$1400 ticket for reckless driving on a bicycle


On December 27, 2007, Kajuan Cornish got the present he never wanted, and never expected.

“The officer who pulled me over said I was going too fast,” Cornish said.

Cornish said his reckless driving ticket might one day be funny, if it weren’t so confusing. “I get some people who laugh,” he said, “and I get some people, like me, that are lost.”

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0 thoughts on “$1400 ticket for reckless driving on a bicycle”

  1. Quinn says:

    I used to live in Va, so I hear about this law way before most, I was all for it until I realized how abusive it was, I am now totally against it.

    As far as getting a ticket on a bike, This where I bend the laws, because here in NV a person on a bike can get a ticket for wreckless driving, or running a red light/sign, even DUI and many others just like a driver of a car. Bicycles are Not cars!, Mopeds,, but not cars.

  2. Bill says:

    Here’s what Washington State has to say.

    RCW 46.61.790
    Intoxicated bicyclists.
    (1) A law enforcement officer may offer to transport a bicycle rider who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or any drug and who is walking or moving along or within the right of way of a public roadway, unless the bicycle rider is to be taken into protective custody under RCW 70.96A.120. The law enforcement officer offering to transport an intoxicated bicycle rider under this section shall:

    (a) Transport the intoxicated bicycle rider to a safe place; or

    (b) Release the intoxicated bicycle rider to a competent person.

    (2) The law enforcement officer shall not provide the assistance offered if the bicycle rider refuses to accept it. No suit or action may be commenced or prosecuted against the law enforcement officer, law enforcement agency, the state of Washington, or any political subdivision of the state for any act resulting from the refusal of the bicycle rider to accept this assistance.

    (3) The law enforcement officer may impound the bicycle operated by an intoxicated bicycle rider if the officer determines that impoundment is necessary to reduce a threat to public safety, and there are no reasonable alternatives to impoundment. The bicyclist will be given a written notice of when and where the impounded bicycle may be reclaimed. The bicycle may be reclaimed by the bicycle rider when the bicycle rider no longer appears to be intoxicated, or by an individual who can establish ownership of the bicycle. The bicycle must be returned without payment of a fee. If the bicycle is not reclaimed within thirty days, it will be subject to sale or disposal consistent with agency procedures.

  3. Quinn says:

    that is the kind of law IM talking about, I mean why should a cyclist be charged with a big offense/ticket/fine, when he is only really being a danger to himself?

    I mean, if a cyclist gets drunk, hopes on their bike wonders into the road, gets hit….to me, that the law….. of natural selection.

  4. mike says:

    What does this story have to do with being intoxicated on a bike? The rider was sober and commuting to work. The story seems to imply he was ticketed under VA’s new abusive driver fees for basically quickly crossing a street on a bicycle.

    I have seen some bike blogs tell people to contact VA to get them to NOT repeal this law. However, the law seems like it is being applied towards treating a bicycle commuters as abusive driver. The driver in question here is a 19 yr old man who does not even have a driver’s license, which outs the joke on the state: the way they enforce this fee is by threatening to revoke your license.

  5. Bill says:

    Most people are surprised the law is so favorable to cyclists, I certainly was. Most people I talk to, cyclist included, assume that you can get a DUI in Washington while on a bike. Now I ONLY drink and ride.

  6. Quinn says:


    Do what I call Converse Thinking, and transference.

    Basically, if the guy was breaking the law, the fine is justified, if he wasn’t then the fine is not justified.


    Virginians enacted the law, now they have to deal with it, that May include getting unjustly accused/fined.

    They made there bed they now have to ly in it.

    and just like a cyclist getting a DUI just like a motorist, that Virginia law is not something I could get behind.

  7. Jim Carson says:

    I’m a little confused by the comments — the guy was pulled over for going “too fast” on a bicycle, not DUI, correct?

    Does Virginia law not distinguish between motor vehicle and “not a motor vehicle?”

