Cops Ticketing Cyclists on Delancey Side of Willy-B

A reader sends this note about today’s commute:

Cops ticketing bikers on Delancey by the Williamsburg Bridge this morning. They claimed it wasn’t us, that they were sent out because of community board complaints about bikers.

"The community board made us do it." If that’s the case, then can we also get ramped up enforcement of reckless driving, which communities all over town have been demanding for as long as we can remember?

Update from our source:

Two bikers ahead of me were stopped by cops, I assumed because of
running red lights. I hadn’t even done so yet, when I was motioned by
a cop towards him, where the two cops ticketed all three of us. I
thought it was very interesting to note that the cops made a point of
telling each of us that it really had nothing to do with us, that they
were specifically told to come out and target bikers. I have no idea
why they said that, but it seemed like they were trying to act
respectfully. One cop even said, "Just get off the bike and walk it
through the red." Wouldn’t that be jaywalking? "Failed to yield to
ped" is what the ticket says. There were no pedestrians around, other
than the two cops, which I was nowhere near. I will be pleading Not
Guilty.

Update 2: Thanks for the corroborating reports in the comments, folks. According to the community affairs desk at the 7th Precinct, the police have not received complaints from CB 3 about cyclists exiting the bridge. So, the issuing of bogus tickets to cyclists would appear to be the NYPD’s own initiative.

Update 3: CB 3 district manager Susan Stetzer confirms that her community board has not complained to NYPD about cyclists.

  • mike

    The Community Board complained about “bikers”? Anybody who’s been down there knows the biggest safety threat is car drivers, who speed, run red lights and stop in the crosswalks, behaviors often encouraged by Traffic Agents.

    Instead of this BS, perhaps CB3 should instead support a protected bike lane on Delancey, and perhaps the cops could use their heads.

  • But why? Certainly they must have some claim that they were breaking the law in some way. They can’t just ticket bikers for being bikers.

  • bc

    More info please, what were the tickets for? running red lights? what sort of complaints? is there any information? the traffic cops at the corner of delancey and allen are consistently the only nice, reasonable and cool traffic cops on my commute.

    this all just sounds weird though, i have gotten my fair share of tickets, and can see them saying there have been complaints, but ‘it’s not you guys’ doesn’t make any sense, they stopped a group?

    pricey ticket

  • Transportation Alternatives and the Adopt-a-Bike-Lane Initiative are working hard to win necessary safety improvements for cyclists along Delancey Street, particularly at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge. This is the most popular bridge for cyclists in NYC and the number of riders will only continue to grow in the coming months and years.

    Anyone who travels through this intersection regularly knows that it needs multiple crossing guards to ensure any amount of safety for pedestrians and cyclists during rush hours. Red light running and speeding are rampant. An intersection at the base of this crucial commuter corridor that needs crossing guards to function with any ounce of safety, is an intersection that is not functioning at all.

    Contact bike@transalt.org if you would like to get involved in the Delancey Street Adopt-a-Bike-Lane Campaign. We will be holding regular bike commuter pools regularly during the spring and summer to encourage safer commuting for cyclists.

  • bc

    I’m sorry to harp on this, but Ben, I’m really confused about what the story is. Was there one email from one person who was caught? I’m all for discussion of how bad traffic and drivers are at that point, always, it’s one of my favorite rants, but I don’t really get this posting at all. Is that an actual quote, or just a general attitude that is sensed?

  • JT

    I didn’t ride it this morning but have noticed that cops DO ticket people going onto or off the bridge periodically. Or at a minimum stop them, check IDs, summons for not having lights, blocking traffic, etc. Not sure what the issue was today tho.

  • Tony

    Perhaps the bridge should have some separate paths for cyclists ( and inline-skaters ) away from pedestrians, runners/joggers and wheelchairs(??) folks…

  • I would like more info too, but would guess this is just another case of police setting up shop somewhere that it is easy to spot minor violations. They seem to do the same thing for automobiles, pulling over people from one intersection for a few hours (though there are few driving violations I would consider minor, given the outsize potential for harm). Anywho, handing out a bunch of tickets in one place on one day is not going to solve real or perceived safety problems. It’s just the easiest way to increase the summons totals.

  • frustrated

    left to guessing…that’s right. guys, an email from a reader who got a ticket does not equal a story

  • The account, which is admittedly brief and short on detail, comes from a reader whom we trust. I’ve asked for some more info, but as Nathan says, this fits a pattern. The “community board” rationale, especially, merited a brief note.

  • frustrated

    brief and short on detail is an understatement and community boards pressuring police to ramp up attention on this and that, including cyclists, is also not news. i apologize for being so harsh, but there is always discussion about “why they hate us” and i am always vehemently anti car and procyclist, but i find this to be more typical of the crap we are accused us. cars are targeted (see cell phone sweep a few weeks ago) and there is not even enough info here to call this ‘targeting’, just one person’s experience.

  • editor

    i don’t believe it even qualifies as an “account,” surely your john doe at least said what he was ticketed for?

  • Geck

    It think it is worth a quick note, particularly in light of the community board complaint business.

  • editor

    it is certainly worth fleshing out into a story, but where is the rush?! more info! what’s the complaint? it’s worthy of becoming an article, it’s nothing right now.

  • editor

    even the headline is off. “cyclists?” is this confirmed? how many?

