Today’s Headlines

  • NJ Lawmakers Finally Pay Attention to NJ Transit (NYT); Foxx: Feds Might Get Involved (Politico)
  • Full Service Resumes at Hoboken Terminal Today (NY1)
  • Will Cuomo and Christie Come Through With Their Share of Gateway Tunnel Funds? (Politico, WNYC)
  • School Bus Driver Strikes and Kills Carmen Puello, 43, Near Fordham Road (Post)
  • Woman Driving SUV Kills 79-Year-Old Man on Northern Blvd in Flushing; Police Blame Victim (News)
  • Pedestrian Death Toll on the UES Rises While the 19th Precinct Focuses on Bike Tickets (DNA)
  • Dump Truck Driver Backs Into 76-Year-Old Woman on UES, Severing Her Leg (Post)
  • The Cranks at Queens CB 9 Will Never Support Woodhaven Select Bus Service (QChron)
  • Medallion Owners Freaked Out That MTA May Contract Access-a-Ride Services to Uber and Lyft (Crain’s)
  • Velmanette Montgomery Outraged By Plan to Pedestrianize a Block of Schermerhorn Street (Bklyn Paper)
  • To Register Voters Online, New York Relies on the Agency That Regulates Cars and Drivers (WNYC)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • ahwr

    If it’s the case that cyclists are getting 2/3 to 3/4 as many red light tickets as drivers in a high-cycling month, that would be excessive, don’t you think?

    Yes it would be, but that’s even remotely close to what happens.

    The DMV is working off data from the NYPD that you dismiss. Why is it worth more once it’s aggregated? Current levels are ~60 tickets for drivers (not counting camera enforcement) per ticket for cyclists. And you scream about that being too much. One ticket is too many then, isn’t it?

  • ahwr

    BTW the full DMV dataset breaks it out by police agency, making it nice and easy for you to differentiate by nyc/non nyc tickets.

  • Joe R.

    This article has some numbers.

    The studies are showing ~1,000 injuries caused by bikes in all of New York State annually versus 70,000 injuries caused by motor vehicles in NYC alone. No mention of the seriousness of the bike injuries, or how many were in NYC, but they’re a lot lower than the 4% of pedestrian injuries you cited.

    Nobody is ever compelled to bike on the sidewalk anymore than someone is compelled to drive in the bike lane. Just because it’s faster than the legal alternative (walking on the sidewalk, waiting for the general traffic lane to clear) doesn’t mean you’re forced to do something illegal.

    “Compelled” because it’s not a question of waiting for a legal traffic lane to clear. Rather, it’s more like the street is felt to be unsafe for cycling along its entirety by the cyclist, and therefore they do their entire trip on the sidewalk. I don’t do this, but I see lots of cyclists by me riding for blocks on sidewalks. They just don’t feel safe of the streets. If they’re going to walk the bike, it will mean walking it for the entire trip, which kind of negates the point of riding a bike in the first place.

    Even though the number of fatalities is higher than that?

    A severe injury caused by a car can cost orders of magnitude more than a death. So yes, the monetary damage could easily by 1,000 to 10,000 times as much. In the absence of numbers I can’t say.

    So no tickets until you deem bike infrastructure adequate?

    No tickets for doing things a cyclist might be compelled to do for safety due to inadequate or suboptimal infrastructure. That could be riding on a sidewalk next to a heavily-trafficked arterial, passing a red light when nothing is crossing, riding against traffic if no safe route riding with traffic exists nearby, etc. As much as you knock them, my bicycle viaducts would solve a whole host of problems. They would physically separate bikes and pedestrians, dramatically reducing the number of complaints. They would eliminate any need or desire to ride on sidewalks. They would make following traffic controls moot for most of the ride since there wouldn’t be any on the viaduct. In the Netherlands when cyclists want to stay in motion and be safe they provide nice paths separated from cars with a few traffic controls as possible. Here in NYC we shoehorn cyclists into whatever space the community boards grudgingly part with, and ticket them for running the red lights they hit every two or three blocks. Guess which place has a much higher mode share?

