"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer

15.8.08

3 Feet - and Print It.

Have you ever been riding, and violated somehow by a driver, and then wished mightily - and vainly - for a police officer in the vicinity to witness the whole thing, just once?!? instead of having to settle for just a middle finger, and maybe a few curse words?

I got the next best thing just this afternoon - instead of an officer, I got the police station. The Glenview Police station.

I was already in a pretty bad mood, having wasted a 1/2 hour after having shut down my computer and waiting for a coworker - who I was going to ride home with - finish up with a meeting with his boss. It was supposed to be a 5 minute pop-in, but after 30 minutes, I just got up and left. The rest of my department had long cleared out and I wasn't relishing a 20 mile ride home in Friday rush hour traffic alone. Cursing under my breath as I unlocked my bike, I told myself the first person who honked at me on my ride home was going to regret it.

I must be a prophet.

Lake is four lanes and marked at 45 mph, but it is not bumper to bumper by any stretch, and most traffic is more than accommodating on my twice weekly commute on it from Shermer to Milwaukee Ave and vice versa. However, there is the occasional jack ass who passes too close, and once, even worse.

And so with almost fable-like timing, about 300 yards west of where the south bound turn lane opens up on the approach to Shermer, a consistent and annoyed honking approached behind me, and then a silver sedan passed me about 50 with maybe 6 inches to spare.

I let him know what I felt about his lack of respect for my right to be in the road and let fly an obscene hand gesture and a few choice words. Soon after I was merging right in the Shermer turn lane, and then saw the driver ahead slow down, merge right, and then stop as I approached. I tried to go right and he blocked me!

So I went left, and he blocked me again! I continued along side him, letting him push me left into the eastbound lane. I checked behind for traffic, being careful as the light ahead was green.

All of this happened right in front of the goddamned Glenview Police station.

I began screaming, "let's take it up with the Police, huh?!" and sure enough he got into the left hand turn lane and then into the parking lot of the station we went.

Strange lobby. I expected a sergeant to be sitting behind an imposing desk that I could walk up to with this babbling, elderly Asian man behind me, but instead it looked like I was walking into an empty modern school building. I impatiently walked between locked doors and closed reception windows, as this man screamed behind me, "I ride bike too! I ride bike! You crazee!! I want co-ahht!!"

The police in the back must've freaked when they saw what was going on via the security camera because it wasn't long before 3 of them came running into the lobby. A female officer took me aside and I told her what happened, through the driver's constant interruptions, until she got him taken outside. Her eyes practically lit up as I explained to her my volunteer work and association with the CBF, and thus my knowledge of my rights to the road. She was in fact on the transportation safety task force and said she had extensive experience with the CBF as well.

Based on this guy's obvious cluelessness - and his constant babbling, about everything from how he rides a bike too to what was I doing on a road in rush hour to whether it was a county road and who clears the snow - they were going to ticket him right away for the 3 feet violation. In fact, as he wouldn't shut up for any of the officers, one of them finally told him that based on my statement and his attitude toward me, he was lucky he wasn't being arrested on much heavier charges of reckless driving and endangerment.

All the Glenview officers were extremely professional in taking control of - and in applying the law - to the situation. My court date to testify - required as no officer witnessed the incident - is September 10th at 1:30 in the Skokie Courthouse, at Harms and Old Orchard.

I should be fuckin' deputized.

Keeping up with the fight for your right...

7 comments:

Matt said...

I'm shocked. Way to go.

The Car Whisperer said...

...still can't believe it myself. I of course didn't want to make a scene and insist he be arrested...but you can bet this is going to nothing short of dig himself a deeper hole with his babbling to the judge. Here's hoping the charges get increased, as during your court visit.

The Car Whisperer said...

and I am the car whisperer...tough love.

Erik said...

I had the same thing happen to me on that stretch of lake... but it was a woman driving a US Mail semi+trailer.

I just got the hell outta the way.

Illinoisfrank said...

Nicely done.

jR said...

Ill be at court to watch this one...this should be better than Judge Judy...
He lucky Illinois is not a conceal carry state, I would have shot him!

Irish said...

I'm extremely happy to hear about your success, and the fact that the police officers weren't automatically taking the side of the car. I hope someone actually takes the time to explain to this man what he was doing wrong.

I know of several people (some of them are my housemates) who have no idea how a bicycle should be ridden, where bicycles belong, or how to watch for bicycles when in a car. They all ride regularly, but I'm absolutely amazed by how often they end up going against traffic, flying through intersections diagonally, and pushing pedestrians off the sidewalk so their bike can have the space. I'm starting to think that learning at least rudimentary bicycle laws should be required to get a driving license.