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|