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Aug 14, 2014

Released from Jury Duty and Issued a Summons -- Oh, Sweet Irony!



To quote Barbra Streisand singing "Sadie, Sadie" in Funny Girl, "Oy, what a day I had today!"

A brief rundown:  I biked to the New York Criminal Court Building (100 Centre Street -- up top) and made excellent time.  I waltzed in just a few minutes late and, unsurprisingly, hadn't missed a thing.



I wore my cotton herringbone twill suit with my black and white gingham shirt.  Here's a rare "up the nostrils shot" taken from inside my briefcase (you're not supposed to use cameras inside the court building.



Now, while I've worn this suit quite a few times since completing it last month,  I've never worn it all day.  I learned a few things:

First, if you're going to bike in blue twill pants, beware unsightly seat sweat.  (Maybe next time I'll wear Depends.)  Fortunately, it evaporates quickly!



This is a summer suit, so although the jacket has a half-lining and the facings are interfaced, I did not add interfacing to the upper chest area.  When the sun reflects off the dark fabric, one does notice drooping below the shoulder pads at the hollow between shoulder and chest, especially after a full day and lots of activity. 



But let's get back to my jury duty.

After the usual spiel about the jury process and a review of our schedule for the next two days, we were left to sit...and sit...and sit.  Nobody was called for any case.  I read my New Yorker magazine and eavesdropped on other people's cellphone conversations.  At noon, they said we could go to lunch an hour early and weren't expected back until 2:15 pm.  I considered returning home and coming back but decided that would be too much biking-in-a-cotton-suit for one day, so I popped into the nearest Pret A Manger and grabbed a sandwich and coffee.  I love to people-watch (and outfit-watch).







Believe it or not, just a few blocks from Pret is PS Fabrics (359 Broadway).  With an hour to kill, I stepped inside.  Although I'd been there before, I was surprised how many nice things they had and how good the prices were.  And nearly everything is clearly labeled.

















They also sell patterns, both new and out-of-print, and lots of notions, craft stuff, and yarn.







I love the City Hall area, which is adjacent to both Chinatown to the east and Tribeca to the west.  I love the architectural mix too -- a combination of early 20th C. municipal buildings, 19th. C. cast iron, and postwar yuck.  The weather today was glorious.





















When I returned to the jury duty waiting pen, I checked my email and blog on one of their super-slow computers.



At 3 pm we were told we could go home, that we needn't return tomorrow, and that we wouldn't be called back for another six years.  I was free!

I grabbed the nearest Citbike and hightailed it home.  As I was riding up Hudson Street, a cop driving a yellow cab (pretty sneaky, huh?) pulled me aside and asked me if I knew I had run a red light crossing West 10th St.  Honestly, I didn't but I can hardly say it surprised me: it has to be one of the sleepiest cross streets downtown.  He issued me a summons -- my first ever.  A summons on my way home from jury duty!





And that was my day today.  I didn't sew, obviously, but since I don't have to appear in court tomorrow, I'm fine with it.

In closing, have you ever gotten a traffic ticket for bike riding?

Does this rankle you or do you think it's a good idea, bike riders not being particularly obedient when it comes to traffic laws?

Finally, do you ever bike ride in your good clothes?

Have a great day, everybody!




48 comments:

  1. For safety's sake, I think cyclists should obey traffic laws the same way that motorists should. Ride defensively! You're so unprotected on a bicycle. :)

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    1. Agreed! We all make mistakes but we also have to be responsible for them. Ride with care :D

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  2. They are cracking down on bike riders (and cars parked in bike lanes) for the next two weeks for a safety initiative. I read about it on the south slope blog -- so beware for the next few weeks especially!

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    1. I was warned (after the fact) by not one, but TWO people (a pedestrian who saw me and the cop, and a bike rider) on the remaining trip home about it, so evidently word is spreading fast.

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  3. And we see no stylish helmets to go with your suit, another error. Be thankful you aren't blogging from the neuro ICU. Trust me; I'm a doctor.

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  4. LOL...actually yes I have. While biking through the town square in Uppsala Sweden...big circle with red slash on the sign....no idea what that meant.

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  5. Here in Minneapolis we have tons and tons and tons of cyclists. It drives me INSANE when bikers don't follow the rules of the road! As a reminder: if it becomes bicycle vs. car; cycle loses. Best to be safe.

    That bacon and eggs fabric would make thee best pajama gifts ever :)

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  6. I had no idea bicycle riders could be issued tickets, and based on the behavior of the bicyclists whipping around my car in downtown Chicago this afternoon, they don't either. A cop sneaking around in a yellow cab?! Did you check his ID?

