The war on bikes continues
August 08, 2005
'PARTYBIKE' PEDALERS: COPS TRYING TO BREAK OUR CYCLE
The NYPD is pushing the pedalers out of Times Square.
By Michael Kane
[The following is a telling article from the August 7 NY Post about the situation in my workplace. Sound familiar? -WS]
Operators of the Partybike — a circular bicycle built for seven — say they're being unfairly targeted by cops, who've ticketed the big red tourist-mobiles more than 100 times in their 16 months of operation.
"The police say we're clogging traffic and that we're dangerous — but there's no law against riding a bike, any bike, on a city street," said driver Paul Crisci, who personally has been cited 15 times for charges like impeding vehicular traffic, no standing, and disorderly conduct. All of the charges against Partybike have been dismissed in court, he said.
Partybike owner Don Domite said police "harassment" really kicked in after he bought nine new bikes in June, bringing the total to 16.
"The cops want us out of business, and they're singling us out," said Domite, who complains that five of his $11,000 bikes were held as "evidence" for almost three months. "They charged us with vending without a license," he added. "But we're not even required to have one."
Crisci alleges that one cop said to him: "I told you I was gonna get you. I got this bike now, and I'm gonna get all of them."
A police spokesman said he was unaware of any policy to target Partybikes, but added, "We don't just write summonses to write summonses."
Crisci, who is pursuing a civil action, said the final straw came last week, when he was detained for 13 hours on an outstanding-warrant rap that was dismissed.
"I was in a holding cell with violent criminals, drug offenders, you name it," he said. "And one guy actually said, 'So, what are you in for?'
" 'For riding a Partybike,' I answered."
Additional reporting by Philip Messing