New Cyclist on NYPD Blitz: “It Makes Me Think Twice” About Using Citi Bike

Officers from the 14th Precinct ticket cyclists this morning on Broadway at 30th Street. Photo: ##

NYPD’s approach to traffic enforcementall but ignore speeding, and launch ticket blitzes against cyclists for minor offenses — is an ineffective policing method if you’re looking to protect New Yorkers from things that are actually injuring and killing them on the street. Logic aside, the NYPD bike ticket blitz continued under this morning’s dry, sunny skies.

Officers were spotted in at least two Midtown locations during rush hour, ticketing cyclists on bike routes for disobeying red lights. As Brooklyn Spoke points out, this type of behavior — proceeding against a signal when the intersection is clear — is the equivalent of “jaywalking,” and isn’t a prevalent cause of death or injury on the streets. But it’s become a priority for NYPD.

Officers from the 10th Precinct were on the West Side Greenway this morning, issuing red light tickets to cyclists at 39th Street, and officers from the 14th Precinct were issuing tickets in the protected bike lane on Broadway at 30th Street.

Sam Shankman, a reporter for travel website Skift, was riding Citi Bike from the West Village to the Flatiron District when, with a green light, she turned from 30th Street to Broadway on her way to the bike-share station on that block. An officer gave her a ticket for running a red.

“The policeman,” she said, “saw me coming down Broadway, and assumed I had run that red light.”

Shankman, who began biking in New York when she joined Citi Bike in May, had just started using the bike-share program again after a hiatus due to July’s high temperatures. “I was doing as much as I could to follow the rules and be safe,” she said. “I was just kind of shocked because I feel like I’ve been doing a pretty good job of learning the rules and trying to follow them.”

Shankman says she will go to court to contest the ticket, but now has a different view of the risks involved with biking in the city. “I will continue to do Citi Bike because I enjoy it,” she said, but she now is wary of getting ticketed for riding a bike. “It makes me think twice about it,” Shankman said. “Who wants to have anxiety if you’re just riding to work?”

Shankman said the officer who ticketed her said that “the bikes are out of control” and are creating unsafe conditions for pedestrians. The last time a cyclist killed a pedestrian in New York was 2009, when a wrong-way delivery cyclist struck Stuart Gruskin in Midtown. From 2009 to 2012, 668 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed on city streets, and driver speeding ranked last year as the leading cause of fatal crashes. In 2012, the 14th Precinct, which handed out bike tickets this morning, did not issue a single summons for speeding.

Did you get a ticket? See any other bike ticket operations on NYC streets and greenways this morning? Let us know in the comments.

  • Anonymous

    Chances are the cop won’t show up. That’s what happened to me when I got an ‘obstructing traffic disorderly conduct’ for riding my bicycle in queens for no reason but harassament. It was dismissed.

  • Anthony Townsend

    i got a ticket after stopping and pulling through a red light in the W Village about a month ago. the power-tripping cop was clearly getting his jollies “teaching me a lesson”. i pointed ahead and asked if he was going to also ticket the delivery van parked in the bike lane on the next block, and i swear for a second i think he considered just arresting me.

  • Anonymous

    I tried that same gambit in the East Village, asking about the three vehicles that were standing in clear view in the bike lane north of where I got stopped. Cop’s response: “We’re trying to pay attention to those.” Is there a way to break out how many tickets have actually been issued to these illegally parked cars and trucks, which are, in fact, creating genuinely dangerous conditions by forcing bikes into traffic?

  • Anonymous

    Pedestrian entered street mid-block, cyclist struck him riding counterflow, sending him head first against the curb.

  • Anonymous

    Other countries with a mature cycling culture and robust cycling modal share have special exceptions to traffic rules that make cycling on a grid shared by motor vehicles more convenient. My feeling is that we aren’t at a place in NYC yet where it makes sense to put our political energies there. We need to keep building the bike modal share, expanding the bike infrastructure, emphasizing peer-to-peer education, and developing cyclists’ political organization, stature and alliances. Then maybe we can talk about special rules that let cyclists go through certain reds. Which is not to say that the widespread arbitrary conduct by police against cyclists doesn’t need to be called out and opposed strenuously wherever it appears.

