The officers were exactly right to pull me over and I know it. I was speeding in a 30mph zone on the wrong side of the street while weaving through traffic and I got caught. Hands down. I have no complaints about this. I was breaking the law.
It took the officers about a mile to catch me because of the dense traffic. When they did finally catch me, it was no joke — lights, sirens, megaphone and all.
I pulled over carefully on a side street and laid my bike on the curb and displayed my hands, open palms at my sides.
The driving officer got out of his car, approached me and asked, “Is there a reason you blasted through all of those red lights back there?”
I answered, “Yes, officer. I just didn’t want to stop. I know that I should have stopped and I chose not to. I know the rules and I chose to break them. I know I’m in the wrong here so do whatever you need to do.”
He looked over my bike and noticed that I did not have a bell on it (required in NYC). He asked, “Is there any reason that you do not have a bell on your bike?” I answered, “Yes, officer. My bell is on my other bike and I haven’t swapped it. I know I should have it on this bike. My bad.”
He asked me for my ID. I gave it to him and he went back to his car.
I knew that I was entirely fucked.
The officer came back and said the following: “Listen, man. You really seemed to know what you were doing back there. I’ve really never seen anything like it. But, you were doing over 30mph and weaving through traffic and blowing red lights. I have to ticket you. It’s nothing personal. I’m giving you a ticket for ‘failure to have a bell’ and for ‘failure to stay to the right (weaving and riding in the oncoming lane)’. I’m not going to ticket you for speeding or for running all the red lights, okay? Be safe.”
Point of the story: Cops can be really, really cool to cyclists, sometimes.
For the record, and before anyone blasts me for my cavalier riding — This is a route I have ridden thousands of times and I knowexactly how to read the traffic. That said, laws are laws. If you choose to break the laws, man up, take your tickets and thank the officers.
Also, go to court and tell the judge what you think about the bicycle laws in your area. I have a few things in mind which I’ll suggest to the judge.