Author Topic: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.  (Read 12425 times)

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Offline 2linby

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2011, 04:54:07 pm »
More information than you wish you had.  With just a very quick look I see nothing that would be of any benefit to your case.

Texas statutes:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm

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« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 05:02:25 pm by 2linby »
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Offline Rev Ryder

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2011, 05:45:04 pm »
If a jury of your peers includes native Texans that have been riding motorcycles on the street for 30+years, I'll qualify.

If I'm on your jury you will lose your "safety related" arguments and the ticket will stand.

I am not in favor of legal lane splitting in Texas.  IMHO one lane width should = one vehicle in the lane, and violation of that tenet presents a safety hazard.

If you choose to ride on the street, "to keep the idiots behind me" as a safety tactic is a BS argument, IMHO.  To argue that getting ahead of inattentive drivers by splitting between them is "safe" or "safer" than maintaining traditionally recommended clearance distances is nonsense, IMHO, at the very least because you have reduced your clearance and therefore the time available to react to an un-predicted move by the inattentive driver (all other things being equal).

The sole logical justification for splitting is: to get to the destination quicker than if you don't split, assuming no accident in the process (again, IMHO).  This is supported by the info at laneshare.org, where all of the justifications for splitting relate to traffic congestion, none relate to safety.  I recognize that some space at laneshare.org is dedicated to suggesting that splitting does not present a greater risk than non-splitting riding; that is NOT the same as saying it is "safe" or "safer" to split, and the website does not point to any scientific basis for its contentions in this regard.

Just my opinion, it's a settled opinion and I'm entitled to it.

 ^-^
I've been riding on the street for 35 years, beginning in CA where it IS legal. I have split or shared lanes most of those years. Never down, never hit anyone, AND NEVER BEEN HIT FROM BEHIND.

It IS safer, when done properly... period.

NEWSFLASH!
It is only safer when the automobiles and their associated licensed operators realize that it is the law and thus yield to you some right of way.  any ILLEGAL lane splitting is NOT safer.  AND the mindset of Texas Motor Vehicle Operators is such that I would be afraid to split lanes (though I love the concept).  You in Texas now boy.  You're goin' to jail.

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Offline fartymarty

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2011, 05:53:58 pm »
...but more than once I've seen a lane splitter stopped hard by a car door, because the cage driver decided
that stopped in traffic was a great time to open the door....
I split lanes at stop lights, and will continue to do so.

Yep, one was at a red traffic light, that's one of the two I've seen. It damaged two cars, a bike, and injured two people.
It was a rare event where the cager was injured worse that the cyclist, but legally it was the cyclist at fault. Young lady opened
her door at the light to retrieve the part of her coat she had closed in the door when she first got in. The bike's front wheel
broke her arm and entered the door opening and ended up in between the back of the steering wheel an into the speedometer.
His front fender cut her face up pretty good as well. He had a hurt wrist and some chest bruises and ended up on top of the hood of
the car on the left. I was caged two cars back and mentally I had barely acknowledged the bike passing when it's travel was halted.
Like you always hear, "It seemed to happen so fast."

 If you do split lanes, stop it. If that's not an option for you then go really slow and cover that front brake. Remember that
passengers will open car doors as well, to toss out their cold Starbucks and sometimes even just to spit.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 05:59:06 pm by fartymarty »

Offline ConnieFan

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2011, 04:06:29 am »
From http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/msb/msbfaqs.htm

   19. Can I ride my motorcycle between cars in traffic?
The law doesn't specifically say one way or the other, but there are several statutes that may come to bear depending upon the circumstances, i.e. right of way, obligation to drive in a single lane, signal intention, passing with safety, etc. Motorcycles are considered equally as cars regarding traffic laws, so the single lane, signal intention and other statutes in the Transportation Code could come in to play.

The main statute that makes "lane splitting" illegal is Transportation Code Section 545.060, entitled "Driving on Roadway Laned for Traffic."
An operator on a roadway divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic:
shall drive as nearly practical entirely within a single lane; and
may not move from the lane unless that movement can be made safely.

Texas Transportation Code

The key may require you to prove your movement was done safely.  This could become a subjective argument as to what constitutes "safely".  If you could provide research papers on the subject that show lane splitting poses no greater risk to the rider, then you might have a chance.  Without research or a qualified expert witness on the subject, it's you against the officer as to whether it was safe.  Your years of doing it without an accident won't count.  In God we trust.  All others must bring research.