    The policy of ticketing large numbers of cyclists is at odds with increasing cycling. NYC claims to want to do this, but their actions say otherwise. The best case I can make against ticketing cyclists has nothing to do with numbers. Cycling is an optional activity. Do anything to make it harder or more costly and fewer people cycle. That’s a fact. That’s why I feel we’re ticketing cyclists excessively.

  • Joe R.

    I’m not convinced enforcement has anything at all to do with it. You have a greater cross section of the population cycling now. Back in 1985 it was either bike messengers or the brave, young, and fearless. Both groups were prone to taking lots of chances while riding. Now you have people from all walks of life. Most are pretty risk averse. It shows up in the numbers. They also have a somewhat calming effect on the less risk averse. Anecdotally, back in the 1980s I was one of the few cyclists who didn’t fly through red lights. Nowadays it seems almost everyone slows down and looks.

    You also have better infrastructure now, haphazard as it may still be. That reduces injuries. The NYPD loves to spin things in their favor. They did the same for the massive drop in crime despite the fact the drop occurred nationally, even in places where the policing remained the same. Police departments are loathe to admit it, but the presence or absence of police has a really small effect on crime. It has an even smaller effect on traffic deaths and injuries.

  • Simon Phearson

    Yes it would be, but that’s even remotely close to what happens.

    That’s what the data says. You seem to be ignoring the DMV dataset and just sticking to your DNA/NYPD comparison, which is problematic for multiple reasons I’ve reiterated for you.

    And you scream about that being too much. One ticket is too many then, isn’t it?

    I am not “screaming” about anything. I’m just pointing out that we need adequate data to come up with anything like a useful “quantification” here, data that we just do not have, and the only quantifications you’ve bothered to come up with are sloppy and inapposite.

    The DMV is working off data from the NYPD that you dismiss.

    I don’t know that. How do you know that? Do you know whether the NYPD and DMV are working off the same datasets? Or is the NYPD compiling data it gets from the DMV? Are they tallying the same ways? None of that is evident to me.

    The point I’m making about the NYPD data is that it doesn’t distinguish cycling-specific violations, so we can’t tell what proportion of the tickets they’re counting, on their data, were issued to cyclists. But that doesn’t stop you from comparing their totals to DNA’s total, presumably based on the DMV dataset, even though you can’t know anything about DNA’s methodology or even what specific dataset they used.

    I don’t see any reason to “dismiss” the NYPD data. Rather, I want to understand its relationship to other datasets that I’m able to access and evaluate more directly, before I draw comparisons between the two. That level of rigor apparently is beyond you.

  • ahwr

    70,000 injuries caused by motor vehicles in NYC alone.

    Where is this from?

    1,000 pedestrian injuries requiring a trip to the hospital? Total pedestrian injuries 2007-2010 (counting those that did not require medical attention) was estimated at 10.5-11k per year.

    https://dmv.ny.gov/about-dmv/archives-statistical-summaries

    No mention of the seriousness of the bike injuries, or how many were in NYC,

    Respecting place of residence, 55 percent of all patients come from New
    York City. A higher proportion of New York City residents tend to be inpatients
    than residents from elsewhere in the state

    ~8.3% statewide were treated inpatient.

    http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/communications/repository/files/Pedestrian%20Cyclist%20Accidents_3.pdf

    a lot lower than the 4% of pedestrian injuries you cited.

    No it’s not.

    They just don’t feel safe of the streets.

    Then they can walk and take the bus. Nobody forces them to bike.

    monetary damage

    Since you don’t have the data anyway why are you using $$$ as your chosen metric rather than QALYs or similar?

    No tickets for doing things a cyclist might be compelled to do for safety due to inadequate or suboptimal infrastructure.

    You should stop confusing what you are forced to do out of safety versus what you are forced to do to save time. Just because riding legally is too slow doesn’t give you the right to ride illegally.

    As much as you knock them, my bicycle viaducts would solve a whole host of problems.

    Will cyclists walk the half mile to get to their destination, or are you suggesting they bike on the sidewalk since the streets are too dangerous? If you’re viaducts lead to people biking on the sidewalk, they create problems.

    They would eliminate any need or desire to ride on sidewalks.

