O Speedtrap

[here is where you imagine a photo of a motorcycle cop at an intersection]

Yep, they’re back – the Speed Trapper Cops, this time at the intersection of Glendale and Riverside (near the 5 North entrance). Every few days, there they are – lying in wait for you.

These guys (one or two at a time) stake out various points along the stretch of Riverside that runs along the freeway, between the Chevron at Fletcher and Riverside to just past the Riverglen Apartments at Glendale Blvd. There they sit, just itchin’ to catch you speeding.

Since I travel this route all but daily, I’d love to see them move elsewhere.

I know speed traps are illegal but I also know that they must catch a hell of a lot of people speeding or they wouldn’t spend so much time there.

Can we agree to keep it under 50 on Riverside (speed limit is 35) so they will stop writing tickets and move to greener pastures?

Sorry I failed to snap a photo – I thought it might make them pull me over!

Whole Vehicle Code text below. You should print it and have it in your car.

California

CALIFORNIA VEHICLE CODE SECTION:

40801. No peace officer or other person shall use a speed trap in arresting, or participating or assisting in the arrest of, any person for any alleged violation of this code nor shall any speed trap be used in securing evidence as to the speed of any vehicle for the purpose of an arrest or prosecution under this code.
40802. (a) A speed trap is either of the following:
(1) A particular section of a highway measured as to distance and with boundaries marked, designated, or otherwise determined in order that the speed of a vehicle may be calculated by securing the time it takes the vehicle to travel the known distance.

(2) A particular section of a highway with a prima facie speed limit that is provided by this code or by local ordinance under subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 22352, or established under Section 22354, 22357, 22358, or 22358.3, if that prima facie speed limit is not justified by an engineering and traffic survey conducted within five years prior to the date of the alleged violation, and enforcement of the speed limit involves the use of radar or any other electronic device that measures the speed of moving objects. This paragraph does not apply to a local street, road, or school zone.

(b)

(1) For purposes of this section, a local street or road is defined by the latest functional usage and federal-aid system maps submitted to the federal Highway Administration, except that when these maps have not been submitted, or when the street or road is not
shown on the maps, a “local street or road” means a street or road that primarily provides access to abutting residential property and meets the following three conditions:

(A) Roadway width of not more than 40 feet.

(B) Not more than one-half of a mile of uninterrupted length. Interruptions shall include official traffic control devices as defined in Section 445.

(C) Not more than one traffic lane in each direction.

(2) For purposes of this section “School zone” means that area of
road contiguous to a school building or the grounds thereof, and on
which is posted a standard “SCHOOL” warning sign, while children are
going to or leaving the school either during school hours or during
the noon recess period.

(c)

(1) When all the following criteria are met, paragraph (2) of this subdivision shall be applicable and subdivision (a) shall not be applicable:

(A) When radar is used, the officer issuing the citation has successfully completed a radar operator course of not less than 24 hours on the use of police traffic radar, and the course was approved and certified by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.

(B) When laser or any other electronic device is used to measure the speed of moving objects, the officer issuing the notice to appear has successfully completed the training required in subparagraph (A) and an additional training course of not less than two hours approved and certified by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.

(C)

(i) The prosecution proved that the officer complied with subparagraphs (A) and (B) and that an engineering and traffic survey has been conducted in accordance with subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2). The prosecution proved that, prior to the officer issuing the notice to appear, the officer established that the radar, laser, or other electronic device conformed to the requirements of subparagraph (D).

(ii) The prosecution proved the speed of the accused was unsafe for the conditions present at the time of alleged violation unless the citation was for a violation of Section 22349, 22356, or 22406.

(D) The radar, laser, or other electronic device used to measure the speed of the accused meets or exceeds the minimal operational standards of the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, and has been calibrated within the three years prior to the date of the alleged violation by an independent certified laser or radar repair and testing or calibration facility.

(2) A “speed trap” is either of the following:

(A) A particular section of a highway measured as to distance and with boundaries marked, designated, or otherwise determined in order that the speed of a vehicle may be calculated by securing the time it takes the vehicle to travel the known distance.

(B)

(i) A particular section of a highway or state highway with a prima facie speed limit that is provided by this code or by local ordinance under subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 22352, or established under Section 22354, 22357, 22358, or 22358.3, if that prima facie speed limit is not justified by an engineering and traffic survey conducted within one of the following time periods, prior to the date of the alleged violation, and enforcement of the speed limit involves the use of radar or any other electronic device that measures the speed of moving objects:

(I) Except as specified in subclause (II), seven years.
(II) If an engineering and traffic survey was conducted more than seven years prior to the date of the alleged violation, and a registered engineer evaluates the section of the highway and determines that no significant changes in roadway or traffic conditions have occurred, including, but not limited to, changes in adjoining property or land use, roadway width, or traffic volume, 10 years.

(ii) This subparagraph does not apply to a local street, road, or school zone.

40803. (a) No evidence as to the speed of a vehicle upon a highway shall be admitted in any court upon the trial of any person in any prosecution under this code upon a charge involving the speed of a vehicle when the evidence is based upon or obtained from or by the maintenance or use of a speed trap.

(b) In any prosecution under this code of a charge involving the speed of a vehicle, where enforcement involves the use of radar or other electronic devices which measure the speed of moving objects, the prosecution shall establish, as part of its prima facie case, that the evidence or testimony presented is not based upon a speed trap as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 40802.

