Late in 2010 the New York police department called for a citywide crackdown on illegal cycling, which later developed into “Operation Safe Cycle.” This has resulted in a ticket blitz with several precincts across the five boroughs specifically targeting bike riders and issues summons for a laundry list of offenses from failing to stop at a red light to not wearing a helmet (which according to NYC law is not required from citizens over the age of 13) Further repercussions of this specific direction of the NYPD has also included a backlash of city officials who have also been targeting cycling issues, primarily a discontent with bicycle lanes and a less car centric direction the Department of Transportation has taken over the last few years.
Since the backlash began, I have seen numerous articles written on the subject as well as heard various reports from the cycling community. I decided to create this separate page on my website to archive this situation as well as provide a space for discussion for all sides of the issue. There are also resources and tips on this page, designed to help with the situation. These are in the process of being further developed.
Let me be clear, this blog does not advocate illegal cycling and encourages all vehicular laws to be followed. However, I would like to see more common sense, less punitive solutions be found to solve a series of legitimate complaints by the populus of New York City towards disruptive, unsafe and illegal activities by cyclists. It is also my belief that what we are witnessing is a harassment campaign by NYPD based on an increase in cycling and needed infrastructure pushed forward by a very bike friendly D.O.T. According to the reports I have witnessed, much of the NYPD’s actions towards cyclists is similar to a harassment campaign against the monthly group ride known across the globe as critical mass. I also believe the NYPD’s efforts could be more effectively utilized to combating unsafe motor vehicles who continue to maim and kill cyclists each month in NYC.
A good resource if you are stopped by the NYPD while riding a bicycle:
Bicycle laws and tips from the D.O.T.
TA is also suggesting cyclists be nice. Regardless of your opinions on the enforcement, our actions as the ridership of NYC are even more scrutinized and focused on by the New Yorkers and the Media, during this crackdown period. TA has created a entire website with tips and information on bikers following a street code of conduct.
More at bikingrules.org
I encourage cyclists who have recently been issued summonses to record them on the site seeclickfix. This is a website created to monitor specific problems with a city such as potholes or streetlamps that are broken in order to build up popular support for the problem and get it fixed. A 311 of sorts, which allows direct input and can be commented on. This will help build a map of the ticketing and be used as important data to see patterns for cyclists to avoid.
Create an account, add your summons and identify it as bicycle related. I suggest using words such as ticketing, bicycles and harassment.
For an example of one I recently posted: Issue #82560
This date is also monitored by various government officials and organizations.
Another valuable resource is the micro blogging sensation known as Twitter. An entire network of NYC cyclists has emerged under the banner of the hastag #bikenyc. For those who aren’t familiar with this technique, basically all relative information and 140 character posts are tagged by including this hastag. This large network of bikers posts everything from article links, rides, and tips and is also being used as a watchful monitor of the current crackdown.
There is also this site, NYCticletblitz.com, which is taking down information on tickets and tracking the location of the offenses.
Blogs and Websites that have been doing a thorough job of covering the crackdown:
Check out the facebook group: NYC Freedom Cyclists.
City pays settlement of nearly 1 million dollars to specific riders involved in a long standing harassment campaign by the NYPD towards critical mass. It is my belief that this has a lot to do with the recent ticket blitz by the NYPD, unhappy with the outcome of this lawsuit.
read more NY Times.
3 days after city annouceses settlement, the NYPD issues a city wide crackdown on illegal cycling.
Read more here at the NY Times.
Cops block bike lane and then issue cyclists tickets for not riding in the bike lane. The beginings of the harassment campaign.
Read more in gothamist.
NYPD issues borough-wide crackdown on cyclists.
Read more at Brooklyn Paper.
Cyclists complain of harassment in Central Park.
Read more at streetsblog.
tweets begin to surface on twitter of cyclists getting tickets on their daily commutes.
Read more bikeblognyc.com.
34th precinct in Upper Manhattan joins in “operation safe cycle.”
Read article in Manhattantimesnews.com.
Teacher and volunteer for Time’s Up Ben Shepard writes this op-ed piece for the Brooklyn Paper stating the NYPD should focus on safety not a ticket blitz.
Read the piece in Brooklyn Paper.
