Friday, November 04, 2005

NYC is back on the ticket blitz

Today is my 35th Birthday...yikes.

Well, it looks like Mayor Mike Bloomberg is a shoe-in. Big Business and Luxury Housing trump all. Hope I will still be able to afford to live here in Williamsburg Brooklyn as 20 story condos are begining their construction towards new levels of height. The harassment of Critical Mass may have been put on hold during our most festive Halloween ride but the recent ticket blitz on bike riding has not stopped. I guess this issue hasn't made the press, so it won't effect the Bloomberg vote. Some people believed the lull in arrests at critical mass was an action to not make bad press this close to the election. I'm not sure I see the point. Bloomberg has never had to answer for his attack on civil liberties and is constantly silent on any of the Police's tactics towards protest or celebrations of the bicycle. Why, now would he care if the NYPD is making it a mission to ticket bicycles for anything they can think of...things that normally they have never been concerned with. On Tuesday, I got an email from a woman that got a is what she wrote:

"FYI--It seems the ticketing blitz on 6th ave that started the day before critical mass last week may not be over yet. I got one thismorning at a little past 10am on 36th & 6th for failure to ride in the
bike lane... was then apologetically told by the cop to plead not
guilty. ????"

I intend to follow what happens to this woman's case, who has assured me she will follow the police's advice. So what is this all about. Why are the police now targeting bike riders on their daily commute and messengers for doing their job? These are not tickets for aggregious actions like riding on the sidewalk, Not Riding in the Bike Lane??? and of course this brings up all the issues of the lack of bike lanes and the cars who constantly sit in the places the city seems to want us to go. Do you ride on streets without bike lanes so that you can move more freely. If you are riding in the bike lane and their is a grocery store semi truck parked there and you go around it, do you get a ticket for riding in the street? Then if you argue with police they threaten you with other tickets like not having a warning devise or not having a tail light. Also if you go to court the judges are hardly sypethetic. They see hundreds of cases like this every single day. The best you can hope for is a reduced fine, not to mention the money you've lost by taking time out of work. How is this helping the city besides paying a pety fine? Will this make you a better bike rider? Will the streets be less congested of traffic with bikes in the limited bike lanes. This is clearly an attack on bike riding which stems directly from the police trying to crack down on critical mass, a monthly ride that the police have no control over. I'm sure the belief from the NYPD is to tarket bikes and make it harder and more annyoing for people to choose this as a form of transportation. This campaign must stop. Bicycle riding should be encouraged. It's cleaner, makes less traffic and good for people's health. Bloomberg should be akin to this having made the ban on smoking and made a huge donation to one of the top schools of public health...Hopkins in Baltimore. The police should be ashamed. I think they don't feel good about what they are doing judging by the way this one cop told the woman to plead not-guilty. This is clear evidence that the individual officers are basically being told to do something they wouldn't normally be so into. Transportation Alternatives is reporting on this issue and you can read about it in their Nov 2nd E-bulletin Jon Birdseye sent me this email on Tuesday:

"Just thought you might like to know that the NYPD is ticketing bicycles on 2nd ave in the Village. A friend just got a $40 slap for not riding in the bike lane. For everyones reference the laws pertaining to bikes in NYC are (from the TA website):

¤ 4-02 (a) - Compliance with and Effect of Traffic Rules
The provisions of N.Y.C. Traffic Rules are applicable to bicycles. These provisions include all traffic controls for motor vehicles including pavement markings, signs and traffic signals.

¤ 4-07 (c) - Restrictions on crossing sidewalks
3. Driving bikes on sidewalks is prohibited unless sign allows or wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter and rider under 14 years of age. See also Administrative Code ¤19-176.

¤ 4-08 (e) - Stopping, standing and parking prohibited in specified places
9. Parking, standing or stopping vehicles within, or otherwise obstructing, bike lanes is prohibited.

¤ 4-12 (e) - Driver's hand on steering device
Drivers must have at least one hand on steering device or handlebars at all times.

¤ 4-12 (h) - Reporting accidents by drivers of other than motor vehicles
Riders involved in accidents resulting in death or injury to person or damage to property must stop and make a report to the Police Department.

