I was leaving my house like I always have done for the past 12 years. On this particular day, i came to the end of my street and stopped like I have always done. I looked right saw no traffic coming and looked left and saw a car coming over the hill, I then proceeded to make a right hand turn, and as I did I hit a cyclist. I was going less than 5 mph when I hit her. I knocked her off her bike and she complained that her leg was hurt. 911 was called and she was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons, but was treated and walked out of the hospital under her own power. I did stop at the sign, and for some reason just did not see her come in front of me. I have made this turn several thousand times and have never had an incident. I know I was in the wrong, but it was just a accident. They wasn't even a scratch on my car. My question is, the police officer, after two weeks, issued me a citation for failure to obey a traffic control device. However, I did stop at the stop sign, and only proceeded when it appeared to be clear. I did not run the stop sign. He is contending when he issued me the citation, that the cyclist was considered a traffic control device. He gave me a ticket, code 811.265 for $260. Is this legitimate, or should I fight it?
Well, the cyclist isn't a traffic control device. The stop sign was and what you're supposed to is laid out in ORS 811.260(15): A driver approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if there is no marked crosswalk, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering it. After stopping, the driver shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.
It sounds like you did the first part, the stopping, but may not have done the second part, the yielding. And yes, bikes are vehicles.
You may t want to throw in the towel just yet. Id recommend asking fir a trial and trying to negotiate a resolution with the officer (although this may be more succesful if you have an attorney representing you). You may have defenses you could raise, too, depending on the layout of the intersection.
Best of luck to you!
Please don't consider this free information to be legal advice. If you want legal advice, you should retain an attorney.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
First of all, I'd be careful how many identifiable details you put online, especially attaching your name and city and a point by point description of what happened. At this point the victim has no injury complaints, but if she later does, I'm sure your insurance company would prefer you keep your account of events between you and them. For the same reason, I would caution against a guilty plea.
It seems like there were no eyewitness, so I assume the police issued you a citation based on whatever you and the victim told them. As for the law, as the other attorney said, stopping at the stop sign is only the first half of what a stop-sign means. It also means don't then pull out into traffic. Bikes are traffic.
Second, as a Corvallis cyclist, please don't hit us. I know it was an accident, but I hope you'll continue to be even more careful.
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