For a limited time only perhaps, a low low price!

Today we will venture down a road that illustrates that justice is not only blind, but that in some cases her eyes have been plucked out, ping-ponged, abused, assaulted and then catapulted off into the wild blue yonder.
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It was just last week that Sally clued me into this story.
Go ahead and read it, I’m happy to wait.

Oh, you’re too busy? That’s fine. The short version is that an inattentive Washington driver ran over and killed a person on a bicycle. And for this affront, what punishment did they receive?

That’s right, a $42.00 fine.

Fourty-two dollars.

This got me to thinking. I have done lots of things in my life that resulted in me signing a check over to THE MAN. I’ve never killed anyone, but I have done some various lesser crimes, and to that end, I know very few people who have not. I thought why not compile a short list of reader’s infractions and the resulting dollar amounts and compare them to the $42.00 dollar fine the young man in Washington has to pay for the act of ending a life.

Ben- Iowa. Drinking in public- $90.00.
Danny- California. Drinking in a city park $180.00.
Karna- Minnesota. Running a red light $130.00
Jason- Missouri. Riding while intoxicated $150.00.
Jessica- New York. Jumping a ticket turnstile. $450.00.
Martin- New York. Public urination $60.00.
Shane- Tennessee. Running a red $50.00.
Mike- California. Running a red light. $380.00.
Nate- Nevada. No brakes, plus 35 mph in a 20 on a bike, $550.00.
Scott- Minnesota. Crossing a Ped/Bike bridge, speeding on Bike, $250.00.
Chip- California. Speeding. On a bicycle. $300.00.
Tyler- California. Speeding. On a bicycle. $63.00
Andrew- Australia, Riding in a crosswalk $180.
Daniel- New York. Running a red light $190.00.
Sean- Massachusetts. Running a red light $150.00.
Lane- Alabama. Peeing on the side of the road $20.00.
Aden- DC. Not putting a foot down when stopping at a stop sign $90.00
Greg- California. Riding in crosswalk $100.00 plus 40 hrs community service (after being hit by a car).
Bjorn- California. Jaywalking $85.00, and $120.00 for running a stop sign in Florida.
Toby- California. Running two stop signs $360.00.
Matthew- Manitoba. Rolling a stop sign $191.00

Why, even I have been on the wrong side of the law from time to time. Easily my most memorable experience was getting hit by a cab in Denver in 1992. As I was traveling west on Colfax, I was t-boned by a cab traveling east and making a left into a Wendy’s parking lot which knocked me onto the hood, and off onto the sidewalk.

I got the ticket.

‘Riding on the sidewalk’ they said. $150.00, thankyouverymuch.

Of course I am not a saint. For jumping a San Francisco public transit turnstile I got a $160.00 fine, and the last parking ticket I received in Oakland was in fact, $42.00.
Had I known that I could have gotten away with cold blooded murder for the same amount, I certainly would have gotten my money’s worth.

By presenting this list I’m not saying that we as cyclists are being persecuted. As a matter of fact, for a few of these infractions, I believe the punishment fits the crime. What I am saying is that the dollar amount attached to these deeds is fairly disproportionate to that of, say… ending someone’s life.

If this isn’t working to make you hot under the collar, then I highly recommend you pick up the newest (Fall 2011) issue of Paved Magazine. In it you will find an extraordinarily comprehensive article by Michael DiGregorio about Ontario’s then Attorney General, Michael Bryant’s murder of Toronto bike messenger Darcy Allen Sheppard. It is a maddening piece about classicism, and what turned out to be an easily disposable life that anyone who spends even a small percentage of their existence on two wheels needs to read.

It only inspires me to open the eyes in the back of my head wider, encourage others to do the same and keep in mind that it’s clear that we are the only ones looking out for us.

From this point we either begin drinking to take the edge off, or we watch a sweet science experiment that Tina sent me of a smashed face fuzzy buddy who enjoys getting into boxes, regardless of their size.

That made me feel better.

Continuing on with the good times, Darin comes though with a few from the far east;
“As I sat in the public eating area of the swanky Harbour Plaza Metropolis in Hong Kong, I tried my best to hold off my laughter while trying to finish this shitty piece of ‘artwork’. Very quickly into the project I realized that my unicorn was gonna look worse than the shit-mobile firetruck that needed to be shaved;
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The staff started getting worried, but kept the coffee coming. 10 minutes in I start laughing at my apathy but continued to push on. Soon the waitstaff stopped seating people next to me. It was kinda like I made my own first-class section (or really more like a smoking section like Denny’s had in the 80′s). With that, I give you my shitting unicorn:
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Darin, age 37″

Darin’s parents never told him he couldn’t play with his food and today we are all the better for it.
Another item I found recently was this piece on a website called Chasing 120(dot)com.
It’s a hi-larious romp though the nooks and crannies up cyclocross styled athletic pursuit upgrades.

Pay close attention to THE CATEGORY 3 CYCLOCROSS SURVIVAL GUIDE.

What author Chris Plummer doesn’t mention is that after you’ve spent your time and money chasing your dream as a bike racer for the weekend, throughly scan the internet for photos of yourself to post on your Facebook page.
Unless you are these people, I don’t care, though I’m sure someone must.
I can say with sincerity that I am a pretty good bike rider.

