Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Police State

As I write this, I am of two minds about publishing it. It is a true story, but it comes with consequences (as all stories do). There are those who will think it is a "bicycle story", and tangentially, it is. Mostly, though, it is a statement on how things in American cities are very on the edge these days.

Last Saturday, ironically, just 30 minutes after writing and posting this, I had a very frightening encounter while riding on Valencia St. with my husband and older son. The sun was shining and the street was lined with pedestrians and cyclists despite the massive construction along the street that has eaten up both the sidewalks and the bike lanes. The three of us were headed to pick up my son's new contact lenses. As we approached the intersection at 17th St. I found myself being cut off by a driver turning right, no signal. I was in that weird place where you can't stop but you are still behind the car, so I rang my bell a couple of times and gave a shout out. The driver slowed the car but kept moving, slowly enough for me to pass but fast enough to be nerve rattling. The windows were down on the car and I could see the driver and his two passengers looking out at me. They were paying so much attention to me, I was worried they didn't see James and Cameron behind me, so I told the driver there were two more bikes behind me and kept riding. I could hear the driver yell something at me in an angry voice. It sounded like he called me a bitch but I couldn't really hear him.

At this point I did something kind of dumb, I flipped him off. This wasn't the most intelligent thing, but at some point you just get sick of being called names for not wanting to be run over.

I was about to look back to see where the boys were when I heard a big bore engine gun behind me and my first thought was "OK. You're one of those drivers." and I braced myself for whatever was coming next. The part of Valencia St. we were on no longer has a bike lane (temporary) and instead has a ditch with sharp gravel in it. In a situation like this, I find parked cars a great boon as you can dive between them to get out of the way, but there was nowhere to go so I would have to just be ready.

The car raced up next to me, just a little too close for comfort, to force me to slow down. I kept moving but he paced me. The driver leaned over his passenger and said "Shut your fucking mouth bitch or I'll knock you off your bike". He didn't yell it at me, he just stated it like there was no way it could be any other way, straight to my face. My nature is to not show fear, especially with people like this- I have found it makes them more bold. I looked right back at him ( I started taking note of all the details- the driver, the passenger in the back, the colour of the car....) and asked him if he would like me to call the police to report his harassing me? I got another "shut up bitch" and he started to drive away, slowly to see if I would try to pass him.

At that point I was just annoyed- I shouldn't have flipped him off, but he shouldn't have done any of the things he had done (I realized at this point that his almost right hooking me was not an accident). Then I saw what turned the whole thing very frightening- the car was an unmarked San Francisco Police car. Red and amber lights were in the rear window along with what looked like a police citation book.

I was completely floored. I had just been threatened and intimidated by a police officer. His partners in the car had done nothing to stop him. To top it off, this all happened not 100 feet from the Mission Police Station (which I turned around and went straight into to file a report which is now with the Office Of Citizen Complaints). The worst part was that from behind, both James and Cameron thought I was about to be run down in front of them (James pulled out his cell phone to start taking pictures). That was when I started shaking, just a little but for the next three hours.

This by no means puts me off of riding or makes me distrust all police officers . While this officer may have a special thing for cyclists, his issue was not with me, or me on a bike, or anything even remotely that personal. This is about one person's need to prove his power over the world around him and intimidate everyone and everything that comes close to him. My bicycle probably is more of a target for him than if I had been on foot, but he would be just as hateful and mean regardless.

Had he done this to many other cyclists, and my guess is he has on many occasions, they would probably stop riding. While I understand that, what I hope people understand is that this kind of behavior has nothing to do with bike lanes, or the need for infrastructure, or a lack of bicycle culture and points more to something deeper and more insidious that is happening in our cities. People are finding it more and more acceptable to behave poorly or as though they are in a movie.

I will not stop riding. It would take a hell of a lot more than this to stop me. I will not let this situation pass without making this officer face me and tell me why he thinks it is OK to threaten a women with bodily harm in front of her family. I will fight back so that no one else has to deal with this.

