Lakeside Bicycles has posted Ray Thomas’s citizen’s guide to issuing traffic citations on its website.
The guide outlines the options available to bicyclists who have been involved in a collision in which the responding police officer declined to issue a traffic ticket to the motorist. Oregon law allows citizens to initiate prosecution against motorists who have violated traffic laws.
Some things to keep in mind when considering initiating a traffic violation prosecution:
- You must file the action within six months of the incident.
- Citizen-initiated prosecutions should not be used to settle petty traffic standoffs. Ideally, they should be reserved for situations in which an injury was involved and the driver has committed a clear violation of traffic laws.
- For insurance purposes, a traffic violation conviction may be important down the road to clarify the legal cause of the accident and to make a legal record of the driver’s law violation.