Today’s Headlines

  • Vacca Names Quinn and Reyna as Allies Against Sensible Parking Meter Rates (News)
  • Death of Rabbi Mosha Adler Doesn’t Slow Attacks on Boro Park Pedestrian Islands (CBS2)
  • The Brooklyn Bike Crackdown: Not Just One Precinct and Not Temporary (Post)
  • Astor Place Plan Will Return Street Space to Pedestrians; Some Worry About “Hooligans” (DNAinfo)
  • Christie Wants Port Authority Bailout and Debt, Not Gas Tax, to Pay For New Jersey’s Roads (NYT, WSJ)
  • The Guardian Profiles JSK — “Latter-Day Robin Hood” of NYC Streets
  • Push for Park Ave. Rezoning Brings Opportunity for TOD Around Metro-North Station (DNAinfo)
  • City Council Furious Over Subway Inspection Fraud (News)
  • Green Median Arrives on Ozone Park’s Conduit Avenue (News)
  • Brooklyn Street Flips Direction to Help Taxis Access Upscale Hotels (Bklyn Paper)
  • Don’t Let Anti-Bike Cranks Slow NYC’s Progress on Creating Safer, More Sustainable Streets (Villager)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Other Resident

    “Where cycling has become a primary means of transportation for many hipsters and other residents.” Post.

    According to the Post, are “hipsters” human beings?

  • Larry Littlefield

    The Post article says the “crackdown” has already been underway in Manhattan.

    I ride in both Brooklyn and Manhattan, and try to do so considerately. I have not received a ticket in Manhattan, despite sometimes failing to use hand signals because I feel the need to keep two hands on the bars.

  • re: The Guardian Profiles JSK — “Latter-Day Robin Hood” of NYC Streets

    Yay Sadik-Khan! She’s definitely a national treasure.

  • Williamsburg police source to the Post: “Bicyclists should travel like vehicles and must obey the same laws. The department and the people are sick of it!”

    “Travel like vehicles” presumably means speeding, hitting the accelerator when the light turns yellow, making illegal u-turns, cutting off pedestrians in the crosswalk, and honking incessantly, which are vehicle behaviors I observe everyday, and with great frequency, on Brooklyn’s streets. None of which ever get summonsed.

    I’m all for enforcement of bicycling laws, and I have no problem divorcing it from enforcement of driving infractions. Illegal and dangerous is illegal and dangerous. But while we’re writing tickets to cyclists, can we please get some enforcement of the egregious things that people behind the wheels of multi-ton motor vehicles do with impunity? How many 83-year-old rabbis, three-year-olds in strollers and young moms and twin babies have been killed or mauled by bikes this week?

  • Missed one: opinion piece by Bill DiPaola of Time’s Up! in the NY Times E. Village blog. Makes the often overlooked point that tourists are natural livable streets allies, perhaps even leaders. I think this is especially true of the bike share (although perhaps not to the extent the Department of City Planning thinks).

  • J. Mork

    The Guardian astutely points out that we are screwed when Bloomberg is gone. I’m starting to have nightmares about it.

  • J Mork: That’s why cyclists have to start thinking now about speaking with one voice in the 2013 elections. I’m gonna write to Scott Stringer today to thank him for his work over the past couple years and tell him he should seriously consider running for Mayor and others should do the same. He’s the only true friend of cyclists with a shot a citywide office in 2013.

  • Kaja

    Odds are very high I’ll be moving out of NYC in 2013, when Bloomberg’s gone, yes.

    The growing police harassment of People Like Me is almost reason enough to leave while he’s still here.

  • Eric (and other bicycling ‘advocates’), why are you “all for enforcement of bicycling laws”? Don’t you think that the benefits to society at large of encouraging bicycling more than make up for the inconvenience to motorists of cyclists running red lights or going the wrong way? Don’t you think that adult cyclists can take responsibility for their own safety and choose whether to ride on the sidewalk or against traffic depending on circumstances?

    Don’t you think that encouraging people to ride bikes, while hectoring them to adopt counterintuitive riding habits, is counterproductive and a waste of your advocacy efforts?