Maybe working for real bicycle culture is about working for a better culture period. Maybe the people who ride bicycles are something of a canary in a coal mine and how we are treated is a barometer for how all vulnerable members of society are being treated these days. Of course, with all of the people out there trying to build that culture, there is way more to be happy about than intimidated or angry. We have a voice and we can use it.

We can ride our bikes.

update- this story has been picked up by Streetsblog SF and NBC to air at 11 pm this evening.


  1. GF - sorry this happened. I have been intimidated and threatened by an SFPD officer before. I filed a complaint with the OCC and the officer in question was investigated and found not guilty. However, a year later, a private investigator contacted me as the same police officer threatened another civilian in an almost identical manner. The officer in question was brought to court and would be charged and reprimanded. Justice was (hopefully) done. It pays to go through the bureaucratic steps sometimes, even if the repercussions are not immediate. Bring that police officer down. They are law enforcers, keepers of the peace, etc. We pay their salaries. They have no right to treat San Franciscans that way.

  2. I am so sorry that you, and your family, had to go through this. And you are right - ultimately it is one person trying to assert their control/power over another.

    I don't get it.

    After being doored over last summer, I was thinking, "ok, that's just one incident, I'll try not to let this happen again; be safe and be more aware." It was two weeks later, and back on the bike, and some woman on Steiner kicked her door open. I told her to watch it, and she made sure to tell me to "watch it" in the sort of attitude that people get when they feel entitled.

    It took all 6'2" of me to get off the bike, walk back to this lady, and gently explain to her that this black eye was from someone just like her, who was just as careless. And because of their carelessness, they are paying for my medical bills and lawyer fees.

    I'm really sad to say that I haven't ridden since. I think Tour de Fat was the last time...and I've just been too afraid to get back in the saddle (pardon the pun). I feel just so intimidated by cars/people in them/etc. to even ride these days.

    Thank you, for fighting back.

  3. wow... this is a frightening story indeed; and I am sorry for anyone to have to have dealt with it!!

    Thankfully, though there are those officers that act like the one you encountered, not all of them are like that... it is good that you reported the incident, and I completely agree that it probably has nothing to do with you being a cyclist and everything with him being an ego driven, body-cenrtic, power-drunk punk giving real duty-minded officers a bad name.

    Ride safe and I prey that this is the LAST time you ever have to deal with something like this.

  4. thank you for sharing this story. i am so frustrated it happened at all. but i also think you did the right thing to report it. assholes come in allllll walks of life, as you know. but so do people who are not easily you.

    i'm so glad that james and cameron were there, even though it must have been scary for them to see. big strong internet hugs to all of you. --CTX.

  5. Kimberly- Black eyes suck. I hope you find a way back to your bike. You should come ride with us! Group riding provides for a greater sense of security and maybe it would help you back on the beast : )

    Right after this happened I considered riding home by a different route in case he was still around, but I decided to stay on Valencia. I ride there almost every day and I will not be frightened off of the bikiest street in SF!

    Astroluc- It is a shame that people like this guy give other officers a bad name. I will say this though, there were 2 other plain clothes cops in that car with him and they did nothing. If the SFPD wants a better rep, they are going to have to start cleaning up from the inside.

    KT- I think it is safe to say that we are the wrong women to try and intimidate : )

    Cali- : ))))

  6. Maybe it's just me getting old, but I find the quality of policemen has declined in recent years. I tend now to regard them as little more than failed nightclub bouncers in uniform. The recent Counter Terrorism Act here in the UK seems to have given some of them the opportunity to behave like complete bullies. The old image of the kindly but firm British Bobby is long dead. Sadly. It's up to us to stand up to the bullies. Like you did. Because the only way to police a community is by that community's consent.

  7. Sorry this happened. What a drag.

    Thanks for talking about it though...these things need to be aired out.

