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You Heard It Here First: Cyclists Ticketed for Using New Willy-B Lanes

3:03 PM EST on November 25, 2008

When we posted pics of the new Williamsburg Bridge bike lanes last Friday, Streetsblog commenters wondered if, since one of the lanes directs cyclists onto a sidewalk, police might be lying in wait. Wrote Barnard: "Just because bicycling is legal doesn't mean the NYPD won't write you a ticket for it!"

Earlier today Benjamin Running posted a link to this item from Gothamist, where a cyclist relays this story:

"As I reach the corner of South 4th Street and South 5th Place, justone short block away from one of the Brooklyn entrances to theWilliamsburg bridge, I see that the bike lane arrows turn and point tothe sidewalk. I thought it odd but I followed it knowing that it wasjust a short bit away from the entrance. 3/4 ways down the sidewalk Iget stopped by 2 cops telling me that I can't ride on the sidewalk....And then they proceed to give me a ticket!

Is this some kind of entrapment? The bike lane arrows clearly pointtoward the sidewalk and there is no sign telling you to get off andwalk your bike. While they were in the middle of giving me a ticket, agirl on a bike comes up behind me and they stop her and give her aticket for the very same reason. And she had the same complaint I did;she was just following the bike lane arrows that pointed to thesidewalk."

Gothamist thinks it's possible that cyclists are misinterpreting the markings and may be riding on a sidewalk area not meant to be included as part of the bike route, while Wiley Norvell of TA says "this is a good, necessary set of markings" on "one of the more dangerous parts of the north Brooklyn bike commute." Norvell notes that a cyclist was killed at this location not long ago.

Regardless, it sounds as if the PD is exploiting this improvement to continue harassing cyclists entering and exiting city bridges.

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