Okay, I normally try to stear clear of anything resembling politics on my blog. And I realize this particular issue is somewhat "old news". But it still ticks me off. The governor of my state (one Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger) was involved in a motor vehicle accident a few weeks ago. By all accounts, the accident was not his fault. However, he has openly admitted that he does not have the proper license to operate the motorcycle he & his son were riding when the accident occurred. Authorities have bent over backwards coming up with excuses as to why he wasn't cited. But they really don't hold water.
First, LAPD stated that they don't issue citations unless the officer actually witnesses the infraction. This is a bald faced lie. How do I know it? Because I personally know people who have been issued citations after an accident even though the officer did not witness the infraction. Apparently, the LAPD realized they would be caught in this blatant lie rather quickly, and so changed the explanation to "citations are issued at the officer's discretion", and the officer in this case chose not to. Honestly, that's a bit more acceptable of an excuse, because officers do actually have the discretion to not issue a citation. And, let's be realisitic, no cop is going to issue a traffic ticket to their own governor. But, authorities continued to try and cover they're butts from public backlash by feeding the media more bull.
But the state's Department of Motor Vehicles, citing a different portion of California vehicle code, said the governor was in the clear because drivers can operate a three-wheeled motorcycle without a special license and the bike had a sidecar.
Now, I'm not really sure how they conclude this. I remember learning back in my Driver's Education class that a motorcycle with a sidecar was still a motorcycle. But hey, I know my memory isn't always totally accurate. So, I looked it up. And, according to California Vechicle Code section 400:
(a) A "motorcycle" is any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, and weighing less than 1,500 pounds.
(b) A motor vehicle that has four wheels in contact with the ground, two of which are a functional part of a sidecar, is a motorcycle if the vehicle otherwise comes within the definition of subdivision (a).
Not knowing the details of Arnold's bike, I don't know the exact weight. However, the "average" Harley weighs on the order of 800 lbs, and a sidecar no more than 300. So, well within the 1,500 lb limit. Let's face it . . . the Governor was illegally operating a motorcycle. Is it a major offense? Nope, just an infraction. It's not something that would go on a criminal record, would not affect his qualifications for public service or anything else. It doesn't make him evil incarnate. But it plain and simple is a case of authorities showing preferential treatment because of his celebrity status (either as governor or movie star or both). I just wish they'd simply admit that they aren't going to issue the State Governor a traffic citation for something so minor for the simple reason that he's the Governor, rather than make up a bunch of b.s. that could actually result in more
people breaking the law (hey, they just declared publicly that you don't need a motorcycle certification to ride a motorcycle with sidecar!). Sorry for the rant.
Posted at 1/21/2006 8:36:56 am by PhilM