Thursday, August 23, 2012

Arguing with cops gives me heart palpitations


The “no excuses” runner would say that initial signs that you’re going to have a bad run are a chicken or egg situation.  Usually nothing BAD happens, it is just the thought of having a bad run screws yourself out of a good one.  Either way, when I woke up to rain in the middle of the Phoenix desert, I knew that nothing good could come of today’s run.

I had originally planned to do 12 miles with 8 miles of 6:30 pace tempo. It would have been an intense tempo run for sure. It is one of those that at the end you either feel very accomplished....or you finish up the conversation that you’re having with your dead grandmother who is floating 4 feet off the ground in front of you.  Unfortunately, this morning one thing led to another because of some work I had to do before the run and a very firm deadline to get back by and I could only do 10.

Got a few leaks under the hood too!
The run started out fine.  The POURING rain had stopped completely, it was cool, and I was warming up quite nicely for the tempo miles. But, whenever I tried to speed up, my stomach rumbled. It’s a lot like being in a rental car that has taken one too many corners on two wheels – you punch the gas and the car feels like it is about to come apart.  In fact, it was exactly like that – only it was my insides that were tearing apart.  Well, I attempted to speed up a number of times and eventually found myself in the McDonalds bathroom losing some unneeded weight.  I really love that McDonalds.

It was during my pit stop in the bathroom that I decided to totally abandon the tempo and just slog through the miles.  I did a pretty good job of that (read: they sucked.....a lot) but was essentially getting through them.  That was, until the last stoplight before I go into my neighborhood.  The light had JUST turned green but the “crosswalk button” hadn’t been pushed so it was still showing the red “don’t walk” hand.  There were no turn lights on so the traffic was essentially free to go through the intersection – as well as the runners.  Or so I thought.

So, I start to cross into the crosswalk and a cop turning left about hits me! I raise my hands about chest high doing the international “What the HELL are you doing, buddy?” motion when he stopped and told me that “the sign says don’t walk”.  Since I’ve never been good with words, here is what I am talking about:

Of course, I used my likeness, George Clooney to represent me. It's like looking in the mirror.

While I was still on the road, I reminded the cop that the light was green and that it meant that I could cross.  Unfortunately, this provoked him into fully rolling down his passenger window and stopping.  Oppsies.  He then tells me that I needed to wait until the “walk” sign was lit to which I rudely snapped back at him kindly reminded him that pedestrians have the right of way.  We went back and forth a few other times, exchanging cookie recipes and telling each other that we smelled nice. It was lovely.  Unfortunately, I was already running late and he was starting to use that “I’m your parent and ‘BECAUSE I TOLD YOU SO’ is an acceptable answer” tone so I finally just said “FINE”, turned around, and smacked the “crosswalk button” a few times with an angry scowel on my face.

After having smacked the “crosswalk button” a few more times, I stood there looking pissed for a while.  I did eventually get running again and was quickly greeted by chest pains and heart palpitations.  That freaking cop was going to kill me – literally! I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure that he was using some sort of mind taser on my heart.  Unfortunately, I had to get home ASAP so I could only stop long enough to make sure that I still had feeling in my hands (I did) and that I wasn’t seeing spots (I wasn’t – at least not too many).

Okay seriously - am I in the wrong here?  I’ll admit that I jaywalk ALL the time when the light is red, not in cross walks, etc but I really think that I was in the right on this one.  Was I?

Of course, totally unrelated... On my todo list is to set up a full day “traffic school” because I got my picture taken going through a light that had turned red too fast.  This was my first ticket in 15 years!

 

33 comments:

Gene Soboleski said...

Best use of MSPaint EVER.

Chelsea said...

Yeah, you would get a ticket for jaywalking here for that. You can only walk with full walk sign. If you enter crosswalk when blinking DONT WALK or full DONT WALK sign then TICKET.

Cathy said...

Personally I think you were in the right. I think the cop had a reaction to almost hitting you, he got scared and then blamed you for being wrong and he probably got mad at you for pointing out that he was in the wrong. However, I don't know all traffic/pedestrian laws.

Patty T said...

