Sunday, June 22, 2008

speed trap

It is common for the RPD to have motorcycle cops running RADAR on Spring Valley between Park and Oak. I don't have a real problem with that as long as the aim is to enhance public safety and not the RPD treasury. I'd rather have them catching narcissitic redlight runners, road ragers, and no-signal laneswervers, but that's a rant for another day.

My problem was that the (yummy) BMW bikes were parked on the sidewalk. Can I park my motorcycle on the sidewalk? Did they ask the homeowner if they could stand on his grass? If they were only on the easement grass between the sidewalk and street, does that require permission? If not, can the city ticket someone for not mowing that easement? It would be weird to have only responsibility for a strip a land but no control over its use. I am ignorant of these things.

A few years ago I was working a late-night shift and was driving home to Las Colinas on Loop 12 west of the tollway. As I crested the rise I saw a reflection; it was 2am and a DPD cruiser was sitting in the turn lane with no lights on. This, to me, represents a public hazard. Would a citizen be allowed to sit in the middle of the street at 2am with no lights on? Is this a generally-safe thing to do? Recommended in the drivers license test booklet?

Something similar had a not-unexpected outcome in Arlington a few years back when I was in graduate school. Cruiser sitting in the dark over a hill in a turn lane in the middle of the night. A drunk driver crested the hill and hit the cruiser. Public outcry was immediate: hero died nobly in the line of duty, etc. My reaction was somewhat different: public servant makes a citizen-endangering decision and it bites him in the ass.

Let me be clear: I was born in Richardson and have lived there on-and-off over the years. Every interaction I have had with the RPD has been professional, civil, and appropriate. So when razz them for doing something that would get a citizen ticketed (parking a motorcycle on the sidewalk) I am trying to make them better, not trying to beat them down. Flaunting the public rules makes citizens think the LEOs consider themselves above the law.

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