CYCLISTS AND THE LAW are not, in fact, direct opposites. Officer Robert Pickett is a Portland bike cop who bikers love. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance awarded him their highest honor this year for his noble efforts to make peace between the wide rainbow of people who share the road. Pickett also majored in political philosophy, which means he is smarter than you. Glean his secrets or pay the price.
1. Stay put! The overwhelming majority of traffic infractions are violations (like running a stop sign or riding lightless at night) that will get you a ticket at most. But a violation automatically turns into an arrestable crime if you refuse to pull over or try to run. If you want to pull off a busy street onto a quieter one (thanks for that, by the way), indicate you've seen the officer. But not with a raised middle finger.
2. Keep calm. Officers are always worried for their safety and can put you in cuffs if they think you might lash out. A simple please and thank you will help justice be served far faster than if you attempt to negotiate via profanity.
3. Be normal. This is tough for Portlanders but try not to act, well, weird. Keep your hands in sight so the cop knows you're not going to whip a knife out from your Spandex. Relax. Take a seat on the sidewalk.
4. Don't argue. People will be stopped for things they don't agree with and officers do make mistakes, but the place to hash that out is in court, not on the curb.
5. Officers use their discretion in deciding whether you are dangerous enough to warrant a ticket, so do not break the law in a highly stupid way. Running a red light is bad, but it's worse to run one in the middle of a busy intersection, at night, drunk, only wearing Elmo slippers.More Bike Issue articles here!