Cops on Bikes

I love it when something completely weird suddenly appears in the middle of an otherwise serious document. This is from a federal court ruling in Florida last week: “While walking to the car, one of the officers mocked plaintiff, saying, ‘You have lipstick on you sir, you have lipstick on you sir, now you need heels, now you need heels.’”

The Miami police definitely need to up their trash-talking game.

In case you’re wondering, the sentence had absolutely nothing to do with the case at hand. Some details are just too good not to report.

The ruling was also educational — I learned about a police technique and a market that I didn’t know existed. The technique is the “bike line,” in which, at least according to the ruling, police form a line while holding up their bikes. This doesn’t seem to be very practical — you can’t do much of anything else while holding your bike. You’d think they’d be easy to knock over.

The only explanation I can come up with is that officers think they can calm a crowd by demonstrating their ecological responsibility.

The market I then discovered is the one for police bicycles. There’s even a police bike store online and an International Police Mountain Bike Association. Both provide some fascinating insight into the value of cops on bikes.

My favorite comes from the IPMBA FAQ page in an answer to the question of why police should be placed on mountain bikes: “Bicycle officers are better able to use all of their senses, including smell and hearing, to detect and address crime.”

I’m picturing K-9 officers in bike baskets.

The store offers all sorts of goodies including lights, sirens and, coolest of all — the police beanie and the police balaclava:

You can’t get any more stylish than that.


Greenery. Here’s another intriguing fact from an appellate ruling last week: A company called Moldex-Metric, Inc. sold more than 1.6 billion pairs of earplugs from 1982 through 2011. It’s astonishing anyone can hear anyone else.

I learned this because of a dispute between two earplug companies over the right to bright green, aka fluorescent lime. You’d think there’d be enough shiny colors to go around, but for some reason, Moldex’s competitor, McKeon Products, Inc., used the same color for its earplugs that Moldex uses. Litigation ensued.

According to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a trial judge ruled that “the green color is functional like the dual-spring mechanism for keeping outdoor signs upright in heavy wind conditions in TrafFix (a Supreme Court ruling), and there was no need to inquire into alternative colors that are equally visible.”

That’s right — the defense was that bright green was a functional part of the earplug — i.e. because it made the plugs clearly visible — and thus couldn’t be trademarked. Other bright colors simply would not do.

I’m not quite sure what it is, but there’s definitely something ironic about needing to be able to see a device that stops hearing. I guess if you lose one sense, you need to sharpen another one.

Personally, I’d prefer bright orange for my earplugs.

Marital non-status. My favorite, rather mysterious, sentence of the week came at the end of a very short Louisiana Court of Appeal ruling:

“We do not need to reach the question of whether, as concubine of Mr. Chiokai and the mother of his child, Ms. Perez is entitled to death benefits despite the language of La.R.S. 23:1253, because it was not proven that she was his concubine.”

I really want to see a trial over whether someone qualifies as a concubine.

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