FWIW - as the law is written now, should you get in a wreck or cause one by startling a driver, you would probably be at fault
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 04:11:19 am by ConnieFan »
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Offline ChipDoc

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2011, 09:56:34 am »
There wouldn't happen to be a Red Light Camera at that intersection, would there?  If there is, request a copy of the video.  They have to give it to you; it's The Law!  Once you have it, you can use it to weave a narrative which supports your side of the story.  Failing that, you might see what the cop originally saw and decide this isn't a good place to mount a challenge.  You can also request a copy of the cop's dash-cam. 

This is what they speak of when they mention "research" - some empirical data which removes the 'he said, she said' factor.  Those camera videos are a part of the public record and you should use them.  I may not be much for lane-splitting, but I'm all about making The Law work for you rather than against you.

Offline Mcfly

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2011, 11:11:27 am »
Will Texas give you a jury trial for a traffic infraction?  I'm not too sure
on this either.  You'll get to stand in front of a Judge, and plead your
case... Then he'll make you pay the fine.  Traffic laws usually stand over
circumstantial actions, no matter how much sense it makes.
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Offline rdm197apd

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #31 on: December 19, 2011, 11:50:28 am »
OOOOH BOY... lane sharing... Mixed feelings about that one. As far as your day in court, i can tell you from experience that whatever "argument" you have for committing an offense, will most likely fall upon deaf ears to the judge. The Jury is instructed to listen to the facts, not opinions from both the prosecution and defense side. so lets start with the facts.

FACT: the defendant in this case broke a number of laws designed for safety in an attempt to be safe by sharing or splitting lanes... and was caught by an Officer, most likely on camera which will be introduced as evidence.
OPINION: the defendant in this case believes that he should be allowed to break the law/laws by sharing or splitting lanes because he feels it is safe to do so if it is done "right".

Now, as i stated above, i have stood in court and listened to multiple offenders complain to the Judge/Jury that although they were caught red handed, with video evidence against them, they believed they should get away with it.
Sorry, but when i get pulled over for speeding (yes "we" speed too) i know that i don't have much of an argument... If you break the law and get caught, be honest about it, tell the Judge that you did it, and ask for defensive driving so it does not go on your record.

Ride safe, and stop drawing negative attention to your self.  :P

   
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Offline cra-z1000

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #32 on: December 19, 2011, 12:43:20 pm »
I heard the only reason it was made legal in Ca. A long time ago was because peoples air cooled bikes were seizing up in the stop and go traffic [mostly stop] . Freeways are a parking lot 24 7 out there .
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Offline Rev Ryder

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #33 on: December 19, 2011, 03:07:18 pm »
OOOOH BOY... lane sharing... Mixed feelings about that one. As far as your day in court, i can tell you from experience that whatever "argument" you have for committing an offense, will most likely fall upon deaf ears to the judge. The Jury is instructed to listen to the facts, not opinions from both the prosecution and defense side. so lets start with the facts.

FACT: the defendant in this case broke a number of laws designed for safety in an attempt to be safe by sharing or splitting lanes... and was caught by an Officer, most likely on camera which will be introduced as evidence.
OPINION: the defendant in this case believes that he should be allowed to break the law/laws by sharing or splitting lanes because he feels it is safe to do so if it is done "right".

Now, as i stated above, i have stood in court and listened to multiple offenders complain to the Judge/Jury that although they were caught red handed, with video evidence against them, they believed they should get away with it.
Sorry, but when i get pulled over for speeding (yes "we" speed too) i know that i don't have much of an argument... If you break the law and get caught, be honest about it, tell the Judge that you did it, and ask for defensive driving so it does not go on your record.

Ride safe, and stop drawing negative attention to your self.  :P

 
+1

And here in Texas, you are allowed to "answer" most moving traffic violations by pleading nolo contendere, paying the applicable fees (not cheap), and then taking an approved "Defensive Driving" course (a little cheaper).  And you cannot have taken a course within the past 12 months.  If you do all of this in the prescribed time and format, then the ticket will be dropped from your record and kept off your insurance record.  It saves money on the insurance side, but taking this option cost about the same money as simply paying the fine and court costs.  I'm not sure that lane splitting would be one for which you could take this option.

Almost every year there are lane splitting bills introduced into the Texas legistature.  For years they have been soundly defeated as being unsafe in this state.  I personally think trying to win this argument in court is a huge waste of effort and will draw the stiffest possible penalty.  I also think people illegally lane splitting will hurt the cause FOR lane splitting in Texas as there is already a large lack of support for it here.  Even if lane splitting WERE made legal in Texas, I believe it would take a long time and too many deaths before Texas auto drivers would tolerate it despite the potential penaltiesand ramifications for "willfully" harming motorcyclist who are engaging in the practice.  AND with well more than 50% of the vehicles on Texas roads being SUVs or pick-ups, lane width can come into play I think.  Add in a few million weaving cell phone talkers, a billion road gaters (semi truck tire carcasses), other road debris, a drunk driving related death percentage 12% higher than the national average, more road violence cases than a majority of states, and more large animals killed on the road than most states and the case for cramming something or someone new into my lane of traffic just doesn't sit too well with us and the legislature has consistently voted that it certainly will not make us safer.

