​​​BamaRider
 
Speeding Tickets


Let me start by saying if your ride enough miles on a modern sport touring bike, you'll eventually get a ticket.  All the wisdom and technology can't overcome simple bad luck.  One day you will be in the wrong place, wrong time.  Or you could be singled out on a busy Dallas freeway where the whole world is doing 80, but you're the guy reeled in.  Nothing you can do about it.  The following advice is not fully guaranteed to work, I'm not a expert, but I am knowledgeable.   I've ridden 300k miles the last 8 years, most of it above the speed limit, with only one paying ticket-Kansas 2003.  That works out to being pulled over about every 40k miles.

Checking my journals I've been pulled over 6 times, and 2x in Alabama (not on a tour, just riding) by state troopers for a total of 8 busts, and only one paying ticket out of all that.

Ironic the one paying ticket on a Kansas backroad, I was the least scofflaw-71 in a 65.

Despite riding through thousands and thousands of big and small cities never been stopped by a local cop.  All stops sans 2 (exceptions were deputy, and a park ranger) have been state troopers.

I've never been pulled over in Canada on rides, including a cross Canada sojourn on the YellowHead in 2004.  I rode 7 days in the UK without incident.

I don't use a radar detector, or CB. (more on that later)

Ok, so here are my general guidelines, that seem to work pretty well.

-Never be the fastest guy on the interstate.  Look for somebody to take the arrows, just don't let it be you.  Be patient, and eventually a big SUV is gonna jet by doing 90.  Give him some distance, and fall in.  I can't count how many times that has worked for me.  DON'T be the guy out in front doing 90.  A Long Rider passing cars moving along at 75 like they are sitting still is easy to spot, and draws attention.

-Be aware of what's going on.  Notice traffic coming at you on the interstate.  Does the #1 lane, on a long rural stretch have a line of cars for no good reason?  A good chance a cruiser is on the end of the line, or they just passed one in the bushes not long ago.  If brake lights tap on the vehicles ahead, likely a cruiser is coming at you, or hiding.  Those folks are not getting on and off brakes for nothing, heed the warning.  Notice truck traffic, do they suddenly slow after clipping along?


-On long rural back roads such as the Dakotas, the deserts or plains, it is really hard to do 55.  On roads such as these I stay 8 over whatever the posted limit is.  Any faster and you can't get slowed enough if you spot one coming at you.  This geography can help the Long Rider, because you can see far down the road.  This scenario is mostly likely to make you the victim of the cruiser coming at you.  I can spot the light bar, about a half mile away.  If he's playing fair, he has to have a solid visual contact to back up the radar.  He cant' tell how fast you are going from half mile away.  (but I'm sure some cheat).  I slow down and by the time he gets a definite visual I'm at the speed limit.  I've met hundreds of LEOs in this scenario and only the Kansas guy got me.  That was because he was hidden from me by a SUV.  I'm also fooled by cars with luggage racks, I slow till I check it out, better to play it safe till you know for sure.

I've never seen a cruiser hiding on such lonely roads running radar or laser.  They have better things to do then sit and watch 2 cars come by every 30 minutes.
 
-When you get stopped, just be honest, by not playing games and insulting his intelligence.  Be cooperative, and non threatening. I don't know why I get released so much.  In Mesa Verde National Park, I once passed a RV, double yellow, in a construction zone, 15 over the speed limit and got off scott free!  And got off Uncle Phil too!  Ok, she was female, and probably flustered by the accent and southern demeanor, but use whatever works I say.  It could be the gray hair, the professional look I have, (full face helmet, Aerostich, gloves) southern charm and accent.  My guess it is combination of all.  The only reasons I can figure I've been let go so much, and those instances were flagrant violations.

-If you get lit up, go to the side quick as you can.  If you get busted while both traveling opposite direction, he'll turn his light bar on before coming by.  He'll have to get turned around and get up to speed to catch you.  That could take a couple of miles, but if you make it easy, and save all that, it will help.  Same thing if you shoot by his hiding spot at 95. When you see his lights come on, just pull over soon as you can.  If he has to chase you down, come in behind, and see you're now doing 50 mph, you're not fooling anybody.  