    They would be like car highways, they create more traffic on the surrounding streets. And since you say the streets are too dangerous, that means more people biking on the sidewalk.

    The policy of ticketing large numbers of cyclists

    Doesn’t exist. Not counting camera enforcement ~60 tickets to drivers for every ticket to a cyclist. BTW, the majority of tickets given to drivers are given by cameras.

  • ahwr

    That’s what the data says. You seem to be ignoring the DMV dataset

    If you believe that, then how about you tell me how you’re using it. What coding do you think is given to NYC vs non NYC red light violations for drivers, and NYC drivers vs NYC cyclists?

    I don’t know that. How do you know that?

    Read the about page for the dataset you linked, go through the attachments.

    All ticketing file data originates with various law enforcement agencies across NYS

    The point I’m making about the NYPD data is that it doesn’t distinguish cycling-specific violations

    DNAinfo gave you a tally for tickets given out to cyclists.

  • ahwr

    Anecdotally

    What happened to not basing stuff off of anecdotes?

  • ahwr

    Police departments are loathe to admit it, but the presence or absence of police has a really small effect on crime. It has an even smaller effect on traffic deaths and injuries.

    Forget about cyclists, why do you want any enforcement against drivers if it has basically no effect?

  • Joe R.

    The 70,000 is at the bottom of the article:

    Further, TA notes that it is important “to put this in context. Motor vehicles are responsible for over 70,000 injuries every year in New York City, and hundreds of annual deaths.

    Then they can walk and take the bus. Nobody forces them to bike.

    Maybe not enough money to take the bus. Also, walking or taking the bus takes longer than cycling.

    Since you don’t have the data anyway why are you using $$$ as your chosen metric rather than QALYs or similar?

    Because in the end everything has an equivalent economic value. If you try to make bike-ped and car-ped crashes count equally you’re being intellectually dishonest. They’re only equal when they cause the same amount of damages.

    You should stop confusing what you are forced to do out of safety versus what you are forced to do to save time. Just because riding legally is too slow doesn’t give you the right to ride illegally.

    I used to ride legally. I stopped at first not to save time but because it was too dangerous. I realized I was outclassed at intersections by hordes of motor vehicles gunning it when the light changed. I was like being in a pack of elephants. The fact I save lots of time passing red lights is just a nice bonus but I do it primarily for safety.

    Will cyclists walk the half mile to get to their destination, or are you suggesting they bike on the sidewalk since the streets are too dangerous?

    By design they would be over the arterials where people bike on sidewalks. You could reach them from quiet sidestreets where you wouldn’t have any need to be on the sidewalk.

    BTW, the majority of tickets given to drivers are given by cameras.

    How many of those were for things which were really unsafe? Just as I hate bike enforcement focusing on stupid technical violations I hate motor vehicle enforcement doing the same. I see plenty of genuinely danger driving, plus some dangerous cycling, where tickets are plainly desired. The NYPD is too lazy to bother with this. It means they might actually have to work to give out a ticket. They like the fish in a barrel approach instead.

  • Joe R.

    I really don’t except for dangerous stuff like failure to yield, lane jockeying, driving in bike lanes, excessive speed in pedestrian heavy areas, etc. I’m willing to give motorists a lot more leeway than many here because I know what’s constitutes dangerous driving and what doesn’t.

  • Simon Phearson

    If you believe that, then how about you tell me how you’re using it. What coding do you think is given to NYC vs non NYC red light violations for drivers, and NYC drivers vs NYC cyclists?

    Is there something in the data you think I’m misreading? Like I said, I’m not going to give you the rope to hang me by. If you disagree with my assessment of who’s getting red light tickets in NYC, the way to respond is to cite your own assessment for the same time period. It’s not to ask me to detail my methodology so that you can come up with some way to object without doing your own damn homework.

    Read the about page for the dataset you linked, go through the attachments.

    So you don’t actually know the relationship between the datasets. I appreciate that the DMV dataset is drawn from ticket data reported to the DMV. What’s not clear is what the relationship between that reported data and the NYPD tallies you’ve been citing is.

    DNAinfo gave you a tally for tickets given out to cyclists.

