NYPD Bike Blitz Cheat Sheet Tells Cops to Enforce Bogus Traffic Laws

An NYPD bike enforcement cheat sheet instructs police officers to issue tickets for traffic laws that don't apply in New York City. Full image: ##http://www.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/CurrentEnforcementAvailableforBicycleViolations1.pdf##PDF##

Sometime between the ticket one cyclist received for turning right on red into Central Park and the ticket another received for riding with a bag slung over her handlebars, it became abundantly clear that NYPD’s “Operation Safe Cycle” is not really about safer cycling. Instead of applying the NYPD’s vaunted data-driven policing techniques to encourage safer and more courteous cycling behaviors, the department’s bike blitz seemingly consists of harassing cyclists and slapping them with large fines for the most minor transgressions.

In some cases, the fines are for non-existent violations. A cheat sheet circulated by police [PDF] indicates the department isn’t even limiting its bike enforcement to the offenses on the books.

According to reliable sources who obtained the sheet from police, the document was distributed by NYPD in February to assist officers in the bike ticketing blitz. The cheat sheet includes three violations that don’t apply in New York City, even though federal judges have made it plain to the NYPD on more than one occasion that such citations are bogus.

The sheet tells cops they can issue tickets for violating sections 1234 (a), (b), and (c) of the state’s vehicle and traffic law, which require cyclists to either ride in a bike lane or along the right side of the road, to ride no more than two abreast, and to come to a stop before turning onto a road from a driveway. None of those rules, however, apply in New York City.

“VTL 1234 is a section of the state vehicle and traffic law that New York City was given the authority by the state legislature to supercede,” explained attorney Mark Taylor [disclosure: Streetsblog has retained Taylor’s firm for unrelated legal assistance managing freedom of information requests]. Just as New York City was able to ban drivers from making right turns on red, it was able to replace the requirements of VTL 1234.

While it’s a bit confusing that VTL 1234 doesn’t apply in New York City — you have to look in an entirely different legal code to find that out — the NYPD is intimately aware of which rules they can enforce in this case. “They have repeatedly been in front of courts and forced to admit that 1234 does not apply in New York,” said Taylor. “It has been very clear to the NYPD for a long, long time, so the idea that they are continuing to issue instructions to officers on the street to promulgate these laws that don’t apply in NYC is just amazing.”

The inclusion of an invalid law on the NYPD’s cheat sheet suggests that the bike blitz isn’t so much about enforcing the law, right or wrong, but an intentional campaign to make life more difficult for cyclists. A judge would quickly throw out any section 1234 ticket written in New York City, said Taylor.

It is not known how widely this document was distributed within the police department, nor if other guides to ticketing cyclists are in circulation. One traffic cop I spoke with at the corner of Crosby and Spring Streets in SoHo said he had never seen this document or anything similar, suggesting it isn’t in use citywide. Streetsblog has asked the NYPD press office to explain the document and received no reply.

NYPD has a track record of using cheat sheets that lead officers to issue wrongful summonses, and prior cases suggest that the department can be held accountable if supervisors encouraged officers to crib from the bike enforcement sheet. A federal judge found last year, for example, that the NYPD’s continued use of unofficial cheat sheets listing unconstitutional loitering statutes was evidence of the department’s “lax approach” to stopping that variety wrongful enforcement. So long as any supervising officers are aware of the cheat sheets, that case suggests, the department is to some degree responsible for the decision to knowingly enforce an inapplicable law.

It’s also plausible that this cheat sheet is responsible for the farcical arrest of a school administrator for carrying her totebag on her handlebars, an action which is perfectly legal. The sheet summarizes VTL 1235 as “carrying articles on bicycles,” a description which, to an officer without sufficient training, would seem to apply in this case. The full law clearly states otherwise, however: It prohibits carrying objects in such a way that cyclists can’t keep at least one hand on the handlebars. If a single sheet of paper is the extent of the instruction some officers are receiving before being sent out to ticket cyclists, then such improper summonses will inevitably be issued.

