NYPD Promises/Threatens To Increase Bicycle Traffic Law Enforcement in Brooklyn

01/05/2011 1:53 PM |

Officer writes ticket for two young Brooklynites who rode over the speed limit in Prospect Park.
  • Officer writes ticket for two young Brooklynites who rode over the speed limit in Prospect Park.

New York cyclists and New York police officers: best buddies 4eva! That situation’s only going to get worse following today’s news, reported by the Brooklyn Paper‘s Thomas Tracy, that the NYPD “has been ordered” (by whom? cranky get-off-my-lawn olds? Bloomberg? President of Brooklyn bike hate Marty Markowitz?) to increase their enforcement of traffic laws as they apply to bike riders in Brooklyn. Cyclists, as you may know, are expected to obey the exact same traffic laws that were designed for the safe operation of vehicles with internal combustion engines, an arcane double-standard that’s not likely to change so long as the city continues to consider cycling a leisure activity rather than a viable mode of everyday transportation. But that’s a matter for another post.

For now what you, Brooklyn cyclist, need to know, is that “in a matter of weeks” (meaning sometime this spring, most likely) NYPD officers in Brooklyn might start to give out moving violations for cyclists who ride through red lights and stop signs, tailgate, go over the speed limit (heh) and fail to signal. Which, if I’m not mistaken, means that basically every cyclist in the borough is liable to get a ticket. Nice way to meet one’s ticket quota, I imagine.

Tracy’s article ends with this superb one-two punch:

“It’s a safety concern,” said one police source, who couldn’t provide any hard data about borough-wide bicycle accidents. “The public feels that we are not strict enough [against bicyclists].”
Police brass said that the public has no reason to fear that the NYPD’s new mission against errant bicyclists will hamper their ability to stop other crimes like murder, rape, muggings, burglar and iPhone thefts.

In summary, iPhone thefts are of roughly equal importance as rapes and muggings, all of which are more important than bike safety, which is still worth enforcing, but nobody really knows how, when or why. Ride safely, folks.

4 Comment

  • On Wed. January 5th I was stopped riding my bicycle on Grand and Roebling without
    Back reflector and headlight. In panic and outrage at a ticket for laws I haven’t heard about,
    I made a mistake to continue riding. Police car hit my bike into the snow. At that point,
    I took out my wallet and offered an id. Police officer screamed “now you are going to jail.” Without
    Any other explanation, he twisted my arm to the point of pain. I started screaming, trying
    To call attention to the violance. However, I did not fight back or run, just tried to resist
    My arm being broken. More policemen twisted both of my arms and pushed me on the
    Ground, face down into the garbage bags. At that point I realized they wanted my hands for
    Handcuffs behind my back. However I was never told that and had no idea how handcuffs operate,
    Having never been handcuffed in my live. After this, I was taken to the precinct and spend 24
    Hours in jail. Jail had 15 women in about 15 by 20 room with floor space for 10 matts, an open toilet, no soap, dirty floors and matts that were not disinfected and dirty, cockroaches, mice, and rats. There was a sign on the wall “soap avaialable upon request.” However, upon request, the guard said that there is no soap and the sign was just put up for inspection.I was released on a half a year
    Hold, found not guilty and given one day of community service I don’t exactly know why. To complete
    The picture of the police actions against me, I would like to add that I am a 33 year old woman, 5.1 in height, who has never been arrested before. After this I am not so sure about ride safely….

  • Please forgive the grammar of the previos post. I am posting from the courthouse, from my phone, while waiting for my community service assignment. I am still under great emotional disturbance.

  • The jail room, on second though might have been larger. I don’t have a good sence of space measurement. It definitely did not have the floorspace for 15 beds.

  • I have a question for the first comment: What time of day were you ticketed? Lights and reflectors are an equipment violation that only applies to the times between 1/2 hour after sunset until 1/2 hour before dawn.