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Making connections, NYPD’s love of cyclists.

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.

7 comments to Making connections, NYPD’s love of cyclists.

  • emma

    I know it’s pretty blurry, but this is a cop riding a police horse in the 8th avenue bike lane yesterday around 5:30 after I left work. I saw another two cops on horses riding in the bike lane (next to each other, mind you, blocking the entire lane) like five minutes later.

    Thanks for keeping us safe, jerks.

  • cr

    That’s my picture (which I emailed you first this morning as it was happening – out of respect of course!) and my story on Gothamist. As a clarification I was pulled over for “not riding in a bike lane” as the cop told me, but the reason written on the ticket was “reckless operation of bicycle” and the code given was “In violation of: 19-176 (“Bicycle operation on sidewalks prohibited” – http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/ADC/19/1/3/19-176). I was never, at any time, anywhere near a sidewalk, nor was anyone else who was stopped. I’m all for safe riding and enforcing laws – but I’m against lying and making stuff up as we go along.

  • Look, what the NYPD did yesterday on First Avenue was unforgivable, but it doesn’t mean that a police crackdown on wrong-way cycling and red light running isn’t necessary.

    Saying that this is part of a massive ongoing conspiracy against cyclists by the NYPD doesn’t do anyone any good. All it does it pit cyclists against the NYPD even more, causing more distrust and more incidents like this.

    And for the love of God, don’t bring Critical Mass into this. Some of us ride because we want to get to work or run errands, not because we’re activists hell-bent on shutting down the city. And since we’re lawful riders, we’d like to keep the few rights we have left. If you try to pit ALL cyclists against the NYPD, you can kiss your right to ride a bike in peace goodbye.

  • cr

    Chris – please show us evidence of a crackdown on wrong-way cycling (“salmoning”) and red light running? I’m all for that stuff 100% – hell, if I were ticketed for that I’d pay the damn thing. But I’m willing to bet it hasn’t happened and it WON’T happen. Why? Because it’s almost impossible for a cop, either in a squad car or on foot (or on one of 3-wheel jobbers they’ve got now), to chase down a cyclist moving at full clip (and running red lights). It’s also dangerous to pedestrians, so they don’t do it. Cops are going to start blasting down one-way streets to catch a salmoner to write a $130 ticket? Unlikely.

  • Oliver

    This must be an example of the ‘common sense’ or disdain for political correctness’ that the wingnuts are always on about.

    Nice to see the kid-gloves are off.

  • Waltzing Matlida

    I’m not trying to be funny, but doesn’t NYC have bicycle cops? We have bicycle cops here who were originally just to increase police visibility, but I’ve heard they’ve started chasing and ticketing cyclists who are breaking the law.