Anyone wanna meet on 5th at 5 PM tomorrow by Big Pink and do a 100% legal ride in front of this guy? Big Pink security says he's there every day, ticketing cyclists.
Here's the tale of woe, taken from an email I sent to Ray Thomas. I'm still in shock that this happened. And yes, I already acknowledge my idiocy at giving him my ID. I freaked out under pressure and forgot my rights. Damn.
I never imagined I'd be in this situation!!! Today, I was biking home from work and, having not been downtown in quite a while, I ended up on Pine and then on 5th, the bus mall. I biked in the car lane, trying to figure out my escape route. A bus was on my right in the bus lane and I'd noticed an unmarked police cruiser sitting right by the driveway into Big Pink's parking lot. While I'm riding slowly, behind a bus, the cop flies up behind me, lights on, just as I get to Oak. Not knowing what's happening, I turn right in the crosswalk onto the sidewalk and disembark. The officer stops, gets out, tells me I made an illegal turn. I asked him where it's marked illegal, and he pointed out the sign. He asked for my ID. I said I did not have it on my person (it was in my bike bag). He told me if I did not produce ID he would take me to the station. I got the ID out of my bag. He sat in the car and wrote a ticket while I explained to several passing pedestrians. When he got out, he gave me the ticket and said he'd cited me for an illegal right turn and riding in the bus lane- neither of which was true when he'd turned on his lights. I'd panicked and looked to get out of his way, and as a result, got a $600 ticket.
While he was writing the ticket, two automobiles came by in the bus lane and made the illegal right turn. I never rode on Oak, only on the sidewalk.
I have not had a moving violation, car or bike, in 12 years.
Should I get a lawyer? Do I need one? How much will it cost? I know I did nothing illegal, and this is unbelievable to me.
I took extensive notes at the site, and took some low quality pictures of the scene on my cell phone. The lanes on 5th are not striped at that point due to recent construction.
Two officers came up to me in the ensuing minutes- one made a comment that the officer targets bikes, the other said I should definitely take it to court. The officer is Officer Haunsperger, #7938, Tri-Met PD.
Please let me know where I should turn. I am working and can afford simple legal assistance, but don't want to throw good money after bad if I have no chance. I'm pretty well spoken and I am tempted to call Portland commissioners and explain what happened so that they understand this officer is targeting bikes when automobiles are doing illegal and unsafe things at the same point. I emphasize, I had done absolutely nothing illegal before the lights went on and the officer tailgated me at high speed, and never did anything that I knew was against the law.
I understand my rights and have enough money to protect myself. I feel for bikers who aren't so fortunate.