    In the extremely unliockely chance that the officer involved ever reads this I would just like to say to him: "Man up dude, and apologize to this lady. Don't be a pussy; it's never too late to do the right thing." (this also goes for the other two officers who didn't have the good sense to reign their buddy in).

    Keep smiling, Adrienne.

  8. The fact that you say it is the Bikiest Street in San Francisco and that the Cop Shop is also on it tells us something. That this Copper has to Interact with Cyclists every Day and basically seems to hate anyone on a Bike. He does not want to Respect other Peoples right to Travel on the Road,he seems to have a Power Complex a need to Dominate.

    Put People in an Official Uniform and some of them the Power goes to their Head like this individual.

    I would advocate before any Person gets a Licence to Drive they should be given Bicycle and Pedestrian Training for two or three Weeks to see what it is like on the other side of the Coin.

    It is horrible to have something like that happen to you it really shakes you up.

    It looks like the Clique was working in that Car, we all stand together and tell no Tales about each other.

    People like this Person should be Rooted out of the Police,there should be no place for Bullies like this.
    It looks like he has done this sort of thing before and hopefully a File is gradually Building on the Complaints from People he has Abused and he wont get away with it.

    I hope this dose not upset you to much and you can continue to Cycle the Streets of SF Happily with not a care in the World, Happy Trails.

  9. good on ya for filing the report!! it's a well documented phenomenon that power turns some people abusive. this is just a fact of live in civil security and military units. you're doing your critical part as a citizen to identify and help rid the police department of these people.

    keep us posted on how it all works out...?

  10. I think you should file a complaint against that officer. Having a badge does not give someone license to be a bully or to create a dangerous situation.

    I'm glad you wrote about this. I know that writing publicly has consequences. I would have used the officer's name. Seriously, what happened is not the way people (who we pay via taxes) should behave. They are supposed to be role models.

  11. after 20 years of commuting daily, riding with groups in lycra, riding with family, etc., I've never had a frightening experience. On sections of road like the one you describe, riding at family pace, I would be tempted to take the footpath, or perhaps thing ahead and take another route.
    Confucius say: "He how gnaws at tiger's tail, invite destruction"
    I'm sure that wont go down well:)

  12. Adrienne, I was so sorry to read you report about someone who clealry has 'issues'. You did the right thing reporting him; to protect yourself and future cyclists: his attitude has no place on the roads of a civilized society and as such reporting him was absolutely the right thing to do.

    Everytime I read your reports of you cycling with your family and small ones in America I think that there is hope for the future of mass cycling in the Western World: I hope this sad and needless incident won't put you off continuing to work towards that goal.

    Thanks for sharing it, and I hope you don't have the fear whilst cycling now, and continue to love your two-wheeled adventures.

    All the very best from London,


  13. I remember a police officer friend telling me that he didn't give tickets to drivers with children in the car because he knew that if he did, the driver would subsequently curse out the officer to his or her children, and that this would diminish the respect that the children (i.e., future generations) would have for police officers. Your story is like the exact opposite. Thanks for telling it.

  14. Wow, that's crazy. The kind of thing you think only happens in films, right? In a sense, I feel a bit sorry for the guy, I can't imagine what it would be like to live life feeling like you had to prove yourself that way. There are some pretty wacked out people in this world. I'm sorry he had to choose you to assert his wounded masculinity on.

    I just posted on Portlandize about coming at issues from a strictly bicycling persepctive, and I think this is another case where looking at it as simply a cycling issue would be extremely detrimental.

    Most of the issues that face cycling in America also apply to many other things - safe neighborhoods, streets where children can play, fair and equitable treatment under the law, etc. By making them "cycling" issues, we just make them look like special interest concerns, and we make it much harder for the population in general to take them seriously.

