My Day in Court

13 Sep

After getting the ticket for “disregard of a red signal light” back on May 25th, I commented to my husband Mark that I would give up the $119 fine, but I wanted something good to come from it.

Something good did – meet the new ordinance for affirmative defense for cyclists passed by the Edmond City Council Monday, September 10, 2012:

Affirmative Defense Ordinance Page 1

I can’t begin to convey how pleased I am that this was accomplished. It is a big help for cyclists and I’m thankful that my experience helped to bring it about.

Today I finally had my day in court. I found the Judge to be both fair and empathetic; finding me guilty of the offense, but waiving the fine and court costs. Most meaningful to me was that she stated several times that she admired my riding and that she wished our community could be accessed better on foot or by bike. She genuinely seemed sorry that she had to find me guilty because she understood the dilemma I was faced with.

The Affirmative Defense ordinance for bicyclists will go into effect next month. Although I got the ball rolling we would not have this ordinance if not for the efforts of the Edmond Bicycle Committee, particularly Jan Fees, Steve Murdoch (City Attorney), and of course the City Council.

This ordinance is an accommodation for cyclists which recognizes that not all traffic signals detect cyclists and gives us an affirmative defense should we receive a ticket – if all conditions are met. 

I would like to state here for the record that my incident met all of the criteria specified in this ordinance – in other words I did not roll through a red light. Mark and I waited through two cycles before proceeding safely through the intersection.

There seems to be some belief out there that this ordinance gives cyclists the license to roll through stop signs or red lights. It does not and it is imperative that every cyclist obey traffic laws. If you’ve spent much time here on my blog you know one of my pet peeves is cyclists who blow through stop signs or red traffic signals.

The fact is I recognized the red light and stopped and waited; unfortunately the red light didn’t recognize me and change. As every cyclist knows, the infrastructure is geared towards motorists not bicyclists, and presents us with a myriad of challenges where we must do our best to act safely and responsibly.

Edmond is moving forward on becoming a bicycle friendly community, this is just one step toward that. The Bicycle Master Plan is a huge step as is the proposed Arcadia Lake Trail. For local cyclists, please support and acknowledge Edmond’s attempts to better accommodate and encourage people to ride bikes.

Keep riding and stay safe.

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4 Responses to “My Day in Court”

  1. Kim September 13, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Woohoo!!!!! For some of us it was just an ordinary Thursday, but your Thursday made a difference. Way to stand up and make things better for all of us.

    • Susan September 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

      Kim, Thank you so much for your very nice words and sentiment!

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