When you get to be my age (19) and you find yourself faced with the prospect of being stopped the police, you tend to assume the worst. You ask yourself , why are they stopping you? Police love to give teens a hard time don’t they? Well not this time.
Early one morning, as I made my way on my bike from the gym to Uni, I was flagged down by an rather ominous looking Land Rover Discovery belonging to Grampian Police.
Daylight was just starting to break and although I do have lights on my bike, I must admit that my jacket was a little on the dark side. So, naturally I thought to myself, “here we go, police picking on the cyclist who isn’t dressed like an over-excited Christmas tree”. I complied with the officer’s request to pull over but by this point my exam was due to start in 10 minutes.
A female police officer got out of the Discovery and asked if I had a minute to spare, to which I replied, “well I have an exam in 10 minutes so not really, no”. She assured me that she only needed to talk for a short while. By now I had managed to deduce that I probably hadn’t broken the law due to my lack of bright clothing, but still they were going to give me a fair warning to “be safe and be seen”.
The officer opened the rear door of the car and I thought I was about to be trapped in a police car answering questions (the last place I wanted to be). But, to my amazement, instead of asking me to get in, she produced two items which she handed to me. One was a luminous vest and the other was a rucksack cover to ensure you can be seen.
She asked for my name and number and told me that I would be entered into a free prize draw to win some stuff for my bike. I couldn’t believe this gesture. Somewhat struck by it, I gave my name and number and got on my way to my exam.
Sometimes young people see the police as a threat rather than providing a public service for their safety but this campaign clearly shows that the police are not just out to give young people a hard time. My own view of the police has been radically altered by this experience. Instead of hassling cyclists for not being bright enough, the Grampian Police force have taken a different approach. They have connected with the cycling community and are offering these free items to help cyclists protect themselves.
This, in my opinion, is a great example of police performing their function. They are helping the community and providing protection for the public. They are providing an invaluable public service and we should be proud of the work they do to protect us cyclists.