New York Post releases an article titled: “All out to end the cycle” Which identifies the results of the ticket blitz for January and how this campaign will continue indefinitely:
Read more at the NY Post.
also a recap of the ticket blitz in Gothamist.com
Air Force veteran, David Curtis Lettier is issued summons by the NYPD for not wearing a helmet.
Read more at gothamist.
Cyclists speak out against ticket blitz at 24th precinct (Upper West Side) community meeting.
Read more at DNAinfo.
Launch of Concerned Cyclists of Central Park, a facebook group dedicated to the targeting of cyclists riding in NYC’s most known park loop. They have an idea: We are asking Mayor Bloomberg to allow for traffic lights within Central Park to be set to blinking yellow during off peak hours.
You can also follow along twitter at @CPcyclists and use the hastag: #cpcycle.
This was for not having proper lighting. I would avoid 5th Ave in Park Slope and use 3rd Ave or, if its not to inconvenient, the Prospect Park West Bike lane.
UKBROOKLYN, submits this video of excessive police presence to issue woman ticket for biking on the sidewalk.
Blog started to monitor ticketing situation in Central Park.
Read more: centralparkguide.wordpress.com
a mockumentray of sorts looking for the elusive cyclist of Central Park.
Article form Gothamist identifying the NYPD encourages the use of quotas.
From the blog: Chasingwheels.blogspot.com.
Video investigates there are 46 traffic lights around the 6.1 mile loop in central park and the NYPD is expecting cyclists to stop at everyone of them?
19yr old is beaten in the Bronx by NYPD. Held overnight and released without charges except for a summons for riding his bike on the sidewalk.
Video from ABC news:
article on Gothamist.
Central Park Cyclists start a petition for adjusting traffic lights to blinking yellow during auto-free hours: “PLEASE SIGN & PASS if you support fair use of Central Park! Go here for more info. From @cpcyclist on twitter.
Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Queens) introduces a bill for mandatory registration of NYC cyclists.
Read more: NY Post.
Via twitter: @bradlywilliams18 “I was riding down Madison, blew through the light at 89th, cop pulled me over, jumped outta the car (unmarked), then told me they were being told to crack down, but since im 16 it didn’t mater and i could go.”
Via twitter: @Naparstek “NYPD ticketing bike commuters on Union Street and Third Avenue in Gowanus Brooklyn this morning.”
NYPD sets up speed trap in Central park and tickets cyclists for speeding in fastest downhill in the park. Gothamist.
Councilmen Brad Lander (Brooklyn) and Ydanis Rodriguez (Manhattan) introduce flashing yellow bill to change stop lights in Central Park.
Police apologize for giving speeding tickets to cyclists in Central Park. NY Times.
Good News: Councilwoman Gale Brewer introduces a bill to ban cars from Central and Prospect Park. Huffington Post.
Dutch woman harassed by NYPD officer for having too short a skirt. streetsblog.org.
This in on twitter from @critmasspanic:
Cops ticketing #bikeNyc at suffolk and delancey red light trap now at bridge approach. 5/12/11 7:58 PM
Class action lawsuit announced against NYPD crackdown. Gothamist.
Letter and timeline of crackdown by lawfirms Oliver & Oliver and Rankin & Taylor here.
Results of WNYC crowdsourcing project to map bicycle ticketing by NYPD. WNYC Blog and source for map.
Great video from the Neistat Brothers, Casey getting a ticket for “not riding in the bike lane.”
Cops sting operation on Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge, Gothamist.com.
Police begin crackdown on cyclists in Prospect Park Brookyln, Brooklynpaper.
Hard to say whether the crackdown has eased up or if we’re just hearing less reports about it. There still seems to be a level of randomness and “sting” operations where police are giving out a number of tickets for various offenses. Regardless, I will continue to keep a watchful eye on the harassment of cyclists and keep posting my timeline of related articles and tweets in 2012.
NYPD Issued Almost 50,000 Bicycle Tickets in 2011, Transportation Nation.
Cyclist fights bike lane ticket in State Supreme court, Gothamist.
Crackdown in Prospect Park is real. Brooklynpaper.
Park Slope Cop Brings About Sidewalk Cycling, Then Tickets It, Streetsblog.
Cops give tickets for not riding in the bike lane on Lafayette in Manhattan, Transportation Nation.
Police run red lights and speed, just to give cyclist $270 ticket for a traffic violation.
More from: streetsblog.org
→9/1/2012Ticketing of cyclists resurfaces in Central Park.