New York State DMV Admits to Cheating Cyclists, But Doesn’t Say It Will Stop

The New York State DMV admits that it is incorrectly overcharging cyclists for traffic violations and wrongly adding points to their drivers licenses, but the agency hasn’t agreed to stop doing it.

In his most recent Streetsblog column, attorney Steve Vaccaro pointed out that the DMV’s online payment system does not distinguish between bikes and motor vehicles. As a result, cyclists who plead guilty and pay traffic tickets online are stuck with an $88 surcharge that doesn’t apply to bike violations, and are getting points on their licenses that don’t legally apply.

Vaccaro got a letter from the DMV today acknowledging that, under state law, “there are no points assigned for violations committed by bicyclists,” and that the law “exempts bicycle violations from the mandatory surcharge.”

The DMV agreed to refund the surcharge for two of Vaccaro’s clients, but the letter did not indicate that the agency would fix its web site, or give other cyclists their money back and remove license points they shouldn’t have.

In a letter back to DMV, Vaccaro wrote, “Going forward, it appears that remedying this problem will require more than a reminder to the DMV clerical staff.” In addition to modifying its online payment system, Vaccaro says the traffic ticket form used by NYPD should be changed to “make clear” that the surcharge is not “’mandatory’ for cyclists.”

“They haven’t in any way addressed the web site,” Vaccaro told Streetsblog, “and they are still sitting on $88/per cyclist moving violations for the last ‘x’ number of years.”

We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops. In the meantime, if you believe you were overcharged or wrongly given license points by DMV within the last two years, you can contact Vaccaro’s office.

  • SteveVaccaro

    Correspondence cited in post available here:

  • Samuel L Bronkovitz Presents

    Just wrote my Assemblyman and representatives about this.

  • cjstephens

    I smell a class action…

  • Morgan

    So just follow the traffic rules, and this isn’t an issue …

  • SteveVaccaro

    Follow your nose!

  • Samuel L Bronkovitz Presents

    Steve if you do pursue class action please make it VERY obvious to everyone so you can get the most amount of people!

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    Wow, great job Steve. Thanks for doing something great to help all cyclists!

  • walks bikes drives

    Steve, I don’t think the website is not set up for it. I think it is more willful. When I emailed them to have them fix the amount and points, they did. I went back into the online system after being told it was fixed and the violation was then clearly a bicycle infraction with no surcharge and no points. They can do it if they want to.

  • SteveVaccaro

    Very interesting!

  • 082071

    In other words, 2 wrongs DO make a right. (at least according to you) Sometimes people break the law. When they do, they should be charged with the crime they actually committed, & then punished accordingly. (or perhaps your think a petty shoplifter should be charged with 2nd degree murder & sentenced to 25 years in prison?) BTW, do you work for the DMV or something??? It takes a very special breed of idiot to defend the DMV, especially when they’re engaging in blatant criminal fraud.


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