COULD we learn to live with it and make it as safe as California's experience with lane sharing?  Maybe.  BUt it's going to take a legislature, and the populace, willing to accept the body count of the learning curve at a time when we ARE making good strides in lowering the body count from drunk driving and road rage.  I really don't see it happening anytime soon. 

WOULD I LANE SHARE?  Yeah, probably.  If I felt the circumstances were right for it and things were not TOO congested and the flow of traffic seemed acceptable then I would probably give it a go.  But just as an everyday, anytime, ability to get somewhere faster method I think I would not.  There's my .02 and worth probably half what ya paid fer it.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 03:12:28 pm by Rev Ryder »
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Offline daddykevin

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #34 on: December 19, 2011, 04:04:32 pm »
There wouldn't happen to be a Red Light Camera at that intersection, would there?  If there is, request a copy of the video.  They have to give it to you; it's The Law!  Once you have it, you can use it to weave a narrative which supports your side of the story.  Failing that, you might see what the cop originally saw and decide this isn't a good place to mount a challenge.  You can also request a copy of the cop's dash-cam. 

This is what they speak of when they mention "research" - some empirical data which removes the 'he said, she said' factor.  Those camera videos are a part of the public record and you should use them.  I may not be much for lane-splitting, but I'm all about making The Law work for you rather than against you.

This is a great piece of advice! Thank you! This is the kind of information that I need.
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Offline Centex

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #35 on: December 19, 2011, 04:23:45 pm »
.... This is the kind of information that I need.

Well, that's debatable, too  :rotflmao:

(daddykevin - a joke offered in good spirit as I follow your plight; obviously I respectfully disagree with your position but I don't think it likely that you alone are creating significant serious harm to others; there will never be a shortage of folks wasting court time and potentially damaging the image of motorcycling by their behavior on the road, so you might as well go for it)
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Offline ConnieFan

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #36 on: December 19, 2011, 06:06:51 pm »
daddykevin, why do you want a jury trial?

Are you going to argue that you didn't do anything illegal or do you feel that motorcycles should be exempt from the Texas statute?  If it is the latter, then you've admitted you violated the law and the judge will likely fine against you.  An attempt to make m/c exempt from that law would likely be outside the scope of your trial. 

If it's the former, then you are going to have to prove to the judge that your lane splitting is not a violation of the Texas statute.  Again, this could come down to getting the judge/jury to believe that what you did was, by definition, safe.

Oh, you may want to review past efforts to make lane sharing legal in Texas.  A quick google search shows that it was discussed in Texas a few years back.  That history may help you.     
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Offline Gypsy JR

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2011, 01:48:58 pm »
Rev was right, in an earlier post, when he said lane splitting only works when other (car) drivers know lane splitting is the law, and is legal.

I did it for almost 3 decades in California. Never had a problem. Didn't do it when I thought the situation was unsafe.

I live in Maryland now. The Motor Vehicle Code prohibits lane splitting / sharing.

Some people need to be taught a lesson. You have the right to protest a law, and to work to have it changed. Violating the law is not a valid exercise of those rights, especially when it may kill someone.

If you don't like the laws regarding lane sharing in your State, you have the right to move to another State.

But don't freaking come crying that you broke the law and you need help getting out of it. That is pathetic.
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Offline daddykevin

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2011, 05:20:17 pm »
Come crying that I broke the law? Pathetic?

Seriously?

You're an idiot.
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Offline oldsawfiler

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #39 on: December 20, 2011, 05:59:15 pm »
Privateer and Dady,  This is a very interesting thread and everyone is entitled to there opinion, but we need to keep it cool
Well...even if you fall on your face you're still moving forward.

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Offline Cap'n Bob

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #40 on: December 20, 2011, 08:06:00 pm »
Yes I agree. There's no need for insults. Please try to tone it down a little.   ;)

Offline Ranger Jim

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #41 on: December 20, 2011, 08:14:48 pm »
Keep your comments on topic. NO NAME CALLING! If you disagree with a posting, state why but keep it civil or your posts will be "nuked." You have been officially warned twice, there will not be a third warning.
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Offline Mcfly

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #42 on: December 20, 2011, 10:06:19 pm »
Not that Wikipedia is the BEST source, but here's a LOT of
filtering info, and references you can look at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lane_splitting
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Offline SantaCruzRider

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #43 on: December 20, 2011, 10:59:30 pm »
The history of US law is filled with cases where folks broke a law and then challenged it until if was overturned. Of course our jails have been home to folks who tried and failed.

