115th Precinct Sting Issued More Moving Violations to Cyclists Than Motorists

While some precincts are ramping up failure-to-yield stings and disavowing jaywalking tickets, not every NYPD outpost has moved beyond the shoot-fish-in-a-barrel approach to traffic enforcement.

The latest traffic operation from the precinct covering Jackson Heights, North Corona and East Elmhurst had a familiar target: Bicycle violations were the top category of summons issued. Meanwhile, there’s no mention of the top cause of fatal crashes in New York City — speeding drivers.

Deputy Inspector Michael A. Cody, commanding officer of the 115th Precinct. Photo: NYPD
Deputy Inspector Michael A. Cody, commanding officer of the 115th Precinct. Photo: NYPD

According to a newsletter from the office of Council Member Daniel Dromm — under a section with the unfortunate title “Good Job 115th Precinct!” — a precinct operation this month issued 62 moving violations. “Bicycle moving violations” led the way with 32 tickets issued:

Last week, the 115th Precinct under the direction of Deputy Inspector Michael Cody conducted an operation in the area of 73rd Street and 37th Avenue resulting in 23 summonses for horn honking, 22 double parking violations, 2 handicap parking violations and 1 unlicensed operator violation.

Also, officers under the direction of Lieutenant Shapiro conducted a second initiative with the goal of issuing appropriate traffic violations to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

This operation resulted in 25 parking violations and 62 moving violations. Below is a breakdown of the violations issued: 32 bicycle moving violations, 19 double parking violations, 17 unlicensed operator violations, 9 fail to yield to pedestrians violations, 6 bus stop parking violations, 3 failure to wear seat belts violations [and] 1 driving while using a cell phone violation.

Apparently, no speeding tickets were issued. Last year, the 115th Precinct issued 193 speeding tickets — about one every other day [PDF]. Speeding is the leading cause of fatal crashes in New York City, and failure to yield to pedestrians was the leading cause of crashes resulting in injuries in 2011.

Last year, 178 pedestrians and cyclists were killed, and 16,059 injured, by drivers in NYC. A bicyclist has not killed a pedestrian in New York City in nearly five years.

Because NYPD’s monthly data releases show only the number of tickets each precinct issues and not who receives them, it can be hard to figure out how much of a precinct’s traffic enforcement is actually targeted at cyclists and not at deadly driving behaviors. But once in a while, a precinct will break out the data. The Upper East Side precinct, for example, issued nearly half of its red light tickets to cyclists in 2012.

Deputy Inspector Cody, the 115th Precinct’s commanding officer, attended a traffic safety town hall in the neighborhood on Sunday where parents of school children spoke up for better traffic enforcement and street design.

The 115th Precinct’s community council meetings are held the third Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at the precinct house, 92-15 Northern Boulevard. Call the precinct at (718) 533-2010 for more information.

  • A;though I am happy to see a failure-to-yield tickets of any number written – that is always an improvement over zero – to see more tickets being written for cycling infractions then any other kind at this intersection is kind of stupefying. Although our section of Queens is booming with increased cycling, there are never large numbers of cyclists near there. And 22 double-parking tickets is nearly a joke. You could probably hand out 22 of those every hour of the day on every street from 73rd to 83rd and beyond – if you really wanted to. The biggest surprise of all: they actually wrote horn honking tickets!!!

    Next time concentrate more on the double-parking, bus stop violators and failure-to-yield. That would make a bigger difference 115th. And hit Northern Boulevard with some speed guns. Shouldn’t have a problem nailing speeders at every light cycle.

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    Is the NYPD going to grow up any time soon? We all know speeding is the number one killer, but these cops are too chicken to do anything about it. I can’t say if it’s a lack of brain cells, backbone, or some other body part, but the current NYPD is a failure all around. Let’s hope they improve (and if they don’t we need to sue and fire them). It must be embarrassing to put on the blue every morning.

  • Ellen M

    The last time I was at my own CB’s transpo cmte meeting, the NYPD representative referred to a recent bicycle ticketing operation on Second Ave in the 30s, that had been done at the request of the CB. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, given that many of them think bikes are the #1 traffic safety problem there is, but I was.

  • KeNYC2030

    Perhaps Deputy Inspector Cody thinks Vision Zero means “zero cyclists,” which is what the NYPD seems to be aiming for by ticketing benign street users for violating traffic laws that were never designed for them in the first place. Just another example of the hegemony of the automobile — forcing all other road users to march to its deafening tune.

