This morning when I turned to get on 280S at the on-ramp near Glen Park Bart, the traffic was a bit backed up because there was a police car that had pulled someone over on the on-ramp. I started to go around when the policeman waved me over to pull over. So I did, a little but confused about what I had done. He was talking to the other driver, then he came over and told me that he stopped me for “failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk.” I said “Okay,” which is pretty much my standard response when I get pulled over, but that seemed to confuse him, so he repeated himself, and I said “Okay” again. He asked me if I had seen the pedestrian and I said “as I was turning,” which was true. I saw that he was about 20 feet away at the start of the crosswalk when I turned. The officer said, “So you don’t look in front of you when you drive?” and I didn’t respond, because really, what would the right response be? I gave him my license and registration and he went back to the other car to talk to her for a few minutes. When he came back, the other car started pulling away, and he said “I’m in a bit of a predicament. I have two of you pulled over, and only one ticket, so I asked her who I should give the ticket to, and she said you, so I’m letting her go. What do you think about that?” I said “Okay” again. He handed back my license and registration and said, “No, I wouldn’t do that. I’m letting you both go.” I said “Thank you” but in my head I was saying “WTF????”. He continued, “The next time, you’ll kill someone, and I don’t know if you’ve killed someone before, but it’s not a good feeling.” More mental “WTF”-ing. Then he told me “Drive off”, so I did.
It was a little annoying to be pulled over for failure to stop for someone who was 20 feet away, when I’ve been very nearly run over or honked at several times crossing other streets in SF. And if this really is a big problem at this particular crosswalk, maybe they should rethink the whole crosswalk-across-freeway-on-ramp thing and build a pedestrian walkway.
Now, as far as interactions with policemen go, that one was fairly painless, but it never ceases to amaze me how every policeman seems to have that same jerky way of talking down to you. It must be something they teach at the Academy.