Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Doors Greatest Hits

Yesterday on my morning commute from Beacon Hill to Downtown Seattle, an unmarked Dodge Charger police car flashed his lights and pulled over a cyclist heading north on 12th Ave S about 150 yards in front of me, just past the Boren intersection.

Cop and cyclist were pulled off to the side in the parking area and as I was passing the scene, the cop shot his door quickly and fully out into the bike lane just a few feet in front of me as I approached. I said some choice expletives as I tried to avoid the door without getting mauled by a car passing me in the traffic lane. I actually barely managed to avoid hitting the door and being hit. The cop then yelled at my back "That's why you don't pass a car that's pulled to the side of the road, moron!" Wow, did this cop just try to intentionally teach me a lesson and/or seriously injure me? I was livid, but there is little to be gained from confronting an asshole cop. I'm guessing this guy has it in for cyclists and would love a chance to hand out more than a traffic ticket.

I've ridden along parked cars in traffic for 10 years, I know the dangers, and I ride carefully and assertively. Never in all those years have I come as close to being doored as yesterday, and it scares the crap out of me to think it was an intentional act by one of Seattle's police officers. I feel fortunate that I was not actually hit, and fortunate for the reminder that ANY person behind the wheel of a car could potentially be a malicious nut and to ride safely and accordingly.


Ted Diamond said...

Rod, is that a photo of the unmarked car?

Rodrick Megraw said...

No, it's just a photo from the Web of a very similar car. Unfortunately in the heat of the moment I didn't get his license number or badge number. It's another reminder to me to be cool and get that info whenever an incident happens that should be reported.

Anonymous said...

Rod: If you actually uttered expletives at a police officer, you are fortunate that you were not arrested. I have seen that actually happen to freinds; in one case, a simple one finger salute was enough to put a cyclist in jail. It is always good to bear in mind that most poilce officers (especially in Seattle) do not see themselves as enforcing the law - as far as they are concerned, they ARE the law. I have seen them make up statutes on the spot to cite someone they wanted to cite, regardless of actual laws. This one seems to be making up rules of the road as he goes. "Never pass a car that is pulled to the side of the road," forsooth! How would anyone ever get anywhere if anyone at all ever followed that one?...moron. Val

Anonymous said...

Years ago, when I lived in Seattle, I biked down from Capitol Hill to a night job at a bakery and would bike back around two or three in the morning. Part of my route took me alongside and rather under, the Alaskan Viaduct, a very scary place, so one night I was very unnerved to be pulled over by a police car. I stayed on the bike trying to figure out what exactly one did when stopped by a police car while riding a bike (dismount, stay seated ?) so he came to me. I took out my ID and explained that I was biking home from work. The officer laughed and said, "I thought you were a boy." I cheerfully replied, "I thought you were the Green River killer." He got in his car and went away. What would have happened, I wondered, if I had been a boy, and not a twenty-something girl ?