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Traffic Court: Shut up and pay up?

June 6, 2018
North Fort Myers Neighbor

To the editor:

On May 30, I appeared before a Civil Traffic hearing officer to request dismissal of a citation I received for riding a motorcycle without a helmet. Having taken the time to research the Florida Statutes as they relate to this topic, I discovered that one may ride without a helmet if one has at least $10,000 in medical insurance.

I presented documentation of my medical coverage which greatly exceeds the $10,000 requirement, namely my Medicare Part A and Part B card, VA card, and Medicare Part B Supplement card. In addition, I presented letters that the VA and Medicare both were kind enough to provide to me stating that I am indeed covered by those entities. (The gentleman from the VA in fact stated that he did not feel the letter was necessary because anyone at all familiar with the VA would realize that the VA cares for veterans and has no limits!)

I also had a statement I had found under a Florida Helmet Law Q&A website on the internet stating that Medicare and VA coverages do meet the criteria to comply with the helmet law. This same fact is stated on a number of websites maintained by local attorneys who often represent motorcycle operators.

I must say I was taken aback by the disrespect with which I was treated and the aggressive harassment with which my case was handled. While I was sworn in prior to presenting my information, the traffic officer who gave me the citation was not, although he continued to give his version of information to the hearing officer.

Needless to say, his version was not accurate, and I was not allowed to contradict him. The hearing officer proceeded to say that the information I supplied did not show that I had medical coverage of $10,000 and proceeded to levy a fine of $111.

It is obvious that I have more than sufficient medical coverage as well as proof of same; however, although that supposedly was the reason for my citation, and I submitted proof of coverage, the hearing officer simply dismissed any further input and instructed me to pay the fine.

I served my country in the United States Marine Corps to protect a system I've always believed in, and served as a local elected official in order to do my part in preserving that system for my children and grandchildren. I hope that whoever appointed this hearing officer would reconsider his appointment. I had two lawyers tell me prior to going to the traffic court that I should just pay the fine and get on with my life for in Lee County's traffic court, there is generally only one outcome, that being in favor of the officer. Today I better understand and should have taken that advice but I just can't bring myself to believe that our systems have been so compromised with incompetency. I believe that we are entering a Post America time.

Gary Giebels

Cape Coral



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