Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Hate Motorcycle Cops (aka, I Am An Idiot)

I hate motorcycle cops.

All last week and yesterday, the motorcycle cops have been sitting at a particular place on a particular street, and I've been oh-so-careful to drive the speed limit there. There's a big hill going down, then you come up the hill & there's the cop.

Today, I was chatting with my kid while driving, and must have got going too fast down the hill.

I saw the cop, but it was too late.

I got a speeding ticket.

I hate motorcycle cops.

They have only one purpose: to make money for the city by giving out speeding tickets. If they really just wanted to stop people from speeding, they'd give warnings instead, at least for the first time they catch you. But have you ever been given just a warning from a motorcycle cop? No, you have not. Don't lie to me about the time you talked your way out of a motorcycle cop ticket. It might have worked on a regular police officer, sure. But not a motorcycle cop. All they give are actual tickets. I don't think they even have warning slips on those tiny little motorbikes. Just a ticket book.

I get really annoyed because I think of all the crime going on in our city. Just last week, one block over from my house, someone broke into a home and stole lots of jewelry, a flat-screen television, blu-ray disc player, and lots of other items. Any motorcycle cops around to prevent that crime? Heck no, they were all too busy writing speeding tickets. When I first got my car last January, someone stole it in the middle of the night, from right in front of my house! Any motorcycle cops around to prevent that crime? Heck no, they were all too busy writing speeding tickets! A few months back, some kids went through the neighborhood and "tagged" lots of recycle bins, fences, etc. Any motorcycle cops around to prevent that crime? Heck no, they were all too busy writing speeding tickets!!

Stopping the horrible crime of speeding. Oh, I feel so much safer already. (That was sarcasm, in case it didn't come through.)

They always want to give me the song and dance about how speeding is so dangerous. Well, speeding in and of itself is not dangerous. Sure, if you're going horribly fast through a residential neighborhood, that's bad. But on a non-residential street, there aren't any kids or bicycles or pets wandering around in the street. Just a bunch of cars, most of which are exceeding the speed limit. It's more dangerous not to speed - you'll end up getting hit from behind!

The thing that is dangerous is when cars are traveling at vastly different speeds from each other. That is what makes collisions more likely, not the fact of speed itself. If all the cars are traveling at exactly 65 miles per hour on a freeway with a 55 mph speed limit, for example, they are all technically speeding, but the likelihood of any of them hitting the others is between slim and none because they are all moving at the same speed (assuming no one makes a stupid lane change and hits the guy next to him). No one will catch up to another car to hit it.

But if you have one idiot car going 45 miles per hour on the mistaken assumption that it's the speed itself that is bad, and a bunch of normal people driving 60 to 65 mph, then you have a 15-20 mile per hour speed differential - and lot of folks who are not expecting the idiot to be going that slow - and you have traffic flow issues as people come up behind the idiot and hit their brakes and then swerve to go around him and so forth, and then it is ripe for an accident.

Same analysis if you have everyone going the speed limit, 55, and an idiot or three going 75 or 80. The speed differential makes it hard for the idiots to avoid hitting the other cars, as they constantly swerve around them.

The other thing that can make speed unsafe is when you have a head-on collision - two folks hitting each other head on at 55 mph each is definitely a worse crash than two cars colliding when each is traveling at 25 mph.

But this particular road has a median, so a head-on collision is unlikely. And the sidewalk is separated from the road by a concrete barrier. And there is a sign saying "no bikes allowed" on this stretch of road (there's a bike path on the other side) And there are no roads coming in from the side in the particular stretch where I was speeding.

All of which means the chances of a collision there are between slim and none. And in fact, there is hardly ever an accident in that particular spot. The only time I've ever seen an accident there is during rush hour, when it is bumper-to-bumper stop and go traffic moving at between 0 and 10 mph, and some idiot talking on a cell phone bumps the car in front of him. But that's not a speeding problem, now is it? There was no need for a motorcycle cop to even sit at that stretch of the road looking for speeders. Unless you are the city government and you want to make money.

And in my particular case, there weren't even any other cars nearby - just a couple of cars behind me, so there was no chance I was going to hit them! (Which is probably part of the reason I was going so fast - no other cars around, just open road. Why not go a little faster? Really!)

The motorcycle cop's purpose had to have been to make money, not to prevent unsafe driving, or even to stop speeding. There was no chance of a collision. And he accomplished his purpose of stopping me from speeding the minute he pulled me over. I'll be a lot more careful now. The ticket was totally unnecessary, and all it does is make money for the city.

I know government budgets are tight, but my budget is tight right now, too. This economy sucks, and clients aren't paying their bills as promptly as they used to. Some of them aren't paying at all. And now I'll have to scramble to come up with the money to pay for the "defensive driving" class (I'll save that rant for another day!) so I won't get points on my license and have my insurance rates go up, too. Aarrgghh.

I hate motorcycle cops.

* * *

I'm also a big idiot.

I've seen the motorcycle cops out there for over a week, and I still went speeding past without a care in the world.

Really, how stupid is that?!?

Perhaps it proves I wasn't paying enough attention to the road and was a potential driving hazard.

Maybe I deserved the ticket after all....

1 comment:

Gaston Studio said...

Welllllll, you put up a fairly good argument about speeding tickets but I disagree with you that, overall, speeding is not dangerous.