Part 2: Fighting Traffic Tickets Can Be Fun?
The Step by Step Process In Fighting A Traffic Ticket
In Part 1 of the series, the Geek gets pulled over for allegedly making an illegal left turn.
PART 2: Returning To The Scene Of The “Crime”
After the CPD squad had departed, I broke out my camera and walked back to the intersection to take some photos.
Admittedly, there were two signs posted, but they were not working. The signs were electrical back lit signs but the lights were burned out. I know this because there were two similar signs on the opposite of the intersection. One was working but the other was not.
I came back to confirm this at night, and yes, three of four lighted signs at this intersection were not working. While admittedly, the signs were readable during the day, they of course are not readable at night. Glad to know the city is so concerned about traffic safety.
While this moving violation did not require me to appear in court, my natural instinct would be to fight it. But I wasn’t sure. Basing a defense around signs that had burned out light bulbs when the violation occurred during daylight hours seemed shaky.
So I called in an expert. Barnet Fagel, the Red Light Doctor.
Fagel, a traffic safety expert for the National Motorists Association, is based in the suburbs and had already planned a trip to the city the next day to fight a red light camera ticket for a friend of his.
After telling him the story and explaining the situation, he agreed to look over the intersection for me and give me his advice on whether I had a leg to stand on.
“You missed something,” he said gleefully over the phone. “There’s a banner completely blocking a sign prohibiting a left turn. I think you have a strong case.”
When we met up later in the day Fagel showed me photos of a classic traffic sign with the left turn arrow in black and the unambiguous red circle with the slash through it being completely blocked by a banner on light pole.
From the perspective of a driver heading westbound on Bryn Mawr toward Broadway, the sign is impossible to see as it is blocked by a banner.
“It’s the responsibility of the city to post signs to regulate traffic,” Fagel explained. “If the signs are obscured or not posted, how is a driver supposed to know how to behave properly? It’s an unsafe situation.”
Not only unsafe, but a money making ticket trap for the city.
I was convinced the ticket could be beat and dutifully mailed my request for a court date to the County Clerk.
Next time, Part 3: Preparing The Case