    Do you honestly think that the Greenfields and Hikinds and Markowitzes give a hoot about “enforcement for all,” or that if entitled motorists and politicos read about cyclist advocacy organizations graciously submitting to law enforcement “crackdowns” that they will all of a sudden fall over themselves to submit to police “crackdowns” on reckless motoring? Do you think that they will be inspired by cyclists’ example? Do you think they want anything except more room to drive, and more license to drive “creatively,” by making right turns on red, blocking the box, or double-parking?

    And has it occurred to you that the population most affected by any ‘crackdown’ is not the well-heeled, but the poor, who may be unable to take a day off work to go to court and fight the summons they’re given? How does that square with the encouraging cycling as an economical way to get around?

  • fdr

    I don’t think you need to suggest to Scott Stringer that he think about running for Mayor. He’s definitely thinking about it.

  • Joe R.

    @J. Mork,

    It’s hard to tell what will happen in 3 years. My guess is gas prices will be a lot higher, electric cars still won’t yet be mainstream, subway fares will be higher, so cycling will be all that much more attractive as a transportation option. Another factor is stagnant wages. Car ownership is an expensive proposition. Moreover, in NYC it’s largely optional. As the number of motorists declines you’ll see far less vocal complaining, along with more support for livable streets. Another hope I have is once the media frenzy regarding cyclists dies down ( and it will because eventually people tire of hearing the same old story time and again ), they’ll be looking for more sensationalism. What better way to provide that than by focusing on the hundreds killed each year by motorists? In turn that might actually cause politicians to implement draconian measures against private autos, up to perhaps even banning them altogether from parts of the city. When fewer people own or use cars, it will be all that much easier politically to do something like this.

    What really frightens me though is will this barrage of enforcement erase the numerical gains made in the number of cyclists over the last 5 years? The answer to that depends upon how the NYPD goes about enforcement of course. If they go after the minority of truly dangerous, mostly commercial, cyclists committing obviously dangerous violations, then probably not. If on the other hand you hear stories about tickets at 11 PM for passing a red light at an empty intersection in the outer boroughs, then I think we’re headed for disaster. Like I said when commenting to the other recent article on enforcement, stuff like that will cause me to seriously consider just giving up cycling as much as I love it. It’s just not worth the hassle having to be hyper alert for police and risk a huge ticket every ride. Either that, or be forced to obey laws which essentially remove all the joy and most of the exercise value from cycling, along with much of the speed ( assuming you’re cycling to get from A to B ).

    The only thing I might suggest for everyone riding is to at least be on your best behavoir when police are visible. Maybe if the enforcement campaign drags on a few months but doesn’t net many violators it will be quickly forgotten. The police can then say they did their best but apparently the number of scofflaw cyclists just isn’t as high as the complainers are saying.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “It’s hard to tell what will happen in 3 years.”

    But it’s not hard to estimate that it won’t be good.

    Younger people have to get off Facebook and wake up.

    “You stole our future, bankrupted our transit systems, disinvested in our infrastructure, and sucked up all the oil. At least let us ride our bicycles — so we can go to work, serve you, and pay taxes for you to receive benefits we will never see.”

  • vnm

    What Eric McClure said.

  • @Jonathan,

    “Inconvenience to motorists?” No. Inconvenience to pedestrians? Absolutely.

    What’s counterintuitive about riding with traffic or staying off the sidewalks? I’ve also seen far too many examples of cyclists not taking responsibility for the safety of pedestrians and other cyclists to think that road rules shouldn’t apply to us.

    In places where cycling has a far more substantial mode share than it does in New York, like Copenhagen or Amsterdam, I think you’ll find that there’s much greater adherence to the rules. But if you want to keep cycling on the fringes, keep on salmoning, blowing lights without slowing down, and buzzing peds on the sidewalks.

    And I’ll thank you to remove the quotation marks from ‘advocate’ — I think my efforts can stand without them.

  • J. Mork

    Joe R., I’m sure you underestimate the conservative (small C) forces at play.

    BikesOnly: Scott Stringer could be the light at the end of the tunnel. Cool.