  • Ted L

    The NYPD is beginning to become a power mad joke under the Mike and Ray comedy team. It’s about time to clean up the NYPD and chage their name to New York’s Worst.

  • Anonymous

    I suggest we start by looking at the size of the ticket given to bicycles relative to actual motor vehicles. $190 for doing an ‘Idaho Stop’ at an empty intersection is simply out of whack.

  • Scott Sanderson

    I don’t disagree with the traffic enforcement. Just wish they would apply it to cars parked in the bike lanes too because that is at least, if not more, dangerous than a bike running a red light.

  • anon

    Ticketing cyclists on the Greenway yesterday for going through a red light that does not control any traffic. Very nice encouragement to ride a bike. In 5 years of fairly constant use of the Greenway, I have never seen a motor vehicle get ticketed for, say, blocking the entire Greenway while waiting to enter the West Side Highway, driving through a red to cross the Greenway, driving on the Greenway, failing to yield to cyclists and pedestrians at designated crossings, failing to stop at the Stop signs at Chelsea Piers or Pier 90/91 entrance. I have noticed more cyclists obeying traffic control signals since Citi Bike launched. It would be nice to say the same about cars and trucks. I really don’t get it.

  • Albert

    Moreover, exactly these types of motorist behavior has actually been the direct cause of the death of at least one person (a cyclist) on the greenway. Not something that can be said for any of these “infractions” that cyclist are being ticketed for. A comparison that should be made at precinct community council meetings.

  • jdt85

    The police station at 118th and St. Nicholas Avenue also tickets cyclists heading to Central Park. I got multiple tickets for crossing empty intersections at 6:30AM totaling $600 in fines.

  • Anonymous

    So if the pedestrian crossed the street mid-block how was this the cyclist’s fault??

  • Ian Turner

    Cyclist was going the wrong way.

    Also cyclists have an obligation to exercise due care to avoid hitting pedestrians.

  • George

    I am by no means a “cyclist”. Picked up a Citi Bike yesterday at 17th and 8th to give it a try. I bike up 8th and 1/2 a block into the ride, I see two police officers sitting on their motorcycles parked right by the bike path. I get up to the red light at 18th and 8th and come to a complete stop, along with 3 others on bikes. All of us look in both directions for about 3-5 seconds, realize there are no cars at all and decide to continue riding. About half a block up, both cops pull up next to us, ask us to pull to the side, get off of our bikes and put them down. We were all written up for tickets for running red lights. Other cyclists and people on the sidewalk were shaking their heads, laughing (in disgust) at what was going on. Everyone was in total disbelief. I told the officer it was my first time riding a Citi Bike, that I haven’t owned a bike since I was a child, and that I honestly had no idea I was breaking a law. That I certainly wouldn’t have done it about 10 feet away from 2 police officers on motorcycles. The fine is $190 for a first offiense. I’m pretty furious about the whole thing. I totally get it if I was dangerously weaving through heavy traffic or a busy pedestrian crosswalk. A $10 day pass for a Citi Bike will end up costing me $200. I’m very disappointed by the whole thing and don’t know if I’ll ever get on another Citi Bike again. Any recommendations on what I should do are much appreciated. Best to just pay it off and move on with my life or try to contest it to *at least* lower the exorbitant fine.

  • KeNYC2030

    As I said, the cyclist was going the wrong way down the street.

  • I don’t have the link any more, but there was a study done on the effect of red lights on average speeds at typical NYC signal timing, and without running reds cycling average speed was the same as pedestrian.

  • Guest

    Almost every comment here concedes violation of NY law (please don’t tell me about Idaho, thank you.) Do we cyclists want the city to protect us when harassed or threatened by motorists who break the law? Does it piss us off when motorists rationalize their behavior that ruins our quality of life? Then why are we rationalizing behavior that is in violation of the law, no matter how justified it may seem? Sure, there are worse things than cyclists running red lights. Sure, stopping at reds and snaking around the stopped cars takes away a lot of our speed. But is it really so onerous?

