Thursday, May 17, 2007

CHP v. Superior Court (Cal. Ct. App. - May 17, 2007)

Plain language means something. To real people. As here.

As a result, over the California Highway Patrol's strenuous objection, police officers are now entitled to write "fix-it" tickets for, inter alia, motorcyclists who fail to wear helmets. For which there's no real penalty at all; you just eventually pick up a helmet, ride to the police department, get them to sign off on the fact that you are now wearing one, and boom, the citation goes away. At which point you probably promptly take off the helmet -- hopefully after turning the corner from the police station -- and ride on home.

Mind you, there are some caveats. Which should at least calm the CHP down. Justice Rushing says that the police officer doesn't have to write a fix-it ticket, and notes that the danger to the motorcyclist from continuing not to wear a helmet would justify an officer from writing a regular citation rather than a fix-it ticket. Plus, if the police officer happens to know that the particular person they stopped makes it a habit not to wear a helmet, that's another permissible justification for not writing a fix-it ticket.

But if you get stopped by a hog-loving, helmet-hating officer in California, s/he can now write you a fix-it ticket if s/he wants. So look good. Be respectful. Flirt a little. And see how it goes.