Every year I look at 30,000+ cyclists attending the five borough bike tour and wonder, “where are you people the other 364 days a year, biking in NYC?” Understandably, this event provides riders with a safe envivornment as well as the appeal of seeing all five boroughs and using infrastructure normally reserved for the automobile, like the Varazano and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. So regardless my own selfish wants of world bicycle domination, it’s good knowing this event occurs and maybe even inspires more people to ride, more often.
However, thanks to the infinite help of our beloved NYPD, the party is being threatened to be over. Weird. Actually quite typical.
The NYPD, now wants to charge Bike New York close to a million dollars for their street closure services, which would eat into the 1.2 million this event generates. This comes less tham a month before the event occurs-good timing. Although tickets are expensive to attend the five borough, it is the only event the organization charges for. The rest of the time Bike New York offers free adult bike education, safety series and lots of other bike tours not requiring the NYPD. This of course adds to new ridership and people feeling more comfortable on bikes in the city.
The police claim this 501c3 oganization’s event is non-charitable and thus justifies this enormous payout.
Bike New York is preparing to fill a lawsuit in court in order reverse this decision.
The NYPD have had a history of selectively enforcing their stance on parades and other gatherings so this really comes as no surprise.
Here are more details from bicycle reporter for the New York Times J. David Goodman:
Bike Tour Files Suit to Avoid Traffic Fees
By: J. David Goodman
April 1st, 2013
Weeks before the start of New York City’s largest bicycling tour, its organizers filed suit on Monday to avoid nearly $1 million in fees for traffic control by the New York Police Department.
The legal challenge by Bike New York, a nonprofit group that organizes an annual 40-mile ride around the city, was the first since a rule change took effect in 2011, the city Law Department said. The rule is meant to offset the high costs of shutting down traffic for popular athletic events, including the New York City Marathon.
At issue in the suit is the charitable nature of Bike New York, which derives most of its revenue from the ride, the Five Boro Bike Tour.
Pleas weigh in on what you think of the NYPD charging non-profits for events that generate money and education for New Yorkers.