  • Dan

    I totally agree. I also love the complaints about the NYPD not enforcing car rules. I just looked up Midtown South’s stats – they had over 10000 moving violations so far this year. The tickets to bicyclists don’t have to be at the “dangerous” intersections, because the point is not to punish bad behavior but deter future dangerous behavior.

    When I bike in Manhattan I do get annoyed at having to stop at a red light every few blocks. But that is also true when I’m driving in Manhattan, when I usually catch just as many red lights. If the intersection is completely dead, why can’t I creep my car forward, at pedestrian speed, and cross the intersection? I promise I won’t do it at a busy intersection.

    I don’t think the posters here realize the distracting impact of bicyclists not following the rules on drivers and pedestrians. If we want the full respect of drivers and equal rights on the streets, we need to agree to follow the common rules that have been agreed upon.

  • Joe R.

    Based on the few times I actually tried stopping and waiting at every light, that sounds about right. It’s true not just for Manhattan, but for some streets here in Eastern Queens. If you’re going to average walking speed, you might as well just walk. That saves the hassle of chaining your bike up somewhere, hoping it’ll still be there when you’re ready for the return trip.

  • Joe R.

    It’s not just about the reduction in average speed (although that’s very significant). You stop at lights, you’re breathing in fumes from idling cars. When the light changes, the cars all jockey around like morons. You have two choices to deal with this-jack rabbit up to 20 mph, if you’re physically able, or hang back until the intersection clears, and get stuck at even more red lights as a result. Neither choice is that great. A half dozen jack rabbit starts and I’m done for the day. Hang back and you’ll probably be stopping for lights every block. I’ll ask a question-if you’re going to average pedestrian speed on a bike, is there really even a point to being on a bike? The sole purpose of a bicycle is to increase the range and speed a person can travel under their own power. Stopping frequently defeats both purposes. You use more energy starting and stopping than you do riding at a breakneck pace. That drastically decreases your range. I already discussed the effect on average speeds.

    If we want to make cycling a useful form of transport then we need to realize it’s only useful if we keep the stopping to a bare minimum (i.e. one stop every mile at most, preferably every 3 miles or more). We can do that with a combination of law changes and infrastructure changes. What we shouldn’t be doing is exactly what we are doing-building bike lanes which on the one hand say we want you to ride, then on the other hand having draconian enforcement of a set of laws which results in cycling being no faster or more efficient than walking.

    And your basic premise-that somehow the NYPD will magically enforce the laws which protect cyclists as part of the contract of enforcing laws against us, is flawed. They haven’t done it yet with pedestrians, who are a much larger group. At least they have the common sense to not enforce the laws against pedestrians. Cyclists have the worst of both worlds-draconian enforcement of laws against us, but total disregard of laws which protect us, even by the police. The NYPD are among the most blatant bike lane violators. Frankly, even though I might like to see more enforcement of the laws which protect us, I’m fine with the current levels of near zero enforcement, provided the NYPD just leave us alone, like they used to before the Guiliani administration.

  • Joe R.

    When traffic is free-flowing, it’s possible to drive on the Manhattan Avenues at something like 25 to 30 mph and rarely hit a red light. I’ll concede that traffic congestion often prevents free flow, and you get stuck at a lot more lights, but that has nothing to do with the light timing being suboptimal for cars. It’s just a byproduct of congestion which increases trip times, period. In the absence of congestion, it’s possible to travel by car along the Avenues at an average speed which is a good percentage of the 30 mph speed limit.

    On the other hand, the bike lanes are always free flowing, or at least I’ve never seen enough bicycles in them to result in less than free flow (although I’m sure that’s theoretically possible). Even though bike traffic is free flowing, signal timing is so suboptimal you’re literally stopping even few blocks. Your average speed doesn’t even end up close to your cruising speed. In fact, you probably end up going no faster than pedestrians, no faster than cars caught in congestion, perhaps even slower. Or put another way, the infrastructure and laws reduce the utility of biking over walking to zero. That’s the problem. There should be no more rules than are absolutely needed for safety, and there’s no safety reason for cyclists to completely stop and wait the full cycle of every red light.

