ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orange County man who was pulled over on his bicycle and given two hefty traffic tickets appealed those citations in court on Tuesday.
Gary Elswick, 53, says he was following doctor's orders to get exercise after suffering a heart attack when he was pulled over in January.
Elswick says it was the first time he'd been on a bicycle in decades and did not know that the same laws apply to both bicycles and motor vehicles.
"I did nothing wrong to deserve this," said Elswick as he stood before Hearing Officer Carroll Barco, who presided over the hearing on Tuesday.
Elswick was cited for failing to stop at the intersection of Merrit Road and Grace Street, two dead-end roads in his Lockhart neighborhood.
He was also cited for going the wrong way on a one-way street. Both roads are narrow and do not have painted lines, but they are two-way streets.
Orange County Deputy Jovani Santo-Hernandez who issued the tickets amended the latter citation. Instead, he charged Elswick with failing to ride as close to the right-hand curb as possible.
"I was just riding my bicycle," Elswick told the court.
"Were you as close as you could get to the right-hand curb?" asked Barco.
"Yes sir," said Elswick.
"He was actually riding against traffic, sir," said Deputy Santo-Hernandez.
Barco threw out that citation, but failing to stop at a stop sign he said was more serious.
"That was a right turn and he was already on me with the blues," said Elswick. "I was getting out of his way."
"Did you stop at the stop sign?," asked Barco.
"No sir, I didn't put a foot down," said Elswick.
"You didn't stop then did you?" asked Barco.
Elswick was found guilty for failing to stop at a stop sign and forced to pay the $164 fine plus $33 for court costs.
Santo-Hernandez told Barco he was patrolling the area due to a high level of prostitute and drug activity. He said when he pulled Elswick over he became irate and continued to question why he was being stopped.
Afterward, Elswick and his wife said they're just glad it's all over.
"It's terrible," said Tammy Elswick, Gary's wife. "I think they were trying to make their quota and they don't care how they make it, as long as they make it."
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