    As I’ve said, DNA is not a trustworthy source, and it’s not appropriate to compare their tally to all moving violations issued to drivers, for purposes of this discussion (which has been about the enforcement priorities of the NYPD) since many of those “moving violations” are for things that amount to administrative violations or violations that do not meaningfully put anyone at risk.

  • Joe R.

    It’s an admission of not having data to back up how many cyclists flew through red lights back then versus now. I’m sure that data doesn’t even exist. My eyes tell me it’s a lot fewer now. The fact people from all walks of life ride now probably has something to do with it.

  • ahwr

    Is there something in the data you think I’m misreading?

    Your numbers are a fabrication or a misreading. You’re not worth my time.

    As I’ve said, DNA is not a trustworthy source,

    They are far more trustworthy than you.

  • ahwr

    Is driving in an unoccupied bike lane actually comparable to any of the other violations you mentioned?

  • Joe R.

    So long as the driver remains alert enough to see a bike and prepared to go back into traffic lane if he/she does it’s not comparable. Sadly, most who drive in bike lanes don’t do either of those things.

  • ahwr

    TA notes

    TA’s source for the claim is what, exactly?

    There aren’t 70k ED visits for injured pedestrians in a year statewide. Closer to 12k.

    Also, walking or taking the bus takes longer than cycling.

    Does that justify someone driving in a bike lane if it’s faster?

    I realized I was outclassed at intersections by hordes of motor vehicles gunning it when the light changed.

    Is a driver allowed to drive on a sidewalk if it saves him a few seconds? Pull over and wait for the pack of drivers to go first if that’s the only way you feel safe riding. You are not forced to break the law. You choose to because it saves you time over the legal alternative.

    You could reach them from quiet sidestreets

    Most of NYC isn’t eastern Queens. There aren’t always quiet side streets.

    How many of those were for things which were really unsafe?

    You’re right, the most dangerous drivers get a small share of tickets. I’d wager a majority of tickets are given for technical violations that are less dangerous than the most dangerous actions taken by cyclists. That’s how enforcement is always going to happen. Whether the target is motorists or cyclists. You either tolerate it to get some enforcement against the worst actors, or oppose all enforcement.

    I hate motor vehicle enforcement doing the same

    It’s a product of data driven enforcement.

  • Joe R.

    Also, in my defense I work professionally as an engineer who is currently involved with a pretty high level research project. I deal with reams of data regularly (which is why I don’t care to start looking at yet more data here given that I come to this site for information and entertainment, not to work for free). In the course of working on this project, I frequently have to go where the data leads me, regardless of my own prejudices. I can’t make stuff up and then BS my way to an answer. Thankfully, there is usually enough data to make sound conclusions. That’s not the case here. Most of what I’ve seen here regarding the question of bike enforcement is piecemeal, in difficult to use formats, and otherwise not really supportive of any conclusions one way or another. Some data which I think might be really useful, like the total cost of injuries by mode, just plain doesn’t exist.

  • Joe R.

    Pull over and wait for the pack of drivers to go first if that’s the only way you feel safe riding.

    Ivory tower nonsense. Why is this stupid, stupid advice given every time this comes up? Pull over and wait for how long? Possible forever if the green light cycle is barely long enough to let the car traffic through? Barring that, you’re leaving the green light later, which means you’ll probably get stuck at the next light. And the one after that. When it takes 45 seconds to cycle one block, it’s time to think about walking. Remember that I said cycling is purely an optional activity. If it’s too slow or too unsafe people won’t do it. Your recipe is a perfect way to get us to zero mode share. Newsflash-safety AND travel time both matter when it comes to bikes. The Netherlands figured that out about a generation ago. We still haven’t figured out the safety part.

    Most of NYC isn’t eastern Queens. There aren’t always quiet side streets.

    Most Manhattan cross streets are safe to ride in, or could be if we removed one of the parking lanes. Most boroughs have enough quiet side streets to more or less function as a feeder network for bike highways. Also, arterials are where you have the most pedestrian traffic. This makes it much more imperative to get bikes off sidewalks along them than along minor streets.

    That’s how enforcement is always going to happen. Whether the target is motorists or cyclists. You either tolerate it to get some enforcement against the worst actors, or oppose all enforcement.

