Wednesday, January 5, 2011

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

Posted By on Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 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.

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