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Guilty ... as charged

Downtown Hallowell near the scene of my "crime."

Occasionally, even as an experienced cyclist, one is reminded that the "rules of the road" should be observed. For myself, on a recent bicycle ride, I fought the law and the law won.

Finishing up a 25-mile pedal, Scott and I were cruising along Hallowell's main drag. Per usual around noontime, the road was congested with traffic, made worse by the fact that a car was attempting a left-hand turn from the right lane.

The remedy to escape all this stop-and-go nonsense seemed quite obvious to me. Taking the lead, I slowly made our way forward, and when I reached the aforementioned vehicle I swung around its right side ... to a clear path of pavement.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, someone shouted, "Pull over!" Looking to my left, all I saw was the long arm — as it turned out — of the law pointing, and I meekly uttered, "Me?" His response was quick and stern: "Yes, you!" Not wanting to make the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, I pulled over at once and so did Scott ... guilty by association.

The Hallowell police officer, who happened to be on foot patrol, nailed us for going by that blessed stopped car. He pointed out there could have been pedestrians in the crosswalk. I had actually looked for them, but under the advice of counsel — and deciding not to push my luck — I kept quiet. Part of his admonishment included the message that we, looking like two very intelligent chaps, clearly knew right from wrong and that we had blown it on this particular occasion.

He was actually out searching for motorists using their cellphones while driving through town, but ended up "busting" two normally law-abiding bicyclists. Truth be told, I was more embarrassed than anything else by the whole episode. And I felt badly for my friend Scott, who was just following me. After saying I was sorry, the nice cop gave us a thumbs up — plus a smile — and sent us on our way.

Thanks for doing your duty, officer.

'Thought for the day'

"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel ... the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood." — Susan B. Anthony

From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)

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