A little bit of connecting the dots here.
As devoted NYC cyclists, we’ve had a long history of battling the NYPD with our monthly critical mass rides, where law enforcement have tried everything in their power to stop the rides from happening.
This finally culminated in a parade law which requires more than 50 cyclists must acquire a parade permit in order to have a group ride, in direct violation of the public’s constitutional rights of free assembly. This makes it virtually impossible in regards to critical mass due to the fact that it is a spontaneous event with no leaders, therefore no individual or organized group could step forward and even apply for a permit, not to mention the city would never grant them one in the first place as we have seen with other politicized events.
Meanwhile, there have been a number of ongoing lawsuits against the NYPD for harassment and false arrest at the critical mass rides, much of which was not reported in the news.
Last Monday, a settlement was agreed upon by the city, awarding 965,000 to plaintiffs of the critical mass rides.
Then next day a press conference was held on the steps of the Federal Court House in Manhattan with the plaintiffs, critical mass participants and lawyers, Gideon Oliver and David Rankin.
The NYPD immediately responded with an announcement that there would be a “Crackdown” on cyclists in areas of the city that have seen higher incidents of collisions involving bicycles. This came from a recent New York Times article.
If indeed, there is a crackdown on illegal cyclist behavior we would hope that it would target issues of safety and be directed to number one complaints of pedestrians, such as riding on sidewalks.
Unfortunately we are starting to see things like this:
This report came in from Gothamist, yesterday. An NYPD squad car had parked itself in the bike lane and was issued a summons to a cyclist for “not riding in the bike lane.”
Read the report here.
With this kind of behavior, it’s hard to believe the NYPD is more concerned with maintaining a level of harassment and intimidation then in “cracking down” on illegal bike riding, thus learning nothing from the recent settlement.