticket that I got in the exact same spot where I'd previously been ticketed, and successfully appealed. The second time, I sent them the exact same pictures... and included a copy of the previous dismissal letter. Denied! Huh??

I am pretty sure they throw darts to decide which mail appeals they will accept.

29/12/08 4:47 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

i think you're probably right, jamie, but that won't stop me from declaring victory and having a party.

31/12/08 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great...now the holier than thou bikers can feel even holier...HUZAHH!!!!

8/1/09 3:46 PM  
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