-Be aware in states such as Va, Ohio. They are the most zealous when it comes to revenue.   On I-81 I just set the cruise on the RT at 70 mph and just accept it.  Speeding tickets there are very expensive, and no quarter is given.  Speed limits in New England and Illinois are 65 mph on the interstate!  And they are home to some of the most law abiding citizens I've ever come across, no rabbits.

-Do NOT speed in small town America!  When you enter one do 5 under.  Same for construction zones.

-Recognize there are times when you can't speed.  Just be good and live to ride another day.  Construction zones, lonely deserted towns with 4 top of the line cruisers parked in front of the police station, states such as Va or Ohio.   Note empty stretches of interstates with good geography for a cop to hide, and no available rabbit, when confronted with those things, just slow down.


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Recognize there are times when you can't speed.  Just be good and live to ride another day.  Construction zones, lonely deserted towns with 4 top of the line cruisers parked in front of the police station, states such as Va or Ohio.   Note empty stretches of interstates with good geography for a cop to hide, and no available rabbit, when confronted with those things, just slow down.

Radar Detectors- I don't know.  I used one years ago in my car when the speed limit was 55, but now that it is 70 I can run 75 or 80 unmolested and that's all I need to do.  But the ST is different.  I just don't know how effective detectors are.  The cops have all the advantages. With instant off and on, all you're ever going to get is a short blip.  And if no one in front of you looks interesting enough to blip, guess what?  The warning is only going to serve you are about to get a ticket.  Laser is more and more in use, and there is no defense.  They hold all the cards under the current state of technology.  If you have a detector in the open you might get a ticket when you otherwise might not.  Same for a CB antenna.  If you get stopped and you have a antenna in the wind, you're getting a ticket, they will view your CB as your warning.

Plus you have to wire stuff in your helmet to get the audio warning, and you'll need a booster of some kind.  Just seems like a lot of trouble to me.  If you choose to hide the detector you'll lose the visual warning stuff and have to rely solely on the audio.  So my opinion just more trouble then it's worth.

Now, have I ever run triple digits on a lonely desert back road?  Yes, it is why I love riding out west so much.  But I am real careful about the where and when.


When I was working, I knew the state troopers assigned to my home county.  I worked accidents scenes with them, and shared information about the incidents for reports.  We were on the scene of a non fatality wreck, waiting for the wrecker, when I asked the trooper about the round cone thing on top of his car.  He told me it was the latest traffic radar system.  It can track vehicles 360 degrees, and automatically lock on the fastest in a group.  It would ignore size and position, and dial in on speed.  It was instant on, or could power in low mode, meaning you'd have to get pretty close before your detector fired off.  He demonstrated it for me while I sat in his car.  It was lethal.  It was then I decided the balance of power was in their court, and if I was to keep my license I was better off depending on my wits then technology.
 
I recently received this note from Greg, a LEO in Alabama.


"In your latest "Speeding Tickets" article, I just had to respond. I have been a police officer in Alabama for over 13 years and some of the comments you made are very true. One of them being if you are stopped, be honest and admit it. The other is if you are "Lit Up", quickly pull over to the side of the road. Sometimes, these are deciding factors between a warning or a citation. Now if someone is going 25-30 plus over the limit, forget it.  I can't remember the last time I wrote someone riding a motorcycle (other than a crotch rocket, but that's another story).

 Now, I would like to clear the air about a rumor about "revenue" from tickets. A lot of people assume the $130 ticket,etc goes to the city/county. Not true. My jurisdiction receives maybe $10-$20 out of that $130. The rest goes to the Alabama Victims Compensation Fund, district attorneys office (?),the State of Alabama,Etc,Etc. That $10-$20 goes into the general fund and not directly to Public Safety. In other words, we don't write tickets to rise revenue, only to enforce traffic laws ( I hate working fatalities and giving notices to the families). I can only speak for Alabama, not other states. Also some officers like to write more tickets than others. I know some officers who write over 600 tickets a year and some who only write 2 tickets a year."