  • This NYPD cheat sheet came up repeatedly in the lawsuit between the city and the Five Borough Bicycle Club (and other plaintiffs). Sometimes the cheat sheet used by officers harassing Critical Mass cyclists would have the 1234 sections lighlty crossed out, but after it’s been photocopied a few times it’s not really clear. You would think someone would re-issue the cheat sheet and put a date on it but that does not seem to be how the NYPD works.

    There’s a whole lot of discussion about the 1234 summonses in this transcript:

    http://5bbc.org/parade/casefiles/trial-2009-05-12-transcript.txt

    The rest of the “case history” is available at http://5bbc.org/parade/

  • M to the I

    After being taken down by a pedestrian while bicycling in a bicycle lane last week, I would really like to know what is being done by the nypd to keep cyclists safe. How many tickets have they given motorists and PEDESTRIANS who are obstructing bicycle lanes and paths. Now that the weather is nice, the manhattan bridge is full of bicyclists and pedestrians walking on the bike path make it really dangerous, especially by the curve on the manhattan side. has the nypd conducting a sting for people walking on the bike side?

  • M to the I

    After being taken down by a pedestrian while bicycling in a bicycle lane last week, I would really like to know what is being done by the nypd to keep cyclists safe. How many tickets have they given motorists and PEDESTRIANS who are obstructing bicycle lanes and paths. Now that the weather is nice, the manhattan bridge is full of bicyclists and pedestrians walking on the bike path make it really dangerous, especially by the curve on the manhattan side. has the nypd conducting a sting for people walking on the bike side?

  • M to the I

    After being taken down by a pedestrian while bicycling in a bicycle lane last week, I would really like to know what is being done by the nypd to keep cyclists safe. How many tickets have they given motorists and PEDESTRIANS who are obstructing bicycle lanes and paths. Now that the weather is nice, the manhattan bridge is full of bicyclists and pedestrians walking on the bike path make it really dangerous, especially by the curve on the manhattan side. has the nypd conducting a sting for people walking on the bike side?

  • Anonymous

    Great reporting.

  • Anonymous

    Great reporting.

  • Anonymous

    Great reporting.

  • Smug Gordon

    Ok, granted… NYPD should not ticket for actions that aren’t violations in the City of New York and there’s not excuse for employing a cheat sheet that advises the ticketing of such actions. And I agree that PD should lay off the blitzing of riders in Central and Prospect Parks and concentrate on hazardous roadway behavior but remind your readers here just why cyclists are complaining about being held accountable for following the law? If you want respect, show respect and behave responsibly. Too many cyclists still screw around on the street and all Streetsblog does is seem to complain that NYPD is enforcing laws. Yes, this article is highlighting a terrible aspect of the crackdown but really… If you want equal treatment on the road, be extra extra extra careful to obey traffic laws. Don’t ride like little kids in the suburbs.

  • 2 teenagers are in critical condition because a driver jumped the curb and ran them through a storm window.

    And the police are not pushing charges. The NYPD is not enfocring laws.

  • J G

    @a3906d37cb337e315ad7587c063f1683:disqus I don’t see anyone complaining about being held accountable for following the law. I see people complaining about being held accountable for following inapplicable laws – for instance, being held to a 15mph speed limit, when the speed limit is 25mph, or being ticketed for failing to ride in a bike lane when riders are not required to ride in a bike lane in NYC.

    I am a highly responsible rider, following all applicable laws of the road – I stop at red lights, stop signs, yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, the whole nine yards. I have a bell on my yuppie racing bike, even.

    Should I have to follow laws that don’t apply to me, like the “requirement” that I have reflectors on my bike at noon?

  • Jeff

    Trivial thought: Could the human voice be legally classified as a “signal device”?

    I’m mainly just curious if this argument has ever held up before, but it is also another telling example of how we are subject to laws designed for vehicle operators who are locked in a soundproof metal box.

  • Why do they need a cheat sheet anyway? I mean, I don’t get to use a cheat sheet at my job???

  • dporpentine

    @79baa6fb1b1ad3b12071aec99e526a51:disqus I see (read about) lots of people complaining about being held accountable for following the law:http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2011/01/feeling-strain-cracking-under-crackdown.html

  • cycler

    “carrying things on bicycle” seems like a really vaguely worded violation. Fines for carrying things unsafely makes a bit of sense, but Panniers? Baskets? What part of mygroceries are unsafe?

