Jim and I took our usual Sunday bicycle ride from southeast Iowa City to North Liberty. I feel that it's late enough in the season that all those steep hills are manageable and good for us. We take two different trails going out and coming back. We like to take the North Liberty trail that goes through Oakdale campus and behind two North Liberty trailer courts near the railroad tracks when we bike north to North Liberty. We take the North Dubuque Street Trail between North Liberty and Iowa City coming back to Iowa City.
Coralville and downtown Iowa City traffic is a little scary. Jim doesn't like it. I don't like it either, but so far (knock knock) we have survived it.
After climbing the steepest 12th Avenue hill in Coralville, we were proceeding north on a straight-away toward the North Liberty trail when a woman motorist passed me so close I was horrified. I had inches to spare, and I didn't dare move except straight ahead as far to the right as possible. Since I was already riding on the right, that made me mad.
The motorist in the white SUV coming south on the opposite side of the road hit his lights and I realized he was a Coralville police officer. He'd had to move over far to the right of his side of the road because of the woman's aggressive style of driving.
The officer passed me, evidently made a big U-turn behind us, and proceeded to stop the woman up ahead of us who'd passed us at an unsafe distance.
"Don't say anything," Jim advised. We both knew to give the officer a wide berth on the road when it was safe to pass.
I couldn't help myself.
"Thank you," I said to the officer as I heard him explain to the woman motorist, "According to state law, you have to pass vehicles . . . at a safe distance . . . ."
The woman motorist argued with the officer. "I know that," she said, "but . . . . "
I didn't linger to hear the rest, but I wanted to do more than thank him. I wanted to videotape the incident, kiss the officer's feet, get his name, and publish it in the Bicycle Safety Hall of Fame, but that would have constituted interference with official acts and also would have disrupted traffic. So I didn't.
Have you ever heard of such a thing in your life? It's a first in my experience. The incident happened between 1:20 and 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon on 12th Avenue in Coralville, September 16th, 2012. I still want to thank that officer, but if he heard me, I already did.