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Bike Blog takes a…BREAK.


What? How can this be? In an ideal world I would spend my entire day mining the internet for wacky new bicycle innovations; reporting on alleycats and other messenger related events and posting all of your rants and observations on the NYPD’s jihad against our two wheeled warriors…wait a minute…that is what I do all day. Well I have to take a bit of a break because I am burnt out and I am getting married next week to the amazing Samantha Lobis who somehow tolerates my pretense for internet viewing and published rantings. Then we are off to Mexico for a brief honeymoon in a country that doesn’t just sit idle when their elections are being contested but rather march 2 million people in the streets to shut down the downtown area. Although we will be on the beach sipping margaritas and hopefully not being too despised by the locals who are innodated with fat clueless tourists who spend their money in mega-resorts and not into the local economy. We will tell them we are from Canada..eh and Dos Cervezas Por Favor. Then I come back on the day of the public hearing and its off the 2006 North American Cycle Courier Championships. As you can see my plate is a little full right now. I know what your thinking…How can I get through my day without your important compilation of bike related material? It will be difficult…Especially in this harsh political climate against bikes as record breaking globally warm heatwaves plague us and thousands of innocent civilians get laser guided missiles dropped on them so our Hummers can get groceries at Walmart 10 blocks from our homes built with old growth lumber. All I can say is channel your fustrations against that damn blogger stopping his rants to go and marry the state into ACTION. Write your city council members and tell them they are being left out of the process of parade definitions because the crybaby police are tired of riding their little scooters into us and writing tickets with code violations that don’t exist. Tell them to represent you and to tell Bloomberg, Kelly and Smolka that the police are supposed to enforce the laws…not make them up.

Bike Blog will return to your regularly scheduled bike culture news in September…Bigger and Better on into the year 3000. (and maybe even figure out how to use html code)

Now let us all join in the words of the great spiritual hym…Still We Ride, Still We Ride…Thank God Almighty…Still We Ride!

Finally…we have some video up from a ride.

I was beginning to think I had to do it all myself.
This is a great video of the NYC July critical mass. So timely and it show how clueless the NYPD really are…so pay close attention folks.

Eye Witness of the NYPD’s campaign to harass cyclists.

Central park is all part of the Master Plan, to harass cyclists and discourage our ridership…How else can you explain cops now ticketing cyclists in Central Park? Why now is this an issue? The cops say it is because someone got hurt by a bike rider. Weather this is true or not…DId you hear anything about this? As a blogger I am pretty tuned into events involving bikes. But hey, If I’m wrong…send me the article.

Meanwhile, Alex reports on what is going on in Central Park…what a sham. Thanks Alex for the photo and the report:

I wanted to give you and your readers a heads up about recent ticketing tactics being employed by the park police in Central Park. This morning I watched the park police (green and white uniformed officers) writing tickets to two different cyclist on the park loop road near Delacorte Theatre. Additionally, I talked to a third cyclist who was also stopped by the officers. The third cyclist ultimately became tired of waiting for the officers to finish with the other two cyclists. So, she casually rode off. As an aside, I saw her ride past the officers about a half hour later without incident. I was only able to talk to one of the other cyclists who said he thought he was being cited for “running a red light”, but he wasn’t sure.
I run daily on the Bridle Path in Central Park. I usually finish my runs around 7am. Since I returned from vacation around July 20th, I have noticed the park police setting up a barricade on the park loop. The barricade is situated between the Delacorte Theater and the Marionet Puppet Theatre. The park police place one officer in the bike lane at the light immediately downhill from the Delacorte bathrooms and have a couple more officers and vehicles on the bike path adjacent to the Marionet Puppet Theatre. In addition, near the second set of officers, there is a barricade set up so as to narrow down the vehicle traffic on the loop from 2 to 1 lane. The whole set-up looks identical to a sobriety checkpoint (if only it were…). The first officer tries to act as a traffic cop of sorts. When the light turns red for traffic, he then stands in (or on the grass adjacent to) the bike lane and holds out his hand for bikes to stop. I am assuming the cyclists being ticketed did not see this first officer and rode past him, only to be stopped about 200 feet down the road/bike lane by the barricade and several more officers.
Being the naive citizen that I am, when I first saw this barricade set up around 7am July 20th, I thought, “Awesome, they are slowing down the taxi drivers who treat the C.P. loop like a nascar track.” I casually observed the set up of this barricade at about 7am nearly everyday for the past 2 weeks, and always conjured up the same praise of the park police to myself each time.
Obviously, I am a dummy. Indeed the barricade is meant to slow down the speeding nascar-taxis of Manhattan, but not with the intended consequence of protecting the public. Nay, the officers appear to be creating the buffer in an effort to make their work environment safer, such that they can ticket cyclists without fear of being hit by a speeding yellow bullet (or SUV).
Anyways, this is the first major and consistent effort at ticketing on the UWS I have seen in the past two years. In short, I watched several cyclists get ticketed for riding their bikes in the bike lane of the Central Park loop. The only reason I observed the ticketing today is because I started my run after 7am instead of much earlier. So, as a warning, the park police have been setting this barricade up consistently for the past 2 weeks. It would be a safe bet to assume that they have been nabbing about 10-15 cyclists (lowball estimate for sure) per morning at this “checkpoint”.
I have attached a picture of the situation below.
Be careful out there.
Feel free to pass my email on to anyone who has questions.

