NYPD Files Criminal Charges Against Kids for Biking on Hylan Boulevard

Yesterday, officers from the 122nd Precinct confiscated these four bikes on Hylan Boulevard. The public can now rest easy. Photo: 122nd Precinct
Yesterday, officers from the 122nd Precinct confiscated these four bikes on Hylan Boulevard. The public can now rest easy. Photo: 122nd Precinct

Officers from the 122nd Precinct arrested at least four teenagers yesterday on misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct, according to CBS New York. Their crime? Biking on Hylan Boulevard.

The teens were “riding bikes the wrong way against traffic, causing motorists to move out of [their] way, causing hazardous conditions,” NYPD told Streetsblog. Police confiscated bicycles, and at least one defendant was also charged with resisting arrest and reckless endangerment.

While the kids on bikes now have criminal records, the arrests will do nothing to reduce the death toll on Hylan Boulevard, where drivers have killed 14 people since 2014, including nine pedestrians and one cyclist.

Abnormally warm weather greeted NYC high school students on spring break this week — irresistible conditions for wheelie-popping, much to the chagrin of the Staten Island Advance, which has been posting scare stories about groups of bike-riding teenagers since the summer.

In August, the Advance posted not one, not two, but three stories about young people biking on the borough’s streets, including video of what the paper described as “a large group of teens… antagonizing motorists, yelling at them and creating traffic mayhem.”

Yesterday, the Advance got its wish. Just hours after the paper posted about “concerns” aired on social media about the kids on bikes, the 122nd Precinct was out in force.

NYPD’s decision to file criminal charges stands out. Criminal arrests can have serious, cascading lifelong consequences. The response is completely disproportionate to the precinct’s handling of motorists who actually harmed people.

In multiple cases, NYPD has declined to arrest drivers who killed people in the same precinct. That was the case in 2015 when a driver killed UPS worker Tom Ryan as he unloaded packages from his truck. NYPD filed no charges when a driver making a turn killed 72-year-old Bujar Hasimja and injured his wife in the 122nd Precinct in 2013.

Motorists have killed no fewer than 13 people walking and biking in the 122nd Precinct since 2012, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. Drivers did not get as much as a traffic ticket in almost half of those cases.

The worst these kids did was cause motorists some stress, but now they’re facing worse charges than motorists who ended other people’s lives.

  • AlexWithAK

    “The worst these kids did was cause motorists some stress, but now they’re facing worse charges than motorists who ended other people’s lives.”

    I wouldn’t downplay this too much. The cops were justified in stopping these kids if they were behaving in an antagonistic way. The problem is that they charged them with misdemeanors while not issuing so much as a traffic ticket to drivers who injure and kill. That kind of disparity is asinine and deserving of ridicule.

  • Reader

    I guess de Blasio is alright with kids getting arrested because he never speaks up on stuff like this.

  • And meanwhile the number of times I have seen NYPD cruising down Northern Blvd getting double parkers and people parked in bus lanes to just move along by honking or flashing their lights instead of getting out writing tickets….multiple times per week. Why is that not a criminal charge – blocking crosswalks, double parking, driving dangerously? Oh yeah, because they are in a car.

  • Vulcan Logic

    Agreed. We have a large problem with these kids down in New Orleans, with them taking over streets, popping wheelies for blocks at a time, yelling at and harassing other road users. Something certainly should be done but putting a mark on their records just makes it that more likely that they won’t become, as my father is fond of saying, “productive members of society” simply because they will be less employable. Cyclists deserve to have their rights as such respected BUT they must also respect the rules by which they are governed.

  • Kwyjibo

    Preach. If only cyclists (and pedestrians!) would learn to be deferential, drivers would stop killing 40,000 a year.

    Your move, children!

  • Kevin Love

    How dare those children try to have fun!

    The police need to assault, kidnap and take hostage children who commit the serious crime of enjoying themselves while posing zero threat of death or serious injury to others.

  • walks bikes drives

    You make it seem like these kids were just riding along on the side of the road. If that were the case, we should all be up in arms. But I highly doubt it. I see it frequently in the summer, teenagers riding along Amsterdam Avenue in large groups, sometimes with traffic, sometimes against traffic, popping wheelies while going through crowded crosswalks against the light, causing cars to swerve (even those traveling at 20mph) to avoid hitting them, etc. I am all for safe streets for all users, and ramping up safety aspects to make cycling and walking more convenient, even at the expense of motor vehicles. But the constant insistence from some that no one on foot and no one on two wheels is ever doing something wrong and is always right makes the job of getting things better so much harder. And it is complete bullshit. We all must do our part to stay safe and keep others safe. Playing chicken with cars on a bicycle is not a method of having fun that should be encouraged. I bought my son a bicycle the instant he was big enough to ride one. If I ever found out he was riding like that, he would sit and watch as I dismembered his bicycle with an angle grinder, piece by piece.

