Today’s Headlines

  • Snow Hampers Train Service; City Tells Drivers Not to Leave Cars in Traffic Lanes (NYT)
  • Walder Urges New Yorkers to Stay Home, Avoid Transit (City Room)
  • Tri-State Lays Out the 2011 Legislative Agenda for Albany (MTR)
  • Mayor Koch and New York Times Begrudge Taxi Drivers Their Afternoon Shift Change
  • Upper Manhattan Precinct Joins Cycling Crackdown (Manhattan Times)
  • Doctor Drives BMW Onto Sidewalk and Injures Two at Bus Stop; No Summons Issued (Post)
  • Courier-Life Blasts Church Ave. Delivery Plan for Favoring Deliveries Over Parkers
  • Tweaks Still Needed on East Side SBS, But Faster Speeds a Sure Thing (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • NJ Dems Want Highway Toll Hikes Repealed If ARC Won’t Be Built (CBS)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • J. Mork

    I did not ride, but my co-worker reports that PPW is cleared again already.

  • m to the i

    Apparently, biking on the sidewalk will get you a $250 ticket but driving on the sidewalk…eh, no biggie.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “My co-worker reports that PPW is cleared again already.”

    Cue the outrage.

    Looking forward to peaceful rides Thursday and Friday.

  • @m to the i,

    Driving on the sidewalk is only worthy of a summons if you don’t run over a few people while you’re at it.

  • Peter

    MOne question on the Manhattan Times article – I was under the impression that bicyclists are under no obligation to ride in a bike lane if it’s present? The article suggests that’s against the law.

  • @ Peter,

    “RCNY § 4-12 (p) Bicyclists should ride in usable bike lanes, unless they are blocked or unsafe for any reason.”

  • I’ve always thought it would be a good experiment to drive up on a city sidewalk (for some pretended reason) in view of a cop to see what happens. If I didn’t mind parting with the money for a summons (which I probably wouldn’t even get, it seems), I would find some cops and get someone to their response while I hopped my car up onto a Manhattan sidewalk–nice and slowly, of course, just to park for a moment while I picked up my drycleaning or something–and then tried to leave. Truly, *anything* short of a summons, even an admonishment, would be a very bad failure. If one day I have some money to burn or get pissed enough, maybe I’ll try it. Would be thrilled to see the results if anyone else wants to.

  • Sorry, that’s “get someone to _film_ their response”

  • Come to Queens, Dave, and you can see people do it all the time – with hardly ever a ticket. Car dealers, up and down Northern Boulevard, are some of the worst, but taxi stations and car washes are pretty bad too.

  • It would be a good youtube project to film it a bunch of times. Any collaborators?

  • kevd

    That courier-life article doesn’t “blast” anything.
    It is mostly accurate description of the changes, then 2 quotes from each side. It even closes by noting that CB14 and the Church ave. BID back the changes.

  • Chris

    Summons or Confiscation? I’d be pretty pissed if this petty enforcement operation actually starts confiscating bicycles.

  • J:Lai

    ddartley,
    There are lots of places in Brooklyn and Queens (and I’m sure in other boroughs as well) where people routinely park their cars on the sidewalk. And not just for a minute while they run an errand, but long term, as if the sidewalk were just another parking spot.

    In fact, some of the worst offenders are the police, who often park both patrol RMPs and their personal cars on the sidewalks anywhere within a block or 2 of a precinct house.

    Now some of these locations are industrial areas with very low foot traffic, and I actually do not have that much of an issue with such “commonsense” (lack of) enforcement if it is applied uniformly to bikes as well (eg no tickets for riding on sidewalk in these areas.)

    However, some are actually places with a decent amount of pedestrians where parking cars on the sidewalk is both an inconvenience and a safety hazard for pedestrians. These are the areas where it tends to be the police themselves parking on the sidewalk.

  • Sidewalk Parker

    Sidewalk parking is everywhere. On Manhattan’s UWS, CB 7 has complained for years about firefighter’s cars and Avis Rental cars parked on the 77th st sidewalk between Amst and Broadway. The Uncivil Servants campaign has run out of steam. The cops and firemen rule the city and can do WTF they want. The inability to bring the cops under civilian control is one of Bloomberg’s greatest failures.

  • Sort of remember Australia not signing the Kyoto Protocol.

    And of course, the American public is not all that interested in climate change including cyclists.

    Deadly flash flood hits Australia after six inches of rain fell in just 30 minutes

    http://climateprogress.org/2011/01/12/deadly-flash-flood-hits-australia-rain/

  • I’m aware that NYPD and FDNY and other city/state employees park on the sidewalk all the time. I see it myself every day. That towering inequity is not what I’m after. But all the comments do help me focus the idea: it would be a more dramatic statement if it took place in the CBD during the work day, and again, the idea is to see if cops do anything; not just to film the driving itself!