    Seems like a round about way to go about it. Do you really think the worst actors get much enforcement against them under this system? If they did, most of these really bad drivers would have had their licenses suspended years ago. My own experience with these things tells me the average smuck who isn’t dangerous to anyone gets the brunt of the enforcement while the bad actors mostly get off scott free. Think about how police issue red light tickets to bikes, for example. They’ll pick a quiet T-intersection where most people will safely pass red lights with little danger. They won’t pick an intersection with heavy pedestrian traffic where some cyclists flew through crosswalks on red. This would mean having to chase down the errant cyclist. Too much work, possibly even more dangerous chasing them than just letting them go. That’s the conundrum. The people we need to go after have to be caught. It’s often more trouble than it’s worth. So we go after the easy tickets just to say we did something. When that doesn’t work (how can it when these aren’t dangerous people you’re ticketing?) we ask for yet more crackdowns, again going with the easy stuff.

    Logically, this system can’t work. The best solution is to design our streets to minimize the need to follow any kind of script while also decreasing motor traffic volumes. Scripts are hard to enforce upon people who see through them.

  • ahwr

    fundamental lack of any actual argument.

    The bike obsessed NYPD furiously ticketing cyclists is a myth. Regular claims otherwise by Ben Freid and similar isn’t helping anyone. And drives away anyone who isn’t already a card carrying member of your tribe.

  • ahwr

    Ivory tower nonsense. Why is this stupid, stupid advice given every time this comes up?

    The same is asked of drivers who have trouble pulling into the road without blocking crosswalks or bike lanes. Should that be tolerated because rush hour is a pain for them? If you can’t bike without riding on the sidewalk for most of your trip (the scenario you’ve been bringing up), then don’t bike. Walk, or take transit. You have no right to bike on the sidewalk to save time.

    Your recipe is a perfect way to get us to zero mode share

    If someone can’t bike without biking on the sidewalk then the city is better off with them not biking.

    could be if we removed one of the parking lanes.

    Then get that done before putting in your viaducts, or the viaducts will lead to people biking on the sidewalk.

    Do you really think the worst actors get much enforcement against them under this system?

    I already said they don’t. That someone elsewhere might be doing something worse isn’t an excuse for someone who gets a ticket for driving 37 mph in a pack of cars doing the same anymore than it excuses a cyclist who gets a ticket for blowing through a red light or biking on the sidewalk.

    So we go after the easy tickets just to say we did something.

    how can it when these aren’t dangerous people you’re ticketing?)

    To give people the impression they might get caught if they do something wrong, because it gets the worst actors to be more careful. The impact of this style of enforcement is nonlinear. Per ticket the largest benefit comes from a minimal level of enforcement. Probably close to what you see cyclists subjected to. But the one ticket is too many crowd among the bike first crowd complains.

    Logically, this system can’t work. The best solution is to design our streets to minimize the need to follow any kind of script

    What do you want to do for the few decades that will take? Do you think other cities with better safety records have no enforcement against drivers or cyclists?

  • Joe R.

    You seem so certain Ben Fried et al are wrong here based on what is at best really spotty data. You seem equally certain that there is some “right” level of bike enforcement (that’s the direct corollary of claiming the current enforcement level isn’t excessive) but really lack any methodology to determine what the level should be.

    “Excessive” enforcement could mean a load of things:

    1) Enforcement out of proportion to the relative number of cyclists.
    2) Enforcement out of proportion to the relative danger cyclists represent.
    3) Enforcement sufficient to discourage enough cyclists so that mode share either drops, or doesn’t rise as fast as it would have.
    4) Enforcement focusing on safe, technical violations of the law rather than actual dangerous behavior.

    Depending upon how you define excessive can radically alter your conclusions, even with the same data set.

    The fact enough people feel enforcement is excessive could mean it is. Last I checked I don’t hear people complaining about excessive enforcement of shoplifting or rape or murder. People rightly complain about enforcement which targets nondangerous people doing nondangerous things. We apparently have enough of this regarding bikes for a critical mass of people to feel the enforcement is excessive. Often public perception is more important than numbers.

  • Joe R.