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  7. Bicyclists generaly have the same rights and responsibilities as any other vehicle on the road because they ARE vehicles on the road. I walk and bike everywhere in my little city and if I have to make a left hand turn I make a turn signal and get in the left lane. Helmets are overrated.

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  8. Oh, and. The best of course is to get a speeding ticket while riding a bicycle. It's never happened to me although I did once find myself going 31 or 32 in a 30 mph zone!

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  9. I didn't know bicycle riders could be issued tickets either but I think it's not such a bad idea for safety sake. I have seen bicycle riders cut in front of cars and trucks. I have seen quite a few close calls on those Citibikes!

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  10. You must see this video if you are a biker in NYC (it is a hilarious response to a biker receiving a $50 ticket in Manhattan): http://youtu.be/bzE-IMaegzQ Just don't drink anything while you watch or it might end up all over your screen. :)

    Speaking as a pedestrian and motorist in another East Coast city where most bikers seem to want to be candidates for the Darwin Awards, bikers should obey the rules of the road--it is safer for everyone! Although the cob in the yellow cab is kind of a dirty trick.

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  11. You and Alec Baldwin! Yes, please be careful. I can't even imagine biking in Manhattan!

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  12. Yes I have!!! In fact 3! One for riding where one should not ride a bike, one for running a red light and the last one the most shameful one - not using blinking red light whilst riding in dark. In my protection it wasn't that dark and I wasn't riding in big draffic and putting myself in danger....but one can not argue with a policeman officer, no no! In total I've paid 73€ for my reckless biking.

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  13. Ha...Sarah in NYC was on jury duty today too and got called for a jury. How many courts with jury duty are there in NYC? I recently escaped the duty

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  14. I love the sign in the fabric store that says "BIG DEAL".

    If you hadn't posted a picture of your ticket, I would not have believed it.

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  15. As a long-time urban cyclist, I'd advise all cyclists to obey the rules of the road, mainly, as Mrs. Smith said, when it's a car vs. a bike, the bike loses. And if injury isn't enough to scare you into following the rules of the road, most cyclists aren't covered by insurance. so it can be financially painful if you are judged to be at fault in causing an accident that causes a lot of damage. I'm wondering how much was the ticket?. Often, if the police are primarily stopping people to make them aware of laws that hadn't been heavily enforced previously, the fine isn't that high.

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  16. Regarding cycling in "good clothes", while I've never cycled in a suit, I commuted to work for years in "business casual" attire year-round. I was fortunate that the trip to the office was a net downhill from my house, so even in the summer, I'd arrive in a reasonably-fresh shape.

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  17. OMG! This reminds me of what happened to a friend years ago that's so funny I'm busting a gut just writing about it. He got TWO drunk driving tickets on a bicycle about an hour apart. He was arrested for one, taken in and booked, they let him go, and a few blocks later he fell off his bike right in front of a cop car and arrested again! Too, too funny.
    Cari

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  18. Here in the Netherlands, there are lots of cyclists everywhere and they often ignore traffic laws. When they do so in a particularly bad or unsafe way and a police officer happens to see it, they will get a ticket.
    Personally, I will only run red lights (on my bike or on foot, not when I'm driving) if there is no traffic on the road I'm crossing.

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  19. Yes I have ruined many a pair of trousers to oil marks, but my new bike has a better chain guard, so touch wood. Jury service how interesting, I had visions of 12 angry men in my head. Here in the UK I have only heard of the law of riding on pavements prohibited after a certain age (I think 12 years) and also not using a bicycle under the influence of alcohol, but Im sure they will be more.

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  20. I cycle to work almost every morning and I do it in the same clothes i wear during the day.

    Also I don't really run red lights, but i do usually get in front of the first car at the lights and start off in the fraction of time after the crossing street goes red and right before ours goes green. I have no bike lanes on my route.

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  21. I do almost everything by bike (it's way faster than public transport here) but never had a ticket. I do try to stick to the traffic rules as much as I can (I'll cross a red light when there's literally NO ONE in sight but in general I'm good) if only because you are so very vulnerable as a cyclist and a lot of drivers don't really pay attention. A friend of mine almost lost an eye because of someone opening his car door without looking, and someone gets hit by a car just about every week.

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  22. I would love to get the red animal print rayon fabric on one the photos.I never find such a fabric for that price here in Germany *Schnief*

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  23. Being both a cyclist and a driver I definitely believe everyone should follow the road rules. I also firmly believe in bike helmets; they're mandatory over here but I wore one well before they changed the law.

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  24. Wow, that is quite a day! Mostly, I can't believe you dared to ride a bike in NYC! I tend to ride on the sidewalk when there are too many people parked in the street to make it safe for me to ride and I'm always worried about getting a ticket for it. I think bike riders should also follow the law, especially in place like cities. And I can't say I've ever ridden in my good clothes so I'm really impressed! James' grandmother did ride one for something like 20 miles to get to her wedding during the war (she's from France and was there at the time) with a cake on the handlebars to boot. But somewhere along the way I believe the story goes that she fell off and got a concussion so she was quite late.