    Yes, drivers need to be held accountable for their wrong behavior, especially behavior that maims or kills. The fact that they/we are not is a travesty. But to argue that no one on bicycles ever does something wrong, or shouldn’t be penalized for dangerous behavior is absolutely ridiculous.

  • Joe R.

    It’s really these kid’s parents who are to blame, not the kids. I’ve been riding a bicycle since I was about six. I never would dream of riding like this. Come to think of it, I never saw other kids riding like this, either. Chalk this one up to the parents who want to be “friends” with their children instead of parents, or perhaps just to absentee parents. Neither parenting scheme works.

    If I ever found out he was riding like that, he would sit and watch as I dismembered his bicycle with an angle grinder, piece by piece.

    If my parents had caught me doing stunts like this I would have gotten my father’s belt buckle on my bare behind. I know thoughts on corporal punishment are different these days, but there’s little doubt it helped keep kids in line for whom nothing else would have worked.

  • sammy davis jr jr

    Motorist: Let off with a warning
    Cyclist: Arrest and seize vehicle

  • Kevin Love

    Huh? I routinely see car drivers engaging in Reckless Endangerment. Reckless Endangerment that regularly results in people being either crushed and killed or else poisoned and killed by the car drivers’ fine particle lethal cancer poison attacks.

    Children cycling, not so much. I would suggest that after the police first deal with the violent and dangerous criminals that kill and injure so many people, then they can deal with the “nuisance” of children playing.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Popping wheelies?! Will this horror never end?

  • KeNYC2030

    Whether these kids should or shouldn’t be able to treat a public street as their own is a totally separate issue from the issue at hand, which is the precinct’s protection of drivers rather than human life.

  • DarrylD

    Staten Island really is the worst, isn’t it? Don’t these cops have anything better to do?

  • BrownBrown

    We all know these kids were punks because bike riders are always punks and car drivers are always victims. Imagine the emotional damage a driver could have suffered if they accidentally hit one of these punks.

  • Vooch

    Hmmm;

    Driver kill and maim every single day in NYC – and less than .001% even get a ticket.

    Kids riding their bikes ? Hauled before da’ judge

  • walks bikes drives

    It chilly seems the opposite to me. The issue at hand was the fact that they were arrested for treating the street as their own. Now others are making it into an issue about the precinct protecting motorists and not ticketing motorists. This second issue is valid, and needs to be addressed, but the issue at hand needs to be addressed too.

  • walks bikes drives

    Both issues need to be addressed. But to ignore one would be like saying that, because guns are more lethal and contribute to a disproportionate amount of preventable deaths compared to many other causes, including baseball bats, the police should not investigate instances of a person being threatened with a baseball bat and should instead make sure that guns are more properly regulated and all gun crimes ending with an arrest.

    I’m sorry, but these groups of kids are dangerous and are more than just a simple annoyance. And they give cyclists a bad name. If we want to get real change to happen on our streets, we have to stop getting caught up in this idea that, just because cars are more dangerous, pedestrians and cyclists can do no wrong and shouldn’t be punished for any wrongs they do.

  • KeNYC2030

    OK, I see your point. I should have said “more important issue,” but on the question of who belongs on the street, my sympathies are with the kids. I wasn’t there so I didn’t see what they were doing, but it appears that their mere presence on Hylan Blvd. in numbers is what got them arrested.

  • Guest

    I hear these horror stories all the time. Yet I have not read a single story about ANY crashes that have resulted from groups of kids on bikes. Certainly if anybody has been harmed, it would have been covered by the tabloids, right?

    Seems more like people are just offended that kids act like they “own the street,” and then try to rationalize some justification for their own sense of entitlement that allows them to exclude the interests of kids who clearly have already been marginalized through the lack of more attractive alternative activities.

  • ceanf

    ruin a couple of brown kids’ lives and steal their bikes to fill the department coffers… the chief of the sty is so proud of his little piggies! must have been a slow day, with no murders, rapes and robberies to be investigated and solved…

  • neroden

    Who will arrest the NYPD for their myriad crimes?

    Who, I ask?

    Patrick Lynch alone has committed multiple felonies, yet he walks free. Who will arrest him?

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