A motorcade of maybe 100 bikers – proceeding west two by two and widely spaced – rambled slowly through the intersection as one of the biker dudes positioned himself so as to halt other traffic from entering the intersection from the north and south.
And when the light turned green for those cars to proceed, confused motorists bumbled awkwardly into the intersection only to be halted by the bikers as their procession glided on, ignoring the red light and continuing merrily westward.
Is that legal, I wondered?
In the wake of the recent biker beat down of an Asian man in New York – as his young wife and infant child looked on – it got me to thinking. What might have happened to one the motorists who found themselves awkwardly mired in the intersection at the mercy of the biker dudes?
My call was the first Overland Park police officer Michelle Koos was the first she’d heard of it.
“There’s a couple things that would be legal,” Koos mused. “If it was a funeral procession, and police officers are not the only ones who can stop traffic for a funeral procession. There are companies that can do that. But usually they have some sort of look to them that gives a more official appearance. But if it’s just somebody blocking the intersection so their buddies can go through, that’s not legal.”
The other legal option was for a scheduled ride such as Bikers for Babies.
“Like if they’re on a legitimate scheduled event, which is normally registered with wherever they’re starting and ending,” Koos added. “And it’s a common courtesy that they notify us, even if no police assistance is required.”
“We’ve actually determined where they were coming from,” she told me. “And that will give us a chance to have a few choice words with them.”
Translation: it was neither a funeral nor registered ride, but rather a Sunday afternoon yahoo exodus from Rosana Square at 119th and Metcalf, home of the popular suburban biker bar Fuel.
“It sounds like dispatch fielded a few calls the week before too,” Koos says. “So it sounds like there’s been two incidents with them.”
First the good news: “They seem to be trying to operate safely,” Koos says.
Now the bad: “It looks like they’re under the assumption of what they can do, but they’re opening themselves up to a lot of potential liability,” Koos says. “To continue doing what they’re doing now, they’re breaking traffic laws and could face traffic tickets for a number of things, one of which is running red lights.”
For example, with the motorists who found themselves awkwardly stranded and biker blocked in the intersection into which they had proceeded into when the lights turned green indicating it was their turn to go.
Or that last biker parade dude who glided foolishly into and through the intersection.
“That last guy was really taking his life into his hands,” Koos says. “Because the other motorcyclists had already left and he was way back there. And he still went through the intersection after the cars had started to go north and south. I’m serious, he never should have entered the intersection because it was dangerous. That guy I would have talked to.”