3.1. The Bicycle

A young man from Afghanistan is riding on a bike. He is on his way to the mosque for Friday prayers. He is riding on a cycle path against the flow of traffic, alongside a main road with three lanes. In the distance a police car is slowly approaching. The young man accelerates, but has no chance of avoiding an encounter with the police. The police car stops and calls him back.

Two police officers step out of the car, a man and a woman. The woman is the officer in charge. She asks the young man if he hadn’t noticed that he was driving on the wrong side. The cars are coming towards him, so he should be using the opposite side. The young man gives her a quick glance and steps to his bicycle, muttering something, and gets ready to drive on. The woman police officer tells him to stop and repeats her observation that he was driving on the wrong side. This time the young man turns to her colleague and says that he was driving on a cycle path, he doesn’t understand what the problem is. He has to go otherwise he will be too late for Friday prayers. The male police officer takes a step forward but doesn’t say anything. The female police officer says that driving against the flow of traffic isn’t allowed because it can be dangerous. It carries a fine of €30. She also asks for his documents. The young man again turns to the male colleague and reluctantly hands over his documents to him. The female police officer asks if he would like to pay the fine on the spot or if he would rather wait for the invoice sent by post. The young man, looking far away in the distance, decides to pay directly. The woman police officer, trying not to show her frustration, writes the fine and hands it over to the young man, who takes it and pays it without glancing at the female officer even once.

Why do you think did the young man reacted in the way described? Please read the possible answers and choose the most likely one. More than one answer can play a role in the situation.