Police Slowing Cyclists on Queensborough Bridge

199663492_2fc40dff94.jpgFrom the Streetsblog tipwire:

The past two mornings there have been NYPD officers parked on the Queensborough Bridge bike/pedestrian path. They’ve been stopping
cyclists in an effort to slow them down with the construction on the
bridge. However there’s been no active construction when I’ve ridden
through.

Safety is certainly a concern but having an officer
bark at cyclists isn’t going to be effective. Barriers which would
force cyclists to swerve and slow down would be more effective without
inflaming cyclist/police antagonism.

While this doesn’t match the level of the harassment reports we saw early this spring, it does raise some interesting points. Giving NYPD the benefit of the doubt: Assume there’s a real need to slow cyclist traffic and warn riders of potential danger. Is the police presence necessary or would signage and diverters suffice? Can stationing officers be done in a way that doesn’t exacerbate tensions between police and cyclists?

If anyone else has encountered officers on the Queensborough lately, please share.

Photo: tommylane/Flickr

  • Police State Hater

    Speaking of police/cyclist antagonism, the cops are also stopping cyclists trying to go up 1st Ave for the stupid UN thingie. Why can’t they just put a bike lane next to the sidewalk along the left side? Gotta love their flexed muscle.

  • Erin

    Hey, this isn’t about egos, or about supposedly reckless cyclists. People who ride a lot ride faster, and they should be able to. Cycling is a form of transportation, afterall. It’s an improvement on walking in that you get places you need to go faster. Why should cyclists have to slow down to walking speed? That is simply retarded. Just because a biker rides faster than you do, doesn’t mean she (in my case, because if I’m riding around I’m riding pretty fast) or he is riding recklessly. Sorry to bruise YOUR ego by passing you carefully on the left, while probably even saying “on your left”.

    Now, concerning the stupid banter about bikes running lights. There are, as far as I’m concerned, two extremely valid reasons for slowing down, looking both ways, and continuing through the red in NYC: 1) Stopping and re-starting is a real pain in the neck and the signal timing, or lack thereof it seems, makes us hit a lot of lights in parts of town. 2) ((DRUM ROLL)) The farther I get from the cars, the better. If I get a little bit ahead, they’re less likely to turn right into me while I’m going straight, they’re less likely to honk at me while they accelerate, they’re less likely to hit me in general because the distance between me and them is greater. I’m protecting my own damn self because no one else is watching out for me. Waiting at the lights when nothing is coming perpendicularly is LESS safe than just proceeding carefully. Why don’t more people discuss this?

  • Forgive me if I am raising an issue already covered in this long string, but isn’t there a first question we have to ask: what is the speed limit on the Q’bo Bridge for bicyclists? I don’t recall there being any limit posted. If that’s the case, then the limit is 30 MPH. Very, very few bicyclists would achieve that speed except near groun level at either side of the span, and then only if they intended to. Is that where the NYPD is conducting this enforcement? Or is it near the apex of the span?

  • That long straight downhill heading into Queens isn’t exactly designed for controlling speed…. Even just freewheeling you can clock up some silly speed. If the path were JUST for bikes I’d be OK with it, but that kind of speed around peds is a bad idea all around. I’d add a couple of chicanes and some “use your brakes” signs.

  • Marty Furlong

    The Bridge issue is still gaining attention and interest, as recognized by the Daily News last week.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/queens/2008/10/09/2008-10-09_a_bridge_path_to_peril_cop_cars_hazard_o-2.html

  • Pav

    Just today the same fat annoying cop who puts up the stupid cone barricades and acts like a total prick was pulling people over on his moped and warning them not to ride in the pedestrian lane. I was one of those people.

    He chewed me out for “only caring about myself” apparently. As I was going past other bikers and needed to swerve into the pedestrian lane to avoid them (not causing any dangerous situation in relation to the peds), I became totally furious. This guy is a complete dick, and no one should be nice to him even if he’s just doing his job.

    People should be more careful on both sides, the bikers and peds should be more vigilant of their surrounding and accept that we live in a very crowded city and where we can’t have all the freedom and space that we’d like.

  • He was there again today… He didn’t stop me, but I slowed down and heard him ticking off a couple of cyclists. “Why were you riding in the pedestrian lane? What makes you think you can just ignore the rules?” By coincidence I’d just had a conversation with a traffic cop about cyclists running red lights. I was stopped and two cyclists ran the light right in front of the cop. I turned and asked “Do any of ’em obey the law?” and he replied “No, nobody does.” So you can get away with running red lights but you can’t drift into the wrong lane. How’s that for consistency? Thanks NYPD. And of course, once I got up to St Nicholas Ave, the bike lane and the sidewalk were totally obstructed by cop cars. I should have stopped and told them off for being in the wrong lane.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    So drifting into an empty pedestrian lane on a bridge is a ticketable offense? I’d like to see where that’s written into the traffic law.

    I know no such rule exists in New Jersey and am quite sure it is not covered in the Uniform Vehicle Code either.

  • JKap

    Is it illegal to ride on lower level in traffic?
    I have switched to cars lane in the middle of bridge just to avoid baricades, bully cops and construction workers.
    Besides, the exit is far more convenient taking me to 2nd ave.

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