alex (alex@marine.rutgers.edu)


“Man’s humanity to man is not only perpetrated by the vitriolic actions of those who are bad, it is also perpetrated by the vitiating inaction of those who are good.”
– Rev. Martin L. King Jr.

What you can do about the new "Parade Rules"


You know when you break a vase in the house by playing nerf football and your parents make a RULE about not playing football anymore in the living room…Well the NYPD is trying to make new rules about parading.

This roughly translates into: The NYPD have been unsuccessful in stopping the critical mass bike ride since the RNC in 2004. No matter what they have tried, stealing bikes, arresting people, using orange netting, infiltrating the ride with undercovers, using domestic spying, ramming us with their scooters, tackling us off our bikes, dooring us with their squad cars, handing out false information that the ride is illegal, using thousands of dollars of our tax resources to scare us by their massive presence, using emergency vehicles to try and prove we don’t pull over when we do, raiding our fundraisers, smashing our video cameras, ticketing us on our regular commute, lying to us about helmet laws and the speed of our bikes, ticketing us in Central park and illegal bicycle inspections. STILL WE RIDE. The police have lost in court, they had no argument against critical mass so now in a desperate final messusre they are trying to come up with a RULES so we can’t play nerf football in the house.

If you think this is a ton of BS and not an appropriate response for the NYPD to be taken against Freedom loving bike riders who should be rewarded with bike lanes and encouraged to ride…Then TELL THE CITY WHAT YOU THINK….

TIMES UP SUGGESTS THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS:

+++TAKE ACTION AGAINST NYPD’S PROPOSED PARADE RULE!+++

NYPD has issued a proposed rule that would dictate how many people could legally ride their bikes or walk down the sidewalk together without a permit. The rule would actively discouraging cycling and make it more difficult for cyclists to ride together for safety. See the full text of the rule

Actions you can take to oppose the rule include:

1. Testify at the August 23 public hearing and attend the rally outside Police Plaza in opposition to the changes. Send notice of your intent to testify to:

Assistant Deputy Commissioner Thomas P. Doepfner
New York City Police Department
1 Police Plaza, Room 1406
New York, NY 10038

2. Attend a People’s Public Forum on the proposed rule change. Thursday, August 17 at St. Mark’s Church (2nd Avenue and 10th Street) at 7 p.m.

3. If you are involved with these groups, tell them about the proposed changes and urge them to attend the August 23rd hearing.

4. Write Mayor Bloomberg and ask him to withdraw the proposed rule. (City Hall/New York, NY 10007/Fax (212) 788-2460/ email: http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.html)

5. Urge your councilmember to testify against the rule at the public hearing and at the People’s Public Forum. (Find your councilmember at http://www.nyccouncil.info/constituent/contact_member.cfm.

6. Pass along this information
—————————————————
We must use our representation and our voices and stop this from happening. Forget the War in Iraq or the Massacre of the Lebanese people in the name of OIL…the war is here at home! If we can’t even defend our own constitution…forget about what is happening in the bigger front.

This is not just about a bunch of bike riders who are having their fun spoiled…This is the OIL EMPIRE tightening its grip!

July Critical Mass report…

Will, of Onnyturf.com, has a report on the last NYC critical mass…

“The ride started brilliantly. A few hundred cyclists, 250 to 300 had gathered at the north end of Union Square. Rather than starting by heading south down Park Ave to Broadway, the ride broke out at the North West corner, heading across 17th street toward 5th Ave. It was about 8pm. 20 Police scooters had lined themselves up on the West Side of the park, and they were a little slow getting to 17th street.—

*read whole the whole story here

*Blog note:

Please read carefully, this is a great detailed description about how the NYPD effectively creates more blocked traffic than the people do and then lie to us about how the bikers are the real problem to motor vehciles and the general flow of the streets.

Check out the sideways bike


My good friend and incredible video editor Dan Katz , who surfs the internet all day looking for bicycle related oddities sent this link to the sidewaysbike

Michael Killian has invented a new style of bicycle which operates with left and right balancing. Its a lot like skiing and allows the rider to drift from side to side. This might work great on evading moped cops or we can say to them…”I’m not riding two abreast…I’m riding sideways.”

