Went out for my typical road ride today, about 20 miles, just a morning outing from Chattanooga to Signal Mountain, and experienced an aggressive cop driver that could have killed me and thinks that "he can't believe I'm complaining." Read on.
To reach my climbing ascent, I have to pass through a 2-lane tunnel that passes through a ridge line. Traffic on either side of the tunnel is four lanes and narrows to two as you approach the tunnel. Due to the nature of the tunnel being at the crest of a hill (you can't see opposing traffic entering the tunnel) there is double-yellow line in the tunnel. Because it's super dangerous, cyclists have to press a button (much like a cross walk) that alerts traffic (see sign in photo) that there is a cyclist in the tunnel. Not only is there a double yellow line, but the blinking sign says "Bikes in Tunnel when flashing, Do not pass" Emphasis added.
I ride in the middle of the lane as I pass through the tunnel, so as not to entice motorists to pass me; by law, I am entitled to claim the lane.
Needless to say, as I am in the middle of the tunnel, none other than a fine Chattanooga police patrol car flies by me in the middle of the tunnel, actually accelerated in the tunnel to do so. I throw up my hand in disbelief. I'm dumbfounded. Never has anyone even attempted to pass me in the dozens and dozens of times that I've gone through it.
Only serendipity would have allowed me to catch up to him at the next stop light. I wave him down, he stops amazingly, and we have a chat in the parking lot. Him: "Hey there, I saw you in the tunnel, I barely saw you in there." He saw me enough to blow right by me. I inform him that not only did he pass me in a double-yellow, but there is a sign that specifically states that he cannot pass me in the tunnel. I explain to him that he put my life in danger--it's a blind crescent, and if he had hit a car in another lane I would be dead for sure. He looks surprised. I can tell a cyclists or any civilian for that matter has never called him out before. He immediately gets defensive, and says "I can't believe you're complaining about this. This is ridiculous," to which I remind him again of the violations he committed, tries to say the car behind me did the same (they didn't), and generally acts like a 12 year who knows they did everything wrong and is trying to grab at anything to absolve them of guilt. His whiny nature proved that he knew he was wrong. After some debate, he says, "What do you want from me"? I say, "An acknowledgement that you put my life in danger, violated the law, and an apology would be nice." He laughs at me. Laughs! I tel him that I have his patrol car number and I don't mind reporting him, thinking that this might move him to fess up. He says "Go right ahead." I say, "Ok, it's obvious you don't care or have any understanding or respect of traffic laws." Not surprisingly, he aggressively pulls away from me in the parking lot.
I reported his patrol car number to the police. I doubt anything will happen. I would love to speak to his superior and just have him get on a bike with me through that tunnel so he experiences what I feel. That's all I want.
What.the.hell is wrong with law enforcement? Do they really feel they are above the law? The immaturity of this cop astounds me.