Yesterday’s Thoughts

June 1, 2005

Police Riding Bikes on the Sidewalk

Another pet peeve of mine is adults riding their bikes on the sidewalk.

It is one thing to do ride on the sidewalk with an acknowledgement that it is illegal and therefore the rider should be circumspect and cautious. This I can understand and appreciate. “There was some road construction that blocked the bike lanes, so I’m up here riding on the sidewalk. I know what I am doing is technically illegal, but I’ll be careful.” This is a technical traffic offense on the order of parking a truck on the sidewalk, because you are moving.

It is an entirely different thing to ride on the sidewalk with an expectation that you have entered a parallel universe where you are simultaneously biker and pedestrian, depending on your immediate interpretation of which traffic laws you would like to have apply to you. Bikers frequently expect to be able to cross on the walk signal and have their presumed right of way honored. Not likely. If you are over 12 years old and you are riding on the sidewalk, you are in violation of the traffic code and you have no right of way at all.

Ok, with that peevish preable off my chest, here is what really bothers me – traffic cops riding their bikes on the sidewalk.

This may not be a technical violation of the law, but it is bad public policy. The police should set an example of obeying the traffic laws, not set an example of disobedience. In a nation that finds it so easy to get its knickers in a twist over the example that athletes set for young people, you would think that there would be more outrage over this poor example.

I cannot square the outrage over the athlete/role models with the lack of outrage over any of the actions of our public officals. American morality is a peculiar thing.

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