If there has ever been an example of “do as I say, not as I do,” last night was it.
I am a man of following the rules of the road. They make the roads safer for cyclists and drivers. I always wear a helmet. I stop (or at least slow down) at stop signs. When riding at night, I use bright lights. I even use hand turn signals when other vehicles are on the road.
Last night, I let some of those rules slide.
DJ and I met up for the weekly Rebel Ride. Apparently we were the only two with the guts to ride in the cold. Since we had the luxury of picking whatever route we wanted, we really detoured and rode out to Cherry Valley. On our way back north, we reconnected with the Perryville Path, continuing the regular route. However, as it was getting late, DJ turned off at his home and I continued to ride home myself.
By this time (after midnight), I was extremely cold. My feet were frozen numb. My hands were in pain. Every time I stopped moving, I froze a little bit more. So it made perfect sense in my head when I rolled up to and through the stoplight at Roosevelt onto 251 in Machesney Park. I could see infinitely in every direction. The coast was clear.
I was heading south on 251 when I saw something I never thought I’d see. In my helmet rear view mirror, the red and blue lights started blinking. I kept riding for a second thinking the sheriff’s deputy was speeding past heading to a call. Nope. He paced with me.
When he got out of his car, he said “I appreciate you having these lights but you know you need to follow the rules of the road when you ride on them.” Yes. I knew. But I was cold!
He asked for my license I assume to check for warrants or something and then let me go.
Luckily I only hit green lights the rest of the way home.
So call me a hypocrite if you’d like but I encourage all cyclists to follow the rules of the road. If you’re cold like I was, cross through red lights at your own risk. And remember, I told you so.