By DARREN HANDSCHUH
Spring has finally sprung in the Okanagan.
The birds are chirping, the grass is starting to turn green and there is a cop with a radar gun every two kilometres along Highway 97.
I know all of this because I can hear the birds, see the grass and have passed roughly 598 cops who have pulled someone over during the last few days.
I may be wrong here, but it seems the nicer the weather, the more important it is to catch speeders.
How come you never see radar traps when it is sunny, but very cold outside?
Perhaps radar guns don't work in cold weather, because I do not think I have ever seen a gaggle of cops standing at the side of the road with a laser radar gun when the mercury is in the minus side of the thermometre.
But once the temperature rises, the radar guns thaw out and the next thing you know there is a Kojak with a Kodak around every corner.
It would seem busting speeders is a seasonal objective.
Now, before people get their knickers in a knot, (and every officer in the Valley looks to find out what kind of car I drive) I know it is illegal to speed and police are just doing their job. If you don't want a ticket, don't speed it is that simple.
And I don't think being a police officer is a job I would want to do, as it seems like a difficult and often thankless task. All I am saying is radar traps seem to be as much a passage of spring as the return of barbecues, birds and bugs.
For many years now I have been a good boy when it comes to observing the posted speed limit and learned long ago that saving three minutes in travel time is not worth the cost of a speeding ticket.
There was a time, however, when I had interaction with traffic cops on a fairly regular basis. This was more than 20 years ago and the rules were a lot different back then for new drivers.
In the first couple of years of driving, I was pulled over by one cop so many times we were on a first name basis. Other officers were more like acquaintances.
Every time I got nailed, it was a similar scenario: I would be cruising along, blasting the tunes and minding my own business (I should have been minding the speed limit) when I would see those pretty blue and red lights flashing in the rear view mirror.
A feeling of read would race through my mind as I looked at the speedometer and realized that, yet again, the speed limit was set too low for the speed I was going.
I would pull over and try to look innocent (which never worked.) The constable would approach my vehicle and the interaction would begin.
“Do you know why I pulled you over?”
“Um, you suspect I have a box of Timbits hidden under the seat.”
Strangely enough, that answer never worked, and if you try it odds are you will get to know the officer a little better as he asks you to step out of the car and conducts a quick vehicle search to make sure everything is in order.
That's what they say anyway, but I suspect they were actually hunting for those Timbits.
There is also a pretty good chance such a comment will not endear you in the heart of the peace officer who has a book full of speeding tickets just waiting to have a name put on them.
And in case any of those officers are reading this, my real name is Rob Smith.