(c) When a traffic and engineering survey is required pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 40802, evidence that a traffic and engineering survey has been conducted within five years of the date of the alleged violation or evidence that the offense was committed on a local street or road as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 40802 shall constitute a prima facie case that the evidence or testimony is not based upon a speed trap as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 40802.

40804. (a) In any prosecution under this code upon a charge involving the speed of a vehicle, any officer or other person shall be incompetent as a witness if the testimony is based upon or obtained from or by the maintenance or use of a speed trap.

(b) Every officer arresting, or participating or assisting in the arrest of, a person so charged while on duty for the exclusive or main purpose of enforcing the provisions of Divisions 10 and 11 is incompetent as a witness if at the time of such arrest he was not wearing a distinctive uniform, or was using a motor vehicle not painted the distinctive color specified by the commissioner. This section does not apply to an officer assigned exclusively to the duty of investigating and securing evidence in reference to any theft of a vehicle or failure of a person to stop in the event of an accident or violation of Section 23109 or in reference to any felony charge or to any officer engaged in serving any warrant when the officer is not engaged in patrolling the highways for the purpose of enforcing the traffic laws.

40805. Every court shall be without jurisdiction to render a judgment of conviction against any person for a violation of this code involving the speed of a vehicle if the court admits any evidence or testimony secured in violation of, or which is inadmissible under this article.

8 Replies to “O Speedtrap”

  1. Okay, I’ll bite. It’s been a while since I’ve been on Riverside there, but what part of the vehicle code section listed qualifies that section of road as a speed trap?

  2. If you look at the actual post I have included the entire Vehicle Code for your reference.

    Although speed traps are kind of legal on a “local street or road” that section of Riverside doesn’t qualify:

    (A) Roadway width of not more than 40 feet.

    It’s more than 40 feet wide.

    (B) Not more than one-half of a mile of uninterrupted length. Interruptions shall include official traffic control devices as defined in Section 445.

    It’s uninterrupted from Fletcher all the way to Glendale – more than half a mile.

    (C) Not more than one traffic lane in each direction.

    It’s two lanes in each direction the whole way, plus a turn lane at the intersection.

    So even though it’s not a freeway, it’s not a “local street or road” either, and there shouldn’t be a speed trap there.

  3. Okay, I still don’t get why it’s a speed trap. Do you think the speed limit on that stretch of road should be raised?

    Riverside is mostly 35 from the Valley to LA.

    My understanding of speed traps (which comes from living in rural areas) is when a municipality sets a stretch of road to have an unusually low speed limit to catch people, fine them and use the income for a specific and often unrelated purpose.

  4. A Speed Trap is defined in the statute; that’s why I included it.

    The officers on Riverside often hide in the apartment driveway in order that you dont see them until it’s too late.

    It’s neither practical nor reasonable to want the speed limit raised for a small stretch of road – road that parallels the freeway and has NOTHING on it but a scraggy hillside on one side and the freeway on the other. People drive at 50 or 55 because it seems natural – no kids playing, no houses, no businesses, no traffic signals.

    The apartment complex at Glendale Blvd is big (like the Oakwood) and has no street interaction except its long driveway leading to secure parking.

    What I would like is to be able to drive this at 50 or 55 without fearing a ticket. I know that’s breaking the law and I’m not pretending otherwise. I do manage to keep my speed to under 50 there now, but given the nature of the road there’s no reason to enforce the 35mph limit there.

  5. I’m just saying that even though it may seem, function and smell like a speed trap, I don’t think it technically qualifies as one based on the vehicle code.

    (“a) A speed trap is either of the following:
    (1) A particular section of a highway measured as to distance and with boundaries marked, designated, or otherwise determined in order that the speed of a vehicle may be calculated by securing the time it takes the vehicle to travel the known distance.”

    Are there marked distance boundaries being used? If they are hiding in a driveway, I doubt it.

    “prima facie speed limit is not justified by an engineering and traffic survey conducted within five years prior to the date of the alleged violation, AND enforcement of the speed limit involves the use of radar or any other electronic device that measures the speed of moving objects.”

    This would take some research to check out but it isn’t a speed trap if it doesn’t fail the above requirement.
    The exception to the above is if Riverside is a local road, etc., which it is not. Therefore the local road info does not apply.

    I know, mountain out of a molehill, but posting the vehicle code got me thinking.

  6. It’s commonly said that a speed trap is an officer hiding. That’s just an officer hiding, there is nothing wrong with that. It’s like vice cops hiding out and watching a drug deal and then making the arrest. There’s not point in them showing themselves to people, no crime would happen unless you are blind.

    A speed trap is them basically timing you from point A to point B. If you make it too fast, then you must be speeding. It’s not very precise, hence it not being legal.

  7. Damn……wish I’d known about this code sooner.

    I recently got a speeding ticket on Balboa between Burbank and Victory. The motorcycle cop was waiting up off the curb [in the trees for crimney sakes] and behind a large truck — just before the new MTA bus line crossing.

    BTW…people are now getting ticketed there a lot. I’ve also noticed cruisers lying-in-wait at the corner of Victory and Hayvenhurst on the Balboa Park side of the street.

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