    Why can’t you creep your car forward at dead intersections as many here are advocating for cyclists? Simple-you’re in a metal box with poor visibility plus deadened sensory input, combined with blind spots and a hood which juts out 5 or 6 feet. Many intersections just don’t have the lines of sight needed for cars to safely pass red lights, even at walking speed. By the time you can see what’s coming, your hood is already in the way. On the other hand, nearly all intersections have good enough lines of sight for someone on a bicycle. In the places where lines of sight are indeed good enough for cars to safely pass red lights, I’m actually all in favor of it being allowed. And conversely, if we allow cyclists to pass red lights, there may still need to be a few places we don’t allow this because lines of sight are zero or close to zero due to obstructions like bridge abutments.

    Done right, bicycles passing red lights isn’t distracting. If you have the green light, you can and should assume you have the right-of-way. If bicycles do cross the intersection, it will either be after you pass, or when you’re still half a block down.

  • As concern troll myself, I think that we really should try to be less obvious. Almost every concern troll here concedes to riding a bicycle while having important concerns about they way amorphous others ride their bicycles. How can we ride through our hellscape of lawlessness without all of us following every law? How can we demand that policing and legislation be based on quantifiable danger, while being so quantitatively un-dangerous?

    I don’t think the other concern trolls here realize the satisfying impact of police officers issuing thousands of tickets for tinted windows to ensure that only police officers and their families may enjoy this elite automotive feature. Speeding tickets simply don’t deliver this cachet. And red lights. How can we complain about motorists speeding through the red light at Delancey and Christie every single morning, even as we are standing there distracting motorists by our unwanted existence?

    Only after we put away our bicycles and stand patiently at every Don’t Walk signal as the sacred and unchanging law requires — No thank you, Idaho! — only then will we suddenly receive the full respect of motorists, as well as the equal right we’re already supposed to have to the streets. There is a voucher for this, you can pick it up at the cycling concern troll office at 2 Lafayette Street.

  • Cobbler

    I have on too, too many occasions almost been run over by a speeding bicyclist going through lights, wrong way down streets, and breaking every other law. I am very glad that police are ticketing law breaking bicyclists. It might somewhat relieve pedestrians from having to watch every angle for bicyclists who appear to think (and shockingly in your comments below) the traffic laws ought not apply to them.

  • Anonymous

    I have on too, too many occasions almost been run over by a speeding car. That is, one that is speeding. Which is against the law. And kills many people.

    Shockingly, your comments do not seem to grasp that the entire blinking point of this article and the vast majority of comments is directed at the gross disparity here. To wit:

    In 2012, the 14th Precinct, which handed out bike tickets this morning, did not issue a single summons for speeding.

  • Albert

    What *are* you talking about?

  • Anonymous

    Listen: I stop at red lights. Every single one of them. The full cycle. All year long. Rain and snow–you name it.

    And I do so in part because I think if all road users followed the law, the roads would be safer.

    But Zeus in caboose, I know a cruddy use of police resources when I see one. And this is it.

  • Anonymous

    Nonsense. I stop at every light; and I average 10 miles per hour, whether on my 10-mile commute to work, or on the more than 80 miles that I did for pleasure last Saturday. While this is not as fast as some people can average, it more than three times the speed of walking.

  • Ian Turner

    Cyclists have considerably better vision than drivers. That’s why cars shouldn’t be allowed to creep into an intersection. The distance between a driver’s eyes and the front of the vehicle can be 6 feet or more, while the distance between a cyclist’s head and the front wheel is a foot or less.

  • Anonymous

    It’s frustrating to constantly read your blanket comments that bear no relation to realty, such as your declaring in the above post that a bicyclists only two choices at a green light are to jack-rabbit up to 20 miles per hour, or to hang back until the intersection clears. No. You simply accellerate normally when the light turns green, and stop the next time you get to a red light. Very simple.

