Into Our Town the NYPD Came…

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Your federal Homeland Security dollars hard at work (Photo: Untitledname from Flickr)

Apologies to Maurice Ogden but I guess I didn’t think enough of it when the NYPD was only cracking down on Critical Mass riders. Now it looks like the harassment has spread to regular daily bike commuters and is the product of official city policy. Here are four reports we’ve seen over the last few days:

The Sunset Parker:

Bay Ridge Conservative reports that the NYPD is now ordering cyclists to dismount and walk their bikes across the Brooklyn Bridge or face a $60 ticket. They’ve got cameras mounted on each side with officers waiting to issue summonses. Apparently, a cyclist hit a pedestrian last week.

From Michael at Bike Blog:

Today I observed a bike cop at the Manhattan base of the Williamsburg Bridge around 5 pm. I’ve been riding this bridge for 10 years, back when there were decaying metal grates barely holding the bike path together. You couldn’t dream of getting a cop to be stationed anywhere around to help with a mugger. Now, suddenly there are cops around and what are they doing? Stopping cyclists and telling them their speed is being monitored or checking for bike lights.

From Jacob via Bike Blog:

Police officers were stationed at both ends of the Brooklyn Bridge this morning (I was riding over at 9:10 am) and stopping cyclist to check for helmets, front light, tail light and bell. Neither I, nor any of the other cyclists I was stopped with, received a ticket, we all received verbal warnings.

A two week-old report, also on Bike Blog. Downright creepy:

Tonight (7/17/06) on my way home from work I was crossing the Williamsburg Bridge and when I get off the bridge in Brooklyn an unmarked cop car was sitting there. Sure enough a block later he pulls me over. He goes through this whole long thing. The jist of it is he claims I was doing 33 mph down the bridge which is rated 30 mph. I highly doubt I was going over 20 mph. I used to ride with a speedometer and I never broke 30 mph. I ride a mountain bike with street tires which are pretty wide but light tread….

Anyways I didn’t think he was going to ticket me for the claimed 3 mph over. He asks if I am aware of the laws regarding riding on the sidewalk which I wasn’t doing and he never accused me of doing. He then went on to ask if I had a bell and lights even though it wasn’t dark yet and lights weren’t needed but I showed I had them anyways. They said they had some tool to test the blinking speed of the lights and they were going to test but then decided not to. They mentioned my treads were almost worn out. They also took my ID and recorded info off of it and asked me generic questions like how long had I been riding and how often do I ride.

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