lessons learned from breaking the law.

A couple of months ago I was cited by a cop for running through a red light at a busy intersection. At first I was pissed at the officer for giving me a ticket. I was the one who broke the law, yet I was also the one who was mad. Who was I hurting? I knew that the coast was clear.

That wasn’t my first infraction while on a bike, I had received several tickets/warnings before about blowing through lights and signs. Yet I continued to do it. After thinking about it for a little bit, I had no one to blame but myself.

It really is an inconvenience to get pulled over and written up for breaking the law. But the law is implemented for the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers for good reason.

When I went through the red light without stopping, I thought I knew that the coast was clear. But isn’t that how many accidents happen? You think that the street is clear so you proceed to cross when it is not your right of way. I didn’t even see the cop car, so what’s to say that I would see an oncoming car headed right towards me?

You often hear people say, “That car came from outta no where!” Impossible, that car came from somewhere, and saying that will not hold up in court. Especially when you are at fault for choosing to break the law. That is if you’re lucky enough to survive a collision with a 2,000 pound vehicle.

Luckily for me, I didn’t get into an accident that day. I wasn’t hurt, and I didn’t get anyone else hurt. But I know that if I were to continue to recklessly run red lights, the story might not end with me just receiving a ticket. It could be a fat hospital bill, a lawsuit, or worse yet, a bill for someone’s funeral.

Instead of taking the time to wait an additional 15 seconds at the red light, I am now forced to deal with multiple court dates and fines. I went to the Superior Court today, and stood in a ridiculously long line just to receive another day in court. Come January 28th, I will be standing before a judge, hoping to receive a lenient enough one to either reduce or waive my fine of $174.00.

I would be lying if I said that I would never run a red light on my bike again. But now, even when I “know” that my coast is clear, I wait for my green. It’s just 15 seconds.

-ah

4 responses to “lessons learned from breaking the law.

  1. Pingback: the unfree stuff. «

  2. did the cop pull you over on a bike, motorcycle or car? just want to know how you knew he was/wasn’t watching, i would never blow through a stop light even if i knew it was clear, if i had seen or knew there was a cop around. just because in denver we’re a bike friendly city, doesnt mean the cops are bike friendly. critical masses are messes and any bike rides turn into cop escorts out of the city. we were more of a pedestrian friendly city, but boulder has taken that title. make sure you look both ways homie

    • Hey shyam. I wasn’t the one who was pulled over, but it was Andrew, one of the other contributors on our blog. Anyway, from what I understand, It was a cop car. Don’t know how Andrew missed it, but I guess he was in his blind spot. Since then, we have all been looking all FOUR ways. It’s still best practice and easiest to obey the law. Ride safe ya guys!

  3. Eh man, I know how tough it can be. Even if you are abiding to all the rules there’s still that risk factor, it’s just a part of riding. I got smashed riding in Sac a few weeks back. The dude was turning into a gas station, and I of course had no time to stop since I was getting greens down the whole street, and I took the challenge upon myself to mash as hard as possible. I went over the hood, and ended up in the hospital. Luckily I made it out with only road rash and a gaping knee wound, but it really made me consider how careful you have to be. It for sure, at least made me think twice before riding without a helmet. Even though it wasn’t my fault I stuck without a bike and I have to deal with an attorney, but word it puts shit in perspective.

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