Writer Describes How His Uber Ride Was Pulled Over in "Innovation-Friendly" Colorado


not dave cook, the cop, or colorado
"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"

The state of Colorado prides itself on innovation. The Democrat governor, John Hickenlooper, even launched an innovation "branding" campaign to that effect. The signing into law of a bill that "legalized" ride-share services like Uber and Lyft last month certainly fit into that narrative. Or so thought Dave Cook before, he says, he was pulled over by police in a speed trap in Denver on the way to the airport in an Uber ride. He writes at Geek Wire:

My Uber driver was tagged and we were pulled over. There was no mention of speeding when the officer approached. The officer, who didn't identify himself immediately, asked for the Uber driver's license, registration and insurance (The driver had all of that). The officer then opened the backseat door where I was sitting and asked if I was paying for the ride.

I said what do you mean?

He asked again: Are you paying to have this person drive you to the airport?

I said yes. He then asked me how much I was being charged. I said I didn't know the exact amount because I hadn't reached the destination yet. He pushed the issue about the cost and then asked if this was an Uber ride. Both the driver and I said yes. Then the officer asked again how much the driver was charging me. I said the estimate was somewhere in the $35 to $45 range.

The officer then told us that "he was going to educate us on Colorado law today." Uber was illegal in the state, he said.

Cook writes that eventually the cop asked him for his license as well, and then gave the driver a ticket for speeding. According to Cook, the cop was also pressuring him to take a free ride from the police but would not answer when Cook asked whether what he was doing in an Uber ride was illegal. Read the rest of Cook's account here.

Check out Reason on Uber and Reason TV on the D.C. government's attempt to kill Uber in the nation's capital below:

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  1. The officer then told us that “he was going to educate us on Colorado law today.”

    Police generally don’t know shit about the law. They make it up as the go along, and when they are wrong nothing else happens. Because FYTW.

    1. “The more you know!”?

      1. Would you like to know more?

  2. He asked again: Are you paying to have this person drive you to the airport?

    Answering the authoritarian asshole was his mistake.

    1. Yeah. I think the writer misspelled “that’s none of your business.”

      1. You ever said that to a cop? That’s how you get your ass kicked.

  3. Sooo… the airport taxi guys give kickbacks to the airport beat cops to pull over and ticket suspected Uber cars, right?

  4. Having read the article, it sounds to me like Mr. Cook’s quick thinking save him from becoming a rape statistic.

    1. “May I have a little kiss before you go? I’m very lonely here.”

  5. Am I being detained?

    Am I free to go?

    No, I do not consent to a search of any kind.

    Repeat often, clearly and as loud as is possible.

    1. In an urban area with witnesses.

      On a lonely Colorado road those questions would be answered with:




      1. The highway out to DIA isn’t lonely. There are cars are over the place, and it’s the only convenient way in/out. It’s also loooooog and the speed limit is artificially low, which is why the state patrol likes to hang around and “promote safety.”

      2. Since when did they give a shit about witnesses?

        1. Since forever. That’s why they hate being filmed.

  6. I am an Uber Driver. AMA.

    Worth noting: Columbus passes new regulations on Uber and Lyft without acknowledging that Uber and Lyft were already doing these things:


    Overall, I’m glad the City caved while being able to “look strong” so the Nosy Parkers will leave customers and providers the fuck alone.

    1. Thank you for your service.

    2. Do you have a commercial auto insurance policy?

      1. No. Not necessary. Uber’s policy covers me while I am making a trip, and my personal insurance policy covers me before and after trips. The reason this works is that I am only technically operating my vehicle “for hire” when I am paged for a trip. Otherwise, I’m just a dude parked on the street.

    3. Does the local gov harass you?

      1. Not really – cab service is so bad here that I am sure they are secretly thankful. Things get a bit hairy in the party districts late at night, but that’s usually because the cabbies are assholes. The police don’t really care.

        Disclaimer: I have not done a trip to/from the airport, which I understand is tightly regulated.

        1. Do you carry? Are you allowed to in your state?

          1. It is legal as long as it is in a holster. I do carry, but I have not yet felt even remotely threatened enough to think about using it. Uber users are generally middle- to upper-class folks because of the *real* credit card requirement.

        2. Uber’s claims of what you can earn as a driver seem a bit rosy. Are they?

          1. Probably. I average about $20-25 an hour. I think people who try to do it full time will have a bad time of it.

        3. I swear this is the last annoying Uber question: any reason you chose Uber over Lyft?

          1. I am going to do both. Uber was just the one I knew about and has better market penetration in my city.


  8. He posted an update:

    Denver Police Chief Robert White has launched an investigation into an incident involving an officer who told a Seattle man that the Uber ride he was taking was illegal.

    In a letter posted on Twitter from the Denver Police account, Chief White publicly apologized to Dave Cook, the Seattle man who recounted the incident in a post on GeekWire over the weekend.

    “In our initial review of the facts of this case, the officer corroborates much of what you wrote in your column,” White wrote in his public letter this afternoon. “I find this to be concerning and have opened an investigation into whether the officer’s conduct was within policy and appropriate. You will be receiving further communication from the Commander of our Internal Affairs Bureau regarding the outcome of this investigation.”

    1. Whoah he’s acting all human and stuff. Still shielding my nuts.

      1. I interpretted this:

        You will be receiving further communication from the Commander of our Internal Affairs Bureau regarding the outcome of this investigation.

        As a threat to make him come back to CO at his own expense to be interviewed by IA, thus punishing him for his failure to keep his mouth shut.

        1. That’s kind of a stretch.

          1. Yes, but my inclination is to interpret everything a cop says as a veiled threat.

    2. Sounds to me like Dave Cook should sue the fuck out of Denver PD. Apologies don’t cover damages.

  9. Cook, who was in Denver to attend an Engineers Without Borders meeting

    Meanwhile, somwhere in Africa…

    “Where the heck did this suspension bridge come from?” “I don’t know, a bunch of guys showed up last week and put it together.”

    1. and also,

      “Hey what is this thing that says ‘Coca-Cola’ on it?”

  10. When I was in SF with the fam last year, they had large signs all over SFO, every 10 feet it seemed, reminding passengers to ONLY take officially designated cabs. It was fucking creepy.

    We took an UberX from the hotel to the airport. It didn’t cost any less, but it was in a town car and the driver was cool. Surprisingly, no one was arrested when we arrived at SFO.

  11. I’m conflicted about airport-cab exclusive deals. If the airport is privately owned, isn’t it their right?

    1. Yeah, but how many airports are really privately owned?

      1. None of the significant ones, to my knowledge.

      2. And why would a private airport want to turn away customers because of how they got to the airport?

        1. Because they are the only international airport within a reasonable drive and FYTW, local monopoly motherfucker, you’ll do what you’re told and fucking like it!

      3. All good points.

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