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Motorcyclist records road rage exchange with police officer

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DENVER -- A motorcyclist caught a confrontation with what he thought was a distracted driver. It turns out a Denver police officer was behind the wheel.

The motorcyclist's helmet camera captured the nearly seven-minute exchange with the officer.

Devin Jones said he started recording all his rides because of how often he comes across distracted drivers. He said he never expected it to be handled like it was.

Out for a morning ride around West 48th Avenue and Zuni Street in Denver on Wednesday morning, Jones said he got behind a car stopped at a roundabout. He said the driver, distracted by his cellphone, was impeding traffic.

So he honked.

“Put the *** phone down," Jones is heard on the recording saying to the driver. That's when the driver, a Denver police officer in uniform, got out to confront him.

Jones posted the video on YouTube. The incident begins at the 3-minute point in the video:

Officer: “That’s road rage,”

Jones: "No, I was honking because you were on the phone and I needed you to get off so we could travel smooth.”

Officer: “Sometimes I’m required to be on my phone.”

Jones: “All I could see was this” (motions his hands to put phone down).

Officer: “That’s none of your business.”

Officer: “Honking a horn at a vehicle is road rage.”

"He was extremely aggressive, his body language, everything he was doing is what I would classify as road rage," Jones said of how the officer acted toward him.

For nearly seven minutes, the exchange continued.

Officer: “Why don’t you pull over your bike and we’ll write you a ticket.”

Meanwhile, traffic on the one-lane roundabout was at a halt behind them.

Jones: “I’m used to seeing drivers on their phone and it causes quite a few …”

Officer: Hold on (officer motioned to honking traffic backed up behind them).

"Being distracted while driving is still a terrible thing to do and honking at someone who’s distracted only brings their attention back to the road," he said, adding it's a lesson in distracted driving taken to a whole new level.

A Denver police spokesman said the department is unaware of a complaint regarding the officer in the video, so it is not investigating the situation. Police also said it is not considered road rage to use your horn in Colorado.

Standing up while riding, something the officer told the motorcyclist he witnessed him doing, they say, is illegal.

Colorado law regarding horns and standing up while riding a motorcycle

Sec. 54-71. - Horns or other warning devices.

(a)

Every motor vehicle when operated upon the streets and highways of the city shall be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal atmospheric conditions for a distance of not less than two hundred (200) feet, but no horn or other warning device shall emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound. The driver of a vehicle, when reasonably necessary to ensure safe operation, shall give an audible warning with his horn, but shall not otherwise use such horn when upon a street or highway.

(b)

It shall be unlawful for any person to own, have charge of, drive, install, cause the installation to be made, or use upon any motor vehicle any siren, exhaust whistle, or any red spotlight; provided, the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to authorized emergency vehicles as provided for in this chapter.

(c)

A low-power scooter shall be equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least one hundred (100) feet; except that a low-power scooter shall not be equipped with nor shall any person use upon a low-power scooter a siren or whistle.

(Code 1950, §§ 507.5, 507.5-1; Ord. No. 686-09, § 3, 11-23-09)

State Law reference— Similar provisions, C.R.S. 1973, 42-4-221.

Sec. 54-626. - Proper seating.

(a)

A person operating a motorcycle shall ride only upon the permanent and regular seat attached thereto.

(b)

A person shall ride upon a motorcycle only while sitting astride the seat, facing forward, with one (1) leg on either side of the motorcycle.

(Code 1950, §§ 517.14-1, 517.14-2)

State Law reference— Similar provisions, C.R.S. 1973, 42-4-1302.