  15. That experience sucks. I have basic problems with authority myself, I can only imagine the emotional turmoil this incident created for you.
    It's so good that you reported this, as someone said, there will not likely be immediate results, but things will accumulate.
    In Pittsburgh we had an officer who had abused different women and girlfriends over the course of years, and reports to the Citizens Review Board eventually added up to demonstrate that this was an obvious pattern, and he got canned.
    Hopefully eventually departments will realize that by sheilding their most despicable members, they are damaging the credibility of their entire occupation.

  16. Tpolice should never use their authority to bully like that, but unfortunately it happens too often.

  17. It is very sad that you had to deal with this. It is bad enough when regular drivers treat cyclists like rolling targets but to have a cop do it is just ridiculous and wrong. That cop should lose his job because he's obviously a cop not because he wants to protect and serve but because he wants to exercise his authority over others.

    Glad that his actions aren't going to dissuade you from biking!

  18. Truly a lousy circumstance, but possibly some good can come of it. As noted, this sort of behavior is far too common. It even happens in Amsterdam: Keep fighting the good fight, and know that we are with you. Val

  19. I have had a similar expirence with an SFPD officer. I was riding my bike down San Jose Ave. The bike lane on San Jose Ave is briefly disconnected at Brook Street, so as a rider I have to ride in the street momentarily until I am natuarlly connected to the bike lane again. I would say this is about 15ft of unmarked pavement. I was riding in this very section when I get the distinct feeling of a car right behind me, i mean right behind me, like if i had to brake quickly this car would run me over. My feeling is quickly backed up by a rev of an engine as it quickly saddles up next to me, pushing me towards the curb. This car was an SFPD police car. As I tried to stay upright, the driver yelled at me to, "stay in the bike lane, do you want to get killed?" I responded that I was in the bike lane, his respose to that was to quickly swerve into me then speed away. I quickly noted his police car number then pulled over to call the Mission Police station. I was helped out quickly and even given the option to have a mediation with the offending police officer shoul dhe agree to participate. The situation was never resolved for various reasons. I'm sad to say that I have alos had a similar exipirnce that left me shaken and even more distrusting of the SFPD.

  20. I think you hit the nail on the head here:

    "Maybe the people who ride bicycles are something of a canary in a coal mine and how we are treated is a barometer for how all vulnerable members of society are being treated these days."

    It's not just a disregard of safety on the roads and a neglect of justice when someone is hurt or killed by car, it's a running theme throughout our culture that puts power and short term profits above health and happiness. Wherever you look it's the same. Climate change, health care, wars of occupation, toxic pollution, privatization. This system is actively hostile against life, and that is not going to change at the ballot box or by changing policy. The roots of these problems are institutional and any solution also needs to be on an institutional level.

    Once I thought it was enough to just ride a bike and be a member- even work for- the SFBC, but now I realize more is required to create a sane society.

    The Declaration of Independence said:

    "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness), it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

    If there was any lingering doubts that the governments of the west have neglected their responsibility to keep us safe, then what happened in Copenhagen in December should put those doubts to rest.

    If we want safe streets where those sworn to protect us don't intimidate and attack us, we're going to need to build that world ourselves rather than "asking" someone else to do it for us.

  21. Very disturbing.

    You should suggest, as a punishment for the officer, that he go on duty ON A BICYCLE for a few weeks to get a 'feel' for the atmosphere out there!

    We have police on bicycles here in Australia. I think it helps to have not just police officers who happen to cycle but police officers actually cycling on the job. Unfortunately they seem to like cracking down on cyclists without helmets... sigh...

    Cheers and happy cycling from Australia!

    Paul Martin
    Brisbane, Australia

  22. i like the idea of putting the officer in question on a bike too. hmmm.

  23. I was asked by the investigator at OCC what I wanted to happen with this, I told them I thought that he needed to spend some time in uniform so that he could no longer be anonymous. While I love the idea of him learning about the way things are for cyclists, I hesitate to use cycling as a punishment to teach him a lesson. I am fairly sure he would see it as punishment and not learning opportunity.