  • Eric

    “What’s counterintuitive about riding with traffic or staying off the sidewalks? I’ve also seen far too many examples of cyclists not taking responsibility for the safety of pedestrians and other cyclists to think that road rules shouldn’t apply to us.

    In places where cycling has a far more substantial mode share than it does in New York, like Copenhagen or Amsterdam, I think you’ll find that there’s much greater adherence to the rules. But if you want to keep cycling on the fringes, keep on salmoning, blowing lights without slowing down, and buzzing peds on the sidewalks.”

    I agree and couldn’t have said it any better.

  • “If you want to keep cycling on the fringes”; I think applauding ticket blitzes on bicyclists is a great way to start.

    Because nothing says “I’m a real New Yorker” more than getting a moving violation! Because people who just wanted to use their bicycle to go from Point A to Point B need to be punished for not obeying the rules. Because you didn’t get enough collective punishment in army basic training.

    Eric, I appreciate your PPW work, but you’re dead wrong here.

  • Eric

    Jonathan, nothing says, “I’m self entitled and the laws don’t apply to me” then statements like yours. People who drive cars just want to get from point A to Point B should they be punished for running red lights, speeding, or killing/injuring pedestrians. Traffic laws apply to all legal vehicles, if you don’t like it change them. But don’t whine when you get a ticket for doing something that endangers car drivers or pedestrians like salmoning or riding on the sidewalk.

  • Jonathan. Are you seriously ‘advocating’ for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk or bike the wrong way down a one-way street? Is it really counter-intuitive to stay off of a sidewalk?

    I’m not sure I understand your logic. Are you really saying that by pissing off–and potentially harming–pedestrians and fellow cyclists that bike riders only inconvenience motorists?

    I think I’m understanding Eric and am in total agreement with him when I say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying that cyclists should obey the law but that the police should direct their enforcement efforts proportionate to the actual threat and harm.

  • Eric, I haven’t whined yet. You are the one who is whining about cyclists going the wrong way and endangering drivers.

    I believe this is a sore spot with you or something. I haven’t called for bicyclists to throw all caution to the winds by riding on sidewalks, down subway stairs at rush hour, or through the Mermaid Parade at top speed. I am saying that it is foolish and counterproductive for cycling advocates to condone punitive tickets on cyclists.

    Let’s encourage people to ride bikes, and trust that they understand the responsibilities.

  • Joe R.

    Before we all overreact let’s wait and see what type of enforcement the police actually do here. I’m guardedly hopeful they’ll focus only on the worst offenders in the areas with the largest numbers of pedestrians. Fact is most of the police force regards something like giving cyclists tickets as sh*t duty. That’s not what they became police to do. Given this reality, they’ll be looking for any reason to tell the politicians pressuring them to ticket cyclists that “Hey look, we tried, but this is wasting resources better used elsewhere”. So for the time being, is it really so hard to just follow the rules religiously, at least when the police are around? And if you do get a ticket because you didn’t see the police, then maybe you’re not doing a good enough job looking for cross traffic when you pass those red lights. I can count the number of times on one hand where I actually saw a police car sitting near a red light I may have otherwise passed. I stopped and waited out the light just in case. No big deal. A handful of times in a year I had to do this. Don’t give the police a reason to ticket you for anything. When the city sees this as the waste of time it is from a public safety and revenue perspective, they’ll move on.

  • Eric

    “I am saying that it is foolish and counterproductive for cycling advocates to condone punitive tickets on cyclists.”

    But it’s not foolish and counterproductive to advocate for cyclists to endanger pedestrians, cyclists, and car drivers by salmoning or riding on the sidewalks. It’s precisely that kind of behavior that is touted when we want bicycle lanes or action taken against drivers who injury or kill cyclists.

    I’m not a cycling advocate, I’m just a cyclist. Maybe if you would try to stop lableing everyone who disagrees with you, you might actually learn something.

  • Joe R., I believe that you’re right. The police habit of sitting in RMPs makes them pretty easy to spot.

    Don’t forget also that police don’t like giving out tickets in front of children (because you’ll badmouth the cops later to the impressionable young’un, after you got the ticket). Beat the ticket blitz; ride with a child!

  • Eric, my big beef is with Transportation Alternatives, which I supported quite lavishly last year, and which seems to be going along passively with the crackdown.

