The Big Felafel

Police Poo Poo

I bike in Jerusalem. I take to the streets and pedal my tushy up the hills of gold. I sweat as I cut off crazy Israeli drivers and curse them under my breath. I don’t know how I do it but somehow I have never been in an accident and the helmet remains more of a fashion statement than safety tool. And while I haven’t found my body under the tires of a nut job Israeli who is smoking, talking on their cell, yelling at their kids, changing the baby’s diaper (nooo!) or just not paying attention to the road, I can’t help but wonder- how the hell do I stay on the bike?

There is no one answer for this question but there is a group of people that I know DO NOT help me in staying alive and that would be the police. I will say a big no thank you to the police force that drive around their city with flashing lights, yelling in their loudspeakers and cutting off the crazy Israeli drivers- you (police force as a whole) are crap. Not only does the so-called force break the rules themselves but they do not enforce the law even when they see it being broken to a dangerous extent.

Case in point: Yesterday as I braved up the hilly street, Keren HaYesod, I found myself stuck between the bus lane which is on the left side of the street (making no sense at all since the bus stops are on the right hand side) and the regular car lanes which were to my right. I needed to go straight, however the regular car lane was about to make left turns and run me over. Then out of complete confusion- of course- there were cars in the bus lane. I know that these good citizens wouldn’t just use the bus lane to speed by other cars and take advantage of the lack of police surveillance, but now they were in the wrong lane and wanted to make a left and couldn’t. You know as I recap the situation I can even describe to you the mayhem of what it was like.

All of the sudden I was at the junction of Crazy and Illegal. If I was wearing boots then I would have began to shake in them- instead my sneakers held tight to the pedals as I tried to weave myself in and out of crazy and crazier. The intersection instantly became gridlocked with tourists who do not know the rules but pay double for their rented car and fanatical Israelis who wouldn’t take society’s red light system for stop any longer. As I tried to squeeze through the junction I began to realize I was being hunted.

Cars circled around me and left me with no room to squish by. Then a car determined to keep me from ever making it to the city actually fender-bendered into another car. Yes, an accident amongst the chaos. And as I finally managed to use the crosswalk- a bicyclist’s best friend- I noticed that a police van was indeed part of the pile up. In fact using their lights and status, the van was able to make a right turn and avoid the worst part of the gridlock.

Did the van stop for the car accident? Of course not. Did the police try to enforce the law as dozens of individuals broke it- a big fat no to that too. The police simply drove off living behind a mess that no one wanted to clean up.

My conclusion: First I am going to have to be a little more careful at the intersection of death and loony and second…I now realize why Prime Minister Olmert is so corrupt (I mean I have a lot of theories so this is just one of them). He is a dirty little man because he can be. You see, if the average citizen can get away with car accidents, going through red lights and illegally talking on their phone, right in front of “cops” then of course Olmert- mister big politician can easily buy a house for half its price and secretly give away half the country.

And do people care? No. Do I care- yes! Does it matter? No. Am I bitter- yes!


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  1. * aliyah06 says:

    Yes, we care….and we’re REALLY P.O.’d about it, too….the government has used the “security situation” as an excuse for decades to do nothing about the environment, about law enforcement and about education….my husband is a retired cop from California, and he watches the Keystone Cops here in amazement. “Give me 6 months and a minimal force of traffic cops and I’ll make a fortune for this city,” he mutters. He’d start by ticketing every car parked on the sidewalk in Jerusalem–which is most of them. “Lane lines are just a suggestion,” he noted once on Highway One as cars sped by, using two lanes at a time.

    Speaking of lanes, how about BIKE LANES??! This is the perfect city for biking around, especially as the Municipality wants to close off the downtown to cars….but do you see BIKE LANES anywhere? No, that would actually require urban planning, something no one here seems to know about….

    | Reply Posted 15 years, 3 months ago
  2. * Molly says:

    Bike lanes- I wish- that would be too much for Israel. I could imagine how it would turn out…the taxis would use the lanes and honk at the bikers for getting in the way.

    | Reply Posted 15 years, 3 months ago

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