This is of the tail end and part of the traffic jam that was caused by the officer blocking all lanes of traffic to pull us over....
Disclaimer: Before I begin, let me start by saying we do recognize the value of proper helmet and body gear for biking long distances. This strip was spur of the moment and intended to be quick and there was actually a cheap helmet with a broken strap involved for several parts of the trip. Please spare us the lecture on the importance of helmets and gear, we know. :)
You know when you pass a police officer and you just get that feeling they’re coming after you? Well that happened just as we came into Mexico city when we spotted a lone Federale in the car in the pictures in this post. He immediately came after us and caught up, trying to force us to pull over with his car repeatedly.
We weren’t sure what his reason was but in typical no fucks fashion we weren’t about to stop. We almost got around him several times but he repeatedly cut us off, closing us in on the wall and the edge of the road. I was afraid we were going to crash at several points. I caught a few faces of people we passed during said chase and they were nothing short of surprised. Finally he managed to get all three lanes of traffic blocked to make us stop.
He ran out of his car to the bike and stole the keys before we had a chance to stop him. He immediately starting asking for identification. When we asked him why he nearly killed us to stop us, he told us it was due to lack of helmet. Let me make that clear, he nearly caused us to crash on the highway on the way into Mexico City repeatedly because he wanted to tell us to wear a helmet which was hurting literally no one but ourselves.
We explained that to him because he spoke enough english to understand. We also repeatedly pointed out that he almost killed us over a safety issue. He repeatedly threatened to throw us in jail and at a certain point we started chanting “NO PESOS, NO BRIBES” so everyone could hear. By that point traffic on the toll road had stopped because he was blocking all lanes, although some were driving slightly off the road to sneak by on their way. Many of the drivers were yelling at the cop.
He kept demanding identification which we had but wouldn’t give up easily. He already stole our keys so we didn’t trust him. He said he needed to run the bike information to make sure it wasn’t stolen. We pointed out that it’d be pretty ridiculous for us to steal a Mexican’s bike. He couldn’t even look it up on site.
I’m not sure when but there was a point where he asked us if we had marijuana on us. Because we had two bookbags that seemed full from the hollow boxes inside of them, he was likely suspicious. We told him no repeatedly and he seemed to at least pretend to believe us. Those bags were actually mostly empty, save for some snacks and a bottle of water.
At a point he decided to call someone and that was while we chanted “NO PESOS NO BRIBES”. We yelled louder as he tried to make the call and he literally yelled “SHUT UP” at us. We said “NO PESOS NO BRIBES” back. He hung up and handed us the keys.
He then proceeded to show us gory photos of bad motorcycle accidents in which a helmet would have been totally useless. Things like where a mans legs were missing and stuff, a helmet wouldn’t have helped. He then shook our hands and let us go.
That wasn’t the end of the harassment, once in the city we were stopped by several checkpoints that bothered us over the helmet issue. We were also bugged by locals including one guy on a Harley with a gang vest. Looking around we noticed literally no one was going without a helmet, even pedal bike riders were wearing helmets. It was a bit saddening considering there’s the same law in Acapulco but people make that choice for themselves. Occasionally there’s checkpoints for them but they’re easy to get through without stopping.
Easily one of our fastest police chases and we were on our motorcycle. Still seriously surprised that the officer was as persistent as he was, but I’m sure he thought he had something with us. We’re lucky we didn’t end up hurt or in jail, as he threatened repeatedly but I think we played it right in the way we embarrassed him.
So putting it simply this didn’t set a good tone for the city. Don’t get me wrong there are quite a few things I love about Mexico City including it’s climate but I appreciate that in Acapulco the people are more willing to take their freedom. Most people we talked to seemed somewhat scared of Acapulco and the state of Guerrero in general due to it’s history of violence, all were floored we live here.
There were nice touches like “Fuck Police” spray painted all over but in terms of the actually “fuck the police” attitude it wasn’t really there. At the end of the day while I’ll totally visit again I’ll leave living there for the statists and those that can deal with statists more than me.
The area we had just started to exit as he pulled us over was honestly gorgeous, and the perfect climate. It was chilly on the motorcycle but everything smelled wonderful, reminding us of Oregon with a Mexican twist. That bit of Morelos is seriously appealing to me, full of mountains and Ponderosa Pine forests.
So there we have it, another police chase that ended in our favor. We took the power and stood up for ourselves even when it seemed like things could go badly. I’ve said it many times that I didn’t come all this way to be told what to do and that stands. Should I be arrested, I won’t go down easily by just complying when being harassed for a victimless offense.
The thing about Mexico isn’t that there’s less government necessarily it’s just that more people are willing to ignore said government and it’s more openly corrupt. You’ve still got to stand up for yourselves especially as a traveling expat, or you’ll be treated like cattle like everyone else. The big difference is lies in the fact that the cops are more willing to act like humans than machines and for that reason the encounters always go differently at the end of the day. He almost caused us to crash, but a US cop would have killed us for trying.
Stay tuned, lots more to share on this crazy adventure.
Did you enjoy this post? Check out the links below for more like this one!
Stranded in the Middle of Mexico Over Silkie Chickens: Where I've Been for the Last Two Days (Preface to Epic Mexico City Story)
Adventures into Mexican Markets: Super Naturisa Health Food Stores
Acapulco Sunsets: A Glimpse into Life with John
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