  • moocow

    yawn.

  • J G

    @c661ddb94bcffdc2c6124e349eafdc77:disqus Your example of people complaining is a comedy blog? Pull the other one, please.

  • Anonymous

    I have been scrupulously obeying traffic laws recently, just as an experiment to see how angry it makes drivers (angry!) but I have been at a loss to figure out how I am supposed to get from the PPW bike lane to my street, which goes west, but does not have a crosswalk on PPW, without riding for at least one block outside the lane. Glad this clears it up: it is legal, but I am likely to get a ticket anyway.

  • I spent most of my day riding around Brooklyn. I actually felt paranoid that I was gonna get busted for some made up offence.

  • Anonymous

    Meanwhile, tying a mattress to the roof of your car is totally legal, even though it could fly off and cause an accident. Tote bags bad, mattresses good.

  • Driver

    “One traffic cop I spoke with at the corner of Crosby and Spring Streets
    in SoHo said he had never seen this document or anything similar,
    suggesting it isn’t in use citywide.”

    Traffic cops don’t issue moving violations, and they function independently from real cops (the ones with guns). This document could have been passed out at every precinct in the city and the traffic cops would probably never see it because it would not apply to their jobs, and they do not work out of regular police precincts as far as I am aware.

    Even if you asked a real cop, unless it was someone you know personally, they probably would not tell you a thing about this document. They might even pretend never to have seen it before.

    One cop’s knowledge or lack thereof should not really be used to attempt to gauge citywide enforcement tactics.

    Great story with the exception of that one sentence.

  • Daphna

    § 1235. Carrying articles. No person operating a bicycle shall carry anypackage, bundle, or article which prevents the driver from keeping at least onehand upon handle bars.Noah Kazis was incorrect when he reported that the full law “prohibits carryingobjects in such a that cyclists can’t put both hands on the handlebars.”

  • dporpentine

    @jg:disqus Right, because the new stories linked to on there (in which a disheartening number of people complain about getting fined for breaking laws) are false.

    Anyway, more reality you don’t like:http://gothamist.com/2011/03/10/cops_ticketing_cyclists_for_red_lig.php

  • WOW – how ridiculous can things get? You don’t know if you should laugh or cry at some of this!

  • David

    Carrying items on a bike is against the law? I carry all types of things. Whhhhuuuut?

  • Daphna: thanks for the correction. It’s fixed in the article.

  • Anonymous

    @a3906d37cb337e315ad7587c063f1683:disqus You are correct! We should have a zero tolerance policy for all law-breaking, because common sense is bound to be unfair and possibly dangerous!

    I’m glad to see you’re behind:

    -Zero tolerance for speeding

    -zero tolerance for blocking the box

    -zero tolerance for red light violations

    -zero tolerance for double parking

    -zero tolerance for fire hydrant distance

    -zero tolerance for horn honking

    -zero tolerance for cars in bike lanes

    -zero tolerance for jaywalking

    -zero tolerance to police misconduct

    I’ve only lived in New York for 20 years, so I’m not a Real New Yorker, but I came from a West Coast city where people wait for the walk sign in the middle of the night with no traffic in sight because the cops hand out jaywalking tickets left and right. I’m surprised that so many New Yorkers suddenly so eager to turn NYC into a West Coast subdivision where people drive everywhere and we ask the police to crack down on anyone who deviates from the condo-association-charter.

  • Brooklyn Cyclist

    The most dangerous thing I now do while riding my biking is constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure no NYPD officers are nearby waiting to harass me.

  • Anonymous

    Also glad to see that the requirement isn’t just “bell,” but “bell/signal device,” as Ms. 44025 has been lobbying for an air horn on her bike.

  • Anonymous

    Um, nothing, and no.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Smug – all I ask is that you ride a bike around NYC for a day. Regular riding – not wearing spandex and a number – just to get from here to there. Do that and then share your thoughts with this board. Too much to ask?

