The Chainlink

True story.

On my way in this morning, I was heading southeast bound on Elston towards the Wellington/Rockwell intersection (those who aren't familiar, it's a 6 corners type thing). Anyway, I've rode the route enough (over 2000 times) to know the timing of the light, so I can cross right when it turns green.

So, this morning as I'm coming up on the intersection, I see the cop stopped at the light (heading in the same direction). I'm also watching the timing of the lights. So I slow way down (didn't have to too much as it was quite windy and a bit cold), and as soon as I see the light to my left turn red, I add a little steam to my pedaling so I can hit the green light right before I cross the white stop line.

As soon as I cross the line, the cop pulls up next to me and starts yelling "What does a red light mean?" confused, I say it means "stop." He then yells that again, and again I say "stop". He then forces me over to the curb and gets out of his car and starts getting really confrontational about the event. At this point I'm in shock and saying that I went through a green light and he told me "we wouldn't be having this conversation if that were true."

He then goes into how ALL cyclists think they can ignore traffic laws and yet give cops shit when they do something wrong. At this point I realize this guy has a chip on his shoulder (he also told me not to call him "man" when I was talking to him Sorry for being so informal). I also say that I don't have a problem with cops at all, in fact, the majority I've met are really nice people.

He then repeatedly asks me for ID and then says this: "I hope you don't have ID." WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN!?!?! I say that I have ID and if it's ok, I need to reach into my bag to get it out. He gives me this look like I'm crazy, but quite frankly I'm not taking my chances with this dude (unfortunately the cold zaps my GOPRO battery or I'd have a nice video for you guys).

He takes my ID and gets back in his car. I sit there in the cold wondering what's about to happen. He then gets out about 2 minutes later and asks if I think I'm getting a ticket (power trip much?). I say, if I ran a red light, I would expect that. He lets me off with a warning, saying he put me in the system and if I get pulled over again, I'll most likely get a ticket.

I say thank you and ask to shake his hand and he says "no, we're good."

All this being said, I honestly thought I timed the light right. If anything I went a .5 second early, but the fact he was immediately generalizing all cyclists and cop interactions was the cue to just let him do his thing. If I did run the light, I would expect a ticket - I'm not above the law, nor do I think cyclists are.

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Yeah...I never admitted I ran the light, because I still don't think I did.

Adam, that's crazy. A cop once told me to take it easy, because I was yelling at motorist who gunned it and then pulled directly in front of me and then braked for a red light (causing me to brake abruptly). I think he then gave a talking to to the driver, but the light turned green and I left.

Yeah, pretty ridiculous. The cop was very polite though and didn't issue me a ticket, so whateves. Not even sure what I could be charged with. Disturbing the peace? Funny how I get assaulted and I'm the bad guy.

Chris LaFrombois (8.5 mi - o.w.) said:

Yeah...I never admitted I ran the light, because I still don't think I did.

Adam, that's crazy. A cop once told me to take it easy, because I was yelling at motorist who gunned it and then pulled directly in front of me and then braked for a red light (causing me to brake abruptly). I think he then gave a talking to to the driver, but the light turned green and I left.

Yelling at people is assaulting them as well.

Chances are they did not purposely do anything; more than likely you're just some a-hole freaking out somebody who made a mistake.

Adam Herstein said:

Yeah, pretty ridiculous. The cop was very polite though and didn't issue me a ticket, so whateves. Not even sure what I could be charged with. Disturbing the peace? Funny how I get assaulted and I'm the bad guy.

Chris LaFrombois (8.5 mi - o.w.) said:

Yeah...I never admitted I ran the light, because I still don't think I did.

Adam, that's crazy. A cop once told me to take it easy, because I was yelling at motorist who gunned it and then pulled directly in front of me and then braked for a red light (causing me to brake abruptly). I think he then gave a talking to to the driver, but the light turned green and I left.

Yeah, it sure sounds like Adam was just some a-hole - or someone that almost got hit by a car and had a visceral reaction. Also sounds a bit judge-y and victim blaming on your part.

I should be on a bus instead of a bike, and the other accused me of almost causing an accident and told me to "go get run over by a car"



Hey! Bike Shop Guy said:

Yelling at people is assaulting them as well.

 

Chances are they did not purposely do anything; more than likely you're just some a-hole freaking out somebody who made a mistake.

Adam Herstein said:

Yeah, pretty ridiculous. The cop was very polite though and didn't issue me a ticket, so whateves. Not even sure what I could be charged with. Disturbing the peace? Funny how I get assaulted and I'm the bad guy.

Chris LaFrombois (8.5 mi - o.w.) said:

Yeah...I never admitted I ran the light, because I still don't think I did.

 

Adam, that's crazy. A cop once told me to take it easy, because I was yelling at motorist who gunned it and then pulled directly in front of me and then braked for a red light (causing me to brake abruptly). I think he then gave a talking to to the driver, but the light turned green and I left.

