This morning I set out at 8:30AM for a hair appointment on the other side of town. Traffic was light and I found myself behind two motorcycles at a stop sign, awaiting traffic to clear to enter a divided highway. Although the speed limit is 55 on this divided highway, vehicles typically travel between 60-70MPH.
The first motorcycle found a hole in the traffic and took off, leaving me waiting now behind one motorcycle. Traffic was heavy for 8:30AM on a Saturday and it took awhile for traffic to clear. Finally, the motorcycle in front of me took off and I followed into the opening in the traffic flow. The motorcycle went right through the medium intersection and into the left lane. I tried to follow, but the motorcycle was not picking up speed. Conscious of fast moving traffic coming up behind me, I checked the right lane, saw it was open and crossed over into it and picked up speed, quickly reaching 60MPH while passing the motorcycle on the right while he was still struggling to pick up speed in the left lane.
Two seconds later, a police vehicle was on my tail, signaling me to pull over. The officer slowly and deliberately got out of his vehicle and strolled over to the passenger side of my car. I rolled down the passenger side window. His first words were, "You think BMW's don't have to follow the traffic rules like everyone else?" Then noting that I had South Carolina plates on my car, he also said, "What are you doing in Washington, we don't drive like that in here."
I asked him what I had done wrong. He asked for my drivers license and registration. He then went on a tirade, telling me how I had committed multiple infractions and wanting again to know what I was doing in this state and how long I would be here. I again asked about what I had done wrong. He finally says I followed the motorcycle into the intersection without stopping then cut over to the right lane to pass him. Before I had a time to respond, he took my documents back to his car.
He comes back a few minutes later with a $510 infraction for, "Negligent Driving." Again, he comments on my being from out of state and wants to know how long I will be here. I am evasive at this point, not knowing what else he is up to. In retrospect, it seems that he expects me to not show up to contest this ticket. I am sure "Negligent Driving" is worth a lot of brownie points back at the station. I am also certain that he will never afford to drive a BMW and I am being penalized for his own failures and station in life. This was personal.
I will lose more money in not trading on the court date then the ticket and an even doubling of my insurance premium would have cost me. I don't mind paying for traffic infractions, I've never contested one before, just sent in a check, guilty. But this one is different. I was singled out because I was from out of state and because I am driving an expensive vehicle.
I suspect the judge will be driving one too.