    I ride too, you know, and I walk around, and the salmon and riding-on-sidewalk bothers the polyps out of me, but when I take off my cycling helmet and put on my cycling-advocate hat, and try to think of ways to encourage people to ride, crackdowns seem like a bad idea.

  • Eric

    “Before we all overreact let’s wait and see what type of enforcement the police actually do here.”

    Normally I don’t agree with Joe R. But lets face it, “So for the time being, is it really so hard to just follow the rules religiously, at least when the police are around? “

  • Eric

    Encouraging people to ride is fine and at the same time you need to encourage them to ride so they don’t endanger themselves or others.

    Clearly there has been enough complaints about cyclists who endanger others by riding on sidewalks, salmoning, and running red lights that the police can no longer ignore it. If a small percentage of cyclists don’t listen to advice from cycling advocacy programs and other cyclists then getting tickets is the next step.

  • J:Lai

    You can’t have it both ways.

    For biking to gain any siginficant share as a transportation mode, it requires continued investment in, and expansion of, infrastructure. That comes hand-in-hand with increase enforcement of the laws regulating riding a bike in the streets.

    It is contradictory to argue that bikers should only selectively have to obey the law, but at the same time demand for bike lanes, bike parking, and other bike infrastructure.

    Some of the laws themselves may not be optimal, and probably should be changed, but that is a legislative issue, not an enforcement issue. Changing the laws is a long-term goal; for the time being we must accept the laws as they are and either accept the consequence, or else give up the hope of increased infrastructure.

    I fail to see how a biker justifying running a red, etc, is any different from a driver doing so from a legal or moral perspective. To claim otherwise is hypocrisy.

    “Crackdowns” and “ticket blitzes” are not unique to bikers. The NYPD has performed such actions in the past targeted at drivers who don’t use seatbelts, or who text/call while driving, among other things. Many drivers also feel unfairly targeted by police for doing things that are illegal but safe (e.g. right on red after stop when there is no cross traffic).

    If you want biking to be taken seriously as transportation by the majority of people in the city, you have to be willing to accept the downside as well, which is enforced compliance with the laws. This means dealing with the inconvenience of reduced speed, potential fines, and investment in maintaining a vehicle to comply with safety regulations (lights, etc.) Only if biking has expanded to measurable share of transportation modes will it become politically and economically feasible to re-write laws and change policies to accomodate it.

    Personally, I prefer “fringe biking” where I get little or no infrastructure, but am left alone to do whatever I want. However, I acknowledge that making biking more mainstream brings benefits that outweigh the marginal inconvenience for myself and a minority of others.

  • J:Lai

    Regarding the Cuomo administration, I think the governor and state legislature will find a way to get some form of congestion pricing implemented. The potential revenue stream is just too big to pass up. I’m sure they will figure out a way to divert at least some of the revenue away from NYC.

  • Marty Barfowitz

    Fact is most of the police force regards something like giving cyclists tickets as sh*t duty. That’s not what they became police to do… So for the time being, is it really so hard to just follow the rules religiously, at least when the police are around?

    Yes and no.

    Yes, the cops hate doing this kid of duty.

    As a result, here’s how it works: The cops set up stings and dragnets at locations with lots of bike traffic. They’ll sit at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, for example, and hand out as many summonses as quickly as they can to get the job over with. No bell? No light? Not walking your bike across the intersection? Biking 30 mph (even though it’s impossible)? Cyclists will get summonses for all of those things during this sting. Once an adequate number of summonses have been handed out for the cops to say: “Look, we did bike enforcement,” the job will be done. Yet, nothing will have actually been done to make our streets safer or teach bad cyclists a real lesson.

    So, no, Joe R., following the rules of the road religiously will not make much of a difference for cyclists. There’s as good a chance as not that you’ll still get a summons if you’re following the rules. The Streetsblog inbox will be full of such stories.

  • In the event you spot a sting or “ticket trap” such as the Barfster describes above, take a page from the motorists’ playbook–send out a warning. But since cyclists can’t flash their lights to signal each other the way motorists do, use the #bikenyc hashtag to tweet a warning. And, of course, a picture is worth a hell of a lot more than 140 characters!