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  25. Hubby and son are the big bike riders in our family. The former is looking forward to seeing and using your citibike system come October. Do they rent helmets too? But how can you lose your licence if you don't pay the fine, if you don't have a licence to start with?

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    1. I believe it's your drivers license you lose -- most people have one of those, even here.

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  26. I think all cyclists should follow the rules of the road for sure- it's safer for everyone, and it makes them more predictable (so, again- safer). With that being said, I can't believe you got ticketed for running a red light! I know laws are different in every state, obviously, but here it's ok to run lights as long as you make sure the way is clear first. This applies to motorcycles too- since we aren't heavy enough to trigger the light with our weight, it would never otherwise turn if it's not on a timer. I mean, yeah, you have to treat it like a stop sign- so you have to stop first- but if you don't run it, you really could be sitting there all day if a car doesn't show up to trigger it for you.

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  27. I'm sorry that you got a summons, Peter. Having said that bike riders in my area are extremely vocal about their rights on the road, but somewhat silent about their responsibilities. I've always assumed that stopping at red lights or stop signs was considered unmanly in the biking world - I've so rarely seen a biker do it. I've only seen the police stop a biker once - for ignoring a red light on a four-lane highway. I nearly rolled down my window and cheered.

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  28. In my city we've spent untold millions on bike lanes, bike trails, bike paths, signage, bridge improvements, special bike overpasses over busy streets, etc. And bicyclists won't use this infrastructure, won't obey the laws (some do, most don't), and give you the finger if you're trying to avoid hitting them. Can you tell I'm bitter?

    PS Fabrics looks like a piece of heaven and the painting of Deborah Harry on that doorway isn't bad, either. I've not been to NYC in years. Thanks for the mini-tour!

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  29. To those bike riders who obey the traffic laws and take steps to make themselves visible (bright clothes & lights), I say Thank You. To those who don't obey the traffic laws and wear dark colors and have no lights - Do. Not. Whine. about your rights when you get hit someday. Worst is coming up behind a group of bike riders - it's not that they often take up the whole lane, but like people on cell phones - they don't seem to pay much attention to what's going on around them, other than their conversations. Recently, I was passing 4 bike riders just as I would a car - fully in the oncoming lane (2 lane highway) , one rider decided they wanted to talk with someone behind them and started to turn their bike into the lane right in front of me. Fortunately I had to slow down to wait for an oncoming car, between that and laying on the horn, disaster was averted.

    Did you stop for the light and then ride through, or just go right on through without checking for traffic? If you stopped and then rode through, then you'd get a bit of sympathy from me. If you just rode right through, not so much.

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  30. Everyone thinks that they're the exception to the rule, and that they won't be the one to get slammed into by a red-light-runner or sideswiped by a car changing lanes or cause an accident themselves. The "rules" of the road are actually laws, and they apply to any vehicle, motorized or not, using the road. They're in place to try to make vehicles more predictable on the road, thus reducing the risk of accident. So, please, for your safety and the safety of others on the road, obey the traffic laws and wear a helmet. A bicycle gives you zero protection against a car moving at any speed, and human beings, big and bad as we think we are, are actually quite delicate. Remember, as Valmont said "it's always the best swimmers that drown." We would all be very sad to hear about your being injured in a biking accident. Lecture finished.

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  31. Peter, I'm sorry you got a summons for what was probably not dangerous behavior; but as an NYC pedestrian and occasional cyclist, I don't think the DOT, the NYPD, or the bike-advocacy organizations have been doing nearly enough to make cyclists aware that the traffic laws apply to them. (Each Citibike carries a little notice saying so - but does anyone actually read it?) In particular, cyclists riding against traffic pose a constant threat to the safety of everyone on the road, including themselves, yet I don't see this rule posted anywhere and I've never seen the police ticket anyone for violating it. I was once struck in a Manhattan crosswalk, with the light in my favor, by a cyclist who was turning onto a one-way street against traffic at high speed. To his credit, he stopped after knocking me down, listened to my rant, and apologized. He seemed stunned to learn that he was in the wrong - but he was a well-spoken, apparently educated adult with an expensive bike, so why didn't he have a clue? Or did he know the law, but just hadn't bothered to comply? Bikes aren't toys, they're potentially dangerous vehicles, and I'm beginning to think that riding one on a public street should require a license as proof that the rider knew and understood his or her responsibilities.