  24. Adrienne- I am a local reporter interested in your experience with SFPD. Can you call me or send me contact info?

  25. I hope you bring some good out of this bad scene. I love your last paragraph - better culture not just a bike culture. You said it well. Keep saying it.

  26. What an awful experience.

    What a waste of time and energy on the part of of a "peace ofiicer" who's salary comes from local taxes.

    Bravo to you, Adrienne, for making a commitment to staying in the saddle. That cop just needs to be commited.

    Also, don't police cars have dash cams? With microphones? My guess is this whole incedent was recorded digitally. If anybody knows more about this, please chime in.

  27. Well, everyone, thank you for the comments!

    First, let me say that I am still riding and nothing short of paralysis would make me stop. I have one helluva Irish temper with more than a little slow, Scottish burn. Mix that with an English propensity to being very polite when faced with idiocy and you get quite the combo for dealing with just this type of thing : )

    Second, many different news organizations are taking interest in this story, so I think there will be movement on it by those who need to do so.

    Third, and most important- if this kind of thing has happened to you, speak up! File reports, call your local bicycle advocacy organization, blog about it... it makes a difference!

  28. Wow, my rose-colored glasses about biking in SF are coming apart fast--I had a somewhat similar experience on Valencia a couple of weeks ago. There was a car parked in the bike lane during the evening commute time, and after watching the kid in front of me blithely cut into traffic to go around it, I smacked my hand loudly on the side as I went around, frustrated. This enraged the driver, who honked, and sped up to catch me at the red light to yell out the window about how he could fucking kill me, etc. Hard not to look scared.

    Anyway, he moved, which was what I wanted...

  29. thank you for writing this, and following through.

  30. So glad you wrote this. What happened to you is completely non-excusable, especially considering the person was a police officer! It makes me sick.

  31. The fact is, most police officers are sociopaths. After reading this for even one week, you'll see it for your self:

  32. Sadly, this type of experience is common on Valencia street. I have had (marked) police vehicles ride my tail, dangerously pass me, and drive at erratic speeds while I was biking on that section.

  33. Hey Adrienne,You're gutsy, eloquent, right, and inspirational. Keep fighting the good fight, the bike people are all behind you. This could be the start of a police reform effort like LA is having.

  34. My God, Adrienne, I just read this and am horrified. I am so sorry this happened to you.

  35. Adrienne,

    So sorry to hear about this. Good for you for following up and demanding accountability. Best of luck navigating through the process.

    All the best-

  36. Anon 10:52- It is always a toss up when you leave the house, bike or no. My Granddad used to say "It's amazing what you see when you leave your house without your gun" : ) May I suggest a less physical approach to the double parkers who park under the "No Stopping In Bike Lane" sign? I use my Crane Bell liberally. That thing can really crank out some sound and they know exactly for whom the bell tolls : )

    localbiker- Have you filed a complaint? If you do not have a specific incident to complain about, you can lodge a complaint through 311 about general conditions. It all goes into the official record and those complaints add up and make a difference. I will admit it is a frustrating slow way of doing things, but it is the way we have in front of us.

    Sam- I wished, for once : ), that SF was more like LA when that story came out. One can hope!

    Kit & Alan- It will be interesting to see where this takes us all. With the scandals at the drug lab and the brewhawhaw with the Islamic community I fear we will be pushed to the side once more. I will work hard for that to not be so, but we shall see!

  37. I Tweeted this with the comment that the closest I've ever been passed by a car while biking was by a local police cruiser. On a four lane road no less. It's scary that the people who are supposed to serve and protect use intimidation to scare people from doing perfectly legal things they personally don't like.

  38. Adrienne, I'm so sorry you had that experience and agree the incident had nothing to do with you personally or bicycles. This officer may very well behave this way whenever he feels inconvenienced and challenged. It's frustrating when we encounter people like this regardless of their job but especially so when they are in positions of power. I've worked with a lot of cops in both my careers and found that most of them find behavior like from their fellow officers highly enbarrassing and unprofessional. Filing a report a report is a risk but I am certain this guy has coworkers who are glad you did.

