San Francisco police officers recently wrote
98 speeding tickets in 10 hours on a frequently travelled side-street. Travelers through Mojave or on
the I-5 on the Grapevine know what it is like to hit a heavy enforcement
area where traffic flow is naturally faster than the limit.
Locals often use Fulton Street to avoid more congested east-west roadways,
like California, Geary or Lincoln. Additionally, since there is little
cross traffic, the stoplights are very brief. The problem is that Fulton
has a 30mph speed limit which drops to 25mph in some places. The low speed
limits mean a considerable police present along the so-called "Fulton
500," especially at a senior center near Golden Gate Park. One speeder
was clocked doing 49 in a 25 while he was eating a sandwich.
The SFPD claims that it will have officers staked out on Fulton "seven
days a week."
The intense police presence and diminishing speed limit have led some to
call the Fulton 500 a speed trap. Many motorists around Mojave, Lamont
and Shafter say the same thing about Interstate 5, Highway 58 and some
other notorious spots where there is seemingly very little reason to slow down.
VC 40803 very narrowly defines speed traps. First, the officer must use radar or
some other electronic enforcement method as the basis for the ticket.
Secondly, if the speed limit deviates from the default limit for that
type of road, there must be no engineering study conducted within the
last five years that justifies the change.
The prosecutor has the burden of proof on both these elements. In other words, the state has to prove that the
not a speed trap. The defendant only has to argue that it was.