Last Thursday August 4th, I got off work with a borderline migraine and I started to ride my bike down 6th Avenue towards 1st Thursday Arts Walk. As I cruised down the EMPTY sidewalk, Office Haunsperger roles up next to me and tells me to get my bike off the sidewalk. I am not in a good mood and I must have shot him a dirty look saying, "What are you talking about," and I continue to ride. He cuts me off at the next intersection and almost causes an accident had I been going any faster.
He exits his GAS powered vehicle and starts shaking me down for I.D. and personal information. I'm baffled, there is no reason for this interaction whatsoever. I refuse to provide I.D. and start asking him questions. Apparently this is the wrong thing to do. I can tell within minutes he is not pleased with my tone and lack of cooperation considering the circumstances. I try to talk to him, but all he wants is my information or he threatens to arrest me, which later people tell me is against the law for him to do, I think. So I give it to him, meanwhile two more police cars pull up, block traffic, and continue to leave their cars running after exiting their vehicles.
I look inside the car to see Officer Haunsperger writing me a ticket and I ask him why and he says despite the fact that there are NO SIGNS stating I can't ride my bike on the sidewalk, he is citing me with a $132 ticket for unlawful bicycle operation. The irony of this situation couldn't have infuriated me more considering they were all blocking traffic.
After a few more miscommunications and "friendly" verbal altercations, I ride away with my friend feeling emotionally violated and paranoid.
Now I don't feel like I can ride my bike safe anywhere downtown. It is actually less safe for me and everyone else to ride in the street then on the sidewalk.
What should I do and what should we do as bicyclist?