Tuesday, January 14, 2014

That's the Sound of the Police

Since moving to Amsterdam, bicycles have been our primary form of transportation.  We ride them to work, to run errands and occasionally for fun.  The best part about riding bikes in the Netherlands is the fact that there are separate paved bike lanes to ride in. The bike lanes even have their own traffic lights to help with the flow of traffic.  While we don't "officially" know the rules of the road, I assume they are the same as driving a car in most places in the U.S.  Here are some basic cycling rules:

  1. Pedestrians have the right of way (except when they walk into the bike path, then it is a game of chicken in which bikes always win).
  2. While approaching an uncontrolled intersection, yield to person on the right (unless you can peddle faster than the person to your right).
  3. Using a mobile telephone when cycling is authorized (it is not uncommon to see people texting with both hands while riding their bikes).
  4. The maximum blood alcohol level permitted when cycling is 0.5mg, however being stopped for cycling under the influence of alcohol does not lead to the suspension of driving license (I'm not sure if the same thing applies to pot or not).
  5. Approved lights at the front and back are compulsory at night and when visibility is reduced (I'm willing to bet that 97% of the people violate this rule as almost everyone is missing or has damaged lights on their bikes).
  6. Red lights in the bike lanes means stop (another rule broken by a majority of the people here). 

"Pull the bike over ma'am"........"Headquarters, she's fleeing.  Send backup."

The last rule seems to be the easiest rule to remember, right?  Well the following may or may not have been a text I received today:

       "In my tired state, I just want to get here (home), right?  So I decided to cross the 
       street on a red light bc no card (cars) were coming.  I did this in front of a cop on 
       a motorcycle.  I drove past him, he apparently was saying hello to me but I didn't 
       hear him.  I hear a beep, see he's coming for me and pull over"

This has me a little concerned.

      "He proceeds to say that the rules here are the same in the US and he is giving me a 
       ticket for running a red light!"

At this point I'm thinking, "I'm glad this wasn't me cause I would never hear the end of it."

       "He asks for passport-don't have it"
       "He asks for my ID-don't have that either bc it's on (in) my phone at home"

This doesn't sound like it is going to end well does it?  In fact in the U.S., this usually means someone is going to jail.

      "He asks why I did it, I told him I was exhausted."
      "I don't think he like that answer"
      "So he starts writing in on his pad.  I see '75' written on the paper but don't know if
       that's the fee or what."
      "He gets a call on his CB and then just takes off"
      "Doesn't give me the paper, doesn't say anything to me but hands me back my 
      insurance card bc that's all I had to give him with my name on it (not exactly
      an 'offical' form of ID)"
      "So, I may or may not have received a ticket.  On a bike.  As if my day couldn't
      get any worse"

Sounds like someone may have dodged a bullet.  Now the waiting game begins.  Will we see if we receive a ticket for running a red light while on a bike or not.  


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