City Hall Announces NYPD Crackdown on Drivers Who Endanger Cyclists

NYPD will target drivers who block bike lanes and other violations that put cyclists at risk through Friday, according to City Hall. Photo: Hilda Cohen
NYPD will target drivers who block bike lanes and other violations that put cyclists at risk through Friday, according to City Hall. Photo: Hilda Cohen

NYPD will crack down this week on motorists who put cyclists at risk.

The “Bicycle Safe Passage Initiative,” which coincides with Bike to Work Week, will last through Friday. Officers in precincts citywide will focus enforcement on motorists who commit traffic violations that “endanger bicyclists,” according to a City Hall press release. Traffic enforcement agents will concentrate on bike lane blocking, double parking, and no standing violations.

“We believe in protecting everyone on our streets,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. “This targeted initiative will make sure New Yorkers on bikes have clear bike lanes and safe conditions as more and more people take to the streets.”

“We are focusing on violations that can endanger our city’s cyclists, and making sure New Yorkers can safely travel on bike lanes throughout the five boroughs,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in the release.

This should be standard procedure, of course, particularly in the Vision Zero era, but it’s good to see this kind of enforcement from NYPD.

  • Vooch

    perhaps this will Prevent these types of crashes -Woman got doored by an Über passenger

  • Reader

    Thank you, Mayor de Blasio. This year got off to a bumpy start, but the mayor’s statements on Queens Boulevard and now this are very refreshing.

  • Nam Phan

    yeah right. I’ll believe it when/if I see it.

  • Jeff

    Interesting to see what’s going on with bike infrastructure in Australia.

  • Kevin Love

    Care to elaborate?

  • Kevin Love

    Oh no! Car drivers cannot endanger people until Friday!

    “Fortunately,” next week things are back to normal.

  • right there with you. just got a ticket on 2nd ave bike lane at 11th–watched as cop left his door open in the bike lane the whole time. watched as multiple cars made illegal failures-to-yield right in front of us.

  • Jesse

    It’s nice that they are doing something but this seems kind of perfunctory. They basically just gave a warning to drivers that NYPD will be enforcing the law for a week and then it’s back to business as usual. That said, it will be safer for cyclists during that week and that’s a good thing. Hopefully some good data will come out of it to show how much of an impact enforcement can have. We miss you, JSK.

  • com63

    Failure to yield I think is a much much bigger problem than blocking bike lanes. I wish they would go nuts on that type of enforcement.

  • Vooch

    photo insists on going down under

  • Joe Enoch

    Yep. I nearly got squished yesterday by a cab who turned into the 1st Ave bike lane while one of those yellow yield arrows was blinking.

  • Vooch

    Photos are Your friend in these situation

  • NYPD May Enforce Law For A Few Days, Commissioner Declares

  • reasonableexplanation

    The second part is pretty typical though; once a cop pulls someone over, they’re not going to pull others over until they’re done with you, unless something really egregious happens.

  • BBnet3000

    It’s a joke about the photo being upside down.

  • We can only hope that there are some cops who take these things seriously.

    I have been battling one particular Domino’s Pizza store about their constant blocking of the bike lane on Onderdonk Avenue in Queens. I have spoken a few times with the community relations officer at the 104th Precinct, and he was very encouraging. He said that he would be paying attention to the matter, and wrote back to me telling me of ten summonses that the police have written over a couple of days last week.

    Cooperation by the police is especially important because police neglect only encourages bike-lane blocking. When you tell someone, however politely, “Excuse me, but you are parked in a bike lane”, you will frequently get the response “the cops don’t care” or “a cop just passed by, and he didn’t tell me to get out”.

    The people at the Domino’s go so far as to say “the cops let us park in the bike lane”! And they are not far from correct. The community affairs officer told me to call 311, and to compile the results and send them to him. But, on a couple of recent calls, the result was that the officer who investigated just said “car belongs to Domino’s”, as though this justifies its being in the bike lane. So, while the 104th’s community affairs officer’s attitude towards cars double-parked in the bike lane is most welcome, it’s clear that that attitude is not shared by all of his colleagues.

