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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I Fought the Law. Who Won?

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In my nearly 30 years in New York City I have found one of the norms we take pride in is that pedestrians and cyclists are trusted to do their best to cross the streets safely despite a traffic system favoring cars rather than those who use more environmentally friendly ways to travel. As I shared last summer, I received a ticket in Manhattan for jay biking. I had never heard of anyone in Manhattan getting a ticket on bike or foot when operating safely and responsibly. Such actions sadden me as they deepen the relationship issues citizens already have with a police force that doesn’t feel like a part of the community, but rather like outsiders who are not looking out for the best interests of citizens.  You can read more of my take at Relationships, Not Fines, Lead to Great Schools + Communities.

My friend who was ticketed with me lived out of state, so he plead guilty online to the $278 jay biking ticket that came with points on your license. He told me when he did, he found the fine was reduced automatically for bikes to $190 and points removed.  

I had a decision to make. Do I pay this ticket penalizing me for what any non-tourist does every day in Manhattan or do I have my day in court and speak to a judge about this disturbing practice.

I decided that as uncomfortable as it might be, I would stand before a judge. Here is what happened and what I learned.
I fought the law for a fine that does not help citizens or communities.
I want more »

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