Unfortunately, not every ride is a happy one.
Today, an OC rider who prefers to remain anonymous describes a recent ride in which she had a brush with a speeding, overly aggressive driver in a high-powered car. Literally.
With a surprise ending that left her livid.
Tuesday afternoon I was nearly swiped by a speeding Charger (Challenger?) whose incompetent driver, immediately behind me, suddenly punched the gas and squeezed between me and the box truck to his left. I had proceeded from a full stop at a red light, and had just cleared an intersection full of kids leaving school. Because of gravel on the gutter pan, I was gutterbunnying it, close enough to worry about pedal strike.
The pass was so sudden and so close that I was less articulate than usual, but managed to bellow WHAT THE F***! while wobbling. No remedial, YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY. No accompanying, GET YOUR HOMICIDAL ASS OFF THE ROAD. No PATIENCE IS A F****** VIRTUE, my most frequent high-volume communication. Me, speechless. If that’s at all believable. The passenger side was less than 8 inches from my bullhorns, and the side of the box truck to his left thundered the revving engine back at me. Before I had time to even want to smack the car’s window, I was looking at tail lights. That Charger had passed me in less time than it took for Shaun Eagleson to look over his shoulder. Somehow I stayed mostly upright, and didn’t even hit the concrete bus bench whose acquaintance I was certain I was going to violently make.
Though the lane ahead narrowed, the car continued to accelerate and then, despite its speed, took the corner like it was on rails.. The Charger was already out of sight by the time I made the corner by the hospital. But I stopped to ask a pair of orderlies at the ambulance bay if they’d seen a speeding car, and they confirmed it had turned left at the next street. As I approached the intersection, the westward gazes of some animated warehouse workers on the sidewalk indicated that the orderlies were correct. The next intersection was a T-intersection, and a group of workers had abandoned a steam shovel to walk south for a peek around the corner. When I turned right, there sat the Charger, crosswise in the middle of the intersection. Its driver had just stepped out, and stood next to it.
Yes, A F****** COP IN AN UNMARKED F****** CAR. An extremely fast, extremely heavy car. Grey, camouflaged amid the asphalt and overcast sky. I’m going to assume that although it did have the blue and red in the back window (engaged eventually), it is not equipped with a siren that would have alerted me to pull over, because certainly a law enforcement officer traveling at that speed is required to alert road users of his presence, right?
A couple miles later, on the river path, I realized I was bleeding. I think my knuckle scraped the bus bench that I nearly landed on, but I can’t be sure. Frankly, I was kind of disappointed at how hilariously tiny the scrape is, considering all the dripping blood.
I’m not riding without my GoPro again. And I might get all FOIA on that Charger’s (possible) dashcam.
The Los Alamitos Police Department owes me an apology and some new bar tape.
Wow, I sure hope that incident is reported. Pretty good pic of the guy’s face, surely the department can identify who it was.
There is another patrol car with lights on in the photo, we all have to make are way in life on a bicycle or car, I am glad you incurred only a scratch but will we know the other side of the story?
If there’s another side to the story of a cop forcing a bike rider of the road and nearly hitting her, while speeding and driving aggressively without lights or siren, I’d certainly like to know what it is.
The only way I can imagine that such a driving technique would be justified is if many lives were in danger and only the fastest possible response could save them. Based on the photos, that was certainly not the case. There are no guns drawn and no SWAT team.
The only appropriate “other side of the story” would be a profound apology from the police department and a very serious conversation between the officer and his supervisor.
I have had a two positive encounters with the Los Alamitos PD, so overall they have my respect. However, in this case the officer blew it, and the department needs to make things right.
Dear Anonymous OC Bike Rider,
I am very glad that you are OK!
As a fellow OC bicycle rider, I hope you will tap into some of the energy that you used to write about your experience, and follow up vigorously with the Los Alamitos PD.