As feared, and then confirmed in early reports, the NYPD’s new commitment to enforce traffic laws as they apply to New York City’s law-flouting cyclists is proceeding as absurdly and tokenistically as you might have expected. Composer Alec Hall (a composer, the most mild-mannered and law-abiding type of artist there is, for chrissakes) tells Gothamist all about how his ride through Central Park came to an abrupt, expensive halt.
Hall recounts how he received his fine: for riding through a red light on East Drive yesterday around 3pm. He and another cyclist were pulled over after riding through one of the many red lights that dot the roads inside the park and issued tickets. One of the officers at the scene told Hall that he wouldn’t have to pay a fine, though this proved to be false information. As with a car, the fine for running a red light on a bicycle is $270.
Though, admittedly, one of the places in the city where disobedient cyclists could conceivably actually kill a pedestrian is in Central Park, setting up traps at lights that virtually every cyclist, jogger, rollerblader and dog-walker ignores all the time hardly seems like a useful way to go about cracking down on bad bikers. With all this focus on Central Park, could Prospect Park be next?
In his delicious finale, Hall tells Gothamist:
As far as I can see this is essentially tantamount to the criminalization of recreation in New York City. If people can’t go cycling for pleasure in Central Park without having to stop for countless, and ostensibly useless red lights, where else can we go? One really has to admire the combined administrative efforts of Giuliani and Bloomberg for turning New York into a mindless, sterile, corporatist playground where only the wealthiest people on Earth can have any kind of standard of living.
In related news, we got a hold of the NYPD’s new training video for officers assigned to the Central Park bike beat. Check it out: