The traffic cop screamed angrily at me, “Get your bike off the street!”

I had stopped at the middle of an intersection trying to make a left like a car in Manhattan as oncoming traffic streamed to my left and cars in my direction passed on my right.  How I was supposed to get my bike off the street safely with cars moving on either side of me, I had no clue.  I look back at the cop and said simply, “I’m just trying to make a left turn.”  The traffic cop just glared back at me with contempt and fury.

Logically, I had no safe way to immediately comply with the cop’s demand until there was a gap in the oncoming traffic where I could take the left safely.  So it wasn’t actually a reasonable and actionable demand, but rather the underlying meaning of the cop’s words was an assertion that I as a bicyclist do not belong in the street. Continue reading