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Why doesn’t the NYPD just enforce red light running, wrong way riding, and riding on the sidewalk? Easy to remember and the most dangerous and clear cut of all the violations. If they wanted to write tickets galore, they could do all of those until blue in the face. Most of these offenses leave much to interpretation and/or writing tickets that are in fact not illegal actions.

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    @Fronko – In December that exactly happened to me on a day with 40 mph gusts – a mattress carried on top of a car flew off and landed about ten feet from me while on my bike.

  • Driver

    I don’t know that tying a mattress to the roof of your car is legal. If it is larger that the car then probably not, and if it is not well secured (like with cargo straps) you could be ticketed for having an unsecured load.

  • While I have no sympathy for cops issuing bogus summonses, I think calling this a “cheat sheet” is a little inflammatory. Inside their summons books, cops carry a list of the relevant code sections, laws, etc., so that they can write up violations. Clearly, whoever put together this one was not too meticulous. But “cheating”? Well, no.

  • While I have no sympathy for cops issuing bogus summonses, I think calling this a “cheat sheet” is a little inflammatory. Inside their summons books, cops carry a list of the relevant code sections, laws, etc., so that they can write up violations. Clearly, whoever put together this one was not too meticulous. But “cheating”? Well, no.

  • While I have no sympathy for cops issuing bogus summonses, I think calling this a “cheat sheet” is a little inflammatory. Inside their summons books, cops carry a list of the relevant code sections, laws, etc., so that they can write up violations. Clearly, whoever put together this one was not too meticulous. But “cheating”? Well, no.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t read VTL 1234 and RCNY 4-12 (p) as being markedly different on their treatment of bike lanes. The former says use one if it’s usable except when preparing for a left turn or otherwise reasonably necessary to avoid an unsafe condition that would make it unsafe to continue. RCNY 4-12 (p) says much the same thing. Certainly, if you got ticketed for VTL 1234 within NYC the ticket should be thrown out, though.

    Certainly the other provisions of VTL 1234 — no more than 2 abreast, complete stop from private road or driveway before proceeding — don’t have analogues in the NY code and wouldn’t apply.

  • If you look at the full pdf, you learn that “all violations that are in bold are common bicycle violations. Check out what’s included in the bold entries:

    -VTL 1234
    -Improper riding of a bicycle
    -Fail to comply with lawful order

    As the post explains, VTL 1234 doesn’t apply. Improper riding of a bicycle is an offense involving taking your feet off the pedals, not having a proper seat, or riding with too many on one bicycle. Not exactly common offenses. But to an officer handed this sheet, anything that looks “improper” is subject to a summons, and the boldface on this entry is just more encouragement to write those bogus summonses.

    And failure to comply with a lawful order! Is this a deliberate attempt to poison the minds of officers against cyclists? In my experience, motorists are far more likely to disregard police orders—especially at rush hour at crowded bridge and tunnels plazas.

  • Joe R.

