NYPD Tickets Central Park Cyclists for Going Below the Speed Limit

03/23/2011 9:45 AM |

The near future?
  • The near future?

Remember how, as part of the NYPD’s occasionally abusive efforts to begin enforcing traffic laws for cyclists, they started ticketing Upper East and West Siders for running red lights on the Central Park West loop? However tokenistic and counter-productive, at least they were policing illegal bike behavior. Now they’re handing out tickets for completely legal riding: yesterday morning officers at a speed trap in Central Park handed out tickets to cyclists going over 15mph on the loop, a 25mph road.

Yesterday Streetsblog and Gothmist (twice!) reported that shortly after 6am officers at a radar gun-equipped speed trap at the bottom of a hill issued tickets to a half-dozen cyclists, some for up to $350. The Central Park Conservancy says:

Cyclists are required to obey all traffic laws, such as traffic signals, stop signs, and a maximum speed limit of 25 mph, though it is recommended they travel at a speed appropriate to their surroundings. (Emphasis mine.)

Gothamist has several accounts of the infuriating early-morning speed trap, like this one:

Cyclist Greg Lowdermilk, a disabled Iraq war veteran who works for FEMA, tells us he got hit with a $140 speeding ticket. “The speed limit is actually 25 mph, and I got a ticket for going 25 in a 25,” says Lowdermilk. “I know this because I have a computer on my bike. The cops said the speed limit was 15, but on the ticket it said it was 20. It’s easy to beat these things but it just becomes a hassle for me. Another guy I rode with was also cited; he was told by one of the cops that at the entrances to the park there are signs saying it’s 15. But we couldn’t find a single one of those signs.”

Lowdermilk’s bike was equipped with a camera, and he shot his ticketing experience. The audio is really quiet, so you’ll have to turn up the volume to hear the dialog and details, which include the officer explaining that the 15mph speed limit is indicated on signs throughout the park that nobody has ever seen.

Outraged yet?! There’s hope in this follow-up yesterday evening from an anonymous cyclist:

I was one of those ticketed this morning. Police just paid me a personal visit (7:55pm) and provided a personal apology that there has been some mistake over what the officers thought was the speed limit (they thought 15mph) to that of what is outlined in Central Park’s rules which is 25mph. I am excited to report they revoked my ticket…

Whoops! Still, cyclists, stay the hell out of Central Park.