Traffic Requirements For Bikers In Los Angeles Raise Confusion
By Trissean McDonald
Los Angeles bicycle legislation must undergo serious reform in order to alleviate the confusion about established laws. There is/are no written law(s) specifying the ordinance for bikers utilizing crosswalks, leaving a vague gap between what law(s) is/are considered an infraction if broken.
In fact, bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers, according to the “Bicycle” section of the Department of Motor Vehicles California Driver Handbook 2017. But, there’s no mention about bicycles riding within a crosswalk. Yet, there are LAPD officers such as Officer Grimmer, who are unfamiliar with the law and are writing citations. In which leaves the question, “Are the police really taking the law into their own hands?”
Arbitrary bicycle laws are perplexing the community into thinking what is an actual law. The annoyance of paying gratuitous citations not only strip the pockets of citizens; rather it’s also unsatisfying for governing states, to take funds from citizens without a proper cause.
Los Angeles Metropolitan Courthouse is one of many courthouses that disregard bicycle laws in LA. In a sense, it is as if the courthouse supports the laws that are not fully structured. Judge Burroughs, a judge who presided over a case involving an alleged bicycle infraction on Dec. 12, 2017, from department 61, ruled rather poorly concerning the case.
Common sense is now considered the law. Judge Burroughs, upon hearing both testimonies of the plaintiff and defendant, made his ruling based off of common sense. The plaintiff, Officer Grimmer, gave a description as to what happened the day of the alleged infraction. Upon completing his statement, Judge Burroughs asked the defendant if the defendant had any questions for Officer Grimmer. The defendant declined to ask questions.
Judge Burroughs asked the defendant about giving a testimony. The defendant gave testimony of the incident, read an argumentative letter to the courts, also had evidential documents within a cell phone that the judge did not even take the time to look at. It was clear, the judge already decided his ruling even before the defendant’s argument that was full of evidence.
The defendant’s testimony became contorted by the judge’s interpretation of the incident while having to remain respectful and silent before an honorable judge. Argumentative facts were being spewed at the judge; however, the judge took the side of the LAPD officer. To think that a judge would have dismissed the case upon reasonable doubt.
While cruising down Vermont Avenue heading north, the defendant had to temporarily ride on the sidewalk. It was a traffic congested morning, and the defendant was unable to take the street. A green light appears before the defendant; however, the defendant was unaware of the “flashing red hand,” a signal used to alert the public to stop. That’s when the defendant rode across the crosswalk only to be pulled over by Officer Grimmer.
Dissatisfied with the judge ruling of guilty, the defendant asks the judge about the sentence. The defendant relied on evidential facts supported by the California Driver’s Handbook again. “There’s nowhere in the bicycle section that says anything about crosswalks or sidewalks. The laws are vague,” said the defendant.
The bicycle section does, in fact, mention sidewalk ordinance within its column. However, the law is vague in the description because it differs within different cities. The only way to know if you’re in violation within the city of Los Angeles is by using your common sense. “It’s common sense that if you’re riding on the sidewalk, and not the street that you are a pedestrian,” said Judge Burroughs.
It is not common sense because everyone is not capable of knowing what common sense is. Additionally, it’s rather unprofessional, let alone dishonorable for any judge to make such an egregious statement. The law does not rely on common sense; it relies on proof of evidence. And if the evidence is there, it should not be disregarded.
*Re-edit: Additional Content Dec. 12, 2017
*(Footnote) Pedestrian: going or performed on foot, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.