My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: California, Palo Alto, 1700 block of University Ave
Two lane, two way road. There is a BIKE LANE with the solid white lines.
A car in front of me stopped and showed the left turning signal. It took a while before the car would actually make a left turn as the incoming traffic was heavy. I drove around that car on the right side using the bike lane. Yes, I checked for the bikers in the blind spot, right side and rear view mirrors. There was none in the bike lane. N O N E. It was a SAFE maneuver.
I was pulled over by a police car and cited for violating VC 21461(a), No Passing Sign (Actually, it was black and white DO NO PASS sign.)
This is my first ticket. I have been driving for the last 13 years.
I passed on the right because I saw cars doing this all the time at this specific spot and over years I started assuming that it was OK if it is SAFE.
I SAW the police car parked on the same side of the street with the lights off. Had I known it was unlawful, I would have NEVER done it! I obey rules of the road most of the time.
Even when the officer asked me, I answered that I probably did something wrong. He told me there was a sign on the block stating DO NOT PASS. (I honestly did not see the sign).
Fine is $244 and $286 with traffic school.
What is my best option: Trial by Written Declaration or Court Appearance with guilty plea and bargain for the fine reduction? Do I have any ground to fight the ticket?
Appreciate the advice.