    But let’s see what the results will be of the calls to 311 that I will inevitably make during this week . I wonder if the mayor’s initiative will make any difference.

    By the way, I have also been in touch with a top staffer at City Council Member Antonio Reynoso’s office; luckily, this offending Domino’s is in the district of Reynoso, a rare politician who is willing to identify himself with bicyclists’ interests. Reynoso’s office tells me that they have visited the store, and that they will be meeting with Domino’s executives.

    I am hoping for the best; but still, I know better than to actually believe that good things are afoot.

  • J

    “City Announces Parking/Loading Reform To Curb Double Parking”

    But that would actually address the cause of the problem. Way too logical and effective.

  • Mike

    I ride by there all the time as I live a few blocks away. Nothing seems to work on that block.

  • The more calls to the precinct and to 311 about this, the better, especially with at least one officer at that precinct who says that he is willing to get on this. This week in particular would be a good one in which to do that.

  • new yorker

    “NYPD launches special one week initiative… to do their f-cking jobs”

  • Aliya Tyus-Barnwell

    Th is horrible, but I probably would have flattened one of their tires by now. Yes. I know I’m a monster

  • Soooo tempting!

    But the problem is that there are so many of them. Even if you did do the inadvisable thing and flatten one car’s tires, there are many more of them where that one came from.

    This is also what makes calling 311 a bit tricky: odds are that the particular car that you report will be gone by the time the cops get there, as any one car is usually in the bike lane for only about fifteen minutes. But the cumulative effect is that there is always a line of Domino’s cars in the lane all day.

    And then there’s the knock-on effect: customers who pull up and see four Domino’s cars in the bike lane just fall right into this, and pull into the bike lane themselves.

    I think what is most galling is the attitude of the Domino’s people. They don’t even act like they’re getting away with something; these dirtbags actually think that they have the right to systematically break the law! When I complain to them, they tell me “we’re working”, as though that’s an excuse.

    I can assure you that, if I were breaking the law while I was on the job, my employer would tell me to stop, or perhaps even fire me. And I have a good union! How this company can condone constant law-breaking, such that their employees actually believe that it is their right, is mind-boggling.

  • ahwr

    How this company can condone constant law-breaking, such that their employees actually believe that it is their right, is mind-boggling.

    What sort of fine does dominos get hit with when one of their drivers double parks in the bike lane? How does it compare to the fine they would risk if they have a bicycle delivery guy who doesn’t where his helmet or retroreflective vest?

  • dporpentine

    Too much, too little, too late to try again with you
    We’re in the middle of ending something that we knew
    It’s over, Oh, it was over

  • Alicia

    You could start by calling to complain to store managers and corporate customer service, and see if you get any response.

  • I don’t know that the company gets hit with any fine at all. As far as I understand it, the drivers just pay their tickets. (At one time I thought that the company reimbursed the drivers for their tickets; but every Domino’s employee, manager, and executive that I spoke to denied this.) So, the key really is enforcement, so that the drivers no longer think that parking in the bike lane is a good risk to take.

    I am hoping that the company can be moved by Reynoso’s office; the idea is that the Council Member’s eventual meeting with company executives can make it clear to them that they are being bad neighbours by tolerating and even encouraging this illegal practice. When I realised that this was going on in Reynoso’s district, I had to try to involve him.

  • Joe R.

    If we could get enough people who thought like us we could organize a boycott of that particular Dominos. I may even grant that they have a legitimate problem parking their vehicles. However, the proper solution is for NYC to grant them a loading zone. Of course, the local community board would certainly oppose such a thing but maybe DeBlasio will tell DOT to go ahead anyway.

  • Oh, I have been doing that for the past two years. I first visited the store several times to talk to the manager. This is when I first heard the remarkable excuses that “the police let us park in the bike lane” and “we can park in the bike lane because we’re working”. After getting precisely nowhere, I then called up the regional manager whose name was posted inside the store. Over the past two years I have spoken to three people who have held that post; only the first one showed any interest, and the later two blew me off.