    On a less dyspeptic note, thanks for giving some well-deserved praise to PS Fabrics, the lone survivor of what used to be a lively downtown fabric district. It's about a mile from my apartment so it's a great destination for a leisurely Sunday afternoon walk. If I'm looking for something particular, whether it's fabrics or notions, I can usually find it there; and if I'm looking for nothing in particular, it's always worth a visit anyway, especially for the 75%-off remnant rack. Plus, the nostalgia factor is considerable. It's an old-fashioned customer-oriented family shop, something that's becoming ever rarer - though for some reason, there are still quite a few of them in the retail fabric business, at least in NYC. I wonder why?

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  32. That bacon and egg fabric is hysterical! I'm trying to think what I would use it for. As a skinny man, you could make an ironic shirt out of it. As a chubby woman, I don't think it would work so well on me......LOL! Claudia W

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  33. To echo the comment above, red lights require you to get off your bike, hump it over the curb, press the walk (!) button, and then cycle across. Purists say you have to walk the bike in the crosswalk.

    I'm not opposed to that behavior per se, but I am opposed to road rules favouring cars in urban settings. So much could be improved:

    Crossing buttons at curbside; longer greens and yellows so a cyclist can actually cross, full-width lanes with curbs to prevent cars "accidentally" in the bike lanes, traffic calming (slowing) devices that allow cyclists to safely turn left...

    Every tried to turn left? You have to merge into traffic; one hand off the handlebars while you're signalling; wait for oncoming traffic, which means you often have to stop, necessitating a cold - very slow - start; and then try to cross while hoping any oncoming motor traffic sees you.

    Yes, cyclist safety is an issue, but it's more often bad motorist behavior that causes the accident than the cyclist - who obviously has much more to lose.

    I applaud you for cycling in NYC. I've cycled in Milan and in Lucerne. Cyclists are omnipresent and respected in those busy cities. Not so much in North America.

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  34. As a former ER Nurse please wear a helmet. Head injuries don't always have the best outcomes. I have seen many that would have had a better out come if they had only worn their helmet.

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  35. Peter, please be careful and wear a helmet. You're too precious a soul to be hurt when it can be so easily prevented.

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  36. Hmmm... I don't know where I stand on the ticket issue. I'd certainly be annoyed if I got a ticket for using my own eyes to determine that it was safe to cross, but I realize that other vehicles don't have that same luxury. Here's one I still haven't gotten over, though - I was in a car with a friend (she was driving), about 20 years ago, who got a ticket for accelerating on a YELLOW light. That is a traffic law that still burns me up...

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  37. Sorry you got a ticket. I do see a lot of cyclist fatalities around her and its always so sad.

    http://www.kmir.com/story/25142369/chp-cyclist-killed-in-tour-de-palm-springs-ran-stop-sign

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  38. Hi there, helmets are mandated here in Australia - the ER's do not have as many head injuries as they did in the past. Also seatbelts in cars have saved so many from head, face and chest injuries. Lovely the fabric chats - not much around here to see in that line.

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  39. So two comments: (1) I love the photo of the dancer standing in line with her tutu and (2) if you have an oppurtunity to appear in front of a magistrate (who is a judge) you may be able to get the ticket dismissed if you just own up to it and admit you did something stupid and violated the traffic laws. I got a ticket for driving in the breakdown lane and was able to get it dismissed by admitting I was stupid and broke the law. The lecture from the state trooper and the magistrate was worth it to save me the $150 fine and the points on my insurance.

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    1. Between you an me, the cop said -- and I paraphrase -- "just show up in court and you'll be fine," or something like that.

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  40. no, but i issued one to a guy doing donuts in the middle of an intersection (in my past life). btw horseback riders atop horses are also subject to the rules of the road. actually, they are subject to them whether atop a horse, or not, but...

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  41. I'm of two minds on the ticket--I bike year round in Minneapolis, and sometimes I wish more cyclists (and drivers, for that matter!) got tickets (or warnings, or whatever, basically a "heads up you did something stupid")...but by the same token, I'l go through a red/stop myself, but only after checking if the coast is clear...I guess it's all relative!

    Oh, and on biking in "regular" clothes--I do it all the time. My preferred fabric for that is wool, though (lightweight for summer, obviously!).

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  42. SIX YEARS BEFORE BEING CALLED BACK TO JURY DUTY!!! Ever since I got on the property tax rolls here in Northern California, I get called every year like clockwork. I suspect the court has me on speed dial! :-( Summons notwithstanding, NY'ers have it great!

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  43. That haws bad luck however I think the sooner cyclists behave like drivers , the more respect drivers will give them . I am appalled at the attitude to a lot of cyclists , it's dangerous and stupid , however cyclists need to be more responsible too. PLEASE wear a helmit , one of my best friends died after being gently nudged by a car and then falling and hitting her head . She left behind 2 heartbroken children .

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