    Please stop claiming that doing this is physically impossible, or even that it is physically arduous. I have ridden my bike to and from work (10 miles each way) on probably more than 90% of the weekdays for the last several years; and I ride for pleasure every summer weekend. I have done three trips of more than 100 miles, all on regular streets. I rode 1000 miles total in July. And I have never — not once — experienced a physical strain from stopping at red lights.

    So what you should be saying is that the city streets with their traffic lights don’t fit your style of riding. It adds nothing to discussion to project your personal preferences out into bogus categorical statements.

  • Ian Turner

    Depends a lot on where you are and how the lights are timed. If you are on a Manhattan avenue and going at a decent speed then you will be much faster than biking. However, on Broadway south of 42nd st (the location which prompted this article), the lights are timed so that if you stop at every one and bike at a reasonable speed you will hit every light, or nearly every light. And that really is comparable to walking (with jaywalking).

  • Anonymous

    Are you very glad that the police are ticketing law-abiding bicyclists? Because that’s what this article was about.

  • Rick

    Probably just pay it I think?

  • Anonymous

    Because it’s not the behavior that’s irrational. It’s the law.

    And yes, it really is that onerous. If nothing else, I don’t want the law dictating to me what’s safe when the safety consideration pertains to an ENTIRELY different mode of transportation. In the course of my commute I run at least one light for safety alone. Near where I work I’m forced to make a large U, going south on one one-way street (Washington St.) turning left at a two way street (Battery Pl) and then making a final left onto another one-way going north a block later (Greenwich St.). Battery Pl. curves around from the south just east of that location and has traffic turning onto it from the north where Broadway ends so that it makes for a blind turn at Greenwich with no protected arrow. Every street coming into Battery Pl. at those few blocks ends there. I almost always make that last left turn on a red. In fact I wait for it. The only other safe legal way to do it would be to get off and walk the block on the sidewalk, but to legally bike it I have to put my life in danger and do all the turns on the green.

  • Anonymous

    Yup, got one a few weeks ago for riding outside the bike lane (actually, it was just “sharrows”). Little did the officer wanted to know what I was trying to do (I was changing sides of the street so I can make a right turn) and just gave me a ticket. Court date is in October. I am not going to pay a penalty for something that I was legally allowed to do in the first place. What a waste of everybody’s time and money.

  • Anonymous

    “You simply accellerate normally when the light turns green, and stop the next time you get to a red light. ”

    Agreed. That’s what I have been doing. Plus I usually catch up with the assh*les that just run the light instead of waiting. This is not about safety or anything like that. This is about the attitude that a bicyclist is supposed to be faster than a car.

  • Anonymous

    You broke the law, you pay the fine. Ignorance is never a good defense.

  • Anonymous

    “I have noticed more cyclists obeying traffic control signals since Citi Bike launched.”

    I agree with this. This morning at the intersection of 3rd Ave and 9th St we were 6 or 7 people on bicycles and we all waited for the green light. First time ever at that corner I experienced that.

  • Joe R.

    Because something works for you doesn’t mean it works for everyone. I USED to stop and wait the full cycle of every red light. This was back when the city had far fewer traffic signals. I stopped doing it because I realized it not only served no safety or other purpose, but it actually placed my life in danger more times than I care to think about. Bikes and cars in close proximity is never a good idea. It’s a horrible idea nowadays the way people drive.

    Driving habits have only gotten worse, the streets have gotten more crowded, and the number of traffic signals has increase probably fivefold since then. It was burdensome enough stopping at lights back when there were far fewer of them. Now it reduces cycling to walking speed or less in quite a few cases. I ask you, what’s the point of riding if you can walk as fast? I can’t think of one. Moreover, there’s zero enjoyment in this type of riding for a lot of people, not just me.

