Was was my offence? We were geocaching one Saturday evening (already after dark) and we had to get to Čiekurkalsns. We drove by Kr.Valdemāra street and had to make a right turn into Zirņu str. As we drove to the crossing, the traffic light was in the red. I stopped, waited for the lights to turn green and made the right turn. Not a hundred meters further I was stopped by the police.
- Good evening, I`m inspector Bērziņš (I don`t even try to remember the exact name of the officer here), give me please your driving licence and car registration documents. You do know why we`ve stopped you, don`t you?
- I seriously have no idea.
- You drove through the crossing over a red light.
- I did not.
- We have a video.
And indeed they did - not one of us four sitting in the car had noticed that to make a right turn on that crossing there should be a green light in the extra section of the traffic lights (man, do I hate Latvian anti-right turn policy) which was not on when we crossed the street. And bam - this means 4 disciplinary points and a fine of 20-i100 Lats.
Personally I found it neat that a policeman was standing on this exact crossing with a camera on. It certainly seems that just his being there with a camera meant that the traffic rules in this crossing suck big time and that I was not the first or the last person to make this mistake here. I could have argued that the law was wrong and that visibility was bad and that by my manouvre I didn`t interfere with anybody else`s rights or interests, but I know how it is. And so I accepted the punishment.
Actually I meant to write about my visit to the police office today morning. The procedure after being given such a fine is the following - within 30 days after the offence I should go to the central police headquarters and there I will talk with an officer who will determine the amount I have to pay. There are a couple of problems involved:
1) the police headquarters are quite far from the center of Riga (and my work for that matter);
2) the work times there are not very friendly to a working lad like myself - they never start before 10 AM and don`t work too late in the afternoons (and as far as I know have a tendency of being overcrowded, so coming there 30 minutes before closing is probably not a very good idea).
So I took my best shot - on Fridays they work from 10AM, so I went there at 9 hoping that I could be at work at 10:30-11:00 which would mean less than 2 hours later than usual. If I were to go to the police in the middle of the day it would take more time - 30 minutes to get there, at least an hour of waiting and 30 more minutes back.
I had some trouble finding where I should go as the biggest sign on the police building read "Security Police". Personally I`m not too keen to go to the Security police. Not that I have dark secrets and work for foreign countries` spy agencies, but I just don`t trust such organizations too much. Anyway that was the right door, I got inside and the waiting could start.
At 9:45 began giving out of numbers for the queue. I was not too happy about a woman (one of us - offenders) claiming that there was no importance to at what time each of us had arrived and that we shouldn`t take numbers in that order but the first ones should go the ones with the strongest elbows, so she went in the queue as number two (although she had arrived quite late). Luckily other people were more conventional and followed the expected order, so I got there as number four.
The man in the queue before me was not too lucky though - the papers for his offence hadn`t arrived yet and that meant that he could return some other day. He tried complaining as he said that he worked in Kuldīga which isn`t exactly near Riga, but nobody listened to him, of course (that confirmed my suspicion that it was a good decision not going there too soon after the incident). As he was rejected, I got the starting number 3 and at approximately 10:01 entered THE ROOM. I can`t say that the officer let me even explain the circumstances of the case, he just wanted me to confirm that it was dark when the incident occurred, and gave me a fine of 25 Lats. And that was it.
So I left and arrived at work before 10:30.
* by Dead Kennedys