  • Free Public Transit
    The beginning of the end of autosprawl.

    Climate crisis hits Australia hard

    http://frepubtra.blogspot.com/2011/01/climate-crises-hits-australia-hard.html?spref=tw

  • sanity

    Wow. I was definitely NOT aware that now I’m required by law to use a bike lane if its there. I’m liking them less and less each day.

    It has been my understanding that bicycles are supposed to be afforded a lane of traffic like other vehicles. Does anyone know if this is actually codified in NYS/NYC law?

    If I am going to be expected to adhere to all traffic laws, such as stopping at red lights, then shouldn’t I not have to be relegated to a second-tier status in a bike lane? I should get to ride in a full lane of traffic, and every vehicle behind me should have to wait while I get started at every fresh green light.

  • sanity: You do not have to use a bike lane. The law says you “should” if one is provided, but only if you, the rider, deem it safe. So, if it’s icy, there’s a pothole, or you want to steer clear of peds, cars in the bike lane, and the door zone, you can ride wherever you want, so long as it’s with traffic. Since so many bike lanes are painted within feet of where people can open their car doors, it’s reasonable to claim safety at any point of your ride.

    Here’s the exact wording:

    RCNY § 4-12 (p) Bicyclists should ride in usable bike lanes, unless they are blocked or unsafe for any reason.

    You have every right to take the full lane.

    So much confusion out there…might be a good idea for someone to make a small card that cyclists can carry around with the most commonly misunderstood laws for which people are receiving tickets.

  • BicyclesOnly

    Doug G.,

    You’re citing a paraphrase rather than the actual text of the law, which I’ve pasted in below. Note that the law uses the mandatory language “shall,” not “should.”. While the exceptions are broad, as you say, the requirement to use the path absent an exception is real. The ability to invoke the right to depart from the bike lane or path hinges on whether it is “reasonably necessary” to do so to avoid unsafe conditions. The threat of dooring in a class 2 ike lane for a cyclist traveling relatively quickly might be enough to satisfy this standard. The risk that a pedestrian might step into a protected bike path might not be enough.

    —34 RCNY § 4-12(p) Bicycles.
    (1) Bicycle riders to use bicycle lanes. Whenever a usable path or lane for bicycles has been provided, bicycle riders shall use such path or lane only except under any of the following situations:
    (i) When preparing for a turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
    (ii) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, pushcarts, animals, surface hazards) that make it unsafe to continue within such bicycle path or lane.

  • Joe R.

    To add to Doug G.’s post, the language in the law gives a very broad range of reasons why a cyclist might consider a bike path unusable regardless of the use of “shall” instead of “should”. The language “including but not limited to” allows THE CYCLIST to determine what is reasonable, not a police or a judge. The reason can be any reason at all, including if you deem riding in a protected bike lane unsafe because you’re traveling at 28 mph instead of 12 mph ( and you’re legally allowed to travel at any speed up to 30 mph ( actually defacto 37 mph allowing the standard 10% plus 4 mph error ), road conditions allowing of course. You’re certainly allowed to leave a bike path for any blockage. This being NYC, many door-zone bike paths have pavement conditions which render them totally unusable. The Jewel Avenue path between Main Street and Kissena Blvd on BOTH sides is a great example of this. It’s none too great between between Kissena Blvd and 164th Street, either.

    The threat of dooring is real in many bike lanes here regardless of speed of travel. In theory a stopped cyclist can be pushed into traffic and killed by an opening door. My own tendency is to hug the far left line in most door zone bike lanes. This generally allows me ample opportunity to swing into the traffic lane should I encounter a probable situation where a motorist may open their door ( generally when I see parked cars with lights on, or with someone approaching them ). The exception is when my speed exceeds about 22 mph. Above that I don’t feel I have ample time to avoid a door, so I swing into the right of the traffic lane, keeping hyper alert for overtaking motor traffic which might require me to go back into the bike lane to let pass.

    Regarding cars and sidewalks, as far as I know strangely enough there’s no explicit language prohibiting operation of motor vehicles on sidewalks even though bicycles are prohibited. Yes, it seems to be legal to drive your car on the sidewalk! The regulations against parking on sidewalks are seldom enforced, mostly because police are the biggest offenders.

  • Kaja

    > Regarding cars and sidewalks, as far as I know strangely enough there’s no explicit language prohibiting operation of motor vehicles on sidewalks even though bicycles are prohibited. Yes, it seems to be legal to drive your car on the sidewalk!

    http://ypdcrime.com/vt/article33.htm

    Section 1225-a, driving on sidewalks is illegal.