So there I was, driving along quite happily on the freeway into work. Since I have car pool stickers for my Prius I was in the carpool lane and just going with the generally flow of traffic…when I happened to look in my rear view mirror to see a bike speeding up behind me…with flashing blue lights.
Oh great, I thought, as I pulled into the next lane only to be followed by the police bike. Me, in my little Prius being pulled over for speeding…the embarrassment of it all. Being pulled over in my wife’s M3 (which I have been), fine. Being pulled over on my Suzuki GSXR-750 motorbike (which I have been), I can accept…but in a Prius, please!
I pulled off the freeway and stopped. Officer Garcia gets of his bike, walks up and introduces himself, boy am I glad I got everything squared away with the DMV now!. Tells me he’s pulled me over for speeding and does the usual. Anyway, after he’s handed over the ticket he inquires how long ago I lost my hand.
So I told him and he then asks how I lost it, so I explained a little of the story. And he then tells me that he’s a skydiver and starts talking about how he was skydiving at night one time and came close to landing in power lines…imagine that. Not that it did me any good, he didn’t let me off the ticket.
So caught, not red-handed but one handed…nice to know some things don’t change, eh.
William Brown says
Good Morning, Keiron!
It’s foggy, cool, and sunny here in San Francisco. No surprises there, I suppose.
I read your blog entry about your traffic ticket. Do you mind if I make a few observations? Maybe some advice to go along with them?
Although I am now a semi-retired sea captain, about twenty years ago I worked for the California Highway Patrol, and I still possess a few insights into their workings.
Getting a speeding ticket always sucks. I racked up a few in my time, from the CHP even, but never from the USCG, thankfully. I can’t tell from your post whether the officer was CHP (as I suspect), a local PD, or a local sheriff’s deputy. Do you recall the color of the uniform? Khaki color shirt and breeches with blue stripes = CHP. Dark blue uniform = local PD. Brown or olive color uniforms = sheriff’s department. All these departments have motor officers, with more CHP in your area, I think.
In the CHP, motor officers in uniform are allowed to take their bikes home at the end of their shifts and ride them in their next work day. Aside from overlap shifts, the CHP in Northern California runs day shift from 6:00am to 2:00pm, swing shift from 2:00pm to 10:00pm, and graveyard from 10:00pm to 6:00am. Therefore, you are likely to see motor cops on the road on their way to the office starting at around 5:00am or so. Once they go to briefing, they work their shift, always in daylight, never in the rain, then go home around 2:00pm. Lunch break is generally about half way through the shift, depending on workload.
One thing I always tell people about cops is that they have heard every lie that has ever been told, and they approach cars with this, and other awful things, in mind. So if you get stopped, the best thing you can do is signal, pull over promptly to the shoulder, roll down the passenger side window, and place, um, your hand and prosthesis on the steering wheel where the officer can plainly see them. If you need to remove your hand and hook, like to get the registration, tell the officer first what you are about to do, then do it slowly.
Be very courteous. NEVER LIE! No excuses even. Remember, the cop has heard them all.
None of the above is guaranteed to get you out of a citation, but it can go better for you, especially if you again meet that officer, like in court.
So why did you get the ticket you reported? I suspect several things were in play. First, from the date of your posting, it was the end of the month when you were pulled over. No police department imposes ticket quotas, but they do evaluate officers on productivity. Therefore, some officers feel the need as the end of the month approaches to improve their activity in the eyes of their sergeants.
So, a few hints to possibly avoid speeding tickets. Be especially on the lookout for CHP officers from about 5:00am to 10:00am and again during the early afternoon commute onwards. And I refer here to both cars and motors. A lot of tickets get written at the end of each month. And don’t forget sobriety checkpoints at the expected times of the year.
I know that’s a lot, but here’s even more.
What kind of people become police officers? Actually, very decent, hard working, motivated men and women. Simon Pegg in “Super Fuzz” is a good example of this, at least before the movie goes wild and crazy. Also the two cops in “SuperBad”. It is the rare exception to find one who is so sadistic he will cite a driver for 52 in a 50.
I still can’t quite figure out why the cop boned you in a Prius, though. What color is it?
So I hope the above has been helpful. Thanks again for a great website, and your blog.