    station44025,

    You’re absolutely right. I’ve lived in NYC for my entire 48 years, and frankly I’m at loss to figure out the sudden obsession with having cyclists (and it seems to be only cyclists, not pedestrians or motorists) obey every single law, with little thought given to whether or not these laws even make much sense, or enhance safety. My best guess is the real reason is to discourage riding, which is exactly what has happened in other places where traffic laws mostly designed for cars were enforced to the letter against cyclists (there was a small town the name of which escapes me which provided a perfect example of this). Or perhaps it’s the influx of out-of-towners who just can’t cope with a place where everything isn’t scripted by some rule book. Regardless, NYC has never been a place where petty laws where enforced much, if at all. For example, back when I started riding, before I felt comfortable in the street, I used to ride on the sidewalk quite a bit. Almost nobody complained, and as far as I know it was either legal, or the laws against it (if they even existed) weren’t enforced. Same with passing red lights. In general, unlike today, common sense ruled. And the system worked fine. Indeed, it would work fine today as well. Treat cyclists (and everyone else) as adults capable of making their own judgements. And only penalize them when they actually screw up (as in hit something they’re not supposed to). That’s more in keeping with the spirit of natural law which governed this country until politicians got it into their heads that they could make laws to “prevent” stuff. At that point we started punishing people for doing things lawmakers deemed harmful, whether or not any harm actually resulted from it. It all went to hell when we started doing things like legislating speed limits (i.e. the national 55 mph limit in the early 1970s), instead of letting traffic engineers do what they’re trained to do.. It’s a slippery slope which ultimately penalizes the majority for stuff a small minority can’t handle. I say train that minority better in order to fix the problem.Bottom line, NYC is NYC, not Seattle. Let’s stop trying to turn it into something resembling Seattle. If there are enough police to give out all these petty nonsense tickets to bikes (and cars for that matter for stuff like going 3 mph over the limit), then that means there are too many police. Anyone running for mayor who promises to cut the police force in half has my vote. Bonus points if they plan to repeal NYC’s overly restrictive gun control laws to let citizens take charge of their own defense. I’ve had it up to here with the nanny state intruding into every area of my life, even to the point now of scripting me on how to do something I’ve safely done for almost 33 years. Stick to enforcing to big stuff, like murder or rape or robbery. That’s what I want the police to do.And yes, I second CPBUlly’s thoughts. Try riding a bike around NYC for while, not just in protected bike lanes in Manhattan, but maybe on 20-25 mile trips in the outer boroughs like me. Come back and let me know if it’s even physically possible to do such rides and obey every single law. Moreover, see what happens when you do things like stop at lights or stop signs, then have angry drivers honking at you as you get back up to speed. Or how about staying stopped at a red light when you have a bunch of gangbangers eyeing up your bike nearby? I’d rather do things the way I’ve done them the last 33 years. It feels safer for me, and I seem to piss off fewer people. Frankly, the city would come to a standstill if every single group obeyed every single law to the letter. It puzzles me why half these counterproductive laws are even on the books, starting with stuff like jaywalking laws (which thankfully the police so far have the common sense not to enforce).Finally, why should every group (motorists, cyclists, pedestrians) be penalized because NYC has what amounts to asinine traffic controls? If traffic lights or don’t walk signs only turned red when something was actually crossing, a lot more people might be inclined to take them more seriously. Instead, we have a system of retarded traffic lights which might require you to wait, sometimes for up to several minutes, even when absolutely nothing is there. Not to mention do we really need over 10,000 signalized intersections? Hasn’t NYCDOT heard of traffic circles? Technologically, there exists easy solutions to these problems. Maybe the way to force the city’s hand to use more intelligent traffic controls might be to dig up some clauses from the Clean Air Act, and show that the current system needlessly causes motor vehicles to stop and idle for long periods. Or perhaps now that gas is going up, you’ll have a lot more angry motorists complaining about needlessly sitting at lights when nothing is there. Anyway you look at it, the current system doesn’t enhance safety (actually the opposite), costs huge amounts of money and time, and now pits the police against ordinary citizens just looking to get from point A to point B.

  • Joe R.

    Since the police can’t be bothered enforcing ANY laws at all which might help cyclists (i.e. ticketing cars double-parked in bike lanes), then how about not enforcing laws AGAINST cyclists (except only in the most egregarious, obviously dangerous instances)? That to me seems much fairer than the current policy.

  • Andrew

    @2555783a6f62598b6aadd2d882a4830f:disqus I trust that your “intelligent traffic controls” won’t make it any more difficult or time-consuming for pedestrians to get around.

  • Anonymous

    For all the complaints that section 1234 of the NYS vehicle code does not apply, you should really take a look at the NYC vehicle codes: Title 34, 4-12 letter P:

    ” (p)
    Bicycles.
    (1)
    Bicycle riders to use bicycle lanes.
    Whenever
    a usable path or lane for bicycles has been provided, bicycle riders
    shall use such path or lane only except under any of the following
    situations:
    (i) When preparing for a turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway. (ii) When reasonably necessary to avoid
    conditions (including but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor
    vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, pushcarts, animals, surface hazards)
    that make it unsafe to continue within such bicycle path or lane.”http://24.97.137.100/nyc/rcny/entered.htmSo though there is a part of the NYC Code (34.4-02) that says that the bike lane section of the NYS vehicle code does not apply in NYC, they then put in the requirement that you must use a bike lane in a later section of Title 34 of the NYC laws. So I would say that tickets for violating 1234 of the NYS Vehicle Code would not be valid, but all the NYC cop would have to do is change it to the section pertaining to the NYC code instead.