Check out this video

Once again

I had to work late and missed another NYC critical mass. I really have no idea how it went down in this politically charged climate of “parade rule” definition. I heard the cops were up to there old tricks and ticketing like wild.

Without being there and having a report I decided to just do a round up on Flickr

Here is critical mass in a whole bunch of other cities…starting with our own.

New York City: (thong for the cops)
Seth Holladay

NYC scooter mass

also in NYC
patient zero pix
If your going to get a ticket…it might as well be in your tighty whiteys

Boston Critical Mass (Big Wheel Bike)
Jen Stewart

Chicago Critical Mass-Four person bike
Pete Sorsa’s pictures

Gettin soaked

also from Chicago Tall Bike
Josi Hannon Madera

Happy bikers-not afraid of getting tickets.

And in the UK…
Marcus Boal pictures
Brighton

London
Orhan

Mrisney

Kevin
nice bike-London Critical Mass

and to our neighbors up North

Vancouver

aktnir

Toronto
projection

and Sam Bot in Winnipeg wrote this little update about their ride:

Sam-Bot

“Critical mass in Winnipeg is pretty huge actually. There has been a lot of press due to the size of our city and the amount of police brutality that stemmed from it. Some of the worst of it can be found here:

pix
Since then though, the city and the police have been very coopertive with the whole Critical Mass movement that has been going on. The photo(s) that I have of seen of Portage & Main street are actually of the busiest intersection of the city. It’s very liberating walking through the busiest intestion of the city carrying your bike trying to make people aware that bycyles are a part of the traffic as well. I have to put up with people at my work giving me a hard time about biking. I don’t understand their views at all. Is it the exercise or the good for the environment part that they don’t like? Maybe it’s the fact that they have to wait an extra 10 minutes in their cars while we show them how significant bicyclists are on the road. Maybe they have no problem that people are getting killed in Iraq so that they can drive their cars? Maybe they don’t think enough about the world that they live in, but I try and make them aware even though they have deaf ears.

Anyways, it’s good that the movement is getting stronger across North America, and don’t let up…the more that they put you down, the more it will be publicized and more people will join…after the police brutality in Winnipeg happened it was all over the news. The following month we had 300 bikers on the street last month showing everyone that bikers are a part of the population as well. Personally, I believe in self-sustainability, but that’s just my view.

Anyways, thanks for letting me know that the movement is going strong in NYC and take care,

Sam-bot

Press release and photo


Picture of a woman injured on May critical mass in NYC. Eye witnesses say she was purposely doored by NYPD in the bike lane which resulted in hospitalization with a broken colar bone.

PRESS RELEASE:

NYPD TARGETS CRITICAL MASS THROUGH PERMIT REGULATION REVISIONS

NYPD threatens public safety with its aggressive and reckless behavior

MANHATTAN CRITICAL MASS RIDE
Friday, July 28, 2006 at 7:00PM
Participants meet at Union Square Park North

CONVERGENCE SPACE FOR PRESS & RIDE PARTICIPANTS
Friday, July 28, 2006 at 9:30 PM
TIME’S UP! Space, 49 East Houston Street (between Mott & Mulberry)
(high resolution pictures and video footage will be available following the ride)

New York, NY (July 27, 2006) — – Time’s Up!, the non-profit, all-volunteer, environmental group that is being sued by New York City for advertising the Critical Mass bike ride, denounced the new parade permit regulations proposed by the NYPD. The rule change, which requires permission from the NYPD whenever 20 or more law-abiding cyclists ride together, is a retaliatory response by the NYPD to the decision of two judges in two separate cases. The judges refused to halt the ride, stating that Critical Mass is not a parade and does not require a permit.

Despite paying lip service to public safety as a reason for the rule change, the NYPD continues to create unsafe conditions for Critical Mass cyclists. Police officers have been documented cutting off, “dooring,” and pushing down law-abiding cyclists, merely to give tickets for moving violations. On the May Critical Mass ride, a cyclist was rushed to the hospital with a broken collarbone after she was doored by a police officer while riding in the bike lane.

Cyclists encourage the NYPD to discontinue its show of force and harassment through these overbroad and unenforceable new rules and hope instead to see a new atmosphere of cooperation on the part of the NYPD.

###

TIME’S UP! is a non-profit environmental group that has been using educational outreach and direct action for the last 15 years to promote a more sustainable, less toxic city.

Villager Article on new rules

Jefferson Siegel writes article on new rules in the Villager

Cyclists say new rules ride roughshod on liberties

By Jefferson Siegel

In a move that caught political activists and cycling groups by surprise, the Police Department last week announced a proposed “clarification” of rules governing a host of events, from public gatherings to political protests to the monthly Critical Mass bike rides.

The proposal, which the public can comment on at an Aug. 23 hearing at Police Headquarters, immediately drew criticism from the legal, political and activist communities.