    You rode 1000 miles in July? Well guess what, you in a lot better shape than me. My hands go numb 15 minutes into a ride, my feet go numb about 15 minutes after that. It’s all I can do to ride maybe 25 miles MY WAY. On good days I’ve ridden 40 but that’s pushing it. There’s no f-ing way I could ride for any length of time if I stopped at every red light. There’s just too many of them. Cycling is my only joy in life. It’s the only thing which keeps my head on straight. And you’re going to tell me how I should be riding, or why I should do something which I literally can’t, which makes zero sense from any perspective (especially on the nearly empty streets I ride on), just to appease bike haters so maybe they won’t take away infrastructure (which largely doesn’t exist in my neighborhood anyway)? That’s all you have. Even you admitted stopping at red lights has no merit for any reason other than public relations. Well, there’s not a whole lot of the public to see the times and places I ride. And if someone gets a bad impression of cyclists watching me carefully pass red lights, frankly I don’t give two sh*ts. I’m doing what I have to do to fit my situation.

    And there are two good reasons to jackrabbit from lights. One is to avoid getting run down. The other is to avoid getting stuck at yet more lights down the road, which is exactly what happens if you either hang back or accelerate normally. Remember the lights are timed for car speeds and acceleration rates. Yes, I pass red lights, but believe it or not I actually prefer to adjust my riding style so I need to do that as seldom as possible. That means jackrabbiting when lights change, and sometimes speeding up to make lights, especially in cases where if I make one light, there might not be any others for the next mile.

    Your riding style may suit when and where you ride. Heck, in Manhattan the streets are often so crowded at best you save 1 or 2 seconds passing red lights, if you even can. Different situation, different riding style. I personally wouldn’t ride in Manhattan other than on the Greenways. Stopping or slowing constantly is not my idea of fun riding. I love Manhattan, but to me it’s best enjoyed on foot.

  • Joe R.

    Technically, not too many cyclists are speeding. The speed limit is 30 mph on most NYC streets. I’m a fast cyclist and it’s rare I exceed 30 mph by enough to merit a speeding ticket. In fact, it only happens on a good downgrade. Most people on bikes can’t reach 30 mph at all.

    Also, I hate to break the bad news to you, but the majority of the people the NYPD are ticketing are safe riders who occasionally take certain liberties with the law if it doesn’t place them or someone else in danger. Ticketing them isn’t going to make the streets any safer. If anything, it’ll make things worse because it’ll discourage cycling. If you have a lot of cyclists the majority will tend to tame the few reckless riders. That’s not happening when people get $190 tickets. I’ll bet many people who are new to riding and get such tickets will give it up. I nearly gave up cycling after a sidewalk cycling ticket back in 1999, and I’m an avid cyclist. Keep cheering on the NYPD. Maybe one day you’ll get stopped for something stupid and you’ll know exactly how all these cyclists feel.

  • Joe R.

    I always hear this nonsense about how people who stop at every light somehow magically catch up to the people who ran red lights the block before. It’s a nice soundbite, but it doesn’t jive with my reality. Maybe you catch up to fat people going riding at 6 mph. That’s certainly plausible. You certainly don’t catch up to people who are riding at a good clip between intersections. I know. I used to stop for every red light. When a fast cyclist who was running lights passed me, I never caught up to them again. Fro that matter, I never caught up to 15 mph riders who passed lights when I wasn’t. And this was back when I could hold 22 mph for miles on end.

  • Joe R.

    Pay it in pennies. The more time we make people waste for every bicycle ticket the NYPD gives, the sooner they’ll see it costs them more in labor than they’re getting in revenue. That in my opinion is the angle we should be using to end this. Fight every ticket, and use all your legal appeals if you lose. Use the same system they’re using against us.

  • Joe R.

    The problem with blanket statements like this is that light timing and spacing varies considerably throughout the city. I’ve been on streets with lights on every block where I would be lucky to go 3 blocks between red lights. That’s jackrabbiting up to 20 mph and holding that speed or better. Riding more like most people ride I would probably hit a light nearly every block. Naturally, if you’re on a Greenway for some portion of your journey, or cross a bridge, that’s going to help your average speed considerably.

