The other day, I was sitting on the bike looking for your run of the mill CVC violations. The parking lot I was sitting in allows access to a four lane, major arterial road to both the downtown area and the freeway. It is shady. It was hot. There are no major visual obstructions between me and the road (and thus, drivers).
I was minding my own business when a car pulled up next to me and the driver, a rather grumpy older guy, decided he wanted to talk. About the manner in which I was “hiding”. As soon as he asked his question, I knew where the conversation was headed as well as that it would end up here. Please to enjoy…
COB (Crotchety Old Bastard): Are allowed to hide here?
MC: Who’s hiding?
COB: You are.
MC: I must suck at it what with you finding me and all.
COB (as he pulled out onto the public road): That’s entrapment and it’s not fair.
Okay…A)It’s not entrapment, but we’ll get to that in a minute and B) Fare is a four letter word that applies to the bus.
MC (getting louder as COB pulls further away): Actually, sir, it’s not entrapment. Perhaps you should research the meaning. Oh….and put on your seat belt!
COB (as he pulled out): And what about that truck? (He was indicating a large truck blocking the #2 eastbound lane (by hand signals no less)…a classic blameshifter (since he wasn’t wearing a seat belt) if ever there was one.)
MC: I’ll get right on that one, sir!
Now, before some of you get your panties in a bunch…I got the truck driver to move his truck. He wasn’t happy about it, but too bad, so sad. On to the crux of the post: entrapment. Here is the legal definition:
entrapment n. in criminal law, the act of law enforcement officers or government agents to induce or encourage a person to commit a crime when the potential criminal expresses a desire not to go ahead. The key to entrapment is whether the idea for the commission or encouragement of the criminal act originated with the police or government agents instead of with the “criminal.”
If I’m just sitting around and monitoring a given area for violations, I am in no way inducing or encouraging drivers to commit violations. If anything, being out there should have the opposite effect. Entrapment, as well as the concept of “speed traps” (which we’ve covered extensively), is a common pitfall that the public and media at large misunderstand.
More simply put, I can sit/”hide” just about wherever I can fit my bike. There is no legal requirement for me to announce my presence, leave lights flashing, warn drivers, etc. I’m there to enforce the vehicle code. I will say that, typically, if I’m sitting in someone’s driveway, I’ll talk to the homeowner and make sure they don’t mind. Just seems like the courteous thing to do. The fact of the matter is, however, that most folks encourage and appreciate it when I’m there because that means I’m slowing down drivers in their neighborhood!
I was really hoping that COB was going to loop back around to see if I had the truck moved or not…because I was gonna rag his whiny ass for not wearing his seat belt. Hell, I should have done it as soon as he pulled onto the public road. I just knew that if I did, I’d create a headache because he’d have complained and whined and I just didn’t feel like dealing with his bullshit any further….besides, he gave me blog fodder. For that, I thank you, COB…but don’t get cocky, ’cause next time it’ll be different.