Three strikes

Posted on November 6th, 2005 by George.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Ok, I admit it. It was bad karma to call the cops slow. Don’t fret, though, the fundamental balance of the universe has just been restored: I got pulled over again tonight. Was I speeding? Yeah. If you consider 15mph speeding.

Strike one: I was riding a bike in a country dominated by cars and incredibly unfriendly to cyclists. The right to share the road is mostly ignored by motorists, and bike paths are largely nil. Cities are sprawling and ill-planned, with distances between places of interest all but necessitating automobiles.

Strike two: I was riding at night on the shoulder of a 45mph bypass road with no street lights. I was making my way via starlight, without a headlight or a red, blinking rear light. Admittedly not the greatest idea.

Strike three: Not so fast. I didn’t strike out. When the cop pulled me over I cooperated, provided ID, demonstrated sobriety and let the officer do all the talking. I think it helped that I was wearing a helmet (which, ironically, is not even required of motorcyclists in this state). In the end he simply informed me of the Florida bike light law and told me to ride the rest of the way home “at my own risk.” Thanks, buddy. I live my whole life at my own risk.

By now I know the drill. Of course the best defense any time you’re stopped by the police is to quietly cooperate, no matter how righteous your indignation. But even though I got away without a fine this time, I still feel violated. Let’s review the behavior of law enforcement.

Strike one: Talking to me as if I’m a five year old. Especially when you are obviously straight out of high school and younger than me. You know, I’d love to stand here all night as you combat the boredom of your job by telling me every local pedestrian and cyclist story from the past year. But is it really necessary to address me with such a supercilious tone? On top of that I got scolded for wearing a black backpack and black helmet while riding a black bike. “I didn’t even see you until I was right on top of you.” Well what if my skin had been black, officer? Perish the thought. I’d probably be moblogging this from the backseat of the squadcar.

Strike two: Treating me as guilty until proven innocent. Ok, so I’m riding a bike with no lights at 1:30am on my way home from a birthday party. Does that mean you should assume I’m up to no good? While the first cop ran my ID, a second pulled up. Obviously to provide backup. God knows how dangerous cyclists can be. As the second dude walked silently up to the scene, the first said, “You’ll never believe it, Frank. We actually got a good kid here.” “No such thing,” Frank muttered matter-of-factly. A third cop drove slowly by. At this point I’m wondering if cycling is even legal anymore.

Strike three: Nope. The cops didn’t strike out either. The first guy was pretty nice as cops go. He said his piece and let me go after a relative minimum of harassment. I was fed the same old line, “We’re just here to protect you,” but I’ll let that one slide. On the bright side, at least you don’t have to bribe cops in the US to get them to leave you alone.

So ends another arresting saga of my run-ins with the fuzz. I guess it’s good to know there are three cruisers within thirty seconds of any location on Merritt Island ready to pounce on anybody dumb enough break a bike law. I feel safer already.

5 comments.

Mandar

Comment on November 6th, 2005.

Just wait until said youngsters are vomiting vodka on you and crying for their mothers after a “concerned friend” called an ambulance. Reality strikes hard: in 4 years they’ll be giving you orders and telling you how to do your job. I love university hospitals!

ez

Comment on November 6th, 2005.

Maybe I should re-think the getting a bike idea? After all, I would not want to get points and make my car insurance go up just because I didn’t study all the laws for bike-riding. After all, an easy 50 page manual is provided for studying to drive a car. I am not aware of such a manual for bikes.

I guess I will stick to walking? No manual required.

george

Comment on November 7th, 2005.

Mandar: I guess that makes us adults now, huh?

Ez: Yeah, but then you’d have to watch out for the ambulatory police! “Excuse me sir, what are you doing not in a motor vehicle?”

nas

Comment on November 7th, 2005.

glad you escaped unscathed, georgie. damn the blue menace. you may recall my feelings about officer douchebag… i’m sorry to report that, several months later, they’ve only slightly subsided. truly, i’ll never get over the irony of “law enforcement” in america.

being in law schol only drives home the hypocrisy, stupidity, and simlutaneous arrogant bravado of the good ol’ boy club. traffic cops are an excellent example of one of the club chapters. their symbols are, of course, ill-fitting pants and donuts.

oh well, i suppose it could be worse… at least our country’s police force isn’t entirely owned by a drug cartel (though partially seems plausible). but still, damn the blue menace.

Bean

Comment on November 10th, 2005.

I can see how this is a little overboard for Merritt Island, but in my neck of the woods, I have no qualms about stopping the pedestrian traffic. Maybe they’ll even find some of the stuff that got stolen off the front porch. Menace or not, these guys have a very important job to do.