  • Anonymous

    For all the complaints that section 1234 of the NYS vehicle code does not apply, you should really take a look at the NYC vehicle codes: Title 34, 4-12 letter P:

    ” (p)
    Bicycles.
    (1)
    Bicycle riders to use bicycle lanes.
    Whenever
    a usable path or lane for bicycles has been provided, bicycle riders
    shall use such path or lane only except under any of the following
    situations:
    (i) When preparing for a turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway. (ii) When reasonably necessary to avoid
    conditions (including but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor
    vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, pushcarts, animals, surface hazards)
    that make it unsafe to continue within such bicycle path or lane.”http://24.97.137.100/nyc/rcny/entered.htmSo though there is a part of the NYC Code (34.4-02) that says that the bike lane section of the NYS vehicle code does not apply in NYC, they then put in the requirement that you must use a bike lane in a later section of Title 34 of the NYC laws. So I would say that tickets for violating 1234 of the NYS Vehicle Code would not be valid, but all the NYC cop would have to do is change it to the section pertaining to the NYC code instead.

  • Joe R.

    Andrew,Push to cross would work fine for pedestrians at intersections with traffic detectors. It’s not overly burdensome to push a button to cross a street with heavy traffic. Or you might even have something which senses a pedestrian starting to cross and triggers the light. At times when both intersecting streets have heavy traffic, everything would run on cycles as it does now. The whole point is when traffic is light, you shouldn’t have lights turning red and motorists/cyclists waiting for absolutely nothing. That’s just lazy, poor infrastructure planning which causes both motorists and cyclists to treat stop lights rather casually, since sometimes it’s safe to treat the red as a yield.

  • Joe R.

    You do notice that the clause “including but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, pushcarts, animals, surface hazards” essentially gives the cyclist a blank check to make their own determination as to whether or not it is safe to proceed in a bike path. Take for example some cyclists who choose not to use the protected bike lanes on, say, First Avenue, because they ride at 20-25 mph instead of 10 or 12. The cyclist can use as their defense the fact such lanes might indeed be full of enough hazards to be unsafe at their chosen speed of travel, even if they might be safe at a lower speed. The laws pertaining to bike lanes are more designed to keep everything else out rather than to keep bikes in. You’re legally allowed a traffic lane on any road in NYS except limited-access highways, whether or not such a road has a bike lane. The bike lane may be blocked, potholed, or simply unsafe at your chosen speed of travel (and you’re legally allowed any speed up to the speed limit, despite the plethora of comments from people saying bikes shouldn’t go over 8 or 10 or 12 or some other arbitrary limit which exists solely in their head). I personally start taking a traffic lane instead of a door-zone bike lane at speeds over ~22 mph simply because I don’t feel I can react fast enough to avoid an opening door at higher speeds.

  • Anonymous

    In reply to Joe R.:

    True. And I’d agree with you in some of those instances. The NYC code I quoted is the same as the NYS Vehicle Code. It’s just funny how everyone quotes one part of the NYC code which says section 1234 of the NYS vehicle code is void in NYC, but then ignore what the NYC code says later on.

    My big complaint with the issues at hand is not ticketing jay-bikers (people who stop and only go once it is perfectly clear), it’s that they should be going after the jackasses who salmon through crosswalks, blindly go through red lights, go the wrong way down streets, and ride on the sidewalks. Those are the obvious offenders and the ones that piss everyone off. Pedestrians (jaywalkers without looking, using bike lanes as sidewalks…) and cars (turning without looking down the bike lane, not watching out for bikes, speeding ahead of a bike just to turn in front of them…) are also problematic.

  • Joe R.

    I agree 100% with your list of the types of cyclists the NYPD should be going after. Ticketing someone making a right turn on red into Central Park at 9 PM serves no public safety or other purpose, yet violations like that appear to be the bulk of this ticketing blitz.