Yelling by itself is not assault. There needs to be a reasonable expectation that someone will be able to cause harm. Yelling at someone from a bike that they need to drive safer because it's snowing and maybe a few choice obscenities is not assault. Telling someone that they want me to get hit by a car while driving aggressively is.

And yes, way to blame the victim. I suppose I was just asking for it by trying to safely ride my bike.

You're also making assumptions when you don't know the whole story. I was riding outside the bike lane because it was full of ice and snow. A man in a car tried to swerve around me and almost hit another car in the process. He then honked at me and opened his window to yell at me. Please explain to me how this is my fault.

Hey! Bike Shop Guy said:

Yelling at people is assaulting them as well.

Chances are they did not purposely do anything; more than likely you're just some a-hole freaking out somebody who made a mistake.

Adam Herstein said:

Yeah, pretty ridiculous. The cop was very polite though and didn't issue me a ticket, so whateves. Not even sure what I could be charged with. Disturbing the peace? Funny how I get assaulted and I'm the bad guy.

Chris LaFrombois (8.5 mi - o.w.) said:

Yeah...I never admitted I ran the light, because I still don't think I did.

Adam, that's crazy. A cop once told me to take it easy, because I was yelling at motorist who gunned it and then pulled directly in front of me and then braked for a red light (causing me to brake abruptly). I think he then gave a talking to to the driver, but the light turned green and I left.

It's easy to make the assumption that somebody who spits in peoples windows might have an unreasonably aggressive reaction to somebody...

Did you just yell 'Hey!' to let them know you were there or did you yell at them a bunch?  I am guessing you yelled a bunch because the cop felt the need to say something.

Screaming and yelling at drivers is the least productive thing you can do.  In fact it does more harm than good.  

If they got close to you or endangered you on accident you are only scaring them right back and instilling the image of cyclists as aggressive and nasty.  

If they were aggressive and targeting you or just an aggressive driver in general that got close you are escalating that aggression and 'proving' their preconceived notions about cyclists and in some cases helping them justify their behavior.

Adam Herstein said:

Yelling by itself is not assault. There needs to be a reasonable expectation that someone will be able to cause harm. Yelling at someone from a bike that they need to drive safer because it's snowing and maybe a few choice obscenities is not assault. Telling someone that they want me to get hit by a car while driving aggressively is.

And yes, way to blame the victim. I suppose I was just asking for it by trying to safely ride my bike.

You're also making assumptions when you don't know the whole story. I was riding outside the bike lane because it was full of ice and snow. A man in a car tried to swerve around me and almost hit another car in the process. He then honked at me and opened his window to yell at me. Please explain to me how this is my fault.

Hey! Bike Shop Guy said:

Yelling at people is assaulting them as well.

Chances are they did not purposely do anything; more than likely you're just some a-hole freaking out somebody who made a mistake.

Adam Herstein said:

Yeah, pretty ridiculous. The cop was very polite though and didn't issue me a ticket, so whateves. Not even sure what I could be charged with. Disturbing the peace? Funny how I get assaulted and I'm the bad guy.

Chris LaFrombois (8.5 mi - o.w.) said:

Yeah...I never admitted I ran the light, because I still don't think I did.

Adam, that's crazy. A cop once told me to take it easy, because I was yelling at motorist who gunned it and then pulled directly in front of me and then braked for a red light (causing me to brake abruptly). I think he then gave a talking to to the driver, but the light turned green and I left.

The man driving passed me within inches, then honked at me at the next light. When I looked back at him is when he opened his window to swear and threaten me. This is also when the woman in the car he almost hit opened her window to do the same. I in no way started the argument, and responded that they need to be more careful. The two drivers ganged up on me and started making more threats and yelling, which is when I started yelling back. I guess it's just a natural reaction when two people are screaming at you and threatening to kill you.

I've tried talking calmly and reasonably in the past to the same reaction, so don't go and tell me that's what I should have done. I honestly don't give a shit what perception I give about cyclists. When I am being threatened, I am going to react. I don't go around starting screaming matches where there was none to begin with. These two people chose to drive in an unsafe manner, then make threats at me from the safety of their cars. I have no such safety net surrounding me, so you can't blame me for reacting in the manner that I did.

I'm not out to start fights, I just want to get to work without being run over.

notoriousDUG said:

It's easy to make the assumption that somebody who spits in peoples windows might have an unreasonably aggressive reaction to somebody...

Did you just yell 'Hey!' to let them know you were there or did you yell at them a bunch?  I am guessing you yelled a bunch because the cop felt the need to say something.

Screaming and yelling at drivers is the least productive thing you can do.  In fact it does more harm than good.  

If they got close to you or endangered you on accident you are only scaring them right back and instilling the image of cyclists as aggressive and nasty.  

If they were aggressive and targeting you or just an aggressive driver in general that got close you are escalating that aggression and 'proving' their preconceived notions about cyclists and in some cases helping them justify their behavior.

