Getting Caught Riding Bikes Through Red Lights
It was late at night on a Thursday, and I was in the Temple Bar section of Dublin. I had to work in the morning, and it was January, cold, and luckily not raining. It was about a 20-minute walk to my apartment or I could half that by taking one of the Dublin bike share bikes. A nice feature of living in the city.
A quick swipe of my card and after unlocking the bike I was on my way. The energy used peddling helped offset the freezing wind on my hands and face as I rode. Getting closer to my apartment and the stand where I could drop off the bike, I notice some police cars ahead, one of which was blocking the road across the small bridge leading to my place. Just before that was an intersection with some cars waiting at a red light. I stopped on the bike, looked at my light was red, looked left and right to see the cars stopped and a red light for them as well. Not sure who had the green light, I quickly crossed the street on the bicycle, as is custom from most anyone on a bicycle to ignore traffic lights. Which is fine with me as long as it is done safely.
Of course, the cop near the bridge witnessed me doing this, flags me down, and begins to yell at me for crossing the street on the red light. It was at this point that I begin to laugh at the ridiculousness of the conversation. He was at a traffic accident, there are murders, muggings, and any number of bad things happening in the city, and I was being yelled at for safely crossing a street on a red light with no traffic on a bicycle by a cop with apparently nothing better to do.
“You have to follow the same laws as the traffic,” He tells me.
“I’m sorry, I’m not trying to laugh,” I say as he gets madder at me for continuing to laugh. “I just can’t believe you are getting mad at me for that.”
“I’m not mad, you’ll know when I’m mad,” he responds.
“Okay,” I respond with a massive smile on my face.
“You won’t be laughing in front of the judge after I give you a ticket.” Which causes me to chuckle just a bit more.
I’ve edited down the conversation, but it more-or-less goes along these lines for another minute or two of him chewing me out for riding through the red light. With him continually responding to everything I say in the cliché police line responses that they are brainwashed into using for every situation. There was no point in him continuing to talk as I knew exactly what he would say to every word that came out of my mouth, and not wanting to press my luck I quieted down. Eventually, he let me on my way, apparently not wanting to spend the time needed to write me a 50 euro ticket for riding a bicycle through a red light.
Let this be a lesson kids – when breaking bicycle laws in Ireland, as with any laws really, don’t do it when a police (Garda) officer can see you. You shouldn’t have any problem seeing them in the bright yellow jackets they are required to wear.
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