Thursday, April 15, 2010

Busted!

14 comments
Ackkk! I totally got a ticket today while biking. I can't believe it. I am the biggest goody-two-shoes on a bike that Heidelberg has probably ever seen. I wear a helmet, dutifully obey red lights even when no one is coming, slow down for jerks who get in the way instead of practically bowling them over, etc. Heidelberg is a sea of flagrant bike violations; I probably see a hundred a day! But I never saw anyone get pulled over. I'm such a freaking goody-goody that I pulled right over for the cops today, having no idea what could possibly be wrong. I'd already forgotten the whole thing.

I was at an unfamiliar intersection with a confusing light. (I think it never turns green or something.) Well, the intersection is not unfamiliar entirely - it's just that normally I walk through it, not bike. I was with Damon. So the light was yellow or flashing yellow for a long time but no one was going. Then people started to go but I was still a little confused by the yellow, thinking it might go red any second. Well, it did go red, and Damon had juuuust taken off without me. (I think he might have gone through it too. He thinks they picked on me because I'm so easy to identify with my dorky helmet.) I sat there for a bit, wondering what the hell the deal was with this intersection anyway. Some bikes were still going through. I figured they know better than me! So I went with them to catch up to Damon and get out of what is actually an uncomfortable and weird intersection to be sitting at. (I can't figure out if it's also a place for cars or not - it's marked all bikes - but it's wide enough for cars - I just don't freaking get it.)

Haha! We should have thought about what those two on the corner with giant walkie-talkies might have been doing. They stopped us all about a block later - about five more cops. This is what happens when you live in a low-crime country. All the cops are hanging out nailing you for this stuff.

Not to mention we both ran another red later, I think. This is the other confusing thing about this stupid intersection. After you turn left from where we started, there appears to be a stopping line and another red traffic light, but the line and light would have bikes lining up right in the middle of an intersection, seemingly in the way of crossing car traffic. (...IF you don't know the intersection. It could be that there IS no crossing car traffic here. But, it not being totally familiar, I don't know.) So again, I really felt like I was in the wrong place despite seeming to be lining up and obeying a red light appropriately. So, when Damon ran the red light because there didn't seem to be anything we were waiting for (no crossing traffic ahead - it's all straight ahead from there - it's REALLY weird), I said to him, "Uh isn't that a red light!?" and I didn't hear what he said, but I tried to keep up and went through it too.

And I'd forgotten all about both a block later when I got stopped. They didn't even stop him. UGH! At least they were not dicks about it. Every encounter I had with Boston police was not good (and I was the victim in those cases, not the crime-doer) but these guys were alright.

Still, grr. I will remember this for every of the 100 flagrant bike traffic violations I see tomorrow. In fact as we left the cops you could see people going through a red light at the next intersection, and none of them got stopped. Dammit.

14 comments:

  1. A few months ago the German and I were walking home, lateish, from a restaurant. There were no cars on the street, as is usual in Berlin late at night, and we were thinking about crossing a street against the light, as there were no cars in any direction, when the German caught my arm. After we crossed, I asked him why and he pointed at a car that was pulling up alongside us. It was a polizei, and the one in the passenger leaned out the window, laughing, and told us they had been waiting for us to cross to give us a ticket.
    It's always the low hanging fruit that gets picked. Sorry for your ticket. How much was it?

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  2. Maintain the rage! Smash the system! Stick it up the man! Become a teabagger!

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  3. G: I'm always the dork who won't walk through the red at crossings!!! It says I'm going to get further details later in the mail. :/ So I don't know. I think they definitely picked an intersection that a lot of people screw up on.

    Headbang: rrrrr!

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  4. My teenager daughter was pull over by the Polizei for riding her bike in bike lane and talking on the cell phone for a few minutes. But drinking and riding, riding double etc.. I have never witness anyone being pulled over. Crazy!

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  5. Well, in uni days the German was pulled over and breathalyzed on his bike. Apparently, the limit for bike riding while intoxicated is onsanely high: he says he could barely think, yet passed the test.So it does happen.

    CN: A moving violation in Berlin is 15Euros and no points, a parking tix is 5 (so people staying more than a few hours often gamble with the meters). I'm curious to see rates out by you:).

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  6. What's even stupider is there are people burning automobiles for the hell of it in Berlin and Hamburg nearly every night these days. Why don't they ship a few of those cops to where they're really needed instead of hassling normal citizens just trying to get through the day? I'd be pissed off, too.

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  7. I don`t want to ruin your day, but this is going to be rather more expensive than a moving violation.

    You should expect to pay at least 45 € plus administrative fees, usually about 20 €. Oh, and not to forget Flensburg: one point ( yes, you can loose your license without doing anything wrong while driving a car)

    If however you entered the intersection more than 1 second after the light turned red it`ll be 100 € plus fees and one point.

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  8. My husband said his coworker's wife was also busted at this intersection and her fine was 90 EUR. It says I was 20-some seconds after the light, thus Damon thinks it was actually the second light they are getting me for, the one I followed him through. I guess we're lucky they didn't fine him too. Now I know why Germans mostly dress alike - harder to pick out of the crowd in an event like this. Most people can't even see that second light. Essentially it stops you in the middle of the intersection as you are making a left turn and you can't even see it when you start the turn. So I can see why it's a cop hangout. A great money-maker for them. I would just love to lose my license on one of the .0000001% of times I actually fuck up.

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  9. PS. Yes I was aware of the license-losing thing, too. I cited it every time Damon wanted to go through a red light and I didn't want to follow. Shouldn't have followed yesterday, eh? But I couldn't understand a red light that would have me parked in the middle of an intersection. What can I say. Maybe I SHOULD be forced to pay 3000 EUR for a German driving class.

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  10. My hubby got a crossing-against-red ticket on his bike and it cost 100 or 110 Euros plus points against his driver's license. Funny, when he got a ticket for speeding it was only 85. The discrepancy is insane, considering we bike because cars are expensive. But maybe this is just a Cologne thing.

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  11. You probably already know this, but you don`t loose your license because of one teeny weeny point. 18 is the magical number. Some people manage to accumulate that many in no time but for an average driver there`s hardly any danger.

    Oh, and as for the discrepancy between this and fines for speeding: fines for speeding vary. 100km/h in town will cost you a great deal more than 130 km/h on a Bundestra├če. Yes, 100 € for a red light violation is quite a heavy fine, but please consider that it would be 200 €, 4 points AND one month suspension if committed while driving a car.

    All things considered i probably should be walking more ;-)

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  12. A friend of a friend ran a red light on her bike and it was the last point(s) she needed to have to go to driving school. From the rumor it sounded like she only had one previous offense, but if you need 18 I'm not sure that can be right!

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  13. Too bad about your ticket. If you decide to break the law in a more serious way, I can drive the getaway van.

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  14. http://www.bmvbs.de/Verkehr/Strasse-,1430.1494/Bussgeldkatalog.htm#15

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