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Doug Landau
Doug Landau
Attorney • (866) 735-1102 Ext 610

Cyclists in Multiple Sclerosis Charity ride in hot water: Fighting for their rights in court

3 comments

The MS-8 case has stirred up talk up and down the east coast, and even made it on last nights 5 ‘o’clock news!

Here is the story:

Abrams Landau, Ltd. was contacted only last week by one of the Defendant bicyclists cited by the Loudoun County Sheriffs for failure to stop. On Friday, July 3rd I spoke to the first of these bikers. This experienced cyclist advised that the cases were to be heard in Court on Tuesday, July 7th. Agreeing to represent as many bicycle riders who would have me, pro bono (at no charge), I left messages with the other two-wheeled Defendants that I was given contact information for by the Defendant Potomac Peddler ride co-leader. I reviewed the ticket, photographs and other evidence that had been left for me. By this time I had spoken with several other riders who had been charged June 7th, and advised that while my practice is primarily helping injured cyclists, runners and other victims, I would appear on their behalf and help them in the Leesburg Court the next morning.

On Tuesday morning, I met with the bikers, Commonwealths Attorneys, officers and other Loudoun County criminal and traffic defense lawyers. By the time our cases were called, the count was “2 Strikes and 2 Outs.” The court already had prepayment by a cyclist who plead guilty. Strike one. One of the bikers I had called chose to “go it alone.” He valiantly argued his case, and was found guilty, given a fine and court costs of several hundred dollars and FOUR POINTS on his DMV record. He may also face repercussions, depending upon his point balance, when it comes to getting car insurance and umbrella coverage. Strike two. The officer was not at all happy to see me there as counsel for the Defendants. After several hours, a substitute judge came on the bench and I indicated to the prosecutor that we were ready to try the remaining cases. No cyclist had avoided conviction and there had been no stop sign or signal acquittals for motorists either that morning.

I had discussions with three different Assistant Commonwealth Attorneys, debated the merits of our cases, demonstrated our photographic and documentary evidence, my clients “+5″ DMV records and even the use of a “track stand” and Idaho (rolling) stop.

The prosecutor offered to dismiss the failure to stop violation if we would agree to a non-moving equipment charge. There would be no points, major fine or court costs and no appeal. I discussed this with my clients, staff and family members present, and it was decided to accept. This action would not prejudice the other cyclists I spoke with over the holiday weekend who requested continuances or sought to fight the charges another day. Little did I think that our actions in court would stir up so many additional questions, much less a spot on the news.

3 Comments

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    Doug

    Well it certainly seem appropriate to ticket the cyclist if they did violate the law, how are the points justified?

    So lets say they ticket two cyclists…one who happens to have a drivers license, and another who does not. One get points and the other does not. That seem to be discriminatory.

    Miro
    Comment E-mailed Separately

  2. Doug Landau says:
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    Dear Miro,
    The points are justified by the prosecutors who maintain that bikes are to be treated like motor vehicles. However, as one sharp commenter noted to me, if someone loses their driver’s license due to points or infractions, the Commonwealth of Virginia does not take away THEIR privilege to ride a bike! I’ll post more on this later, as you’re not the only person who has written to me and while everyone seems to understand about the fines, none of the cyclists interviewed yesterday could believe that there were points involved!

    Doug

  3. Facebook User says:
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    Virginia traffic enforcement isn’t about safety. All that matters is if you can be popped for a big fine during this budget shortfall. How else can you explain the late night toll road speed traps?

    Regulation and enforcement has become increasingly onerous over the last few years with fines going up and up, while traffic safety data has hardly moved. That should tell you something.