A Gothamist article reports that a cyclist stands to gain points against his license for an infraction in Central Park last month. In an email to Gothamist the anonymous cyclist seems indignant that a minor mishap on a ride through the park could end up costing him his right to drive.
A ticket really puts a damper on the day, but there’s no reason to whine about it. The pliability of traffic laws with regards to bicycles—or at least the enforcement of them—is a touchy subject. Cyclists (of which I am one) have historically been relegated to second-class roadsters, caught somewhere between motorists and pedestrians, unable to ride on the sidewalk but often without enforced safety protocol on the road. This is, of course, changing all the time. New bike lanes sprout up constantly, and as those paths open, the cyclist's ability to bend the road rules is closing.
In some places, at least. In my experience, the strictness of the police greatly depends on the neighborhood. Cops tend to turn more blind eyes in shabbier areas. In my BushSty hood, for example, cyclists routinely race through lights or ride against one-way traffic, and I’ve never seen or heard of tickets being handed out. But I got ticketed in Crown Heights for unsaddling as I rolled onto the sidewalk at a crawl. (A beat cop later told me that Franklin Ave is a “zero tolerance area.”) But regardless of how safe you are, many common riding practices are illegal.
The Gothamist article highlights a key point: many ticketed riders may not know the points against their license are adding up, because only some offenses accrue points.