So, as you can see from the thread title, the following story is my ridiculous encounter with a detective.
Ok... I was riding down a local road here in Palm Harbor, Florida. The first 1/4th of the road has a bike lane, which I ride in. But, after the 2nd intersection I encounter, the lane ends completely and it’s me with 2 lanes of cars by my side. The speed limit is 40mph on this road, and drivers in my town suck ass. However, there was a recent law that just passed stating that automobiles must give cyclist 3 feet of clear room when passing. Of course no one follows this law, but it is very relevant to this story... to the point of hilarity. Now the story:
I was riding down this road with a skateboard attached to my bag to do some skating down at my favorite spot. It was positioned as vertical as I could get it, so I wouldn't hit anything and kill myself. I came up to the 2nd intersection within the bike lane, and stopped completely instead of blowing the red light. I just felt as if I should. So I was waiting for the light to turn, and when it did I started riding normally. As I said before, the bike lane ends here, so I just kept to the right shoulder like I usually do and rode along happily. As I was coming down a hill, I saw a man on my right flag me down and wave me to come over there. Now... I usually wouldn't stop because some random dude is trying to get my attention, but this dude just happened to have a pistol on his hip and a badge. I, of course, stopped.
As I skidded to a halt and turned to ride towards this man, he told me to get off my bike and go stand on the corner of the street. As I did this and he came over to me, he tells me in a proud tone, "Son... you should be riding on the sidewalk". Huh? I look confused and proceed to tell him, in a very polite way, that it is completely legal for me to ride on the road as I was doing. He then tells me, "that is wrong and you almost got hit by two cars back there”. I now realize that this man knows nothing about the cyclist's law in Florida. So, I ask him if I can pull out my Florida Cyclist Law Handbook. He denies this request immediately, telling me that he has no idea what I have in my bag. I'm dumbfounded by this time.
So, I start arguing with him telling him that I have the legal right to ride on the road, and that it is illegal for cars to pass me so close. I also give the example of the law that was just passed. He looks me straight in the eyes and tells me that he isn't aware of such a law (holy **** right?). Now I ask him if I can get his superior's name and the number of his department. While I am asking this, he keeps saying that he doesn't want me to get hit. I ask him 4 times for this information, and he still keeps saying the same thing. I, out of being polite, thank him for his concern so he will stop saying it. I then ask him why he pulled me over instead of the automobiles that were breaking the law by passing me too close. This is where my head about explodes, because he tells me that he is only a detective, and does not have a patrol car, so he cannot pull people over. I must have looked like a vegetable to by then, because I felt like I was talking to a 3 year old child and couldn't comprehend the absurdity of this last statement. I calmly ask him why he can pull cyclists over, but not cars. He tells me that his job doesn't deal with that kind of thing, and that he is only a detective. Here is the great part:
A patrol car, with all the lights and doo-dad's that allow a police man to pull someone over and give traffic violations, pulls out of the neighborhood across from us and asks on his load speaker, "You ok Matt?". Matt, the detective I was talking to, waves to him and says ok. Now I’m thinking holy **** I have to get out of here quick before I loose faith in everything.
So, by now, he is back to telling me some whacky **** about me having to get off of my bike at intersections and walk it across the cross walk, and then get back on, that I didn't use hand signals (even though I wasn't turning and just riding away from a stop light), and that it isn't safe for me to be on the road blah, blah, blah. I again try and tell him that it is legal for me to ride on the road, that I wasn't turning so there isn't need for hand signals, and ect... but before I can finish he sits in his car and shuts the door on me! Now I just feel embarrassed. In his car he starts looking through a book for about 10 minutes, probably trying to get me for something and write a ticket, and also calling on his cell phone. After this he gets back out of his car and tells me that I can go now and that he thought it was dumb for me to ride on the road. I shake his hand and leave.
Now, I am thinking about writing a letter to the newspaper about this. I did something very wrong though: I didn't get his name or badge number. Should I still try and write a letter, or would that be useless without his information?
And he never did give me that number for his depatment