Friday, June 02, 2006

I Stop At Stop Signs

This morning on the commute to work, I was cruising along on Stinson Blvd and stopping at all the stop signs in a residential area and near a private school. There are several stop signs in a short distance. I must be a dope since I stop at every bleeping sign. Other cyclist blow by me on a regular basis. I used to get my blood pressure to skyrocket by getting angry with the morons. I figure when I get harassed by a car, its because there are more cyclist like them then me. My choices are to join them or ignore them. I find it so hard to ignore them, but I'm trying to so very hard.

Today I stopped like any other day. I look at the cars that stop beside me, but only to see if that tell tale blinker is working and I'm about to possibly get cut off. I also look to see if they actually stop to see if they are in that "its all about me" hurry and I should again beware. Otherwise I try to ignore the predominance of SUV versus modest sized cars.

I do always listen for that telltale sound of an electric window. I don't try to figure out if its going up or down, my adrenaline level goes up as I go into avoidance mode trying to prevent the possibility of getting something thrown at me. I've gotten empty cans, cigars, cigarettes, and half eaten hamburgers and sandwiches thrown at me. Sometimes its just the invective that spews out the window and I always find it hard not to retaliate in kind so I try to avoid hearing that too. Again, avoidance maneuvers are on order.

So, I do a track stand at a stop sign and a car is beside me. I see it is blue, and the turn signal is not on. I go through the intersection like normal about the same time as the car. The car does not zip past me and my senses heighten. Then I hear that window motor and I stand on the pedals ready for anything. As the window goes down I hear what I think is talk radio. Great, some conservative right wing nut. And I hear that first word I always expect to be followed with the insults. "Hey!" I resist looking, its bad to make eye contact. So the guy continues, "Did you know I was a copy next to you?"

Now I look. It is an Officer in uniform in unmarked squad car. I tell him no, I stop at stop signs because its the right thing to do. He yells, "Great job, keep it up!" I figure this is the end as the window goes up and I realize the radio is radio chatter from a squad car not talk radio.

Several blocks later, there seems to be a significant snarl to traffic. I hang with the car I'm next to, and don't piss the cars off by blasting past. When I get to the cause its my cop, along with three others running speed checks. Speed limit is 30, and it appears under 35, you get a warning. At some point they hand out pre-printed, pre-signed tickets. The cop walks in front and writes the license number, gets the drivers license, runs it through a car thing on his belt and the ticket is set.

I love it.


Doug said...

Good for you! I try to stop at all the stop signs. I admit though, I will roll through one if there are no cars around. I stopped riding with some other riders because they were quick to flip the bird at any driver that did something they didn't like, but felt they were above the law when it came to following the rules of the road. What hypocrits!

Andy said...

In Idaho it's legal for bicyclists to roll through stop signs after looking both ways. I used to be very anal about stopping at every one until I learned of this, but now I love being able to blow through signs and demonstrate one more advantage bikes have over cars!