Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Hungarian Autobahns and my first real run in with the Cops

In almost 5 months of travelling, along a fair few roads and through quite a number of towns and cities, I have always maintained a fairly good relationship with the police. Usually they are pretty happy to see some dude on a bicycle in the middle of nowhere pedalling along and will do little more than wave and smile. or wave and frown. or just ignore. occasionally that stop you just to ask where you're from and what you're doing, which is ok i guess, but momentum is everything when you're pedalling 50kg of bicycle along the road, to come to a dead stop just to explain that you're from Australia ("AAaahh! KANGAROO!!") loses its appeal rather quickly.

In any case, relations with the cops were good. The first signs of possible friction appeared in the north of Serbia, when I was stopped by the cops for riding on the main highway, and told to take the smaller country road which criss-crossed it.

Now, i'm not advocating rebellion against the law keepers, but their suggestion was clearly a ridiculous one... Sure riding on the motorway is illegal, but there is a huge shoulder of beautiful smooth asphalt to ride on and hardly any cars. On the local road, which is bumpy, narrow and full of tired people driving home from work, I really felt my life to be in danger. Unsurprisingly, the cops couldn't spare much sympathy for me.

They say bad things happen in threes ("they" being my grandmother). I got stopped by the cops three time in 24hrs. The third was just after the Hungarian border, again I was riding on the Autobahn, admittedly this was wrong and illegal, but it was a) just after dark and b) I was tired and c) it was only 18kms to the next town... The cops immediately saw through this first round of stupid excuses, so I quickly made up some new ones:

d) I didn't see any alternative road,
e) the people at the border just flagged me straight through
f) i've been riding for 700km and 4 countries on this same highway with no problems
g) I'm Australian, do you like Kangaroos??!!

Again, complete failure. Thus begain half an hour of negotiation where the cops wanted me to fill out and sign a ticket for 80 euros, and I tried my best to avoid doing so. Eventually out of frustration and the impending threat of frostbite, the cops took my details without giving me a ticket, and said they would write a police report about the incident back at the station.

So I rode on, with a not so friendly police escort brightly flashing their lights behind me to the next exit, feeling just a little bit proud of myself for coming out with my wallet intact.

1 comment:

Scott Banister-Jones said...

Nice one Shervs,
You tell those cops who's boss. :-)
Got to love riding on thr freeway/autobaan. A friend and I just did it for about 15km when we rode back from Mandurah. We where around Rockingham. SCARY!!!