  • For biking to gain any significant share as a transportation mode, it requires continued investment in, and expansion of, infrastructure. That comes hand-in-hand with increase enforcement of the laws regulating riding a bike in the streets.

    If you say so. Has the Times Square pedestrian plaza occasioned any regulation of pedestrians beyond this effort?

    If you want biking to be taken seriously as transportation by the majority of people in the city, you have to be willing to accept the downside as well, which is enforced compliance with the laws. This means dealing with the inconvenience of reduced speed, potential fines, and investment in maintaining a vehicle to comply with safety regulations (lights, etc.) Only if biking has expanded to measurable share of transportation modes will it become politically and economically feasible to re-write laws and change policies to accomodate it.

    You can’t have it both ways: encouraging people to bicycle with the caveat that they slow down, risk arbitrary summonses, and pay for extra safety gear is not very encouraging.

  • Eric

    It seems that you are the only one allowed to have things both ways.
    “Don’t you think that the benefits to society at large of encouraging bicycling more than make up for the inconvenience to motorists of cyclists running red lights or going the wrong way? Don’t you think that adult cyclists can take responsibility for their own safety and choose whether to ride on the sidewalk or against traffic depending on circumstances? “

    or

    ” I ride too, you know, and I walk around, and the salmon and riding-on-sidewalk bothers the polyps out of me,”

    Which is it? Cyclists should do as they please or they do something that bothers you, please pick one. As to the cost of extra safety gear ask yourself, is your physical well being worth the $20 you pay for a front and rear light or is getting hit by a car at night more cost effective?

  • Eric, salmoning and sidewalk riding bug me, but not enough to sic the cops on the people who do it.

    As for lights, my answer to your question is yes, but I recognize that other people who are adults and full participants in society might answer differently.

    Hope that clears up that both-ways thinking. How about you? Are you ready to endorse the concept of people riding bikes wholeheartedly, and internalizing your doubts about their safety? Or would you rather have the police decide who is riding correctly, and penalizing those who aren’t?

  • Eric

    Internalizing my doubts? In other words since I don’t agree with you I shouldn’t say anything. Running red lights, riding on sidewalks and salmoning is against the law. If you don’t like it change the law, the police are enforcing the law and you are free to challenge any ticket in court. These laws are pretty clear cut and running a red light, riding against traffic or on sidewalks is not a gray area. It’s pretty cut and dry.

    Are you ready to internalize your doubts that cyclists who ride on the sidewalk, against traffic, and on sidewalks are not placing other peoples safety at risk? I guess not.

  • Eric, you can say whatever you want, but I don’t think it’ll be very effective at getting people on bikes.

  • Eric

    This is about making sure that cyclists don’t endanger the lives of pedestrians, motorists, and other cyclists by running red lights, riding on sidewalks, and against traffic.

    Getting more people to ride bikes is a completely different conversation. This one is about traffic code enforcement.

  • Joe R.

    “So, no, Joe R., following the rules of the road religiously will not make much of a difference for cyclists. There’s as good a chance as not that you’ll still get a summons if you’re following the rules. The Streetsblog inbox will be full of such stories.”

    You’re probably right here Marty but the good news for me is the stings will likely focus on areas with high bicycle traffic as you said. I *never* ride during the day ( except sometimes on weekends ), and certainly never in congested areas during peak times. Somehow I doubt we’ll see a bike dragnet in Eastern Queens on, say, the LIE service road or Union Turnpike or Jamaica Avenue/Jericho Turnpike at 10 or 11 PM, to name a few roads/times when I typically ride. Even during the day, these roads aren’t all that popular with cyclists because a) they lack bike lanes b) they’re full of fast-moving vehicular traffic. You probably won’t even see dragnets on the local roads here which do have bike lanes ( 73rd Avenue, Jewel Avenue, 164th Street ) given that those lanes really aren’t heavily used.

  • Joe R.