    A few years ago I received a ticket for not coming to a complete stop when making a right turn. (Ironically, four months later, the intersection had a right turn arrow installed for precisely what I was doing.) Washington State treats bicycles as operating dually as pedestrians and vehicles. Thus, before the ticket, the officer confirmed I was “operating a vehicle on a public roadway.” The actual ticket was a non-motorized offense. While there was a fine, it did not appear on my driver’s record, nor did it count as “points” or “bad karma” towards increased auto insurance.

  8. Quinn says:


    I brought the DUI thing up as an aside and example of laws/situations, an addition to the Virginia law, that are wrong in my eyes.

  9. Jeff Moser says:

    I was talking to a local (Carson City, NV) cop once, and he said that typically, the only time they’ll ever pull over a bicycle is if it’s in the wee hours of the morning, and they look suspicious. They usually use the “no headlight” excuse for pulling them over and investigating further.

    Having said that, I know one guy that ran a red light in front of a cop. The cop said out the window to the rest of us, “Your friend is going to get a ticket.” Of course the cop was stuck in traffic, and my friend had already returned to work and was inside the building. The cop never found him.

  10. miker says:

    Yes, this was not a DUI.

    & yes, Virginians are about to get the law repealed.

    From the look of the article at http://www.dailypress.com/bikefine the bicyclist did nothing other than ride his bike in traffic. The police officer said he was going too fast, according to the cyclist in the linked video. Perhaps he looked suspicious as a young black male riding his bike fast?

  11. JiMCi says:

    I read the article and watched the video. Looking at this guy, I just can’t imagine him speeding on a bicycle! BTW, for a speeding offence, shouldn’t the ticket state how fast he was riding??? Sounds more like an officer holding a grudge against cyclists… 🙁

  12. kajuan cornish says:

    i wasnt drunk guys i was on a lunch break doing a favor for my boss

  13. kajuan cornish says:

    uh yeah exactly first of all my bike doesnt go past 4 miles an hour cause its messed up but speeding on a bike in a 45mile per hour zone?come on they tryed to get me

  14. Quinn says:

    Lets beat a Dead Horse, HE Was Not Drunk!!

  15. John says:

    I think a ticket can be justifiably given to a bicyclist for reckless driving.

    A reckless cyclist blowing through red lights, stop signs, riding against traffic flow, etc., can easily endanger the near public. Automobiles, pedestrians, and other cyclists panicking to evade an accident can be a very dangerous situation and a fine this large may be justified.

    I assume, according to the news blurb and Kajuan’s statements, this particular situation does not justify the violation given. Take it to court and all charges will most likely be dropped. If the circumstances are as clear as they sound, a retaliatory charge, to compensate for your legal expense, may be pursued and the officer reprimanded for the abuse of power.

    Otherwise, we should however, never exclude ourselves, as cyclists, from our obligation to not endanger those around us, regardless of what our specific local laws state.

  16. miker says:


    according to http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/21/2170.asp :
    “A judge agreed with Officer Evans and now Cornish must either pay the fee
    or hire a traffic attorney and fight his case before a circuit court in
    February. State Delegate Dave Albo (R-Springfield), the architect of the
    fees — and a traffic attorney — says he is surprised that a judge would
    apply them to a bicyclist. ”

    Mr. Cornish went to court, as you say, and all charges were upheld and enforced. Isn’t anyone else outraged by this?

    I am a bike commuter in the next town over from Newport News. I don’t own a car and am very wary of getting ticketed for running traffic lights after waiting through several cycles where the demand is not tripped by my bike, or even as it seems here for biking where a police officer does not want to see me travelling without paying for car insurance or gasoline.

    There are many legal issues being run against bicyclists, and for us to defend charging someone for reckelss driving for merely properly operating a bicycle is abhorent. Not only does it put a hefty fine on a responsible young man, it makes it difficult for all of us bike commuters who fear being stopped merely for bicycling in traffic. Does anyone know any attorneys who can help Mr. Cornish fight this fine & get the officer and judge some training on transportation?

  17. John says:

    That’s ridiculous.

    Fight it, fight it, fight it – with a lawyer.

    Here’s a link to the Bill language:


    That case could be fought and won by an amateur lawyer.
    Charges could be recovered using a good lawyer.
    Pain and suffering charges could be recovered using a great lawyer.


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