I can counter that by saying I have grown into an amazingly poor bike racer.

I read that piece several times and picked up new details each time through. What I walked away with, and what was possibly not even intended by Mr. Plummer, is that I should stick by my decision to stay away from bike races, lest I be just another turd in the log jam.
I suspect we’ll all be better for it.

I’m certain this guy will be.
In other news of bicycle related athletic pursuits, Billy just returned from the second largest messenger, people-who-look-like-messengers, and/or who hope to one day be employed as one, event in the world.

This of course was the Messenger Nationals, NACCC, or the NAX, if you care, which was held in America’s abdomen, Austin, Texas;
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He forwarded me a request to help spread his word on the matter which can be found here.
Getting paid to play in the streets was the one job I hated less than any of my others, and it does my heart good to see that despite the profession’s downturn, and commercial commodification, the community is still alive and well.

During that particular span of my life, whenever I would speak with my dad on the phone, before he told me he loved me at the conversation’s conclusion, he would always request that I stay out of under any vehicles. It was a light hearted comment, though I understood the gravity of it.

In hindsight however, I most likely would have taken it more to heart had I known my life was only worth $42.00.
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20 thoughts on “For a limited time only perhaps, a low low price!

  1. Smashed face fuzzy buddy video took my brain for a pleasant trip after reading about the ‘justice’ in Washington State. I’m cat sitting right now – gotta find a box for kitty pal.

  2. Hit by a car in breckenridge,, wine rep leaving a restaurant. Pulled way from the curb without looking… When I mentioned to the man in Blue that something needs to be done he told me I could have a ticket if I wanted for not signaling my turn,, Awesome after bouncing off the front of an Expedition

  3. Was told by a pig,in La Crosse WI, “After twenty years in law enforecment I know it’s usually your type that causes the problem.” Death rides over your left shoulder, and no one is going to protect you in that final moment. Cleave thee unto thy bike path, and fear the duel exhuast redneck on your heels.

  4. I tend to avoid those unpleasantries by not stopping for the po-lice. I’m sure this could result in a much steeper fine for whatever it was that I was not guilty of at the time, but in my mind it takes the guess work out of it. I’d recommend being able to pedal really fast and know your surroundings very well or this will not work out too well for you. Oh, and if you don’t get away right off the bat, and end up crashing straight into the side of the squad leaving a HUGE gash with the end of your bars, your only hope is that when the irate cop jumps out of his car to kick your ass screaming about teaching you a lesson, he forgets to put it in park and his car drives away on it’s own. On second thought, just stop and take what they give you. You don’t have to like it though.

  5. I think the focus should be less on the fine amount and more on the depth of the police investigation. If a thorough investigation had been done and it was determined there was (truly) no criminal negligence then I don’t know if there would be such a big issue. To that end, I think the issue here is that the police (I won’t say in general but very likely in this case, your case Stevil argues those police as well) don’t believe cyclists are as important as drivers and therefore don’t warrant the same level of investigation. The civil case may reveal facts the police failed to investigate that indicate the driver’s actions meet the level necessary for criminal conduct. If so, I hope the administration in Washington gives a serious look at fixing the way police investigations concerning driver/cyclist interactions are done.

  6. ass-ult and battery, pied a high school vice principal.
    $100+court costs and 30 days in jail. suspended all but a weekend in lockup and 1 year probation. worth every penny and minute. Ironically as well as being a pig during the school year the vice principle was a pig farmer on the side and during the summers. he’s dead now, sucking the fiery cum from Satan’s cock. needless to say we did not see eye to eye on things, like not beating up kids for smoking in the bathroom.

  7. just riding along the other day and a CHP officer gave me a ticket for running a red when the sensor did not pick me up and i rode in the corss walk on a green. price $470.00. told me, “next time wait a few more seconds”. kidding me, right.

  8. $600 in restitution and $1200 in lawyer fees when a lady ran a red light in front of me. I bounced off her passenger door (hit so hard the fingertips on my left hand exploded), she fled the scene. I left without reporting it. She reported it later and the cops tracked me down through my cell phone, which I lost in the crash. I was charged with leaving the scene, reckless and careless driving.
    Four years prior I was maliciously run down from behind in front of the Odgen Theater on Colfax. I walked up the kids hood and kicked his windshield in. He was charged with following too close, me with willful destruction of private property. Cost: $600 in fines and court fees.

  9. $150 for turning on a red light in NYC. $250 (eventually waived after going to court) for not having lights, despite the fact that I was on the sidewalk, not on my bike, with my lights off. Also in NYC.

  10. totally agree, except the driver was responsible for Vehicular Manslaughter not Murder – murder is planned.
    just taking only the slightest hyperbolic edge off of your otherwise point on commentary

  11. “It is a maddening piece about classicism,” you wrote, but that would be a mistake.
    An entertaining mistake, so I thank you for that one, and mostly for all of the rest which makes more sense.

  12. @D.O. Driving your car with a person attached to the side while you attempt to wipe them off on mail boxes and light posts seems fairly planned to me, and No Way, I’m not sure how this couldn’t be considered an example of classisim. A big money Attorney General kills a substance abusing bike messenger, hires a P.R. firm rather than a defesnse team, and walks free. Perhaps our definitions of the word are different.

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