I agree with Cathy. I think you were in the right and the cop was just mad for being called out for not yielding the right of way to the pedestrian. If that happened to me, I probably would have ended up in jail for dropping an f-bomb at the cop. :)

Nelly said...

Hilarious ms paint pic, lol

You said the light was green for you going straight, that means that the cop was likely taking a red light while turning left. Why didn't he admit this? He was probably trying to nail you for something to deflect attention away from him making a mistake.

By the letter of the law technically the cop is right about not being able to walk without having a walk signal - but cmon on. The cop sounded ornery and ridiculous.

Amber said...

It depends on the light. Is his light a solid green circle meaning that his turning lane must yield.. to people from the opposite direction going straight, making a right hand turn or pedestrians.

OR is his light a green with an arrow. Meaning his turn is protected and he yields to nobody. (the cross walk would not light up.)

If the first case happened and you nor anyone else pressed the button you SHOULD still be okay to walk. The walk/no walk gives you ample time to cross an intersection. If you cross the street as a vehicle or cyclist (like you did) you may not have enough time to cross the intersection.

He shouldn't have almost hit you regardless of the walk/no walk especially seeing as he is a peace officer.

Adam Ricklefs said...

Amber - The turn lights weren't activated. It was just straight up green both in his direction and "mine"! Annoying!

Layla said...

If the crosswalk has pedestrian controls, the pedestrian must obey them at all times. If the crosswalk does not have pedestrian controls, then pedestrians have the right of way.

(Excellent Paint usage, by the way.)

Lisa said...

I think it varies by state, but pedestrians do not always have right of way. If there are cross walk signals,peds must follow those. It is not okay to cross with the green light in that case.

Erika said...

Jeez boring runner! Either way be careful! A pedestrian cannot win against a car! And no need for heart palps over this!

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

I don't know AZ laws specifically, but here you would be legally jaywalking. Probably there, too.

You're lucky you didn't get a ticket.

Robyn Clevenger said...

I'm on your side. I had an incident kind of like this except it was in our quiet neighborhood with no lights. It wasn't a cop but when the lady tried to turn into me she blasted her horn at me to which I promptly flipped her off as I had the right of way. She had no business honking at me! Apparently she didn't like my friendly gesture back and pulled up along side me, rolled down her window and called me a f'ing dipsh!t. I gave her both fingers then. Felt a little bad when I realized she had kids in her back seat but she was being such a stellar role model for them already...that 'easy' run turne into a much faster run than planned!

Joe Guinn said...

That's why you should always run AGAINST TRAFIC

Gracie said...

Depends on if the cop had a green arrow...but my personal belief is that pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way. I don't know the laws in your state, however.
In New Orleans you might have the right of way but it doesn't matter, the cars are going to run right over you anyway.

Kayla Moothart said...

I do what you did alllllllll the time.. but I am pretty sure it is not the "legal" thing to do. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

From what I remember from Arizona traffic class:

The cop MUST YIELD to pedestrians.

The pedestrian MUST WAIT for the green light.

So in that case, it's hard to guess what the courts would actually decide. Not being a lawyer, my best guess is that the court would find fault with the cop, and I'm guessing that because the cop didn't give you a ticket because he knew he was in the wrong.

Sue's Ramblings said...

I would probably wait for the "Walk" sign to come one but then again, I'm in Malaysia where about anything with pedestrains, crossings, overhead bridges, cars etc goes...ie no rules! Or sort of loosely translated, depending on whose side you're on.

Yo Momma Runs said...

A cop plowed into our friend riding a bike under the same circumstance. Cop was turning, he was going straight. Two leg casts later, and he will tell you that not all cops are great drivers.

I would agree with you on this one. You had the right of way.

lizforaday said...

Well Mr. Cloney, :) I think you were right. Seriously what was the big deal, especially since the traffic was clear. I am totally on your side. By the way, I hope you are feeling better.

Running Through Phoenix said...

Enough about the run already. Tell us more about the Police Officer!! Did you get his name? When are you going to bake cookies together you little flirt!?!??

Rob Yamry said...

This is why you need to run in the country.

btw, you were in the right. Cop isnt a runner.

Runners Fuel said...

I do that all the time. If the light won't tell me to walk, I go anyways, when the traffic light turns green. Stupid cop.