    While we’re talking about getting cyclists to behave better ( and in my mind that means riding predictably more than anything else ), let’s consider that fines are the single worst way to go about it. For starters, they create the perception that the city is doing this just to enhance revenue. Second, getting a fine isn’t going to magically teach you about proper bike control, keeping a cushion around you, looking out for other road users, etc. The poor behavoir I sometimes see shows one thing only-simple lack of proper training. Right now the way things are some cyclists learn to ride well on their own, eventually, while many others remain clueless. That’s why I would rather see something like a 3 hour safety class instead of fines. And yes, not just for first offenders, but even for repeat offenders. Having to sit through a 3 hour class is just as much of an inconvenience as going to traffic court, hence the punitive aspect. And I’ve found some people just need the same thing drummed into their head repeatedly before it finally sinks in. Going to the class multiple times will accomplish that.

    And long term, I tend to agree with Jonathan. We need to encourage cycling for a host of reasons. We need to change both the infrastructure and law to accomodate that goal. As much as I love cycling recreationally, I would not consider it serious transportation at this point, even less so now with laws/infrastructure which can make cycling even slower than walking. Wait until the media frenzy dies down, then rationally suggest reasons why laws should be changed, and better yet why we need grade-separated infrastructure. The latter especially would cause a boom in cycling like nothing else.

  • Somehow I don’t think that the prevalence of cyclists who don’t stop at lights, ride the wrong way and take to the sidewalk is going to encourage more people to take up cycling. Nor will turning a blind eye to it. I can’t imagine that this is how Copenhagen got to a 35% bike mode-share. Maybe we’d encourage more people to take to bicycles in NYC if it seemed a bit more orderly. We’re building the infrastructure, and maybe we need to evolve the mindset.

  • Joe R.

    @Eric McClure,

    The problem right now is that aggressively enforcing some of the laws might well discourage those who are already cycling. I’m sure nearly nobody actually began cycling solely because traffic laws against cyclists largely weren’t enforced. Nevertheless, once they started riding, this fact let them ride much more efficiently and safely. Say what you will, fact is often following the letter of the law places a cyclist in MORE danger than taking liberties. It’s far safer, for example, to be on the other side of the street, far away from that pack of accelerating cars all jockeying for position, when the light goes green. And a sidewalk may well be preferable to riding in the door zone, going around double-parked cars every block. I really can’t think of any good rationalization however for wrong-way riding, nor can I see how enforcing laws against that would have any downside, so you win on that one.

    The problem here is the timing of this enforcement. Only a small fraction of a real bicycle network exists. On most streets, a cyclist must still largely fend for themselves. This means sometimes dangerous, almost always grossly suboptimal operation if you follow the letter of the law. But yes, it’s largely an infrastucture issue. If a cyclist could complete most of their journey on separate infrastructure free of traffic lights, stop signs, motor vehicles and pedestrians, then it makes sense to expect them to obey the letter of the law for the short time they mix in with everyone else. This is why Copenhagen or other European cities are more orderly. People there obey signals because it’s relatively rare to actually get stuck at one. Moreover, if you do, usually in less than 30 seconds it changes. In short, it’s not a undue burden in terms of either time or energy. Here in NYC you can easily hit reds every two or three blocks. Moreover, some signals here do a gazillion things with turn arrows, etc. before changing. Waiting 1 to 5 minutes for them to change is an eternity to a cyclist in inclement weather especially. Even where the city added bike lanes on certain roads, it showed little inclination to do a thing about the traffic signals. We’re all advocating for liveable streets here. Remove the traffic signals, which are basically high-speed instrument flight control for cars, then cars will be forced to slow down to 20 mph or risk accidents on every corner. Peds/bikes will be an order of magnitude safer with 20 mph motor traffic in lieu of 40-50 mph.

    The city is sending a mixed message now. Basically, it’s get on your bike, but obey laws which sometimes put you in danger, more often than not slow you down to average walking speeds. So tell me, what’s the point of being on a bike if walking might be nearly as fast and likely somewhat safer to boot? I really can’t think of one. This enforcement campaign really should have begun maybe 20 years from now, when much of the bicycle network will be complete. In the meantime, increased cyclist education plus training on bike handling would be a great thing. Enforcement really only makes sense for the dumbest, most aggressive type of riding.