Adam Herstein said:

Yelling by itself is not assault. There needs to be a reasonable expectation that someone will be able to cause harm. Yelling at someone from a bike that they need to drive safer because it's snowing and maybe a few choice obscenities is not assault. Telling someone that they want me to get hit by a car while driving aggressively is.

And yes, way to blame the victim. I suppose I was just asking for it by trying to safely ride my bike.

You're also making assumptions when you don't know the whole story. I was riding outside the bike lane because it was full of ice and snow. A man in a car tried to swerve around me and almost hit another car in the process. He then honked at me and opened his window to yell at me. Please explain to me how this is my fault.

Hey! Bike Shop Guy said:

Yelling at people is assaulting them as well.

Chances are they did not purposely do anything; more than likely you're just some a-hole freaking out somebody who made a mistake.

Adam Herstein said:

Yeah, pretty ridiculous. The cop was very polite though and didn't issue me a ticket, so whateves. Not even sure what I could be charged with. Disturbing the peace? Funny how I get assaulted and I'm the bad guy.

Chris LaFrombois (8.5 mi - o.w.) said:

Yeah...I never admitted I ran the light, because I still don't think I did.

Adam, that's crazy. A cop once told me to take it easy, because I was yelling at motorist who gunned it and then pulled directly in front of me and then braked for a red light (causing me to brake abruptly). I think he then gave a talking to to the driver, but the light turned green and I left.

Good god, what's wrong with you two? I got your back Adam, doesn't sound like you did anything to instigate the situation and just reacted with righteous indignation. Much worse things one could be accused of.

Why not just let them yell and ignore them?  What's the point in engaging them if they are not rational?

Adam Herstein said:

The man driving passed me within inches, then honked at me at the next light. When I looked back at him is when he opened his window to swear and threaten me. This is also when the woman in the car he almost hit opened her window to do the same. I in no way started the argument, and responded that they need to be more careful. The two drivers ganged up on me and started making more threats and yelling, which is when I started yelling back. I guess it's just a natural reaction when two people are screaming at you and threatening to kill you.

I've tried talking calmly and reasonably in the past to the same reaction, so don't go and tell me that's what I should have done. I honestly don't give a shit what perception I give about cyclists. When I am being threatened, I am going to react. I don't go around starting screaming matches where there was none to begin with. These two people chose to drive in an unsafe manner, then make threats at me from the safety of their cars. I have no such safety net surrounding me, so you can't blame me for reacting in the manner that I did.

I'm not out to start fights, I just want to get to work without being run over.

notoriousDUG said:

It's easy to make the assumption that somebody who spits in peoples windows might have an unreasonably aggressive reaction to somebody...

Did you just yell 'Hey!' to let them know you were there or did you yell at them a bunch?  I am guessing you yelled a bunch because the cop felt the need to say something.

Screaming and yelling at drivers is the least productive thing you can do.  In fact it does more harm than good.  

If they got close to you or endangered you on accident you are only scaring them right back and instilling the image of cyclists as aggressive and nasty.  

If they were aggressive and targeting you or just an aggressive driver in general that got close you are escalating that aggression and 'proving' their preconceived notions about cyclists and in some cases helping them justify their behavior.

Adam Herstein said:

Yelling by itself is not assault. There needs to be a reasonable expectation that someone will be able to cause harm. Yelling at someone from a bike that they need to drive safer because it's snowing and maybe a few choice obscenities is not assault. Telling someone that they want me to get hit by a car while driving aggressively is.

And yes, way to blame the victim. I suppose I was just asking for it by trying to safely ride my bike.

You're also making assumptions when you don't know the whole story. I was riding outside the bike lane because it was full of ice and snow. A man in a car tried to swerve around me and almost hit another car in the process. He then honked at me and opened his window to yell at me. Please explain to me how this is my fault.

Hey! Bike Shop Guy said:

Yelling at people is assaulting them as well.

Chances are they did not purposely do anything; more than likely you're just some a-hole freaking out somebody who made a mistake.

Adam Herstein said:

Yeah, pretty ridiculous. The cop was very polite though and didn't issue me a ticket, so whateves. Not even sure what I could be charged with. Disturbing the peace? Funny how I get assaulted and I'm the bad guy.

Chris LaFrombois (8.5 mi - o.w.) said:

Yeah...I never admitted I ran the light, because I still don't think I did.

Adam, that's crazy. A cop once told me to take it easy, because I was yelling at motorist who gunned it and then pulled directly in front of me and then braked for a red light (causing me to brake abruptly). I think he then gave a talking to to the driver, but the light turned green and I left.

Adam, that's sound advice from our man Doug. Learn to rise above those who are irrational, don't wildly and reflexively respond to provocation, don't attempt to argue even though you believe you were wronged, but just try to maintain your serenity and try to ride away...

let's see the video!

Still in post-production.

Kelvin Mulcky said:

let's see the video!

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