Brian said...

The runner is always right....

Thomas said...

I'm sorry to say, I think the cop is correct on this one. While pedestrians have the right of way, that is while they are in the crosswalk and have crossed legally. You're certainly into "grey area," where a case could be made either way...but I think you're wrong on this one.

Chad Chisholm said...

Sorry, but you were in the wrong.
"If the detector is not used, the pedestrian indication remains at steady DON'T WALK, and the green time given by the vehicular signal is not always sufficient to permit a pedestrian to completely cross the roadway. When pedestrians do cross under these conditions, they are not only disregarding the traffic signal indications, and are violating Arizona Revised Statute 28-646..."

Complete discussion:
http://www.azdot.gov/highways/traffic/Pedsig.asp

Michael said...

I have nothing but the utmost respect (and a bit of awe) for all of you who obey the traffic laws while out on a run. As I run through my neighborhood, I absolutely run AGAINST traffic and watch everyone as if they are out to kill me. However, I NEVER stop at a stop sign...doesn't even occur to me.

Although I don't cross the busier streets all the time, I do it often enough, and if I can make the crossing I go for it no matter what color the light is.

I suppose I live quite a bit more dangerously than most....then again most of my running is in the wee hours of the morning with a LOT less traffic.

Chicken said...

It's possible that was the same cop that tried to arrest me while I was in Phoenix for Spring Training! He rolled down his window and said "I wouldn't walk across the street right now if I were you, I just gave a guy a ticket this morning for crossing while there was a blinking hand"! He was a real dickhead, but the white guy walker sign doesn't stay up long enough to get across the street. Jay walking is never enforced in Albuquerque, so we're pretty lucky here!

ChemE Runner said...

Totally agree with Michael, I cross intersections when it is safe regardless of light color. My runs would take significantly (and intolerably) longer if I waited at every intersection with a light, regardless of traffic. This might make me a bad person, but it is unlikely to ever change.

I often run in the road as well (Austin, TX lacks sidewalks in most places), and when I must run in the road and it is a fairly busy area, I feel it is safer to follow the rules of a cyclist, not pedestrian (e.g. light green I cross, light red I wait).

I wish more drivers used a defensive approach, instead of an offensive one. Specifically, with left turns, it is so important to always be looking for cross traffic, even if you think you have the right of way! If you smash up your car or hit a pedestrian, having the "right of way" is little consolation. Whenever I drive, I make an extra effort to be calm, defensive, aware and never lose my cool.

Great post btw!

runninghaiku.net said...

In my experience, it almost doesn't matter. I was once in a similar situation but I waited for the walk light to signal. When I had the go to cross, I stepped out and that's when I got nailed and kissed the windshield of the car making a left turn who failed to "yield to a pedestrian." I later learned that that's when most car/pedestrian accidents happen because people take for granted cars will stop or yield. So, screw lights. Just look for cars and blind drivers like your cop and the ahole who hit me.

Pam said...

I sure am glad I live in a town with no traffic lights. This shit is confusing!

{lifeasa}RunningMom said...

Okay, I would say you could have gone since you were going in the way of traffic according to a traffic light. Isn't that the rule a cyclist would follow too? Anyhow, our cop was turning left and could have very well have had one of our greens here where both sides getting to go straight and lefties need to try to not get hit or hit. Therefore, our cop should have been watching for you.....and you technically have the right of way as soon as you step in the street. I mean really, if a car hit a person would they NOT get a ticket since the person shouldn't have been there? Don't think so....gotta watch the peeps!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

dddaaayyuum you go boy!! I would like to think that I wouldn't have mouthed off, but the truth is when I'm running well yeah I get this kind of I'm super woman thing and I've totally slapped cars before when they almost hit me...talk about giving someone a heart attack

Clarinda @ Enjoying the Course said...

At first, I was going to say, "Just about anywhere else, you'd be fine, but AZ is kinda messed up. lol."

But after reading through a few of the other comments, I occurs to me that this would be sited as jaywalking in other areas, too.

Personally, I think you're totally in the right - considering he had a solid green, meaning he should be yielding to any oncoming (vehicular or otherwise).