Today’s Headlines

  • “…the Police Department has so far written 40,000 summonses to bike riders in 2006…”-nytimes
    That is an incredible figure.

  • That’s like 1 per bike commuter at least. I bet most are to commercial cyclists. I wonder how many are critical mass related too.

  • brent

    The NY Times article raises some interesting points and I am glad the debate is being acknowledged. The entire argument is not credible, however, because it is nothing more than an attempt to pit cyclists against pedestrians.
    “About 300 people are killed each year in traffic accidents in New York City, about half of them pedestrians hit by cars. On average, one pedestrian dies each year after being struck by a bike. But if one were to measure the complaints I get, one would imagine the statistics were reversed.
    What is it about the conflict between bike riders and pedestrians that’s got so many people riled up and what can be done about it?”
    The fact that motorists are killing hundreds of people every year is hereafter removed from the debate and the focus is shifted to the conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists, even though it only results in 1 death per year. The reasoning seems to be because people complain about it. I think it is important to address people’s complaints, but shouldn’t the ultimate priority be the drastic reduction of the 300 deaths per year?

  • someguy

    The ultimate priority should be getting something, anything positive done – and I think Sam Schwartz’s piece does a good job looking at the real-world, everyday person perspective that will be crucial in winning, and keeping, support for these kinds of changes that all of us advocates support.

  • P

    I used to watch just south of 23rd Street on 5th Avenue as cops set up a trap for bicyclists not using the bike lane on the left side of the street. Of course any cyclist coming down Broadway was probably on the right side of the street. So they had about two blocks through very heavy traffic to get to the other side of the street or else be ticketed. The result was dozens of tickets and the wasted time of 3 to 4 officers each time they conducted the sting.

    I’m not sure of the utility of a mandatory bike lane, in any case.

  • http://www.bicycledefensefund.org/bikelaw.html

    Bike Lanes
    You are NOT required to ride in the bike lane.

    —34 RCNY 4-12(p)(1) states that bicyclists should ride in usable bike lanes, unless they are preparing to turn, or are avoiding unsafe conditions (including but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, pushcarts, animals, surface hazards).

    Q: Isn’t this an overstatement of the law? It seems to me that the law says that bikes have to stay in bike lanes.
    A: No. If you look at the full text of the statute it clearly grants cyclists the discretion to ride in the bike lane or not, according to whether the cyclist deems it safe. As safe, usable bike lanes are extremely rare in New York City, cyclists are not required to endanger themselves by riding in unsafe bike lanes.

  • The 40,000 summonses thing is even more astonishing if you consider how many tickets are (not) being given to illegal truck traffic. For example, in 2005, more than 45,000 tickets were given to cyclists, while only a little more 13,000 were given to trucks driving illegally in our streets.