Today’s Headlines

  • Riders Alliance: Making the Q70 to LaGuardia Free Would Be Worth It (2AS, News, DNA, Gothamist)
  • Antonio Reynoso’s Bill to Give Cyclists Discretion at Red Lights Makes Too Much Sense for the Post
  • Turning MTA Bus Driver Seriously Injures Man in LES Crosswalk, No Charges (Gothamist)
  • Schumer, Donovan Promise to Restore Full Funding for Big City Transit in Final Transpo Bill (Advance)
  • 109th Precinct Commander: Flushing “Safety” Campaign Not About Jaywalking Tickets (Times Ledger)
  • Cuomo Signs Bill to Get More Drunk Drivers to Install Ignition Interlocks (News)
  • Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo Is Resigning (Politico)
  • Daily News to TLC: Get Tough on Cabbies Who Refuse Black Passengers
  • Tell Cornell How You Want to Fix Congestion in NYC, and Cornell Will Tell Electeds (NBC)
  • How to Get Through Thanksgiving in NYC: Don’t Drive (AMNY)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • JudenChino
  • ahwr

    And sometimes the response is a fence.

  • ahwr

    #1 might make sense in midtown during the day, but most times in the rest of the city there is no need for a full stop.

    During much of the day and much of the night motor vehicles that are parked and those that are stopped at red lights significantly reduce visibility. If you’re in a bike lane passing a car waiting for the green you won’t necessarily be able to see if there’s a dog or little kid five feet in front of the adult you think you can easily ride in front of. Given that poor visibility is it really appropriate to go through without stopping to check if it’s clear? What easy to understand, easy to follow, and easy to enforce rule keeps cyclists from striking or delaying pedestrians crossing the street anywhere in the city at any time of day but still allows you to ride through lights the way you want at 3am? Sometimes this sort of issue is dealt with by passing a more restrictive rule, and having the police exercise discretion on enforcement. When’s the last time you got a ticket for passing a red late at night?

    I agree fully with #3. If a cyclist makes an error in judgement when passing a red light, there’s no reason anyone but the cyclist should be at fault.

    Really? Do you think most streetsblog posters would agree? Do you think they will 12 months after this more permissive idaho stop law is passed? If someone is hit when jaywalking there’s generally a contingent here trying to come up with reasons that the motorist could have been at fault, and that is upset that the police don’t start with the assumption that the driver is responsible for the crash. The first time a cyclist going through a red gets hit by a car there will be calls here that the driver wasn’t exercising due care.

  • Joe R.

    The easy answer to the problem you mention is to either move as far left as possible, or to prohibit parking where it blocks lines of sight. The latter should be done regardless of whether or not an Idaho-stop law exists. As a pedestrian I can’t safely cross streets if parked cars block my visibility until I’m practically in a traffic lane. I don’t understand how or why we even allowed this practice of parking right up to the crosswalk in the first place.

    The second thing worth mentioning is pedestrians crossing in general are not much of an issue in the outer boroughs outside of peak times. I could pass 10,000 red lights and maybe I’ll actually see someone in the crosswalk while I’m passing once or twice. Upstate and in other places where this law would also apply, pedestrians are even less common. That’s why I said to design the law for typical conditions, not the outliers. Places with busy pedestrian crossings are outliers, even in NYC, outside of midtown Manhattan.

    The third thing is not all intersections have poor visibility, even with parked cars. I’d rather you deal with things on a case by case basis than make laws which apply to worst case scenarios. If you have a few intersections in the outer boroughs with poor visibility, then sign them to require a complete stop before proceeding. That said, as a cyclist I’m not really sure that you gain anything in terms of either safety or visibility by requiring a complete stop, as opposed to slowing to a few mph. If you have to stop completely, it means you have to put your foot down, which in turn means you have to look down before you stop to make sure you’re not putting your foot in a pothole. That means you’re not looking for pedestrians while you’re still rolling. To me it’s safer to slow down as much as lines of sight require while covering your brakes. At 5 mph you can stop virtually on a dime if anything comes your way. if not, it’s far easier to get back up to speed without picking your feet off the ground, looking down to get them on the pedals, perhaps downshifting to your lowest gear to get going, etc.