  • Philip Papas

    With the amount of snow and single digit temperatures in the past month, I am flabbergasted any cyclists were to be found, let alone ticketed. And this is from someone who normally commutes daily by bike, in rain, cold and hot weather, etc. etc. There are certainly areas of NYC where bikes are more prevalent and (based on my own observations) more of a safety hazard. But these numbers at this intersection in the arctic conditions we’ve just experienced simply do not add up. Anyone reading them would get a very unrealistic picture of what the real safety concerns there are. But kudos to the NYPD for ticketing horn honking. That is absolutely a big problem there (and elsewhere in the neighborhood).

  • Andrew

    Seriously? Does anybody think that “9 fail to yield to pedestrians violations” over the course of a week serves as even a slight disincentive? Is any motorist going to yield to pedestrians out of fear of being one of the 1-2 ticketed that day?

    What does it take to get these people to treat this problem seriously? Until motorists are receiving hundreds of tickets per day, it is simply a misallocation of resources to target cyclists or pedestrians for enforcement.

  • Joe R.

    We have the technology to do automatic enforcement of failure to yield. We should put cameras for that at every intersection with heavy pedestrian traffic. When motorists know with certainty they’ll get ticketed for failure to yield, maybe it’ll finally stop.

  • bronislav_malinowski

    Yep, this is the truth. Our “boys in blue” are cowards, scared to do anything against the real dangers of NYC. Hence they kill unarmed black youth, ticket cyclists, while letting bankers get away with gutting the city and drivers with murdering pedestrians and cyclists. We need a broad, civil-rights and class based movement to this.

    Hell, they don’t even get out of their cars when they ticket cyclists; when they give the 1-in-100 ticket to a car, they actually get out and walk to the car. Despicable.

  • red_greenlight1

    De Blasio is making me feel safer already! Way to get the NYPD to focus on the shit that matters!

  • Kevin Love

    Do not forget that it took five of them to beat up an 84-year-old man. That took a lot of courage.

  • My comment to Facebook Page ” https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vision-ZERO-Worldwide/540123632761709

    Add a ” LIKE ” !

    ” Need a target for YOUR Dart Board : Use photo (Cody ) !

    Victim Bashing by 115th NYC Precinct , sees NO Speeding Tickets , but MORE than half the Tickets issued , given to Cyclists !

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2014/02/14/115th-precinct-sting-issued-more-moving-violations-to-cyclists-than-motorists/

    Wonder if the Cop thinks he is doing a ” GOOD PR Job “? Whilst booking Cyclists , those easy to reach targets , motorists are busy KILLING someone , every other day , on average and injuring 50 or so people each day !

    ” Last year, 178 pedestrians and cyclists were killed, and 16,059 injured, by drivers in NYC. A bicyclist has not killed a pedestrian in New York City in nearly five years.

    ” “There is nothing more dangerous than a person who wants to make the world a better place.”

    “ you cyclists take your lives into your own hands”.

    “So sad that the bike rider killed those people in the car” – said no one , EVER. A Fiction that is unlikely to ever become a REALITY !

    Would like to ask , ” Were all these tickets issued by Cody , or were his troops working part time ” ? Most other Cities would expect these results in a SINGLE SHIFT !

  • adamlaw

    Commissioner Bratton, if he is indeed on board with DiBlasio’s Vision Zero policy should publicly address this issue and apologize for the 115th Precinct’s approach to traffic safety. What a disgrace. It completely offsets the 78th Precinct’s commendable approach of utilizing failure to yield stings against motorists.

  • Andrew

    Do we really have the technology to do automatic enforcement of failure to yield? How does that work?

  • Joe R.

    Yes. Remember we already have the technology to identify individual people from surveillance camera footage. By comparison, identifying a motorist who fails to yield is trivial. The computer just needs to reliably identify pedestrians and motor vehicles from an aerial camera view, then see if any instances exist when a turning motor vehicle impedes a pedestrian. You’ll always have the original video footage for humans to examine if the driver thinks the computer made a mistake.

  • Andrew

    My hunch is that the algorithms here are a lot more challenging than you think.

  • it’s actually only been bad for the past two weeks with sub-freezing temps and the occasional snow/rain. prior to that it was a lovely, dry 30-45 degrees – which is ideal for biking.

    i suspect, based on the location of the precinct, that these tickets are overwhelmingly of delivery drivers/riders.

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