    You’re basically advocating for broken windows policing. It doesn’t work. It may even make things worse.

    We’re way beyond minimal bike enforcement. Minimal enforcement is what existed when I first started riding in the late 1970s. Back then maybe it was a case of you knew a friend who knew a friend who knew another friend who in turn knew somebody the police gave a bike ticket to. Nowadays just about everyone riding has gotten a ticket at one time or another, me included (mine was for briefly riding on a sidewalk while dropping a video tape in the slot at Blockbuster at 11PM). Hardly zero enforcement. That one ticket discouraged me for years. I hardly rode. When I did I spent more mental energy looking for police than concentrating on riding, to the point I probably wasn’t riding as safely as I could have. What’s the benefit in that given that what I got a ticket for was harmless? The cop giving it to me admitted as much but his sergeant was there. He had no choice. Probably had to meet a fucking quota.

    Motorists also rightly complain about BS enforcement. The easiest solution is to not have a law against something if it isn’t dangerous. That lets law enforcement focus on the bad actors. Suppose you had a law against staring at women to prevent rape? The police will eventually probably nab just about every male out there under this law while likely not preventing one rape. That’s what our traffic laws are like. Is sidewalk cycling dangerous? Usually not except under certain circumstances. Therefore make it legal except under those circumstances. Do likewise with red lights and stop signs. Make it legal for pedestrians to cross on reds also unless they’re actively interfering with cross traffic.

    Speed limits provide a great example of how badly traffic laws have failed in terms of getting the bad actors punished. Back when speed limits were set at the 85th or 90th percentiles, law enforcement was able to focus on the statistically most dangerous drivers, namely those going much faster than traffic. Then we starting lowering speed limits to the point nearly everyone became a law breaker. With that went respect for other traffic laws. Enforcement works, but only when the laws themselves make sense. Many don’t.

    Yes, it will take several decades to redo our infrastructure. In the meantime the first thing we need to do is change the laws so law enforcement can focus on the bad actors only. That’s my real problem here. I’m all for enforcing laws against cyclists when those laws make sense. Many nowadays just don’t.

  • Simon Phearson

    Your numbers are a fabrication or a misreading. You’re not worth my time.

    Easy to say. You’ve spent the entire evening debating with me and Joe, but when it comes time to put up or shut up, I’m not worth it any more?

    On what basis are you so confident that I’m either fabricating numbers or misreading the data? I haven’t told you anything about my methodology, so are you simply going by whether my 2/3 to 3/4 estimate for the month of August in 2015 jives with the DNA figure and NYPD data you googled? Do you realize how those two takes can actually be consistent? That the fact that red light tickets don’t seem to line up according to the 60:1 ratio you’ve more or less arbitrarily concocted isn’t necessarily a problem for you?

    Why do I have to spell this out for you?

    The open data portal is working more smoothly this morning, so I’ll tell you what the DMV statistics seem to show. In 2015, they show 15,606 tickets for a violation described as “NYC BIKE/SKATE RDLGT” and given the code “1111D1C,” which roughly corresponds with the VTL provision prohibiting entering an intersection against a steady red (i.e., VTL § 1111(d)(1)). They show 35,387 tickets for a violation described as “NYC REDLIGHT” and given the code “1111D1N”; and then there are 32,047 tickets for a violation described as “PASSED RED SIGNAL” and given the code “1111D1.” These are the only recorded violations coded with the “1111D1” prefix.

    As I’ve said previously, it would take more time and work to confirm this is the correct interpretation, but my interpretation of this information is that the “1111D1” designation is for red light tickets statewide (excepting NYC), with “1111D1N” specifically corresponding to NYC red light tickets (there is no sub-section (n) within VTL § 1111(d)(1); this appears to be an administrative sub-designation) and “1111D1C” specifically corresponding to NYC red light tickets issued to bikers, in-line skaters, and presumably other non-pedestrian, non-driver road users (pedestrians are prohibited from crossing against steady red signals under VTL § 1111(d)(4), and tickets issued to them appear to be coded as “1111D4”).

