Cops on Scooters Trail Greenway Cyclists

May’s Bike Month Critical Mass reportedly drew more participants than usual, and NYPD responded by handing out a passel of trumped-up summonses. No surprise there, but as this video (from glassbeadian via Gothamist) shows, officers on scooters went so far as to follow riders down the Hudson River Greenway.

Barbara Ross of Time’s Up thinks police may have been acting in retaliation to recent movement on the long-standing Five Borough Bike Club lawsuit to overturn the parade permit requirement for bike rides of 50 or more cyclists. Check the Gothamist post for another vid that features scooter cops picking out which cyclists to harass.

  • I’ve said it before: I’m no supporter of Critical Mass, but NYPD’s own policy makes me side with CM. NYPD policy towards CM is so wasteful, and seems so personally vindictive and spiteful, that they’re clearly the bigger bad guy.

  • I used to participate in Critical Mass but I got turned off by cyclists blocking off intersections where cars had the green light. Seemed like pretty poor cycling advocacy to me (I actually do not know if that still goes on in Critical Mass). But I agree that any way you look at this issue, the police are in the wrong here — and they have been for a long time. In fact, several years ago Jim Dwyer reported in the NY Times that the NYPD were using undercover officers and covert surveillance techniques to spy on Critical Mass participants:

    This is a shameful violation of civil liberties, and a total waste of police resources.

  • Critical Mass is like WalMart. I want to hate them, but then I see their detractors, and I end up shopping there.

    I’m joining their rides if the cops keep this up. Young white dudes with lawyers seems like precisely who Crit Mass needs more of.

  • This isn’t the first time Critical Mass has gone onto the Greenway and brought the police with them. Not only does it miss the whole point of critical mass – to make the streets safe for cyclists – but it puts families and children at risk who use the greenway as a refuge from city traffic.

    I’m sure the cyclists of Critical Mass know better than anyone else that police often create chaos and arrest cyclists indiscriminately. I rode in the August 2004 Critical Mass and attended many other demonstrations so I know first hand how easy it can be to get caught up in these mass arrests. If these advocates are willing to risk arrest, bike confiscation and perhaps a weekend in jail, let them do so in a place far away from those who are only out to enjoy a traffic-free evening by the river.

  • James

    Is it just me or is there something really pathetic about overweight cops on motorized scooters shadowing fit bicyclists on a bike path? Has the NYPD ever had actual bicycle cops, and if not, what is the reason why not?

  • Yes, you see them occasionally, but they really should have more.

  • Ian Turner

    David, Critical Mass cyclists don’t just block autos, they also blocked pedestrians. My then-girlfriend and I once had the misfortune of being in the middle of crossing the street with the light when Critical Mass came along; nobody stopped, and we were grazed more than once by speeding cyclists.

    NYPD’s approach is insane, and Critical Mass cyclists are also insane.

  • Is there supposed to be a video where the big blank spot is? Same thing on Gothomist.

    Is Big Brother editing or is it just me

  • No conspiracy, it is just taking forever to load

  • I’m sorry stacy, maybe I am not clearly following you, are you saying people should not do everyday things just because they inspire the NYPD to react in a way that is dangerous, unjust or illegal?

    Set me straight.

  • Kaja

    Moocow – She’s saying that folks who inspire criminal policework should do it away from the folks who are purposely and presently avoiding that stuff.

    The Greenway is a place to ride on a Critical Mass night where there won’t be any Critical Mass. So going there is a dick move. That the police intimidate doesn’t make it wrong to be intimidated by the police.

    If you’re lucky enough to be fit, righteous and lawyered-up, then the more timid crowd will assuredly thank you for taking it for the team.

  • I don’t understand why the police are riding motor vehicles on the the greenway. Shouldn’t they be riding bicycles?

    I have no problem with the police. I do have a problem with anyone who uses a motor vehicle on the greenway. Especially, of all times, during a bicycle demo.

  • FTP

    kaja and stacy,

    the cyclists are not doing anything illegal, so your point is completely moot! there should be NO motorized vehicles on the greenway EVER even if they are following cyclists who, by the way, have every right to be there. what a way to blame the victim for the crimes of the nypd.

    by the way, stacy, if you wish to avoid be unduly hassled by the police because someone unwittingly “brought the police with them,” i suggest you stay indoors. given the nypd’s behavior, you could be caught up in a “dragnet” anytime!

  • Ken

    If the cops insist on spending our tax dollars tracking CM cyclists riding on the greenway, let them do it while riding alongside on the Westside highway — creating their own little motorized Critical Mass.


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