Monday, February 28, 2011

Winter Weather Warrior, Springtime & Road Rage.

Hi guys! I know its been awhile. The winter doldrums had me. Remember last week when it was almost 80 degrees? I couldn't even enjoy the beautiful weather because I knew it wouldn't last and it would be right back to layers & heavy coats & scarves & gloves before I knew it and....well, I just couldn't take it anymore. I was definitely in a funk. It felt like Mother Nature was simply taunting me with the nice weather, only to snatch it away again.

I feel better now. The nice days are starting to outnumber the crappy ones. It's getting warmer. The days are getting longer. Spring is just around the corner.

This means that the Winter Weather Warrior contest is finally at an end. Today is the last day! I still need to get my ride in. I'm kinda relieved its over. I was getting a little sick of it, to be perfectly honest. This contest has been great in so many ways; it nudged me out the door when I probably would have rather just stayed on the couch. However, there were days where I really would rather just stay on the couch, and having to trudge out into the cold winter weather just so I could get a ride in to keep up my perfect attendance made me want to kick one of those silly little red bikes (I didn't).

I woke up in a panic last week. It was my day off and I was busy doing some major spring cleaning in the apartment so I stayed inside all day. I was exhausted when I finally went to bed and started to fall asleep when I literally sprang out of bed because I realized that I didn't get my capital bikeshare ride done that day! Oh no! I had completely forgotten about it. I was so mad at myself because I put myself through a lot the preceding two months to make sure that I got a ride in every single day, and what a waste all of the effort would have been just to lose out at the end because I had a memory lapse.

But then I remembered rule 4 of the contest: "Any day that includes a Capital Bikeshare closure is not counted in the "perfect attendance" category."  The system had been shut down that day! They had closed the system due to a storm that was coming the previous night, and didn't reopen until 0630 am that morning! Woo! Saved by a technicality. I hope, anyway. 


Tomorrow, it will be strange to hop on Betty and ride her to work instead of walking to the bikeshare station. I kept meaning to bring her to the shop to take advantage of my groupon and get her a tune-up so she would be ready for spring, but I kept putting it off. Oh well. I was going to drop her off today, but its rainy and crappy out. Maybe next week. At least I know I can always use Capital Bikeshare while she's in the shop!




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Did any of you hear about the driver that plowed through the critical mass ride in Brazil? How awful. I don't understand how one human being could purposely do that to other human beings. You can watch the videos here. Be warned though, it is graphic and horrifying to watch.


I've always considered myself lucky. I've only had to deal with road rage twice while out on my bicycle. Before this last Saturday, I would have said only once. I have been in two accidents on my bike, but even then the drivers that struck me were kind, apologetic & helpful. I've encountered plenty of motorists that were impatient, rude, distracted, & unkind, but I've rarely had to deal with the motorist that wanted to *intentionally* hurt me.


Until last Saturday. For those of you that follow me on twitter, you may know what I am talking about. I'm not going to go into great detail because it is a pending case now, but I'll give you a general outline of what happened.


For the record, yes, I am a police officer. I do not like to talk about it much on this blog because I don't want this blog to turn into a "all cop, all the time" sort of place. I don't want to get into debates over enforcement of traffic laws or a discussion of whether that ticket you got last week is "legal".  I like having something outside of work to enjoy & partake in. If you are curious, I am a bicycle patrol officer. Yes, I get paid to ride a bike all day. It is awesome. 


Anyway. I was leaving the station to go home and relax after a very long week. I bike to and from work every day. This particular night, I was riding a Capital Bikeshare bike home. I am wearing regular clothes and there is nothing to indicate that I'm a police officer. As far as anyone was concerned, I was just a girl on a bicycle. Which is why I think this happened.


In a nutshell, I was stopped at a red light and a vehicle purposely struck me from behind. It wasn't hard, more like a nudge with their bumper. But it was enough to propel me forward into the intersection, and for the driver next to me to even comment about what an asshole that person was. I could hear the occupants in the car that hit me laughing. Now, I ignore a lot of crap when I'm off duty. Like I said I encounter rude, impatient & distracted drivers all the time.  99% of the time its not worth getting into an argument over, not to mention it can be dangerous. You never know who you might be dealing with or what could set them off. Yes, I'm a police officer but that doesn't make me Wonder Woman. So I debated whether to say something to this dick of a driver. The light turned green, and I decided to let it go and instead ride reeeallllyyyy slllloooowwwwwlllly in front of him to piss him off. 


And then he did it again. Harder this time. I stopped, pulled out my badge and told him to stay right where he was.


And that's when he said "oh shit" and fled. Or tried to. He got stuck in traffic on a one-way street a block away. Which is where I caught up to him. And that's when he tried to run me down while trying to get out of there.


Long story short, he was caught (by about half the police district) a few minutes later when I gave the description of the car & occupants on my radio. 


I know what the driver was doing. He saw a young woman on a bicycle and thought it was be HILARIOUS to be a dick with his car. He did this because he thought there would be no consequences. He was very wrong.


I was unhurt, thank god. I'm glad he was caught and arrested. But I can't help think of what would have happened if it was some other young woman on bicycle? Someone that's not a cop, someone that is essentially defenseless. Would he have been caught then?


I don't know.


P.S. To the people that stopped to make sure I was okay and that tried to stop him as well, thank you. I didn't get a chance to say anything at the time, but it really did make me feel better that there are still people out there willing to help someone else out.

6 comments:

  1. Holy cow! That is (1) terrible that some @ss assaulted you, (2) completely awesome that you arrested him. I have to admit, I really hate bullies.

    By the way, they caught the guy in Brazil. He is claiming self defense.

    http://road.cc/node/31482

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  2. I always love the stories where some psycho bike harasser gets caught. I wish more of them got caught. They do it in part because they believe that they won't get caught. Good on you. I hope this gets some media coverage. People need to know that doing this kind of thing to bicyclists can get them arrested.

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  3. youre a cop. that's the only reason he was caught. period. you could have reported this as a non-cop and it would have gone NOWHERE. want me to send you my many reported incidents that are as dangerous as what happened to you, where i had WITNESSES, and it went...nowhere. (Im serious: ill forward you the history. it's not pretty or encouraging.) police don't care about bicyclists. the evidence on this front is so overwhelming as to not even be worth arguing. take it as axiomatic. i will grant the police are not given the resources to enforce most of the extant traffic laws. but the police, historically, have never been on the vanguard of social justice..and theyre keeping their record consistent with their blind eye to bike and pedestrian advocacy. i cant blame, them, mind you: this is a near totalitarian transportation culture. most smart folks dont know that gas and cars are subsidized in the "capitalist" usa... but let's not romanticize the police...geez...

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  4. Thanks for telling your story--I'm glad you are OK. And I'm very glad that you are a police officer and were in a position to demonstrate to the rest of the police force that the discrimination that cyclists so often experience is very real. Thanks for your service to our community.

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  5. That story makes me sick :( I can't believe someone would be that cruel for no reason at all.

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  6. Wow. As encouraging, funny and soon-to-be viral as this Blog post should be, stories like poster-Michael above are equally as disheartening and I'd love to know why I hear so many people complain of such a lack of attention toward assaults. I've been pretty lucky to be able to handle things myself or run into a situation where, hey, the guy who just purposefully swerved into the bike lane to run me over is now complaining to the cops that I left the bike lane (to go around a double parked vehicle) and is now being arrested for assault w/a deadly weapon - Justice! But not everyone has this experience and a lot of times people have to put their justice into their own hands. I guess there's just not enough time for cops in every city to deal with every little nuisance or "guy who cut me off, please arrest him" call to 911.

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