¤ 4-12 (o) - Use of roadways
1. Bicycles are prohibited on expressways, drives, highways, interstate routes and thruways unless authorized by signs.

¤ 4-12 (p) - Bicycles
1. Riders must use path if provided except for access, safety, turns, etc.; 2. Other vehicles must not drive across bike lane except for access, safety, turns, etc.; 3. Bicyclists may ride on either side of a 40-foot wide one-way roadway."

When the police target the critical mass it's one thing, but when they are bringing it to the streets of our everyday commute...we have an even bigger problem.

Please make your complaints heard and send me all info on those given tickets for riding a bicycle.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a photographer and I live on west 56th Street in Manhattan. I've been standing in different zones for last week's ticketing sting, and when a cyclist gets a ticket while a cab is obstructing the bike lane, I try to get a picture of the cyclist, the officer writing the ticket, and the cab in the backround blocking the lane, presenting a complete disregard for enforcing cyclist rights. I'm doing this to help out fellow cyclists, and its absolutely free, I just ask for your help in return:

I would like it if people could shoot me an email when they know of an area where police are stationed for just that purpose. For ex. If its a Tuesday morning, and you see cops on 6th ave and 48th street nabbing bikers, write down the address, shoot me an email, and I'll be there within 30 min to take pics. Some of these road blocks are an all day long ticketing fiasco. By shooting these pictures, not only does it allow fellow cyclists to present a solid case against the offense in court, but it also builds up a case against the cowardly NYPD who enforce these laws and not others that would allow us all to ride safely.


1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just posted about helping bikers out with the photographs, and I just got a ticket going to Columbus Circle for failing to yeild... I'm going to stand there for the rest of the evening, the officer seemed to be very reluctant to give me the ticket, and said that this is going to go on until the 18th. I plan on standing there for the rest of the night.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep hearing from people getting tickets that the officers are very apologetic about it. They're obviously under orders to do this.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I we should demand people get jaywalking tickets when they step into the bike lane, obstructing it.. I furthermore hope the police get suspended every time they stop at a red light, look, then run the red without there being an emergency, its a complete disregard for the law and an ilegitimate abuse of power. Fuck the police!

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! I almost got assaulted by 2 drunks (I didn't know they were drunk) standing ON THE BIKE LANE on Fifth and 19th sometime ago. I rode too closely and had to stop. They started yelling at me and hit my helmet. I am glad that I resited an urge to call the cops... I would have got a ticket...
Must admit that jaywalkers are pain in the ass, as well as rushing pedestrians who wait for the change of light standing on the road (as opposed to the sidewalk)... but they are pedestrian Critical Mass, so I will bitch don't really, really mind....

8:18 AM  
Blogger Greg Coghill - Writer said...

I received two separate tickets for riding my bike in Midtown. The first
one was on Sept 28th for riding the wrong direction up 5th avenue and
the other was on October 9th for riging outside of the bike lane up 6th
avenue. The wrong direction was entirely my fault and i paid the ticket. The second ticket was obsurd because the bikelane is ALWAYS full of double parked delivery trucks every morning. The advice i was given was to get off of my bike, walk it on the sidewalk and resume riding where the bike path was clear, and to repeat as needed. This is an unreal solution. This does not encourage bike
riding in the city. Why not start ticketing the double parked vehilcles first?!? This upsets me.

After my first violation, my good friend visited the police station at 167 E51st and attempted to receive the official cycling rules and regulations. They
were unable to provide them to her. I decided to continue to ride my
bike despite not knowing the rules, when i received the second ticket
for riding on the right hand side of 6th ave instead of the bike lane.
Both of the officers who
cited me told me that they were under direct orders, one said the orders came from the police
commissioner, to specifically target illegal cyclists. I don't beleive
this is in line with statements that were made last month by the police
department in which they said that it was purely coincidental. I don't
like when the people i pay taxes for lie to me.

email me at if you have any advice or want to help me from loosing my mind. I have one outlet for exercise and sanity in this city and now it is illegal (and expensive).

5:08 PM  

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