    Assuming this is correct, then the NYPD issued less than 3 red light tickets to drivers for every red light ticket issued to cyclists in 2015. This obscures monthly variations, however, which are illuminating; in the month of June, for instance, it looks like the NYPD issued more red light tickets to cyclists and other road users (4,410) than they did to drivers (2,948). Other peak-cycling months similarly see inflated numbers for cycling red light tickets relative to driving red light tickets, balancing out the low-cycling months (for instance, in January it was 494 vs. 2,371, a still surprisingly-high number).

    During the four-year period over which this dataset spans, it looks like 40,539 red light tickets were issued to cyclists in NYC, with another 36,982 tickets issued statewide for violations under VTL § 1230-1239, which are cycling-specific violations. The DMV dataset doesn’t provide an easy way to break down those 36,982 tickets between NYC and upstate, but you might ask whether those totals line up the way they should with the DNA figure you keep bandying about as authoritative.

    Now, if you have specific objections or points for correction, I am happy to review and take those in. What I am not so interested in doing is engaging you in your usual manner, which is to take potshots at assumptions made or inferences drawn without necessarily supplying any contrary point of view. It won’t do, in other words, for you to simply object that I don’t necessarily know my assumptions about the interpretation of the codes are correct. Or to concede that my data is correct, but to move the goalposts so then we’re dismissing the red light ticket data entirely as not pertinent to the underlying point having to do with moving violation enforcement generally. I appreciate that there are any number of limitations to what the data allow us to say about actual enforcement priorities, but to a certain extent we have to do the best we can with what we have. It will not do to declare that the NYPD can’t be conclusively shown to be “bike-obsessed,” and so that we must assume that it is not.

  • Joe R.

    Thank you for a very illuminating post. Your interpretation of the DMV data labels is exactly the same as mine. I also assumed “NYC REDLIGHT” meant a red light ticket given to motor vehicles in NYC while “NYC BIKE/SKATE RDLGT” meant one given to cyclists, skaters, basically any non-MV road user. The vast majority issued tickets under this label would most likely be cyclists given the relative number of other non-MV road users.

    Thank you also for parsing the data for 2015. Frankly, I didn’t have the time or desire to do that yesterday given that I’m under duress with the project I’m working on, plus I already spend a lot of time getting paid to look at data (and hence don’t want to look at more during my down time).

    We can argue about what the label “bike-obsessed” means regarding the NYPD but it’s clear if your interpretation of those numbers is accurate (and I see no good reason why it isn’t) that cyclists are being issued red light tickets in NYC well out of proportion to either their relative numbers or the danger they represent. What to make of this from a policy standpoint is something the data can’t tell us.

  • Simon Phearson

    I am sure that ahwr’s response – if he chooses to respond at all – will be along the lines of, “Well, who’s running red lights? Maybe the disproportionate enforcement just tracks who’s doing it.” That is, by reference to some other unknowable or untracked statistics in the light of which, and only in light of which, what we actually know can be made sensible. (Of course, the assumption that drivers don’t run red lights all the time would be suspect; drivers run reds all the time, it’s just that the typical scenario is running them at the end of a line of cars squeezing through the signal.)

    It’s only by virtue of some personal events that I have the time or energy right now to devote to this. It’s unfortunate that, otherwise, ahwr’s informed-sounding BS would have to go unchallenged.

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The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle mayhem across the five boroughs and beyond. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (7 Killed This Week, 58 This Year, 8 Drivers Charged*) Castleton Corners: Beata Kurpiewski, 59, Killed Walking 3-Year-Old Grandson to […]

The Weekly Carnage

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The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle mayhem across the metro region. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (9 Killed This Week, 126 This Year*, 13 Drivers Charged**) Queens: Cyclist, TA Volunteer James Langergaard Killed on Queens Boulevard (Streetsblog) Related: […]

The Weekly Carnage

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The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle mayhem across the metro region. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (17 Killed This Week, 227 This Year*, 22 Drivers Charged**) Staten Island: Man Crushed to Death By His Own SUV (News, Advance) […]

The Weekly Carnage

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The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs and beyond. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (6 Killed This Week, 37 This Year; 0 Drivers Charged*) East Harlem: Amar Diarrassouba, 6, Killed By Truck Driver While Walking […]