"Didn't you see the yellow Police Line tape?"
I had, in fact, and the reason the officer was asking me about it was that I had ducked underneath it and was attempting to make my way across the intersection without having to go eight blocks out of my way to get to school.
"I wouldn't want to have to cite you," continued the man in blue.
I apologized and looked for a way around. "I'm trying to get over to Brookdale and I," he cut me off.
"You need to go back up to the corner behind the tape."
I probably made some sort of face that read as frustration, but I was working to stay within the letter of the law. It is my way, after all.
Did I mention that it was raining?
The officer sighed and directed me back up the street, "Then cross over to the other side. Do you see all these tow trucks? I don't anyone to be injured."
I appreciated his concern, especially since it seemed as though it could have come in handy for the occupants of the car that was being loaded on the flatbed trailer.
I retreated back up the street and found the other side blocked by the two inch wide strip of yellow tape. I contemplated the ersatz barrier and considered my options. This was the way I had been instructed to go, and it was free of debris and additional police activity. I bent down and rolled my bike into the danger zone.
For the next thirty feet, I expected to be hollered at and told to turn back, pending the issuance of a citation. When I made it around the corner and went back under the tape on the other side, I considered the stress that the officers were under and the relative politeness with which my transgression was met. At six on a rainy morning, after having been on the scene for five hours, he was probably tired and ready to get home to someplace warm and dry. Away from the scofflaws trying to pick their way through their perimeter.
Would it have killed me to go the extra mile around?
Would it have killed him to give me a helpful direction?
Would the mess be cleaned up by the time I rode home?
Compared to the victims of the crash, I was worried over nothing.
I rode on into the darkness.