I was riding my bicycle on Bancroft way past Telegraph Ave and saw a police light flashing behind me. I did not have a mirror and I thought some cop must be chasing some serious criminal. I started riding the bike closer to the side walk to make way for whatever police vehicle that was behind me. Then I heard an announcement coming out of the speaker with a short siren, “Sir, please pullover!”. Out of curiosity, I turned back. There was a huge, black police officer on a big motorcycle. He was pointing at me to pull over – a skinny Indian on his skinny bike. I pulled over, stepped on the side walk and leaned my bike on a post. I started walking towards the officer who was ten feet away from me. Officer, “Sir, please stay where you are”. He got out of his motorcycle and walked towards me. Officer, “Sir, you have way too many things going on here”. I stopped and went back in time to understand his statement.
Sometime last Spring, I was riding my bicycle along Bancroft way. It must have been eight in the evening. I crossed the intersection at Telegraph when there was red light. I did it for two reasons:
- I have seen many cyclists jump red lights at this junction
- I thought it’s OK to do so since Telegraph ends at Bancroft and there was no incoming traffic and I was to the right most side of the road.
I crossed the intersection,moved to the left side of the road and crossed one more red light meant for pedestrians. I crossed this light because there were no pedestrians in sight and as far as my experience goes, people don’t suddenly materialize out of thin air. And, I was on a bicycle, riding real slow. Soon after that, the cop approached me. To my good luck, I had my earphones on,listening to some stupid podcast and hence did not hear an approaching police officer on a motorcycle.
Anyway, the interesting part of the story is yet to come. While the officer was telling me about all the evil things I did, while I was busy nodding and apologizing, a passerby female stopped next to me. Folding her arms and staring at the officer, she said, “Seriously, you guys have nothing better to do?”. Officer replied politely, “Mam, please move away. You cannot violate the privacy of the gentleman here”. The woman walked away mumbling.
The officer took my driver’s licence and radioed his colleague to check its validity. Whatever I did is not legal. A few of my friends have been cited for not stopping at a STOP sign, forget about a red light. I was wearing my earphones, which is not legal either. I am not sure whether that woman’s scorn or my meekness, or officer’s sheer kindness he just gave a warning and let me go without a citation.
I drove across entire US for 28 days, 9000 miles with my parents in August 2011. I did not get a single traffic ticket or no cop pulled me over. I did not have to go anywhere for that to happen, I did not even have to drive a car…!