Friday, April 20, 2012

Bad Boys, Bad Boys!

Friday, April 20, 2012  at 1:15 PM
Amidst the packing, finishing papers to complete the last few classes of my masters degree and trying to find a house, I've really been enjoying spending some quality time on the bike.  Recently, there have been several friends that have gotten into cycling, and it's just great to be able to have people to ride with.  My rides haven't been that long, yet, but I've been pumping out the 30 milers pretty frequently.  I've got a 50+ scheduled for Tuesday, and I think I'll be riding the Steelhead 70.3 course.  (Beth, Kevin, and Matty O, Erika, and Mary...you guys know that one pretty well, right?)  I haven't been doing too much running or swimming, but I've been LOVING the riding!!!  Speaking of running, I'm running a 5k on Sunday, and I know it's gonna hurt!  I haven't been doing the speed work that I should have, so I'll probably be pretty slow.

Now, normally, I would consider myself a cautious, courteous, careful cyclist out on these car-covered roads.  I do my best to obey all the rules of the road, and I'm not a renegade.  But, here's what happened on my ride with Donnie Keele this past Wednesday...



Donnie had never ridden more than 18 miles, and he had been asking to ride a longer ride of 30 or so.  So, we headed out on a big loop that went through several smaller towns.  Upon entering Buchanan, MI, the road goes from single lanes into a 4-lane city street that is undivided other than the double yellow lines.  As we entered the city, we noticed a police car sitting with the windows down and the engine turned off just monitoring what was going on.  I didn't think much of it, and we kept riding.  Now, because there were two lanes going our direction, we were riding side-by-side.  About a mile after seeing the police car, we hear, not a siren, no lights, but a double tap on the horn!  We quickly pulled over and watched the officer park and walk over to us.  Here is how the conversation played out (more or less).


  • Me: "Hey!  How ya doing today?"
  • Officer: "Oh, doing good, how about you?"
  • Me: "Well, it's a terrific day to be out exercising."
  • Officer: "Do you know why I pulled you over today?"
  • Me & Donnie: "No"
  • Officer: "Where are you from?"
  • Me: "Berrien Springs, MI"
  • Officer: "Well, they have the same rules as we do down here.  You CAN'T ride side-by-side.  Did you know that?"
  • Me: "No, I didn't realize that."
  • Officer: "You have to obey all the same rules as cars do.  That's why you are allowed to use these streets."
  • Me:  "Right, like stopping at stop signs, signaling when turning, obeying traffic lights..."
  • Officer: "And if you ride at night, you have to have a light on your bike.  And, you must ALWAYS ride as close to the right hand side of the road as possible."
  • Me: "Thanks.  I try my best to obey all those rules."
  • Officer: "Do you have any ID on you?"
  • Me: "No, all I have is my phone."
  • Officer: "What is your name, address, etc."
  • Me: "..."
  • Officer: "Now I'm just giving you a warning, but if I catch you again, you WILL get a ticket."
  • Me: "Thank you for serving and protecting me and keeping me safe.  Thanks for doing your job."

We rode off, and I can't say that we weren't a little frustrated at the power trip that we had just been a part of.  Well, the ride was awesome, and Donnie did great for his first big ride.  He's actually a pretty strong rider.  When we got home, Donnie hopped on the computer to do a little research and came up with this interesting Michigan Bike Law:


That's pretty simple, isn't it?  "MORE THAN 2 ABREAST"  We weren't doing ANYTHING wrong!!!  I felt a little "athletically profiled."  It's a good thing we weren't wearing hoodies... (I'm playin'!)

Then, upon further investigation, I stumbled about this little addition to the puzzle:

So not only were we not in the wrong with riding side-by-side, but we also were correct in using the full lane of the 4-lane road.  It was very frustrating!!!

Donnie and I thought about it a bit, and we decided to take a little action.  We printed off these laws that we had found on the Michigan.gov website and drove to Buchanan.  Here was the pre-game video right before we left:


Once we got to the Police station, we parked and walked to the front door.  Now, this is where this story gets a little lame.  The front door was locked, and no one was around.  It was very anti-climactic.  We stood there trying to figure out what we should do, and I decided that a courteous email to the police chief might be the next best thing.  So, an email it was.
Buchanan, MI Police Station
I emailed the full story and links to the appropriate laws to the Police Chief.  I wonder if I will get a response.  I'll keep you posted...  Have you been stopped by the Po-Po while riding your bike?  Just so you know, I did break the speed limit on this ride, but I didn't get pulled over for that!

9 comments:

Beth

OMG - I cannot believe you guys were pulled over by the cops :) I am sure he just did not have anything better to do. I'm glad you decided to set the record straight.

The pic of the police dept is hilarious! It looks like someones house or something out of Mayberry.

Great job on the research and all the riding you are getting in while "the moving process" is going on.

Jenn

You are without a doubt my brother! I would have done the same thing (well maybe except the being nice to the cop part)!

Erika

oh my gosh! I can't believe that! I can't wait to hear if you get a response. What a bunch of crap!
And by the way, one of my best friends' parents live in Buchanan! I'm sure they know people if you want me to take it up the chain of command!

Wow - what a day you had!
Wishing you well with YOUR packing as well!

Ironman By Thirty

For a new cyclist, Donnie sure looks in his element.

I still can't wrap my head around your whole ordeal with the cop. That is just crazy. Totally sucks that it was so anticlimantic, but keep us updated on what you find out.

Hopefully this run in with the law doesn't affect your moving plans ;)

Go get that Steelhead course! And good luck at the 5k! Tear it up!

Julie

Rolling on the floor!!! Love this story. I was sitting there thinking "wow in Colorado we aan ride two abreast" ha ha..so can you ! I can't wait to see if you hear anything back.

Jill

You have got to be kidding me!?! What a moron - hahah. Personally, if you don't get the kind of response you seek from police, I'd take the story to the local newspaper and see if they'd like to run a little story :). Get the good people of Buchanan may want to know exactly what the rules are AND what the local police know about said rules.

Rachel Keele

my husband is hottttt.

it's all about pace

Well played.

on the initial reaction and the follow-up

Jon

Not sure if I can follow a blogger with such a criminal record. Riding two abreast "illegally"....whats next? Peeing on your bike? aka, peeing in public. Sheesh! ;)

Next time, sprint as hard as you can when you see a cop. GET THAT SPEEDING TICKET!

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