I am the speeder I despise

By Thomas Rach, North Shore News, July 7, 2010

Dear Editor:

I was recently driving along the street where I live (Riverside Drive) when I was stopped by the police for speeding. I was driving 65 km/h where the limit was only 50 km/h. The officer asked me for my papers, but I had left them in the house since I was only going to pick up the kids from the school bus at the corner.

When he learned that I live in the neighbourhood he seemed pretty frustrated, so I asked him why. His answer stunned me.

He told me: “Look — we were called by you (the people living on this street) because you complained that there are too many people speeding here. We have been here the whole morning. And guess how many people we stopped who do not live on this street? Zero! The only guys who drive like there is no tomorrow are you! You people living here!”

This was the moment where it dawned on me. My wife and I had discussed this point a couple of times previously when our kids were playing outside and we saw cars zooming by. We both agreed that the police should do something about this. And here I was, standing on the roadside, just got caught speeding in my own neighbourhood and talking to this nice but frustrated cop. I felt embarrassed. It was not them — it was us!

How could this happen? Why are we cursing the cars when we are on our bikes, but as soon as we are behind the wheel all cyclists turn into enemies? Why do we care about our kids when we are watching them playing outside from behind the kitchen window, but forget them and the others as soon as we are driving?

While I was sitting there in my car contemplating my situation the officer suddenly asked me: “Are you a good writer?” Not knowing what to answer, but feeling something extraordinary coming I said I was.

“Fine,” he said, “then sit down and write a letter to the North Shore News and explain to them and for all the others out there speeding every day through residential zones what you just learned.”

And that’s exactly what I have done.

Thomas Rach,

North Vancouver

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