  39. That really sucks!
    Good on you for reporting him. I agree totally with the idea that while advocating for cyclist rights we must find ourselves advocating for respectful treatment of all (Of course even amongst cycling advocates there are those who don't care much for the rights of others...)
    I believe maritime law favours wind powered yachts (sail boats) over motorized small craft.
    Give way to the vulnerable, respect human life etc...

    I've read some cycling books from the 1930s or 40s that talk about Roadmanship as a kind of code of ethics for road users that, once upon a time people would pride them selves for having.

    Somewhere along the way we've changed.

  40. I think the worst possible thing we as cyclists can do is to lash out at motorists. YES, they cut us off, fail to signal, speed by way too closely, and open their car doors in our face. And yes, sometimes we are so angry we can't help it.

    But flipping them off, smacking a window, hitting the trunk, or slamming a u-lock into their windshield (it's happened) won't make them care that they've put you in danger. It may startle or even scare them, but they will most likely think you and other cyclists are jerks with a bad tempers, and in turn feel they're the victim because you disrespected their property.

    If the driver you're dealing is just careless and not aggressive, I've found it can be effective to look them in the eye and tell them what they've done to put you in danger. I think it's good to let them know they've scared you. If the car's window is down and you're not in a big hurry, take a moment to look at the driver and say, 'hey, be careful!' or 'you cut me off, use your signal'. Or, to whoever opened their door in your path, 'I can't stop that fast, please try to look next time'. Not aggressively, but firmly, and nicely, if you can. Express your frustration without getting angry. (But if they're aggressive, just get out of the way and let it go)

    Although there's definitely not always time for this, letting a motorist see your face definitely help them to view cyclists as people and not just two wheels that are in their way.

    I've been cycling in SF every day for 4 years, and I'm not saying I haven't lost my temper or flipped off a motorist. I have gotten a lot of apologies by handling things like this.

  41. Reading the comments here it seems most people haven't encountered the SFPD much! I've been hassled by cops in SF a couple times while on my bike. I was arrested during the anti war protests..caught up in a sweep and wasn't even a protestor...the cops threw my bike into the air for the hell of it. I was chanrged and all the charges later dropped, but they are still on my (only) arrest record.

    Another time, when I WAS protesting I had a cop wave a shotgun at me and others. I filed a formal complaint to the Office of Citizens Complaints and they said it was "normal" police work. I think the OCC is a complete joke, in league with the SFPD.

  42. Nothing wrong with flipping him off. Freaky story.

  43. Make sure you bring your picture with you to OCC. And print out your blog where you admit "the sidewalk and Bikelane were eaten up by construction". Because you see when there is no bike lane "YOU ARE REQUIRED TO FOLLOW THE SAME LAWS AS ALL AUTOMOBILES ON THE ROAD".So you are not allowed to PASS ON THE RIGHT, which is what you were doing when you claimed the Officers CUT YOU OFF. If you were in an accident it would have been your fault. Not to many ladies flip people off but I guess you already know that. The Cops in the Mission have to protect us and they do a GREAT job. But now another cop has to waste his time defending himself against a BS complaint. Because as you told the reporter for SFGate you said "I think I heard him call me a B*tch". But I guess your Blog would not be as interesting if you told the truth. This was all your fault!

  44. Oh and what do you think is worst what the Cops allegedly did or what you did. Good move lady teaching your son that even when you are in the wrong, start a confrontation and flip people off. Good parenting ..."My Mommy showed me how to flip people off".... Class act lady!!!

  45. Mike- Aside from the fact that I was in a bike line and right next to the car when the Officer decided to turn into me means that I was not breaking a law.

    This is irrelevant. No officer is allowed to threaten or intimidate a citizen in any situation. I will not debate this point.

    I will not debate my parenting.