The proposal would require a permit for groups of 35 or more that gather for walks or demonstrations. In addition, groups of 20 or more cyclists riding together would also be required to get a permit. Any group of two or more that gathers for a protest or march that could disrupt traffic would need a parade permit.

Civil libertarians and politicians were quick to criticize the proposal.

“You need a permit because we have to give you permission to break the law,” said civil rights attorney Norman Siegel at a press conference, mocking the mentality of the new permit initiative. Siegel was joined by City Councilmember Alan Gerson and other activists last Thursday at the E. Houston St. headquarters of Time’s Up, the 20-year-old East Village environmental advocacy group.

“Very simply, this is a big deal,” Siegel warned. The proposal, he said, would hinder First Amendment expressive activity. “These proposals radically change the rules for protest. The result will be less dissent, less protesting, less criticism.”

“Small groups of New Yorkers, as small as two people,” Siegel noted, “riding their bikes together, would now be required to get a permit.” This, Siegel noted, means a family out for a bike ride would be considered lawbreakers and subject to arrest.

Siegel and others believe the proposal is a direct outgrowth of recent rulings in state and federal courts favorable to the monthly Critical Mass bike rides. Those rulings rejected the city’s argument that the Critical Mass rides need a permit. Siegel also questioned the Police Department’s authority to promulgate such rules. Referring to State Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman’s February ruling, which denied the city’s claim that the rides need a permit, Siegel pointed to the word “statutes” in the ruling.

“What the judge was suggesting,” Siegel contended, “was that the city of New York change the law. The word ‘statue’ means the law. It doesn’t mean a rule or a regulation.”

Councilmember Gerson was no less incensed.

“The right to protest is what characterizes our country as a free society. The right to freely protest goes to the very core of our individual and collective liberty,” he said. Gerson agreed that any permit proposal should only result from legislative action and public hearings at the City Council, not at 1 Police Plaza.

“It is wrong…for any agency of the executive branch to attempt to change regulations regarding protests,” he said.

Gerson said he would insist the Council fulfill its prerogative to review the proposal.

“Permit requirements for assembly and gatherings should be the exception and not the rule. Let us remember that part of the right to protest is the right to spontaneously protest,” he declared.

Several speakers cautioned that gatherings as disparate as class trips, funeral processions and even picnics would be subject to regulation under the proposal.

Noting that permits incur fees, Bill DiPaola, founder of Time’s Up, offered another argument against the proposal.

“We don’t believe you should have to pay to use public space. Public space should be for the people; the poorest people or the richest people,” he said.

DiPaola is one of four defendants being sued by the city for gathering a group of more than 20 for Critical Mass rides without a permit. In 2004, U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley denied the city’s request for an injunction against the rides. Last February, Justice Stallman also ruled against the city. An appeal is pending.

DiPaola and cycling advocate Charles Komanoff both said the number of people riding bikes in the city has been increasing, which means safety in numbers. Komanoff considers the city’s latest proposal “lethal.”

“By discouraging and even criminalizing cycling, the proposed N.Y.P.D. policy will kill cyclists as surely as speeding S.U.V.’s and tow trucks kill cyclists,” he said. Komanoff displayed a chart showing that more cyclists on city streets resulted in a lower number being hit by cars.

June, in particular, was a deadly month for cyclists. Three were killed in accidents, including a physician hit by a city tow truck while riding along the Hudson River bike path and a Brooklyn filmmaker who was killed on E. Houston St. after slipping on a street construction plate and falling under a moving truck.

Many at the press conference called for a protest bike ride to the Aug. 23 hearing at 6 p.m. and encouraged a large turnout of speakers.

Cops on the bridges.

Law enforcement is being stepped up towards cyclists as we approach critical mass tomorrow. Today I observed a bike cop at the Manhattan base of the Williamsburg Bridge around 5:00pm. I’ve been riding this bridge for 10 years, back when there were decaying metal grates barely holding the bike path together. You couldn’t dream of getting a cop to be stationed anywhere around to help with a mugger. I haven’t seen cops around since the last couple years and never when people are knocked off their bikes and robbed. Now, suddenly there are cops around, and what are they doing? Stopping cyclists and telling them their speed is being monitored or checking for bike lights or better yet, lying to them that they need a helmet.

A loyal bike blog reader ran into a scooter cop on the Manhattan bridge and stopped to chat with him. He said he was from the 84th precinct in Brooklyn and that there was going to be a detail of cops on all the bridges from now on. After talking with him for a while, in a cordial manner, it was discovered that this new assignment was basically for cyclists. The police officer also mentioned that cops from the 84th were being brought in for critical mass…so expect a large build up.

here is the DOT link to the laws on helmets and requirements for equipment for bike riding.

Thanks to David, for the link.