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This Is A Wheely Frustrating Situation

, , , , | Legal | December 21, 2021

When I was in college, I usually either rode my bike or walked across campus. One Saturday afternoon, I rode my bike to the lacrosse stadium to watch the game with some friends and chained the bike to a bike stand outside the stadium. A couple of hours later, I walked out of the stadium with my friends to go to dinner in the dining hall, completely forgetting that I had ridden my bike there.

In fact, I forgot my bike was there all weekend. Come Monday morning, I left my dorm to go to class, and I could not for the life of me figure out where my darn bike was. I checked all of the usual places and even started to wonder if it had been stolen. I walked to class all day, constantly baffled about where I had left the bike.

Mid-afternoon, I suddenly remembered that I might have left it at the lacrosse stadium. The stadium is a pretty far walk, though, and I wasn’t 100% sure it was there, and I didn’t want to walk that far only to find that wasn’t the location after all. I asked my roommate if I could borrow his bike to go find mine, and he agreed.

I rode my roommate’s bike to the stadium, and aha! There was my bike. Great. I started to walk both bikes back to my dorm, one in each hand.

I was nearly back at the dorm when a campus security officer pulled over his car and got out.

Officer: “You want to tell me why you have two bikes?”

Me: “Sure. This one is mine, and this one belongs to my roommate. I left mine at the stadium and rode his over there to go get it.”

The officer looked like he didn’t believe my story at all.

Officer: *Pointing to my bike* “So, if I were to check the registration on this bike, it would be registered to you.”

On my campus, you were supposed to register your bike through a campus security website, and they’d send you a little numbered sticker to put on it. Luckily, I’d actually done this.

Me: “Sure, yes.”

I handed him my ID and then waited while he radioed the number and my name to someone else. They had a brief conversation, and the voice on the radio confirmed that my bike was my bike. He then inspected [Roommate]’s bike, and sure enough, it had a little registration sticker, as well.

Officer: “And this other bike. Who is this one supposedly registered to?”

Me: “[Roommate].”

He radioed in my roommate’s bike registration number but started frowning. He put his hands on his hips and scowled.

Officer: “Actually, this bike is registered to a Mr. [Friend].”

That’s when I remembered where [Roommate] had gotten his bike in the first place. [Friend] had gotten a new bike and gave his old one to [Roommate].

Me: “Oh, that makes sense. [Friend] gave that bike to [Roommate] a few months ago when he got a new one. He probably just didn’t switch the registration.”

Officer: *Skeptical* “Uh-huh. And if I were to call [Friend], is that the story he’d tell me?”

Me: “Yes. Please, feel free to call him.”

This was in the days before cell phones, so [Officer] looked up the number of the dorm room and called [Friend]. The phone rang, but no one answered; [Friend] was probably in class.

Officer: “He’s not answering. I have no proof that your story is true.”

Me: “Then… call [Roommate]! He’s definitely in the dorm; I just came from there. He’ll tell you the same thing.”

Officer:No! He could just say whatever you’ve told him to say!”

I’ve never understood that logic. [Friend] could adequately verify my story, but [Roommate] had to be in cahoots with me?

Officer: “I’m going to have to take this bicycle.”

Me: “What?”

He radioed again, this time requesting backup, which apparently meant a van that could fit the bike, plus three other campus security cars, because why not? He loaded the bike into the van and told me that only [Friend] could get the bike back, and to get it, he’d have to come to the campus security office very far away at some inconvenient time. Then, they all drove off.

I biked the short distance back to my dorm, locked my bike, and then went up to my room.

Roommate: “Well? Did you find your bike?”

Me: “So… the good news is I found my bike. The bad news is I lost yours.”

I told him the whole story, apologizing, and then we had to call [Friend] and apologize to him, as well, since he now had to go to recover the bike. The kicker: I mentioned to him that the situation sucks, but technically, he probably should have gone to the campus security website to transfer the bike registration to [Roommate] when he gave him the bike.

Friend: “I DID!”

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