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March 19, 2022

Masshole Cop


I never bicycled on Route 9 in Massachusetts, nor would I. There are plenty of parallel routes that are safer and much more pleasant for cycling. Neverethless, it is legal to ride on Route 9, and this guy does it all legally. Cop makes the stupid assertion that you can't ride a bicycle on state highways! I'd like to see them try to enforce that.

I recall one year when I was bicycling across New Jersey. I had done this before, but the way the land lies in NJ, there are no straight east-west routes from NYC to Delaware Water Gap except for I-80. Following the usual 2-lane roads that one would bicycle on requires you to angle north and then south as one moves west, expending a lot of time and calories that one would rather conserve. Then I discovered that a cyclist could get a permit from the New Jersey DOT to ride on the shoulder of I-80 between Delaware Water Gap and somewhere west of the George Washington Bridge. I don't recall exactly where that eastern cutoff was, but it made perfect sense because the interchanges further east from that point became too huge and complex for a cyclist to safely negotiate.

So I got that permit one year and got on I-80 west of the George Washington Bridge and had a great ride! To my surprise, it was nicer and felt safer than a lot of 2-lane roads I had ridden. There was less debris on the shoulder of I-80 than I would normally encounter on a 2-lane road; I could ride further away from the motor vehicle traffic on I-80; and the rumble strip separating the travel lanes from the shoulder meant I didn't have to keep a constant eye over my shoulder for idiot drivers who might try to pick me off.

Everything went fine for quite a while, until I heard a voice from out of nowhere. Looking around I saw that a NJ state trooper had stopped way over on the left shoulder of the westbound lanes and was using his loudspeaker to yell at me. I was impressed that it was loud enough so I could understand him, despite the three lanes of traffic between us. He told me to "go back down" the entrance ramp I had just passed. That would normally be a fairly dangerous action, since motorists coming up the entrance would not expect to come face to face with a wrong-way cyclist. So I walked my bike down the entrance ramp - and waited. I thought the cop would come to me to cite me or talk to me, but he never showed up. So I got back on I-80 and rode to the net exit, thinking he might be waiting there, but he was not. I decided to continue on all the way to Delaware Water Gap and never encountered another cop on the way.

Filed under Cycling | permalink | March 19, 2022 at 11:37 AM

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