I felt like a trapped animal as the police officer interrogated me on the side of the road, his freshly caught prey backed against a wall with flight instincts mobilizing but paralyzing fear holding me back. For a fleeting moment, I thought about bolting, but higher reasoning prevailed and I decided to try and talk my way out of this one. Just stay calm and maybe you won’t end up in jail tonight.
The night started out like any other, but a series of events will make it one I’ll never forget. I rode my burnt-orange Specialized Globe Roll with mustache handlebars downtown to meet some friends for a few laughs and drinks. I noticed my Niterider Lightning Bug front light was barely flickering but wasn’t too concerned.
Several hours and a couple beers later it was time to call it a night. I love riding the city streets late at night. The noise from the center of town fades and senses are heightened to compensate for the lack of light. I remember a specific moment, relishing in the peaceful serenity of my surroundings. The cool breeze felt refreshing in comparison to the mugginess of the bar I just left. I must have been savoring this moment too fervently.
About halfway home, I rolled a stop sign. Didn’t even touch my brakes. Just coasted right through. There wasn’t a car in sight and I was still taking in the tranquility of my moonlit jaunt home. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a police car and my heart rate jumped about 30 beats. Almost instantly his lights flashed to life and he tailed me for about 50 yards before pulling up next to me.
“How are you doing tonight,” the officer asked politely. A blonde, college-aged girl in the front seat, likely doing a ride-along, sat with a smug smile on her face, apparently finding my transgression amusing.
“Just fine officer,” I replied back in a steady, hopefully not guilty tone.
“I saw you run that stop sign back there. And it looks like you don’t have a light on your bike.”
I don’t remember exactly what I said at this point, but I admitted running the stop sign, apologized as politely as possible and explained how my light had just run out of juice.
Then he asked me to pull over.
This was the moment where the fear overwhelmed and clouded my consciousness. I tried to remember exactly how many drinks I had and what could potentially happen if this cop decided to really lay down the law. But lady luck was smiling down that night, and the officer demanded I ride straight home and replace my light as soon as possible.
I dodged a bullet that night and learned some valuable lessons. That girl in the front seat must have got a kick out of watching me squirm. I wonder if she tells her friends about the guy who nearly peed himself when he got pulled over on his bike. In order to please the Karma Gods who pardoned me that night, I always put a foot down at stop signs. Will I continue to pilot my favorite city bike downtown? Definitely, but I’ll do so a little more carefully from now on.