Personally, I think you'd have a much better chance of success if the inability to lane share was somehow an infringement on your free speech, ability to practice your religion, right to bear arms or similar guarantees. Barring that, I think you're going to find little interest.
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Offline astros50

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2011, 11:27:17 pm »
I don't know Texas law, but you are probably not going to get a jury trial if it's in infraction. 

Secondly, don't do a bunch of research on the Internet and then try to introduce it at your trial. The deputy prosecutor will immediately object on the grounds that you are not an expert.

The officer will testify as to his observations and that what he saw fits the statute. Unless there is some dispute as to what actually occurred, you will be found guilty of the traffic offense.

If you attempt to put the law on trial, you are probably going to upset an already overworked traffic court judge/magistrate.

If there is no dispute as to what happened, your best hope is that the officer doesn't show and the prosecutor dismisses the ticket.
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Offline Rev Ryder

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #45 on: December 20, 2011, 11:46:22 pm »
THe Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury of peers.
Quote
Sixth Ammendment
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

In Texas, as in other states, you just have to ask and the state has to deliver.
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Offline astros50

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2011, 11:52:42 pm »
Obviously a very polarizing topic. It is neither specifically legal, nor illegal.

I commute daily and observe many things. Drivers sitting in their cars texting, on phone calls, drinking coffee, eating food, reaching for the radio, putting on make-up, or frequently doing multiples of these tasks. Completely distracted and oblivious to anything around them.

Cars are quieter, with better sound systems, abs, airbags, and other safety features to make the operator feel safer and allow for even further dis-engagement. I split lanes at stop lights, and will continue to do so. I'm not trying to legislate in this endeavor, nor in this forum. However, I will try and "nullify" the jury. In other words, being found "not guilty" even though having broken the law, or not following the judges instructions. If this happens enough, it will have the effect of invalidating the statute.

I'm not trying to be disrespectful, but you are sorely mistaken about the significance of you winning your case.  If you win, nobody pays any attention. If you lose, nobody pays attention. You will not score some huge moral victory. All you will do is either pay a fine or not. Nothing more...... Nothing less. If you think otherwise you must be suffering delusions of grandeur.
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Offline astros50

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #47 on: December 21, 2011, 12:01:43 am »
THe Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury of peers.
Quote
Sixth Ammendment
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

In Texas, as in other states, you just have to ask and the state has to deliver.

Im afraid the citizens of Indiana are being denied their rights. I work in the system. What people fail to understand is that an infraction is not a criminal offense. It is a civil action. You will not get a jury in Indiana for a traffic infraction.

Try to get a public defender too. You will be in for a rude awakening. It's not going to happen

Another thing....  The standard of proof in a criminal trial is that the state has to present proof beyond a reasonable doubt. For an infraction, the state only has to prove a 51% likelihood that the offense occurred. Aka preponderance of the evidence.
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Offline ConnieFan

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #48 on: December 21, 2011, 05:01:28 am »
Asto's correct.  The ticket is not criminal so a jury trial is not a right. 

Not sure about Texas, but in AZ, at the initial hearing, you simply plead guilty or not.  If you chose the latter, the you are given a trial date.  On that date, you and a whole bunch of other people will take turns presenting your cases to the judge.  If the ticketing officer does not show up, your case will be dismissed, else you'll each get your turn to tell your side, then the judge will rule.

Daddykevin, I'm not a lawyer, but from my reading of the TX statutes, the odds are not in your favor.  You will need to cite the applicable statutes and why what you did does not fall under them.  Interpretation of what constitutes "safe" is key.  You will need scientific evidence beyond your personal experience.  What if I told you I've smoked one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years and yet I don't have cancer.  Does that mean they are safe?

Final thought.  If I'm the judge, I'm asking you one question:  if you feel this law is unjust, why didn't you work to change it before you got a ticket for it?

Good luck!
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Offline daddykevin

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Re: Help me fight a lane splitting ticket.
« Reply #49 on: December 21, 2011, 05:23:46 am »
Very good and insightful information, from everyone. Perhaps I'll rethink my position of fighting the ticket.

I will, however, continue to work for the right to split lanes or "filter forward" as I continue doing it to this day and feel safer in doing so. Remember, I only do this when approaching a stop light, all cars are stopped, and only when safe.

Thank you all for contributing!
DaddyKevin
aka Kevin Nichols
Financial Planner/Hedge Fund Manager
Daily Commuter/Motorcycling Savant