  • Misterr Bad Example

    The pedestrian inattention problem is ongoing, and it’s invisible to everyone but cyclists. The city hasn’t handed out a jaywalking ticket since Abe Beame was in office and it shows. Now that the weather is nice, I’ve started back to bike commuting again, and the scariest experiences I’m having involve pedestrians, not motorists.

    When I was in The Netherlands about ten years ago, the cyclists were very territorial about their lanes. An errant pedestrian got a real earful upon straying into the bike lanes. As more cyclists use the lanes, there’s a real problem of turf warfare between peds and pedalers–and it doesn’t help that most people are automatically siding against the cyclists.

  • Daphna

    Anonymous, these bikers you speak of do not exist. Bicyclists do not blindly go through red lights. Every bicyclist knows that he/she is completely vulnerable. Cyclists knows that motorists often do not pay attention and often will not yield even when they do pay attention. Likewise, cyclists know that pedestrians do not pay attention and often will not yield even when they see the cyclist. So no cyclist goes through red lights without looking. A cyclist going through a light has looked and made a judgment call that he/she can make it through the intersection without endangering or inconveniencing him/herself or others. They are not jackasses, rather they are people who assess the intersection and do what is both safe as well as time-efficient.

    Also you complain about wrong way riding and riding on the sidewalk. These are touted lately as the behavior problems that make cyclists a danger to others and are the reason that cyclists are viewed negatively. However, these behaviors are not why there is a backlash against cycling, and are not necessarily going to make the cyclist or those around him/her safer by not doing them. The people who are against cycling are against change and against a new mode of transportation showing up on the streets. All cyclists could behave as angels and certain people would still be against cycling.

    Also, riding on the sidewalk is bumpy and uncomfortable those who do so typically ride a short distance on the sidewalk when the road is impassible or too frightening. This is not jackass behavior. It is a coping strategy for insufficient bicycle infrastructure – a way to keep moving and keep safe.

    Finally, riding the wrong way is uncomfortable but when faced with five blocks and five dangerous intersections to get where a rider is going versus one block the wrong way, the safe and time-efficient choice might be to go one block the wrong way. Cyclists who do that behavior are just making the safest and timeliest choice for themselves and are not jackasses who deserve tickets.

  • Station44025

    @88b32fb69e499718d95067da9d3d7b03:disqus Yes!! Well put. My main goal when riding my bike is to avoid cars, not get in front of them. My wife and I just said eff it and rode the sidewalk down Ft. Hamilton Parkway, as it is the only sane thing to do. 1 week later, pizza guy gets killed right there.

    Don’t be a jerk=be more dead.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Will This Year’s “Operation Safe Cycle” Make Anyone Safer?

|
Yesterday NYPD showed New York that police do actually enforce the speed limit on local streets. Check out the radar guns on Broadway. Today the department is showing the city that cyclists get tickets too. NYPD’s “Operation Safe Cycle” is a two-week enforcement campaign targeting “hazardous violations that create a danger for pedestrians and cyclists.” […]

The Gulf Between NYPD’s Street Safety Message and Police Behavior

|
Altered #OperationSafeCycle pamphlet to accurately reflect reality. (cc: @KeeganNYC @bikesnobnyc @NYPDnews) #bikeNYC pic.twitter.com/T2jPendNvb — Andrew Yackira (@thel200ster) August 14, 2014 It’s day two of NYPD’s bike enforcement blitz, and for all its professed good intentions, image-wise the department isn’t doing itself any favors. There is a gulf between NYPD messaging, improved as it is, and […]

T.A.’s Online Ticket Tracker Helps Map Bike Crackdown

|
Tracking the NYPD’s enforcement of traffic laws, including tickets issued to cyclists, has long been part of Transportation Alternatives’ job. A new tool on their website makes it easier than ever — especially relevant while the city’s bike ticketing blitz continues. The new web form looks just like a traffic ticket, so you can just […]

NYPD: Riding Faster Than 15 MPH in Central Park Now Illegal

|
NYPD’s apparent bid to criminalize recreational cycling in Central Park took another surreal turn this morning. One week after hundreds of people asked police to stop the irrational barrage of red light tickets for cyclists in the park, NYPD has apparently doubled down on its bike enforcement blitz. Cycling message boards lit up today with […]