  • “Somehow I don’t think that the prevalence of cyclists who don’t stop at lights, ride the wrong way and take to the sidewalk is going to encourage more people to take up cycling”

    Eric, the issue is this particular effort to curb lawbreaking, whether it will curb unsafe behaviors (logically distinct from illegal behaviors) and whether it will have a positive or negative effect the growth rate of cycling. People opposed to the crackdown are not on the hook to solve the problem of bad cyclists any more than people opposed to the effort to the anti-vaccine movement are on the hook to cure autism.

  • Eric McClure

    @Nathan,

    Many of the lawbreaking behaviors are unsafe behaviors, and vice-versa. Look, we can all agree to disagree on this, but I don’t think doing something to punish lawbreaking is going to crimp cycling’s popularity a whole lot. And if fewer peds get buzzed in crosswalks, it’ll put a crimp in CBS2’s arsenal. Of course, if the NYPD writes a lot of tickets for failure to signal and tailgating and for not walking one’s bike onto the bridge, then yeah, this will all be a big exercise in dopiness.

  • “Many of the lawbreaking behaviors are unsafe behaviors, and vice-versa”

    Well sure, so are many legal behaviors, especially for motor vehicles. Is this something that has to be pointed out on Streetsblog now? Half the arguments above pretend (without even arguing the point) that safety and strict adherence to traffic law are equal and interchangeable.

    Given my personal experience with NYPD cycling enforcement, I see no reason to assume or even hope that the police will do anything but write out easy tickets for the most harmless violations. There is no incentive for them to do otherwise. It will certainly deter cycling in general, which is precisely the point. What have we been talking about for the past few months? Made for TV anti-cycling protests, anti-cycling editorials placed in city papers, and a day of anti-cycling theater in the city council. It is not that mysterious. Powerful people are pulling the media and political strings available to them. If you think that validating their arguments and giving them much of what they want is going to make them be reasonable and fair in future dealings, perhaps there is room for you in the Obama administration.

    The only good thing about this is the timing; with these crappy conditions most people are not riding at all. (I am, carefully.) By spring the police will have moved on and the people most at risk for being intimidated out of cycling will not be caught in their summons-mill. Winter is the natural time for the anti-cyclists to attack on all fronts, but it’s also the time that they can do the least amount of actual damage. I guess it feels good for them to read these hate-validating stories in the papers and watch the talking+driving heads on the boob tube, but that noise is all that will come of it if cycling is half as resilient as I believe it to be. See I can be optimistic too, just not about an unbalanced police action.

  • Joe R.

    “The only good thing about this is the timing; with these crappy conditions most people are not riding at all.”

    Yep. I haven’t ridden since December 21. The few days before that December 26 blizzard were way too cold and windy to ride. And since the blizzard there is still enough snow next to parked cars to force me into the traffic lane way more than I feel comfortable with. I may not be riding for quite a while.

  • @Eric McClure (#39) When the Department of Health surveyed Brooklyn cyclists last summer the two most popular answers for “type of change that would most encourage you to bike more in NYC” were “Fewer vehicles driving or stopping in bike lanes,” and “more bike lanes on streets,” not “more orderly bicyclists.”

  • Eric

    Once again what the police are doing is to reduce the risk of dangerous cyclists to pedestrians and cars. This is about safety for the general public, not about encouraging or discouraging people to cycle.

  • Chris

    @Eric

    “risk of dangerous cyclists to pedestrians or cars”?

    I assure you that any dangerous cyclist is no match for a 4000 pound car.

  • Eric

    Really Chris, you mean the pedestrian that was killed in NYC by a cyclist was just a bad dream. Of course that doesn’t include all of the unreported cyclist hit and runs involving pedestrians.

    Clearly there have been enough complaints about cyclists who can’t obey a few simple traffic laws that NYPD has no choice but to take action. If you can’t handle a few basic traffic laws maybe you should stick to driving a car.

  • J. Mork

    “The only good thing about this is the timing; with these crappy conditions most people are not riding at all.”

    There were tons of cyclists out today, in what was reported as 10 degree windchills.

    Crossing Tillary this morning, there were 5 of us waiting for the light so I said, “Don’t you people know it’s too cold to bike?”