A Love Note from the Po Po

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Picked up my favorite biking souvenir the other day here in Portland, a notice from the Portland Police department that I was riding too far to the right in the transit lane. Portland’s redoing the Mall, Fifth and Sixth have been completely overhauled (and will be an utter nightmare when they reopen on the 24th). The cop waved me over as I was in the bus lane. Of course, it’s the bus lane with no busses, as the mall is still closed to mass transit, but the law is the law, and he hit me up with a “notice.” No points or fine, just a dandy little note telling me that they could have fined me.

I think I’ll frame this.


Wait, wait, wait—hold on, these are cops that ignore the Zoobombers, don’t dare do nothing about fixies without brakes, and popped you for that? Isn’t Portland the New Amsterdam?

Yup, but you can’t really blame him. I’m sure the superiors were told to go out and raise awareness to the re-opening bus lanes etc. I’m sure he wouldn’t have stopped me if I looked like a tourist, but I was riding a stickered-up bike with a cycling cap, holding my Stumptown coffee. When he asked me for ID, I asked him if I could put the coffee down on the roof of his car so I wouldn’t spill it. :)

In any case, that’s something like 10 years of traveling by bike across the globe, and my first case of being stopped by the cops when out on a trip.

About 18 months ago I got a $120.00 ticket riding north on 3rd Ave in downtown Seattle.  There were 2 articulated buses stopped at a green light.  The far right one was waiting to turn right with pedestrians in a cross walk, and the left one needed to change lanes for an upcoming stop.

I crossed the center line (just a little bit) to get around this whole mess and was waved down by a motor cycle cop on foot.  I was polite and humble, but was still punished to the full extent of the law.

Lesson learned - make a run for it next time.

So cycling in a bus lane is illegal in USA? Or if not, what do you mean by “too far to the right”? How is that illegal?

Not illegal, but encouraged in Seattle and cities like Vegas.

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