On a recent ride, I choose a familiar loop that would dump me onto State Highway 34 for the west-bound leg back into Ennis and a headwind.
SH 34 is signed 55 MPH with a single 12 foot lane each direction, with occasional improved shoulder. The traffic was moderate, and I was overtaken by four semi-tractor trucks during the three and a half miles.
I was also overtaken by an off duty cop, unfortunately. He tried to bully me into obeying his view of how things ought to be.
He drives up beside me (On my right, on the shoulder) in a small car with a young girl sitting next to him. He slows to pace my speed and when I look at him, he displays his badge and orders me to pull over throgh his open window.
So he gets out of his car and a lecture ensues. He tells me I can't ride so far in the lane. (I was positioned in the left tire track.) I tell him I need to for my safety and the law permits it. He says I need to keep on the shoulder because I am "impeding traffic" and violating the far to the right rule. I ask him if he is going to cite me. He says no. I then ask him if I can be on my way then. He says he didn't order me to stop- he didn't flash any red lights... I cut him off with a raised voice; "You stopped me under the authority of law by flashing your badge at me!"
I mark that as the point that the "traffic stop" became something different- more of a conversation than a confrontation. I'll try to describe it in broad strokes rather than specifics, but some of his assertions are real gems.
So he tells me I can proceed on my way, and I turn to mount my bike. He then said; "But don't be riding out where you were or I will have to call one of my on duty friends to meet you." I am about to retort "You had better call him, then!", when he asks if we could talk for a minute. I calm myself down and face him, and agree to talk.
He now asserts that he is just concerned for my safety. We discuss the relative merits of riding on the shoulder and in the travel lane. It is impossible for him to imagine that I would be at greater risk of inattentive drivers when riding on the shoulder. I tell him that there are no restrictions on where I can ride laterally in the lane if the lane is less than 14 feet wide. He asks how wide I think the lane is, did I measure it?
I tell him it is easy to get an accurate estimate. (Most cars about six and a half feet wide; Can two of them travel side by side within the lane?) At this he laughed, and he said he knew quite well they were less than 14 feet from accident investigations.
He says; "Maybe it's within your rights to ride there, but you'll end up dead right." (Yes, he actually said that!)
We talked about the danger of distracted drivers drifting onto the shoulder, I quoted to him the law and we realized neither of us would persuade the other.
So I was compelled by a law officer who took it on himself to enforce (through intimidation) laws that only existed in his car-centric prejudices.