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Gentlemen, Start Your EnginesSan 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.

But 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 roadway was not a speed trap. The defendant only has to argue that it was.

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