Monday, May 08, 2006

Slammed By The 3-Wheeler of The Law

This morning started pretty bad and got worse and worse. I woke up tired, which hardly ever happens to me, even at 5:00 in the morning. I was pretty pokey on the bridge and in a complete fluke, I ended up getting thwacked from behind by this guy that I always seen on the bridge and talk to at 5:20 every Monday morning. I thought that I had missed him until I paused before going through a red 1 block from the bridge and got thwacked from behind by a very solid left arm. He went down, I helped him get back up and it was no big deal. It was 99% his fault, but I felt pretty bad about it and ended up going up first avenue because I was embarrassed.

At 7:30, I started my delivery run and was still tired even though I had had another coffee. As I was going towards 8th avenue on 39th street (the wrong way), one of those three-wheeled traffic vehicles swirved towards me and the guy inside waved at me. Like a freaking idiot, I chose to ignore it and pedaled away. He caught me a block away after I decided not to go the wrong way on 41st because I thoght he had given up right as I got away.

"You're in a heap of trouble now! Gimme your ID...Now stand over there!

I stood where he told me and watched as he spent the next ten minutes writing, double checking and writing some more. I had roughly 45 pounds of envelopes in my bag going to everyone from Bob Herbert to Howard Stern and I was wondering just how fucked I was. If the bike got confiscated, I would be able to continue doing my deliveries, I would just have to lie to my boss and say that my frame had broken or something like that. I pictured myself trying to do the next weeks deliveries on Laura's 50cm bike with the seat all the way up. I thought about getting arrested. Each time I thought he was done, he would check his code book and start writing another ticket. My thoughts started wander after a bit as I took a closer look at this guys three-wheeled traffic car. The whole thing was just stamped sheet metal and shatter proof glass. This guy's bulletproof vest was the only thing keeping the steering column from going through his chest in an impact. A car of any size could kill this guy in a side impact and he had just chased me across four lanes of uptown traffic in the space of two blocks. I felt like a piece of shit.

In the end, I got four separate tickets, for going the wrong way, for disobeying a direct order, for not merging right (this I didn't actually do) and for not having a bell on my bike. I got a further verbal reprimand from him telling me that he was originally going to just give me a warning and that I had done a very stupid thing and had endangered both my life and his.

Then he left and I walked my bike to 40th street and then spent the rest of the morning following every...single...traffic...rule. If you subtract the 13 minutes I lost getting the ticket and another 10 doing a one time extra delivery for my boss, it tacked on roughly 35 minutes to my otherwise 3 hour route.

I've been pretty wary of the NYPD after some bad run-ins and after their behavior during the RNC. The NYPD had fire engines go through civic minded crowds of yielding Critical Mass riders only to swing them across the avenue and have the police arrest the people that had let them through. The people who got arrested were detained for more than the alotted time in holding pens that had chemical waste in them. Most people had to wait months to get their bikes back. I stillI depend very much on the cops though. If I get doored, I need them to process an accident report, if Laura had gotten the license number of that awful man in a minivan that hit her with his mirror I would have demanded that they arrest the guy for doing a hit and run.

The cop that got me this morning did everything by the book, he was pissed but not irrational and I have to say gave me exactly what I deserved. I got caught this time but I've eluded the cops on four other occasions that I will not go into for obvious reasons. It looks like I will be paying a total of $150 for these four tickets, which is pretty paltry considering the thousands and thousands of times I broke the law while working or commuting.

This has become a long an rambling post. To make up for it, I've searched Google Images to find you this picture of Captain Kangaroo as a reward for struggling with me. Thank you.


John Y. said...

Thanks for the reward. I've often wondered myself how much cop karma I've racked up on my bike. It sucks man, but now you're back down to 0 at least. Anyway, keep on truckin!


Outlandish Josh said...

Oh man, looks like it's been a bad couple of days to be a biker. Sorry to hear about it, frank. This is what you get for being an outlaw!

Tree Trunk Ho Slappa said...

Great big GRRR.. because I got a ticket too - for having Milo on the Train. I hate traffic cops, and the ones in the subway are worse.

GRRR... I wish you had sped away.