    I will not allow rude, abusive or LOUD discourse on this blog. Please feel free to disagree with me, but do so calmly and politely. If you wish to do otherwise, I direct you to SF Gate where the Chronicle allows people to say all kinds of horrid things about me freely.

    We keep posting here open so that others can speak to one another without delay, but I will delete any comments that are abusive. Period.

    Keep riding!

  46. Oh I'm so sorry if the truth hurts!
    1) Not wearing a helmet (again poor example)
    2) Do not start confrontations (actually it was a good thing these were allegedly cops)
    3) Flipping of people in front of a child, with all the gang problems going on in the Mission,I hope your son doesn’t do the same with the wrong person one day.
    4) Passing on the right “Illegal” bike must follow all the rules of the road
    5) Posting a blog on the internet “Free” …..censoring comments of opposing views “Priceless”
    6) As for you facing the Cop, that will only happen if you and the Officer agree to an OCC arbitration otherwise it will be out of your control and left up to the OCC investigators.
    7) Re: SFGate it would appear no one agrees with you, but I guess you can’t intimidate and censor them can you!
    8) (Feel free to delete my comments) you might as well have told me “To shut up or I’ll knock you off my Blog”…. I will not stop posting it will take a hell of a lot more then this to shut me up. Being a Bike Messenger "I know we break the law but I don't blam the Cops"

  47. I'm shocked that a Mother would act like this. I have three children and I would never want them to think it's OK to violate the law and then use abusive language and flip someone off especially a Cop. The Father is just as bad using his cell phone while riding "isn't that illegal". Thank you for wasting my Tax dollars you should be ashammed of yourself.

  48. Again, polite disagreement is welcome here at the blog. People have varying opinions about all subjects. Insulting/abusive/targeted comments are not not only not necessary here, they are not welcome.

    Should you, Mike, or anyone else chose to cross that line, then you will not be welcome here- not because of your differing opinion, which is welcome, but because of your delivery. It is that simple.

  49. Mrs. Johnson how polite were you when you flipped off the people in that car. How good of an example was your husband when he also violated the law. You see Mrs. Johnson you and yours do not represent the rest of the law abiding bicyclist of this great city. In fact you are why many of those that ride in cars instead of on two wheels hate people on bikes. With all due respect Mrs. Johnson show a little class, if not on the street at least in your postings. And please take your son aside and explain you handled this situation wrong. Like Mike said delete if you wish but at least try to be a good person moving forward.

  50. Anon- I find it interesting that not only you, but others as well, chose to focus on what you perceive to be my behavior. There is a lot of assumption going on here- I ran a light, I did not have the right of way, my husband endangering our son.... without anywhere near enough information to make those determinations while completely ignoring the real issue- police misconduct. I have taken responsibility for my part in this in my post and do not feel a need to do so further.

    What is it that makes people comfortable enough with police misconduct that they are willing to completely ignore it? My guess is that these are people who have not seen the dark side of law enforcement which is out there no matter how many truly wonderful and dedicated police officers there are.

    As to my showing class, let me say that I am not anonymously posting insulting comments about anyone's parenting/riding/living and am instead airing my experiences publicly to allow others to learn from this experience.

    I hope you find something here at the blog that is to your liking. If not, have a nice day and safe riding.

  51. There is probabbley more to this story than we know. Before all is said and done we may find out race is the real issue here. She keeps refering to "the dark side of Law enforcement" hmmmmm something is up. I could be wrong but we will see!

