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  1. #1
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Entering Regular Freeway Ramp from Non-Ramp Traffic Light, VC 21461(a)

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: California on the intersection of Zanker Road & 237 East ramp, San Jose.

    I received a ticket from an officer for the following reason:

    I was travelling on Zanker road and was supposed to take 237 east. I missed the ramp to 237 east and decided to make a right on the upcoming traffic light and I joined to regular non-carpool lane. I was pulled over by the officer and told that I can make a right turn on the light only if it was car pool or if there were 2 people or more.

    I went back to google maps and on the traffic light where I made a right, there is a sign board placed on the bottom which reads ( "Except Carpool 2 people or more"). I believe I may have made a mistake here, But there were no indications that the right turn was for carpool entrance only for 237E freeway. Also it does not specifically say No right turns except for carpools. there was no carpool sign marked on the road . It was a regular lane an dI made a right turn to regular lane.

    The officer informed me that I should be glad that I didn't use carpool lane or else fine would have been $481 for carpool violation.

    I wanted to get opinion from others as whether I have any defense here. Are there any provisions for sign boards (as to height that have to be posted). Or can I make a defense asking "Right only" was missing. Obviously the sign board was unclear to me.Do I really stand a chance?

    Images:


    Zoomed in image of sign board:


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Entering Regular Freeway Ramp from Non-Ramp Traffic Light, VC 21461(a)

    There are clearly no signs saying you cannot make a right turn. There is however a sign after the right turn clearly saying Freeway Entrance. It does not restrict entrance to any type of traffic and though it is meant for traffic turning left onto the freeway, it does not appear you broke any law. I would focus on that unrestricted sign and absence of signage indicating clearly no right turn could not be made by any vehicle.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Entering Regular Freeway Ramp from Non-Ramp Traffic Light, VC 21461(a)

    Quote Quoting Disagreeable
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    There are clearly no signs saying you cannot make a right turn. There is however a sign after the right turn clearly saying Freeway Entrance. It does not restrict entrance to any type of traffic and though it is meant for traffic turning left onto the freeway, it does not appear you broke any law. I would focus on that unrestricted sign and absence of signage indicating clearly no right turn could not be made by any vehicle.

    also are there any regulations on the height of sign boards? this one was placed right on the bottom and is fairly easy to miss. But I did see this sign board, however like you said there were no restrictions as to which vehicles can or cannot make a right turn.

    Can you please let me know how well can I mount my defense regarding the unrestricted sign thing?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Entering Regular Freeway Ramp from Non-Ramp Traffic Light, VC 21461(a)

    Have you verified that the signage is at it appears on the Google Maps image (which is almost a year old)? It's difficult to believe that there isn't a missing sign.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Entering Regular Freeway Ramp from Non-Ramp Traffic Light, VC 21461(a)

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    Have you verified that the signage is at it appears on the Google Maps image (which is almost a year old)? It's difficult to believe that there isn't a missing sign.
    yes I have. I will double check today evening when I drive by the same route.This is the only sign present at the intersection and it states "Except Carpools 2 or More". Once you make a right, you enter freeway ramp. I honestly cannot make anything out of this regulatory sign. I can assume different things as stated below:

    1. Right turn prohibited except for Carpool (which was what stated by officer)
    2.Cannot occupy right lane, for there is an upcoming carpool lave to enter 237W
    3.All vehicles can go "Except Carpools 2 or more"
    4.All Vehicles are prohibited "Except Carpool 2 or more".

    To me, honestly the way it is worded has so much grey area attached to it.

    I also found that regulatory signs must have minimum mounting height of 7ft (as shown in this link):

    http://stonehousesigns.com/news/mutc...-16-MUTCD-2009

    This is from CA department of transportation stating the following (page 118):
    'The minimum height, measured vertically from the bottom of the sign to the top of the curb, or in the
    absence of curb, measured vertically from the bottom of the sign to the elevation of the near edge of the
    traveled way, of signs installed at the side of the road in business, commercial, or residential areas where
    parking or pedestrian movements are likely to occur, or where the view of the sign might be obstructed,
    shall be 7 feet (see Figure 2A-2).'


    This sign placard is placed on the ground as shown in the picture above. Will this strengthen my case if I were to go for TBD ?

    Thanks-

  6. #6

    Default Re: Entering Regular Freeway Ramp from Non-Ramp Traffic Light, VC 21461(a)

    That exact wording you quoted (for 7 feet) is for signs where pedestrians are likely to be found. A height of 7 feet is so a pedestrian doesn't hit their head on the sign. Generally all signs should be a minimum of 5 feet above the ground; or 7 feet as you pointed out in areas where pedestrians are likely to be (business, commerical, residential areas).

    I would think any reasonable person would agree that a sign placed on the ground is not visible to the road going public.

    Also, that seems to be a poorly worded sign. My guess is that there is a missing sign. Possibly a no right turn sign that went above it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Entering Regular Freeway Ramp from Non-Ramp Traffic Light, VC 21461(a)

    Quote Quoting JH-Engr
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    That exact wording you quoted (for 7 feet) is for signs where pedestrians are likely to be found. A height of 7 feet is so a pedestrian doesn't hit their head on the sign. Generally all signs should be a minimum of 5 feet above the ground; or 7 feet as you pointed out in areas where pedestrians are likely to be (business, commerical, residential areas).

    I would think any reasonable person would agree that a sign placed on the ground is not visible to the road going public.

    Also, that seems to be a poorly worded sign. My guess is that there is a missing sign. Possibly a no right turn sign that went above it.
    I drove through the route yesterday and found that there was 'no right turn' sign above what I had posted from Google maps. I suspect that it would have been installed the day I was caught or may be later. But there is no sure way to tell. If I use google maps as evidence will it equate to perjury?

    Now the question is do I really have any defense based on the height of sign board installation? Any advice??

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Entering Regular Freeway Ramp from Non-Ramp Traffic Light, VC 21461(a)

    I suggest investigating with the authority responsible for signage at the intersection to determine when the missing sign was replaced.

    If you're asked if a picture reflects the signs as they existed at the time you were pulled over, and you don't know, the answer, "I don't know" would keep the picture from being admitted into evidence.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Entering Regular Freeway Ramp from Non-Ramp Traffic Light, VC 21461(a)

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    I suggest investigating with the authority responsible for signage at the intersection to determine when the missing sign was replaced.

    If you're asked if a picture reflects the signs as they existed at the time you were pulled over, and you don't know, the answer, "I don't know" would keep the picture from being admitted into evidence.
    I was planning to go for TBD. Would it even make sense use this as an evidence in that case?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Entering Regular Freeway Ramp from Non-Ramp Traffic Light, VC 21461(a)

    Quote Quoting Masterguy
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    I was planning to go for TBD. Would it even make sense use this as an evidence in that case?
    I would not use a google photo as evidence, unless you verified after the alleged violation that it correctly reflected what is actually there. There is really no reason not to take a photo of it, even if you have to borrow a phone to do that. As mentioned earlier, contact the county or city engineer or roads department to determine when the sign was replaced. I'd also consider a Public Records Act Request to that department for all records of communications between them and the law enforcement agency involved. Assume for this discussion that the sign was not there but that the officer notified the road sign maintenance department that it needed to be replaced. At that point, the officer should obviously notify you and the court that the citation was issued in error.

    I suggest delay and postpone you case with the court clerk for as long as possible. Make sure you get photos of the intersection immediately and do the research on sign replacement. You can do TBD with or without evidence. All you're required to do is plead not guilty at TBD. You can add evidence or testimony, but you are not required to.

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