    AAAAAARRRRRRGGGHHHH

  • bc

    that’s better, thanks! (maybe next time wait to run until more info)

    so your source was ticketed for failure to yield to ped? based on what? crazy. they should all contest ticket and obviously say this is what the police told them. frustrating. thanks for the update

  • Not The Slowest

    “Two bikers ahead of me were stopped by cops, I assumed because of running red lights. I hadn’t even done so yet”
    THIS GUY HADN’T RUN THE LIGHT YET?
    Come on folks, sooner or later we all get busted, sometimes even when we did nothing. The good part is that these usually get dismissed.

    I feel the pain, I’ve done the crime.

  • In response to the attacks on the quality of the journalism, this wholesale bike-ticketing, especially at the Williamsburg Bridge, is a periodically recurring problem, and I would bet that’s why Streetsblog posted it without a ton of detail: I think they assumed that many if not most readers would remember hearing about previous incidences of it. Also, it looked to me like a “breaking news” kind of thing (much like tiny articles AP and Reuters often put out), that might actually be helpful to much of sblog’s audience. I think it was worth posting–even without the update–and especially considering the potentially improper police practice of pulling over a whole class of road user without witnessing violations first. (I don’t actually know whether such police practices are improper or not, but they sure sound wrong.)

  • Barnard

    Fact checkers, leave Ben alone. The cops do this kind of ticket trap all the time. Just because you didn’t get caught this morning doesn’t mean dozens of others didn’t.

    All, if you want to see the vile belly of the beast, go to the Community Board 3 Transportation & Public Safety Committee hearing. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Community Board did ask the local precinct to target cyclists. When people to go Community Board meetings, they can at least counter the bike haters (there are lots of them), and you can try to push the Board to get the cops to stop drivers. What a miracle that’d be.

    The next Community Board 3 meeting is:
    Wednesday, April 22 at 6:30pm
    Casa Victoria – 308 East 8th Street (btwn Aves B & C)

    And, you might want to stick around for this agenda item:
    4. DOT: Bike lane installation on Ave A from E Houston to E 14th St

  • I guess you guys complaining about the “article” weren’t riding over the WillyB into Manhattan this morning.

  • Here here Moocow! I guess its time to start loading Streetsblog on your iPhone before hitting the road in the morning. It could save you a ticket!

  • bc

    I didn’t ride over the willy b, my commute goes over manhattan bridge, but I don’t see that that is relevant. Frankly, I don’t see how it would have helped me, as the source reported that he did nothing wrong, which I am greatly concerned by. I was merely pushing for more information, as Mr. Fried also wanted more information, and questioned whether posting it without any real information was better than waiting for more. There is nothing wrong with criticism. Were you among those ticketed? If so, I would be curious to hear more, but the fact I didn’t come over the bridge and was a whopping quarter mile away really doesn’t impact my thoughts on the matter.

  • There is also http://twitter.com/nycbridgereport which did ‘run this story’ before Streetsblog. It wasn’t up fast enough to alter anyone’s commute, but they’re getting there.

  • Saw this same activity in person today. At 9:15 a.m., I touched down on Manhattan side of WB bridge and, with traffic stopped at its red light on West-bound Delancey, made my way across top of the crosswalk, with ped signal, and turned West, heading towards Bowery.

    I saw in front of me, on the right side of the road, two uniformed NYPD who had stopped a rider, and the rider was showing them ID. And I could tell that this was their assignment by their body language (I’ve seen it too often)…one was looking at the ID and one was watching other bikers. I did not see what preceded the stop.

    They weren’t there to control traffic…..DOT traffic agents were up the street, and the DOT van was blocking the space that the bikers need at the far right of the traffic lane, just after Suffolk St.

    I saw other bikers exiting the bridge and riding the far left side of Delancey, hugging the median. I bet this is the safer way to avoid being stopped. Hide behind trucks.

    One doesn’t really know what is the ticket-proof way of proceeding. Does one exit the bridge and then stop behind the crosswalk at Clinton St. until the light turns green for West-bound traffic? Or is it fine to cross with the peds to get to the far side of Delancey and then turn West? Other people posting here make it sound as if the stopping is random.

    -pm

  • I’ve never gotten ticketed under the Williamsburg when I lived in Brooklyn, but I can tell you that every time I, or any cyclist, gets on the Staten Island Ferry with our bikes, we must submit to a bag screening by a terminal guard and a bomb-sniffing dog, while hundreds (sometimes thousands) of those without bicycles (but just as large of bags) proceed upstairs unchecked.

    It sucks for those of you that got tickets–I agree that they need to be cracking down harder on drivers than bikers–but those of us on the ferry have done nothing wrong and don’t deserve to be treated like suspects.

    http://www.examiner.com/x-3139-NY-Bicycle-Transportation-Examiner~y2009m3d25-Cyclists-face-daily-injustice-on-Staten-Island-Ferry

  • wooDave

    “And, you might want to stick around for this agenda item:
    4. DOT: Bike lane installation on Ave A from E Houston to E 14th St”

    This has already been painted. Not sure why they are discussing it now.

  • Huh?

    Ok, I’m going to sound clueless, but what are tickets for?? Is it not permitted to bike over the WB-B?? I thought these bridges had sidewalks or bike runs separate from the road.

    It seems we’ve gotten too crazy as a society in complaining about everyone else’s every movement. Sure, NYC is tightly packed and so we may have to live with more scrutiny and restrictions but this is nuts. Bicycling is about as harmless an activity as can be imagined, the only people at risk are the cyclists.

    I do remember a retired state cop explaining that they need to show they’ve been doing something during their shift, and a handful of tickets is the basic way of showing that. Tickets were only for motorists in those days, bike tickets would have been laughed out of the station. The same officer recounted how he used to drag race the cruiser against the local kids at night, that was waay back with the Chysler 440 pursuit pack. 😉

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