Eye Witness of the NYPD's campaign to harass cyclists.
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.
"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.