    I purposely choose roads where there are a minimum of traffic signals. Even on these roads, if I stopped for every red light I would be lucky to average 10 mph. I should know because I used to do exactly that 30 years ago. My typical average speeds were in the 10 mph area despite cruising at 20+ mph. This was back when the streets in my area had far fewer traffic signals. For example, there’s a stretch of 73rd Avenue which now has 15 traffic signals in about 2.5 miles. Back when we first moved here it only had 5 I believe. Same story with a lot of other streets. Moreover, the signal timing even on streets where not too many signals were added is far worse than it was 30 years. I used to be able to average close to 20 mph on Queens Blvd. without running lights. Last year I tried riding on it for a few miles, then turned around in disgust.

  • Joe R.

    I should add that there are a few choice spots where signal timing is great, but those are few and far between. Take for example this portion of one on my rides last year. I didn’t run a red light once, although I had to slow down a few times because the cars were still clearing from the intersection after the light had changed to green. Still, I managed to average 19.5 mph over 3.75 miles. The average for the entire ride was less, and this was despite passing red lights when I could.

  • Joe R.

    That’s actually why the right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution. Unfortunately, cities like New York violate that right with gun laws which make it nearly impossible for an average citizen to carry weapons. I’ll bet the police would be a lot less confrontational if they knew a significant portion of the citizenry was armed.

  • Anonymous

    I did go over the George Washington Bridge and the Bayonne Bridge during my longest ride this year of 102 miles; but that is a minuscule percentage of the total ride. And it was the only time I was off regular streets.

    None of my long rides involved greenways. While I’m glad that the Hudson River Greenway and the Shore Parkway Greenway are there, and while I hit them once a year, just to experience them, I don’t enjoy greenways because they are too remote from the city streets, where the real riding is.

    All my rides are on normal streets in the boroughs (mainly Manhattan), in New Jersey from the bridge down into the cities of Hudson County, and, in one instance, up Boston Post Road in Westchester to the Connecticut border. So I hit a variety of streets. And, wherever I go, I average 10 miles per hour.

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations! I got one this morning for running a red, my first. Of course the cop didn’t just avoid pulling into the long driveway across the street so that he could park in the bike lane (he did), he also blocked the entire street, with a city bus right behind, while he ran my license and wrote me up. A full 10 minutes! Unbelievable. If I didn’t feel bad for the folks on the bus the show would have been worth the $190.

  • Joe R.

    It’s not hard to average 10+ mph if parts of your rides are in places like Westchester or NJ, even stopping for lights. I used to ride Route 27 when I was in Princeton. Outside of a few lights in town, I think there were only about three or four lights in the 15 miles between Princeton and New Brunswick. I also rode to Trenton once and came back to my dorm along Route 1. 10 miles in 25 minutes. Route 1 does have lights, but I don’t recall hitting any. They all have sensors, so they stay green all the time unless there’s a car on the cross street.

    NYC is another animal. The Manhattan Avenues aren’t too bad if you can ride fast. I recall back when I was a messenger for a short time in 1982 going from 125th Street to West 4th Street in 15 minutes flat, not hitting a red light the entire time. The cross streets in Manhattan are usually horrible. Many streets in the outer boroughs also have horrible light timing. It’s highly dependent on where you ride.

  • Keith Williams

    Maybe when DOT gives out bike helmets it can also give out GoPros.

  • Joe R.

    Here’s a link to the physics behind all this:

    From the article:

    “If the bicyclist wants to maintain her average speed of 12.5 mph while still coming to a complete stop at each sign, she has to increase her output power to almost 500 watts. This is well beyond the ability of all but the most fit cyclists.”

    My comments: actually, it’s beyond the ability of ANY cyclist to maintain those power levels for more than a few minutes. If I recall, Lance Armstrong’s power output was in the 450 watt area for about 20 minutes for some of the climbs in the Tour de France.

    And a good article on the subject:

  • Guest

    did you just advocate shooting mean police officers?


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