Thursday, August 22, 2013

Traffic Stop Ruminations

Why was I pulled over?

Do you think this officer was truly concerned with my safety, or was he just enforcing the Culture of Speed?

Is he the local safety patrol or is he a speed cop?

His first gambit, perhaps as a result of his confidence that I was breaking some sort of law, was that I "can't be blocking traffic that way". It is not clear precisely what he meant.

As there was a travel lane next to me (conveniently commonly called a passing lane) I wasn't blocking anyone. Was he objecting to my chosen route? (In the travel lane and not on the shoulder?) Was he objecting to my centered-left lane position?

Regardless, I responded to what he actually said by pointing out that everyone was free to avail themselves of the other lane if they wished.

So he made up a scenario that in his imagination was my imminent peril; "Well, a bunch of cars almost swerved into you back there."

As I noted, traffic was not heavy. The Airport Freeway parallels Hwy 183 siphoning off non-local traffic. I find it hard to believe, even on reflection, that I was a significant hindrance to anyone, nor do I think there was enough traffic to create the hazard he lied about.

No one passed me while straddling the lane, for instance. This would be something I would notice because it is such a rare event. All the overtaking drivers that day did so with due care and completely within their own lane.

Even if folks did dart into my lane without seeing me, it would be their reckless actions that were putting me at risk, not my lawful presence, as his statement implies. In that moment, and even now, it is this notion that particularly irks me: To make an unsafe lane change is illegal and a citable offence; But this officer pulled me over, not them!

These are the issues that I am hinting at with my questions to him, and so he retreats to the more tenable position of "safety".

What a joke! This officer hasn't a clue as to how to operate a bicycle on a roadway. He is immersed in the Culture of Speed, he has a windshield view of the world and he has likely never given any thought as to how fast vehicles behave around slow vehicles. Excuse me if I doubt that your safety tips will be useful to me.

Society has empowered this officer to enforce laws enacted by our duly elected legislative bodies. He has been given the power to detain people suspected of criminal behavior. He is therefor abusing such powers if he is detaining the law-abiding for breaking imaginary laws or by capriciously enforcing his own personal rules. As an agent of the state he has no lawful authority to compel others to listen to his safety lectures.

So what is he? A policeman? Is he a Culture of Speed cop? Is he the local safety patrol?


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