Here are the latest developments in the NYPD’s crackdown on cyclists.
Can this be? $270.00? Right in my neighborhood?
Recently, in the dead of winter, when bicycles are prevailing even with un-plowed streets and cars being abandon during the snowpocolypse, the NYPD has decided to sort through their list of priorities and issue a “fatwa” against illegal cycling.
The NY POST reported on this on the 7th of January, a news organization that has always been a champion of cyclists hate speak such as this article from Steve Cuozzo whining about how the city plowed bike lanes while certain car roadways weren’t touched. He also called us: “Mayor Bloomberg’s favorite class of commuters: maniacs and deliverymen on two wheels.” Seems fair and balanced.
Well even though the tourists love our less car centric initiatives and cycling has increased, the bikers reward seems to come with a price. According to the POST, the NYPD’s Manhattan crackdown is being extended to parts of Brooklyn, which have seen the largest increase in bicycle traffic.
The Post went onto say in this article, according to police in Williamsburg, that this is “prolonged enforcement– not a crackdown with quotas.”
Of course don’t forget the NYPD statement that came out issued in Manhattan was just 24 hours after the city had lost a major case against Critical Mass and had to pay out over $900,000. Sour grapes or a focused effort to respond to numerous complaints by NYC citizens? You decide.
Meanwhile, Gothamist reports, according to the NYPD “bicycle riders will be ticketed for often-overlooked “vehicular offenses, such as failing to obey traffic signals and signs, breaking the speed limit, tailgating, and even failure to signal before turning.” Not exactly sure how a cyclist can break the speed limit…what is the speed limit for bicycles and tailgating?
I am for enforcement of cyclists breaking the law for such things as riding on the sidewalk and going the wrong way down a one-way, but this may be a case of careful what you wish for, like asking the Hells Angels to do security at your rock concert. (Altamont)
I did get to speak out on this a bit in an interview with 1010WINZ, John Montone which can be found here.
Along with fellow bloggers Brooklyncyclist.com and brooklynbybike.com we gave a few sound bites expressing our opinions about such things as expecting bikers to stop at every red light seems a bit of a stretch, like asking people not to jaywalk.
Judging from reports coming in, it seems as if this NYPD crackdown is less concerned with the safety of the streets and more about continuing a long standing pattern of intimidation.
Streetsblog.org reported today of one such incident where a cyclists was ticketed for making a right turn on red into an auto-free Central park for his afternoon ride.
This has stirred up much debate, dividing people into two camps: those defending the changes the city has made to create space for bikers and those venting just how much they can’t stand those on two wheels.
I especially appreciate the comments left here including this one from Angel Fernandez, who discovered my blog through the 1010WINZ story:
This is simply an attempt by Bloomberg to raise more money for the city. We know the city is strapped and that precinct captains are pushing quotas for parking tickets and moving violations.
Make no mistake, if we donâ€™t respond by increasing pressure on drivers, we will suffer setbacks on the significant progress made. Its ironic this admin has really promoted bike use, only to then regulate and fine.
Drivers obstruct bike lanes, pedestrians limit the speed of travel on new designs that place bike lanes between parked cars and sidewalks.
Riding among cars and being allowed to cross on red lights is not only part of our bike culture, itâ€™s â€œAmericanâ€. I just returned from Mexico, and I can tell you the culture there is much slower because they are afraid of cars.
Whatâ€™s exceptional about New York is we are not afraid of traffic. If we give up ground, we will only make ourselves vulnerable to more and more rules â€“ defeating the purpose.”
All of this seems to emphasize a huge disconnect between Mayor Bloomberg’s DOT which has been paving the way for people to ride bikes and the NYPD who wants to “crackdown” on the ridership.
I personally believe the priority of traffic enforcement should be ordered upon the vehicles which can cause the most damage…like a 15 passenger van critically injuring a toddler in a hit and run.