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ASK A COP — No limit on number of lights on bicycle

Chief Tim Duriso and the entire staff of the Port Arthur Police Department extend their deepest sympathies to our brothers and sisters in blue at the Beaumont Police Department at the loss of Officer Sheena Yarbrough-Powell on Aug. 9, 2020. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family as well as the family Officer Gabriel Fells as he recovers.

Back Quiet from Port Arthur asks: I am a bicyclist and ride my bike often on the roadways of Port Arthur. I have all the safety equipment required for riding a bicycle on the roadways of Port Arthur, but I’ve gone a step further with the lighting on my bicycle. Not only do I have a white light on the front of my bicycle but I also have decorated my bicycle with Christmas lights. Now I was wondering is there such a law regarding having too many lights on a bicycle in Texas?

Answer: There’s no limitation for lighting on a bicycle in the state of Texas. Be reminded that a bicycle is considered a VEHICLE in the state of Texas, but it not a motor vehicle. So bicycle riders are required to ALL laws and duties regarding safe operation on vehicles on the roadways of Texas. You can decorate your bicycle with as many lights as you desire, and I actually applaud you for the extra lights because one should take every effort to safeguard themselves while riding a bicycle on the roadways of Port Arthur.

Mark from Groves asks: If someone was having, let’s say a heart attack, and they ran through a red light, would you write them a ticket?

Answer: At the end of the day, the ultimate responsibility of a police officer is the preservation of LIFE! Every year in the city of Port Arthur, we had more people killed by motor vehicle crashes than were killed by homicides. So with that said knowing police officers’ No. 1 concern is preservation of life, we should have a huge concern for traffic enforcement in the city of Port Arthur. Now I decided not to issue warning tickets because in my observation they don’t work, which probably contributed to me being labeled as hard nosed. Now to someone suffering a medical condition (heart attack) that causes them to disregard a red traffic signal, I would NOT issue a citation to that motorist. Rather I’d get them the expedited medical attention they are in immediate medical need of.

Karen from Port Arthur asks: If someone is caught going more than 25 miles over the posted speed limit, is this violation an automatic arrest? I’ve been told you will automatically be arrested if you are caught going 25 miles per hour over posted the speed limit in Texas. Of course my hubby disagrees. Please help Officer Antoine, because a home cooked dinner is pending on your answer.

Answer: In Texas, a driver cannot be arrested for the charge of SPEEDING no matter what speeds they are accused of driving. I know that sounds weird, but Texas law is Texas law. It sounds like you need to strap on your apron and get your menu ready to cook for your husband because he was right. However, with that said, a driver can be arrested for reckless driving, which is a higher charge than speeding. The Texas Transportation Code defines reckless driving broadly as operating a vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Reckless driving is a traffic misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $200. Now, here’s the twist, if an officer believes you are reckless for going 25 mph over the speed limit, then “YES,” you can be arrested for reckless driving, not speeding! Sorry Karen (laughing).

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine as he discusses the Ask A Cop article. Tune in at ksapthebreeze.org or ask your question live at 409-982-0247. Email questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!