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22 January 2003 - 23:39

new speed trap

Small Western towns are notorious for having speed traps. Ours never really did, they just enforced the speed limit (15 mph) with diligence, particularly along the county road that goes past the school. The road which accesses the state park.

And none of the cops have ever said it, but I suspect you are more likely to get a ticket if you're from out of town. (I say that only because I have out-of-town friends who have been ticketed here, yet I haven't heard any local ever mention being ticketed for speeding. Maybe we're all conscientious about obeying the limit.)

But now we have one. A true speed trap.

After they rebuilt our west interchange with the Interstate the past two years, they changed the speed limit coming into town. Where it used to be 65 mph to the edge of town (with a yellow advisory sign of 55 mph half-way down the exit ramp, which is about 3/4-mile long), it is now 55 immediately off the four lanes.

And then they snuck a 30 mph sign in on the other side of the underpass. The side away from town.

Where I used to be able to lift off the gas at 75 mph on the interstate, and then coast all the way into town, gliding down to reach the painted cattleguard by Deb's old bar at exactly 30 mph. Now the 30 mph section starts a good quarter-mile earlier. Technically outside our little town's limits, but state laws allow them some jurisdiction outside their city perimeter.

Wife warned me about the change in speed. She knows about my coasting into town. And he was there tonight. One of the town's cops sitting there in the dark of the underpass, watching for fast-footers coming into town.

Fortunately I wasn't in the truck. I lost the toss (or actually the pleading looks) and had to go in to pick up eldest son after yet another showing of The Two Towers (gotta use up those free passes sometime). Hence I was driving youngest son's little car (the SUV still in the shop waiting for a new starter to arrive).

Saw the silhouette of the car with bars, and knew it was too late. But the little car doesn't coast nearly as well as the modern truck. We were barely doing 45. A touch of the brakes, and we were right on 30 mph as we passed the sign and the cop.

No flashing red lights. 'Course, he could have been asleep in there. Jake used to sleep all the time when he parked by the school crossing on the main street. And this in broad daylight. No one said much, since he was just as much a deterrent sitting there asleep as he would be awake.

And of course, you never knew if he was asleep. He looked the same when he was awake. I only know because I stopped to talk once, and had to wake him first.

Anyway, they're using their new speed trap. It's only a matter of time, I think.

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