08222017Headline:

Fairfax, Leesburg & Loudoun, Virginia

HomeVirginiaFairfax, Leesburg & Loudoun

Email Danielle Landau Danielle Landau on LinkedIn Danielle Landau on Twitter Danielle Landau on Facebook
Danielle Landau
Danielle Landau
Contributor •

Loudoun bikers stop sign charges dismissed; Landau successfully represents “MS-8″ Lovettsville cyclists in Leesburg Traffic Court

2 comments

Yesterday morning Doug Landau represented 2 of the bikers who were ticketed for rolling through a stop sign in Loudoun County. But the details of their ride are turning heads all over Virginia, as reported in prior posts.

On Sunday June 11th, a total of eight cyclists were stopped for this offense (Virginia Code 46.2-821) during the MS ride, by a police officer whose car was parked a full 300 feet away, with orange cones near the 7-11 “rest stop.” As the cyclists approached the stop signs, located on an open, rural road, they slowed down, looked both ways, saw no traffic and continued on their route around the “squircle” (a squared off traffic circle with 4 stop signs and a sidewalk running through the center). Rather than follow some of the cyclists through the middle of the square, these experienced bicycle riders thought going around the “squircle” would be safer. The police officer, who the cyclists thought was waving on participants in the Multiple Sclerosis charity ride, then proceeded to ticket them for not coming to a complete stop. No warning. Just a citation for a moving violation, with 4 points and a large fine as well!

Landau represented two of the cyclists yesterday in the Loudon County Court, both of whom plead “not guilty” to the charges. But before the judge called the case up for trial after all the other cases had been heard, Landau showed the photographic and documentary evidence that had been prepared and had reached an agreement with the prosecutor. Both of his clients pleaded guilty to having insufficient reflectors/lights on their bicycles, which resulted in a much smaller fine, court costs and no points for a moving violation.

Mr. Landau offered to represent these bicycle riders “pro bono,” (at no charge to them) in their cases. The “TriathlonTrialLawyer” as he is also known, felt strongly that the bikers should not have been ticketed for making a rolling stop that day in the Lovettsville and Purcellville.

Interestingly, one of the eight ticketed cyclists was present in court but chose to represent himself. He plead guilty to the original charge, was fined several hundred dollars in addition to court fees, and got 4-points on his record for disregarding a stop sign, with no mention on his DMV record that he was on a bicycle and not in his car!

But none-of this would have happened if the Commonwealth of Virginia had adopted the “Idaho Stop Law”, which permits cyclists to roll up to a stop sign, yield the right of way, and then proceed without stopping. Virginia should adopts laws like this, which make the roadways safer for cyclists and motorists, while at the same time freeing up the traffic courts.

The “MS-8″ were not riding dangerously or causing accidents or injuries. Bicyclists all over Virginia should be aware that law enforcement authorities can (and do) strictly enforce the stop sign law. Even a “track stand” stop may be insufficient for some officers, such that a cyclist who is able to balance, with no forward motion, but whose foot does not leave the pedal or touch the ground, might be given a ticket by zealous sheriffs and prosecuted by Commonwealth Attorneys under the strict letter of the existing laws.

2 Comments

Have an opinion about this post? Please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

  1. TruthseekerVA says:
    up arrow

    What about the two cyclists who ran a stop sign in Purcellville, VA during this ride? They got into a road rage incident with an elderly man and assaulted him in front of his grandson. The two were charged with assault. You also are not telling the whole story. Five of the eight cyclsits who ran the stop sign admitted guilt by paying their fines and had points added to their license.

  2. up arrow

    We were not contacted by the two cyclists, and therefore do not know the extensive details about that incident. As for the “telling the whole story” I am well-aware that the other cyclists pleaded guilty and received both the 4 points and a fine. The article above is simply showing that the two cyclists who Mr. Landau represented had a much better outcome; their points were removed and their fines were reduced.

    For even more information about the two cyclists Mr. Landau represented AND the rest of the story, there is an article in the Loudoun Times Mirror. http://www.loudountimes.com/news/2009/jul/08/Cyclists/