Totes Legal: Cyclist Ticketed for Riding with Tote Bag on Handlebars

04/15/2011 4:20 PM |

Totes illegal!
  • Totes illegal!

The NYPD, presumably riled up by the new policy of actually policing cyclists and the throngs of fair-weather riders getting back on their two-wheelers lately, continue to hand out tickets (and worse) for things that are not illegal. The latest bicycle offense that is not one: riding with a tote bag hanging from your handle bars.

The New York Post reports that Claire Lecomte du Nouy, the dean of students at a private Upper East Side prep school, was riding along Columbus Avenue near West 100th Street around 3pm on Monday, en route to pick her daughter up from school, when an officer asked her to get off her bike and provide ID. She tells the Post:

“I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘You’re not allowed to carry a purse on your handlebars.’ I thought he was joking… He gets out his little notepad and starts writing things down,” she said. “Then I realized he’s writing a ticket. I still thought it was a joke.”

The summons for “carry articles on bicycle” is utterly meaningless: it’s not illegal to ride with items hanging or resting on your handlebars. Not only that, the officer knew the ticket would be thrown out.

When she protested, she said the officer comforted her by adding, “Don’t worry, you can go to court. The judges always throw these out…” Police brass… say the summons should have never been issued.

But instead here we are, with a little extra time and money wasted, and the city’s already-wary cyclists made even more skeptical of the NYPD’s ability to enforce bike traffic laws competently. (Photo)