    When’s the last time you got a ticket for passing a red late at night?

    I never got a red light ticket. Then again I make a point of not passing red lights in front of cops.

    The first time a cyclist going through a red gets hit by a car there will be calls here that the driver wasn’t exercising due care.

    Not from me. The only exception to that would be if it’s obvious based on the amount of damage that the driver was grossly exceeding the speed limit. Chances are good a cyclist who makes a mistake, thengets hit by a driver, will survive if that driver is going the speed limit or less. I tend to think the attitude here is similar if a jaywalking gets hit. Most are prepared to exonerate the driver so long as he/she was sober and not exceeding the speed limit.

  • Don’t tell me what I am in accord with. I don’t agree with the law that requires bicyclists to stop for the full period of a red light (just as I don’t agree with restrictive immigration laws). But disagreeing with this law does not give us the right to unilaterally disregard it.

    I should mention that I was once a victim of this stupid law. What makes it doubly galling is that this happened a couple of weeks after the killing of Mattieu Lefevre, and at the same corner of Morgan and Meserole.

    The police were conducting a crackdown — but they were targeting the potential victims of vehicular violence rather than the potential perpetrators. I stopped at the light on that corner and then walked my bike through the intersection while straddling it. The cops rolled up on me and gave me a $190 ticket.

    The police had been lying in wait; and they were just picking off cyclists. I would bet that I am the only one of all the cycoists whom they caught who was actually walking his bike rather than riding it! (I wonder what they would have done had I been walking beside the bike instead of straddling it. I suspect that, as ticket-crazed as they were, it would have made no difference.)

    That law is outrageous; that law is wrong. That law should be changed, as Reynoso is trying to do. But I strongly doubt that it can be changed right now, as the enemies of this type of change vastly outnumber those who support it.

    If we hope ever to have a chance at changing this absurd law, we’ll need lots of other legislators to join in the effort. But you can forget about that if all these legislators hear from their constituents is complaints about bicyclists.

    So this is why it’s in our interest to follow the laws (even the stupid ones), so as to minimise the complaints that these anti-bike crazies make to their representatives.

  • bolwerk

    At this point, the danger of the NYPD issuing a frivolous fine probably exceeds any benefit society gains from fining people for any sort of “quality of life” violations. It turns the citizenry into an ATM for the city.

  • JudenChino

    That’s incredibly ridiculous that that happened to you, especially since you were complying with the law. I disagree strongly with you as to tactics but you see the bullshit we’re dealing with. I obey traffic laws if I see a cop. But even then, I will not submit myself to ridiculous compliance where it is 100% safe to do so. Like, when I get off the Greenway at Clarkson (one of the few “safe” east way egresses from the Greenway for some distance north/south),-74.0103513,3a,75y,98.72h,71.98t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s3-n6uMdoYaqkDmc272xDYw!2e0!!7i13312!8i6656
    I am going to ride on that ridiculously wide and barren sidewalk and I’m not going to ride on the unsafe cobble stones and share the road with cars flying off of West Side Highway.

    The problem is that the NYPD is literally, too fucking stupid to properly enforce the law. They’re telling us, the NYPD that is, that their officers, are literally, too fucking dumb to figure out which violations actually harm people and which are just nuisances to enforce. I don’t really believe that the NYPD cannot figure this out. It’s the leadership that’s rotten. It’s quite easy to just enforce the bike laws where it actually endangers others. We need to push the NYPD to prioritize that and shame the fuck out of enforcement of the type that that caught you, and T-Intersection stings. People should be fired for that. Straight up. That would be proper Vision Zero.

  • Brian Howald

    I take great pleasure in annoying drivers who are agitated by the fact that I’m following the rules. I point it out to them, and ask if they’d be okay if I just broke the rules. Most just curse me out and drive away.