Something happened last spring that changed my view of an activity I enjoy. I hate it when that happens. Moondoggy and I enjoy biking. Biking is big out here (it's a year round sport, thank you, Mother Nature) and on any given day it is not unusual to see several pelotons of biking enthusiasts in their matching spandex, whirring en masse down the roads along the dedicated bike lanes and there are bike lanes everywhere here. I am not of that ilk - spandex on me is a fashion NEVER and my bike is not a road bike per se. It is an upright, old-fashioned handle bar model and I sit atop and calmly tool down the road - think Wicked Witch the West. I am not a threat on a bike and road bikers generally tolerate my presence. Moondoggy, however, is far more avid and has been for years (he's ridden the Canadian Rockies, Grand Canyon to Washington state and up many local mountains, here) and he used to wear the spandex but, no more. The bikers here, the spandex wearing, group riding die-hards, have a bad reputation and neither of us could figure out why until two things happened.
I know it's a problem in other places because I Googled it (Why are bikers such assholes), but here, especially, the large groups of people on bikes, have an attitude that pisses off drivers and pedestrians alike and I've heard complaints from people about "those" bikers early on. They want and have road rights (Ok), they want safety (Of course) but they also want to choose which road laws they have to obey and they do so on a whim. Case in point, I was once at a stop light where the dedicated bike path ended about 25 feet before the intersection. The biker (and his 20 matching friends), instead of waiting behind whatever car they came up behind - like cars do, decided to ride between the curb and the car to get to the intersection and turn right. He (and his 20 friends) were indignant, furious even that I had not (nor had the five cars behind me) left 3 feet on the right so he could get by. He decided to stop directly in front of my car and say so, "Bitch, you HAVE to give me 3 feet." Um, no, I don't. I have to give you 3 feet if you are RIDING on the road and there is no path and I come upon you and decide to pass. . .then, I have to give you 3 feet. That is the law. Otherwise, YOU, you little biker prick with all your biker prick friends, have to follow road law and get behind me (VC21650). And now, I get why regular people hate bikers. Apparently cops do, too.
Fast forward to last Spring. Moondoggy was out on a lengthy ride that takes him through a residential area where the pelotons like to go. He rode up a long hill, made it to the top and then turned to ride down, a time to enjoy the spoils of having pedaled up. He is a lone rider. He likes it that way. And as he is cruising down, wind in his hairs when along the path he hears a loud siren and it's coming up right behind him. It's a motorcycle cop, lights strobing, and Moondoggy's getting pulled over and ticketed. Why? "Because we've had complaints from residents about bikers not stopping at the stop signs." People are slowing, taking in the scene as they drive by, this motorcycle cop with full on siren and lights flashing like it's a major bust, just sitting on the bike path as he lectures my gray haired husband. Moondoggy looks back - there was a T intersection with a 3 way stop. There was no sign on the bike path, no road on his side that intersected where he was riding and he had ridden through but, technically, had he been driving a car, it would have been a blown stop sign. Ergo - ticket. And while the motorcycle cop is writing out his $300 ticket (a moving violation on your license by the way), a whirring peloton whizzes by, ON THE ROAD, blowing by not one, not two but THREE stop signs (4 way stops, I might add where there is real cross traffic). Moondoggy points out the mass violation to which Motorcycle cop responds, "I'm just one man, sir." The cop was as much of a prick as the bikers are and he (we) are left with a very bad taste in our mouth about both bikers and cops. Moondoggy has carried that anger about being caught in between the ongoing battle between cyclists and local cops not sure which he hates more when Karma stepped in recently and showed him that yes, there is an upside to anger.
. . .to be continued.