  52. Adrienne my daughter (age 12 yrs) stumbled across your story today and I to was shocked to hear of such an allegation involving an Officer. I was even more appalled to hear that a Mother would exhibit such indecent behavior in front of her own child. I really don’t think bragging about the fact that you have “one helluva Irish temper” helps your case. Unless flying off the handle is something you are proud of.
    You should have a Parental Advisory on the top of you page and a Rated “R” for Raunchy, I really don’t think my child should have to read such obscene language, was it really necessary to post that without a warning, what will you do next release a Rap CD! There is a reason the newspaper and the media are not allowed to use that type of language ….“our children may read or hear it”.
    But apparently you don’t care who you flip off or offend, If you truly want to show you are sorry for what you did, then apologize to the Cop. What are you teaching your kid, don’t you think his friends are reading this; you really need to take a step back and look at this from the outside.
    I teach my children to avoid confrontations, not to use foul language verbal or in print, don’t flip people off and respect others. Adrienne it’s not a good idea to portray oneself as a martyr unless you have done something admirable. From what I have read you have done nothing but to offend everyone including those that risk their lives to protect us. And at least teach your kid to wear a helmet!

  53. Adrienne -

    Ugh! What a horrible tale, and what asinine comments these last few have been. rest assured that not everyone thinks that "just because you flipped off an aggressive driver they had a right to threaten your life." That is a breathtakingly stupid assertion, and the fact that some of these commenters feel that you should be excoriated for this episode is even more breathtaking.

    And since your parenting is being brought up, I just want to say that I have watched you with your family many times now & I *always* think - "wow if I ever have kids, I hope they have a Mom like that." I mean it.

    Much love & don't let the haters get you down.

  54. There are some interesting "opinions" out there, deep : ) Electronic media seems to bring it out.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts! : )

  55. This appears to be a total fabrication, it’s pretty obvious Mrs. J has an agenda here, first she writes a blog about Police and bike rider’s conflicts and then coincidently she allegedly has an encounter with the DARKSIDE of the law just in time for her next blog.
    Mr. and Mrs. J are both pieces of work. The Mother obviously shows allot of class when she doesn’t get her way. And Mr. J is a not exactly a prime example of a good husband. if a real man was witness to his wife being threatened, he would intervene to protect her, not pull out his camera phone and take a snap shot of the incident. “Hey look sonny Daddy got a picture of Mommy getting run over”.
    These no helmet wearing, traffic violating, vulgar and obscene gesturing, confrontational, poor examples of manhood teaching people are not good parents please……

    The Cops in SF have dropped the crime rate by facing criminals and danger in the face. I agree with "Candlovin" this woman is wrong ...but let's waste more of our tax payers money investigating BS!!!

  56. Adrienne, Don’t let these Haters get you down!....I bet you are a terrific Mother who just had an off day. But just some good advice especially when your child is present, it probably was a good thing they were allegedly Cops, in this day and age it’s better to ignore a person then to put you and your family in a confrontationally situation.
    I was horrified to hear of such an incident, why would a Cop would do such a thing, I have been cut off by motorist many times too and I know how angry you probably were. Although some of these people posting do bring up valid concerns.
    It’s just strange that in your previous blog you stated “there is little alliance between Law Enforcement and us”. Then coincidently you have this alleged encounter and photo to go with it.
    I do have a few questions though, if this really did happen can you post those pictures of them swerving and trying to run you off the road? The one posted on SFGate merely shows a blue car and a woman riding next it, no one in the photo is even looking at each other?
    Also in SFGate you stated “I thought I heard him call me a bitch” but in your blog you embellish a bit and you say he said “shut your F#@King mouth bitch or I’ll knock you off your bike” so which is it? I’m not saying you have a credibility issue I’m just stating facts.
    Anyway I bet in most situations you are a better parent, keep posting we need your help!

    Remeber the whole world is watching!!!

  57. hmm interesting article

    You are right these guys are bad....pleaase...... get a life!!!!

  58. How can you comment-makers know if she is telling the truth or not? You think police always stick to the law, tell the truth and never threaten or use violence in a criminal manner? LOL. You are either deluded, have your own agenda (perhaps you ARE police officers) or are trolling.

    There is absolutely no way you could know if you weren't there. I KNOW there are police officers who break the law. As well as being on the receiving end of unreported, extra-judicial violence; I've even broken the law with one of them years ago (albeit it was only a bit of drug taking).

    Not all police are bad, but there are definitely police out there who do far worse things than what is described here.