Tickets before the Mass.
My new friends:
Meanwhile, I remained calm. I was asked for my id. I reached in my back pocket and realized I had forgotten my wallet. Luckily I had my passport...don't ask me why. It is not illegal to not have id, but in this limitless environment of harassment, the NYPD may would have no problem in taking you in to central booking, a far worse experience than just a summons. Some people prescribe to caring a passport so that these kind of offenses stay off the driving record. Others carry an expired passport or a student id and use that. Something to think about...nuff said.
Anyway. I am very pissed about this whole experience. Its one thing to get a ticket during critical mass, the new punishment for riding and playing cat and mouse with the cops, but it is another when the police go out of their way to intimidate bikers. It should come as no surprise because this is part of a long list of police activities which I have been reporting on in almost 4 years of blogging. Things like clocking the speed of cyclists on bridges, telling people its illegal to not have a helmet, ticketing cyclists for running the red lights in central park. The list goes on and on. I think the biggest offense for me was knowing how much we have to put up with just to ride a bike in NYC, that goes unpunished. The day to day parking in bike lanes, the hit and runs, the dooring. And I'm getting a ticket for "NOT RIDING in the bike lane. Oh but wait...NYC is supposed to be a "GREEN CITY." Yeah Green as in the color of money and finding new ways to tax its citizenry.
I think we need to get more focused on stopping the harassment. I know a lot of work has already been done and I have a few mores suggestions of what we can do.
1) we need to stop the harassment before critical mass. We know how effective our video cameras are and we need to get people dispatched to these sting operations. We may also want to set up people ahead of them and warn cyclists to go a different route. Remember, most of these operations happen a half hour before 7:00, a few blocks North of Union Square, probably to catch people coming downtown. I know this takes continual commitment but its worth it and I intend to be at the next ride, armed with a video camera for documentation.
+++I noticed someone was video taping the group that I was in. If that person has footage, please get in touch with me.+++
2) I'd like to create a survey asking fellow cyclists and citizens of NYC to report on how they have been harassed and if they think this is responsible or necessary actions of our valued police force. I will set this up on line and use the information to report to our city council. If anyone wants to help out, please let me know.
So now I'll be losing time and money dealing with my ticket. I'm pleading “not-guilty” and will keep you informed of my progress.
BTW, I heard there was a lot of ticketing at the critical mass. I applaud all those who rode.
After being stopped I rode to Union Square and chatted with a few people who had a similar experience. I got the heating pad, thanks Brandon for the borrowed cash. I also lost my 70.00 lock in all the confusion. I rode home, down 2nd Ave, trying to hold back my anger and avoiding all the cars parked in the bike lane.
Here are some good resources to carry on the struggle:
Time's Up, get involved with video taping.
Look Campaign awareness of cyclists.
Freewheels, great resource with what is the law, and how to deal with tickets.
Critical Mass Tickets mapping where people get tickets. If you got a ticket this Friday, go here and report it.