Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Harassment reaches new level of low

So now the cops are stopping people on the Brooklyn Bridge...This is starting to become a tad facsist.

This report comes from Jacob:

"Well it is starting to happen. I have been riding across the Brooklyn Bridge several times a week for a long time and this is the first time I have been stopped by a Police Officer to have a "Bike Inspection". Police officers were stationed at both ends of the Brooklyn Bridge this morning (I was riding over at 9:10am) and stopping cyclist to check for Helmets, Front light, tail light and bell. Although I, nor any of the other cyclists I was stopped with, received a ticket we all received verbal warnings.
Although I normally wear a helmet today I left the house without one. To the best of my knowledge NYC does not, by law, require a helmet unless you are under 14. The police officer told me I was wrong and that everyone requires a helmet.

Is there any truth to this? One of the cyclist I was stopped with worked on the City council and she said that the police officer was incorrect. Any ideas?"

The truth is...The law is anyone under the age of 14 must have a helmet. Please inform the NYPD they are wrong and ask them why they are harassing bikes. Tell them you know this is a coordinated attack and it needs to stop right now.

I really feel this is a war now. Please write into Bike Blog and share your observations of police harassment towards bicyclists. Also feel free to share past experiences. The heat is difinitely being turned up.


Blogger Paul Tay said...

Hey, NYPD, you will lose just like you lost when you began Stonewall. Just like the British lost in India. I call for nothing less than a massive non-violent direct action on two wheels. 5,000 people with their bikes just sit down in Tompkins Square, keep silent, and let the cameras roll.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did they give you any reason for stopping you? I didn't really think they were allowed to setup inspection checkpoints. I was pulled over on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge a week ago and they claimed I was doing over 30mph which I new was a flat out lie. I had a helmet (which is not required unless you are under 14), lights, and bell. They told me I had to get spoke relfectors and that if I had a light from outside of NYC it wasn't legal here and they had a device to test the blinking speed. I have been to several bike stores since and have been repeatedly told spoke reflectors are not required and the law does not define a blinking speed for the light. The front light is not allowed to blink at all. When they first pulled me over one of the first things they asked for was I.D., did I have to give it to them?

I would like to here stories of more people caught up in this harrassment. What legal action can we take as a group?

9:56 PM  
Blogger Paul Tay said...

From the looks of the sequence of events, NYPD does not seem to care about the legality of anything they do.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No they did not give me any reason for the stop but I assume it was because they could visually see that I was not wearing a helmet.

By the way, I looked it up:
Helmets are NOT required unless you are 14 years or younger.

2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might come off as arrogant, but I have been riding every day for two years and haven't been stopped once. Maybe you should just look at cops in the eye and keep going? If you're moving faster then them they can't catch you, right? Though a low speed bike chase for a front blinkey light "violation" would be funny on NY1.

4:25 AM  
Blogger David said...

It's this NYCDOT page which mentions the rules about helmets (under 14), and also lists the reqired equipment (horn, working brakes, white/red lights for dusk-to-dawn ops, reflective tires)... the other one only discusses traffic rules & regs.

I didn't know all that equipment was required... anyone know what degree of rules they are? ie., what kind of a ticket do you get if you don't have one or more pieces?

And does the "working brakes" requirement apply to those fixed gear riders whose brakes are their legs?

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the rules are regulations and failure to comply is a violation, punishable by civil fine aka ticket.

A fixed gear rider needs to be able to execute a short stop to beat a no brake ticket - ultimately, you will get the ticket if the officer wants to give it to you and you will have a difficult time proving your ability to stop in court.


If an officer asks for ID you are required to provide it. As an matter of constitutional law, it should be a stop supported by probable cause, but as a practical matter, pc is easy for officers to allege.

I would also not recommend lecturing officers about civil liberties in the current climate. Although it can be satisfying to tell an officer off, it is probably not worth the trumped up trip to the tombs.

We will find many other ways to resist. Be safe and make sure there are many witnesses should you decide to challenge an officers authority.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recommend printing out the NYS laws - - and carrying that with you at all times (in your wallet). If the cop insists you are required to wear a helmet, show him the law in writing. Of course he may tear it up, so print out a few copies for backup.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take Queensborough Bridge to work everyday and noticed 2 cops on bikes in the last few days. I almost asked them what's the occasion... now I should know

10:10 PM  
Blogger alex said...

Also, if as Mike suggests we are to think of this as "war", make sure we follow the MLK model of protest. Lecturing about civil liberties and raising a big stink with the arresting officer does not improve one's chances of making life easier with the cops. If one desires to be disobedient in the face of some sort of injustice or infringement of one's rights, try to emmulate John Lewis and Hosea Williams. Imagine how unsympathetic the public would have been if the Selma-Birmingham marchers had decided to run around rioting as they were under assault from the police. The marchers were being physically pummeled yet they remained peacefully disobedient. Obviously, in that case the cops ended up looking like complete facsists. Unfortunately, the cops won't appear overbearing if the supposed offender seems belligerent and on the verge of violence. But, if a judge keeps having to handle cases with polite and compliant cyclists, the judge may begin to wonder whether any rules are actualy being violated or if the cops are up to something...

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're on the Qboro bridge about every other day this week and last; some mornings, some evenings... cops on bikes and/or scooters.
I'm so naive, i thought it was to catch the asses that drive scooters up the bike lane.
But i haven't been stopped, nor have i seen any cyclists stopped. They did ticket some scooters the first day they were out.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i waived at a cop on the bridge friday morning,
who of course was riding a bike without a helmet.

3:12 AM  
Blogger DJ said...

Honestly, just wear a goddamn helmet. At the worst, it saves your life.

I don't get the helmet hate. It's a obscenely smart thing to do when biking, especially in, you know, city traffic.

AFAIC, if you get hit and you're not wearing a helmet (and it's a genuine accident), you deserve the brain damage you get.

6:07 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

I talked to two cops on the Brooklyn Bridge on my way home from work yesterday.
I asked if their was a new law that required me to dismount my bike at the foot of the bridge. The cop on the Mahattan side said that he never heard of such a thing. The cop in the middle of the bridge (in one of those golf carts) told me that I had to get off my bike at the sign. I asked him where exactly is the sign, he then started stuttering and said he 'thinks' there is a sign. The only sign I saw said "stop" painted on the concrete, so I stopped for a second, smiled for the cameras and hen kept going...

just a little eye witness report for you

10:05 AM  

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