Man pays $1,500 bike fine

Aug. 21, 2011 at 10:51 PM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- A New York City bicyclist fought a ticket for running a red light, lost and was ordered to pay $1,500 in fines, officials say.

The citation was Juan Rodriguez's third bike ticket since March, the New York Daily News reported.

Rodriguez pleaded not guilty to all of the tickets, one of which was for not having a bike bell, and two were for running red lights.

"I thought if I show up in court I might have a say and show how unbelievably ludicrous this is," he said.

The man was sorely wrong, and was found guilty and ordered to pay fines for each ticket.

"It's absurd," complained Rodriguez, 45. "When you look at the fines leveled and the actual offenses, it makes no sense."

Pro-biking organizations support Rodriguez's struggle.

"Fining cyclists up to $950 for a traffic violation -- the same rate as drivers of 4-ton vehicles that kill hundreds of people annually -- is excessive and unfair, said Barbara Ross of the environmental group Time's Up!

However, officials disagree, saying bikers need to stop for red lights.

"They are endangering pedestrians, many of whom are elderly or children who may not be able to get out of the way quickly," said City Councilman James Vacca. "We have too many people riding their cars and bicycles and thinking these rules are not meant for them."

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