Time’s Almost Up on New Parade Regs

After months of debate, the NYPD’s new parade regulations aimed at pedestrian and bicycle demonstrations which critics say were designed specifically to target Critical Mass rides were quietly filed on Jan. 26, and the 30-day clock has started ticking on their implementation. The new rules require a parade permit for any "procession or race which consists of a recognizable group of 50 or more pedestrians, vehicles, bicycles or other devices moved by human power, or ridden or herded animals proceeding together upon any public street or roadway."

Associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union Christopher Dunn was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "We still do not believe that lawful rides, with as few as 50 bikes, should require police permits." But he characterized the new rules as "a substantial improvement" over earlier versions, which were worded much more vaguely and could have been applied to as few as two pedestrians or bicycles.

Defending the new regulations, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said, "Some critics will find fault no matter how reasonably the rules are drawn." Meanwhile, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has supported tightening parade rules, said she would be monitoring their implementation, "to ensure we strike the proper balance between protection of civil liberties with the need for public order." She won’t be the only one watching.

  • ddartley

    Don’t stop calling your council members and other relevant officials (maybe Assistant Deputy Commissioner Thomas P. Doepfner?) about this–don’t some of you think that NYPD knew this would simply be a matter of waiting till people were paying little enough attention? They’ve revised the proposal a couple times to make it SEEM less outrageous; that achieved their goal of shaking off some opponents; and their other tactic has simply been to wait till the disorganized public was paying less attention. Don’t stop calling and writing. Organizations such as the NYCLU will still work against it, but the City needs to hear that a lot of the public also opposes it.

    If implemented, they would, just wait and watch, be enforced inconsistently. Probably not because of some organized partisan conspiracy, but inconsistently nonetheless, and that’s fatal enough a flaw.

    But, of course there are other, serious flaws. Genuinely spontaneous gatherings/processions are admittedly rare, but that is the type of assembly most, beyond all other types, “sacred” in a country with protected speech and assembly. No govt in America should ever be able to punish such assembly. (If participants, say, get violent, punish THAT, but NOT the assembling itself.)

    It’s funny–I could be wrong, and hope someone corrects me if I am, but I get the feeling that there’s a big difference between us the public and a body such as the Police Dept: we have to lobby our elected representatives for change. They can just make the change.

    Don’t get tired of calling and writing to oppose this!

  • Sunday Pancake Ride: Served with syrup & parade permit

    This Sunday’s 5BBC FROSTBITE RIDE for “The World’s Greatest Pancakes” is the first for which an NYPD parade permit was obtained. It wasn’t easy.

    9:45AM, City Hall, 25 miles
    11AM, St George Ferry Terminal

    Led by Ed DeFrietas and others, it will be a lot of fun. We’re also looking for a high turnout, and hope you can join us. After lunch at Bayonne’s Broadway Diner, we’re going to Liberty State Park.

  • bluejay

    Pete —

    I would love to hear more about the process of getting the permit.

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