    I then found the number of the company’s security director for the Northeast. I reached him, and was pleasantly surprised by his total apology, by his direct acknowledgement that this should not be happening, and by his unequivocal statements of intent to stop this behaviour. A few months later, his tune had changed; he was exasperated and defeated, and expressed to me that he could do no more. He no longer returns my calls.

    I have given all the contact information of the managers and executives to the police and to Reynoso’s office. I assume that the Council Member’s people were able to get through to them, because the staffer at Reynoso’s office says that they will be meeting soon with company executives. So let’s see if they can get any results.

  • ahwr

    As far as I understand it, the drivers just pay their tickets.

    If they had bike delivery guys who got a ticket for riding on the sidewalk who would get the ticket? The rider? The store? Or both? Just ticketing the driver isn’t enough.

    Involving Reynoso might solve this problem, but it doesn’t scale. Unless it leads Reynoso to getting a bill through the council that subjects stores to escalating fines when their employees park in bike lanes/drive illegally, and at the same time creates an efficient system to install loading zones/short term parking for stores like Dominos so their employees and customers have legal places to park.

  • I don’t deny that it’s hard to find parking around there. But the fact is that this is not the community’s problem; it is the company’s problem. Their employees have the same obligation to find legal parking that the employees of the deli across the street have, and that the employees of the every other business on that street have — not to mention everyone who lives on that street.

    Or, as you suggest, they could be granted a loading zone. Still, a loading zone wouldn’t be the length of four or sometimes more cars, which is how many of them can be in the bike lane at once. So even that probably wouldn’t cure the problem.

    If they cannot run their business within the confines of the law, as everyone else is expected to do, then they just need to move that store somewhere else. That would be the best outcome for all involved.

  • All I can do is to try to harness Reynoso’s professed interest in street safety and bicycle-related issues to remedy this one particular problem of a frequently-blocked bike lane on a well-travelled narrow street.

    But it’s true that there is probably no universal answer to this issue short of what you suggest: widespread introduction of loading zones, and escalating fines for businesses whose employees park illegally. And the sad reality is that neither of these measures is likely.

  • Vooch

    why in the world are these pizza delivery guys driving at all ? they can’t be saving time by delivering via cars. They certainly aren’t saving money. How big is the service area ?

  • Good question. I’m quite sure that they could get the work done with bicycles if they wanted to. But driving their deliveries is just a bad habit that these people have gotten into.

    (A larger question is why anyone in New York City — the place where pizza as we know it was invented, and a place where actual pizzerias are found practically everywhere — is calling Domino’s! That whole idea creeps me out. Yet, inexplicably, people do it, probably the same freaking goofballs who eat Wonder “Bread”.)

  • Vooch

    which Domino’s is this and what is delivery geography ?

  • Joe R.

    I agree wholeheartedly. Maybe even with a loading zone they would still be blocking bike lanes. If their business model depends upon them parking illegally then yes, the store needs to move elsewhere. It’s not like any neighborhood will suffer from one less Domino’s. Truth is I think these big chains are ruining the character of the city anyway.

  • It is located on Onderdonk Avenue between Putnam Avenue and Cornelia Street. I would guess that it delivers all over Ridgewood.

  • Vooch

    map of the Various Dominos Pizza franchises in your area.

    Seems to be perfect distances for Delivery cycles or e-bikes

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0b8a7882b808c68cd1ec0c335b3b54ce12cb8df880b88a2906488bdddae440e3.jpg

  • IlIlIl

    They could start with their own.

  • ruby_soho

    Someone should clarify this to Staten Island cops, because when they ticketed me on my bike yesterday, they told me that there is a crackdown ON cyclists. (I was using the ped lead signal to move through a busy intersection with two buses and five cars behind me.)

  • CtotheC

    How about “forcing” NYPD’s hand to issue tickets? What I’m thinking is get a hydraulic moving jack and turn the car 45 degrees to block the road, then find the nearest cop and tell them about it.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000H3TSIU

    Not really a good idea, but maybe things would change.

  • neroden

    NYPD are notorious offenders. Dozens of them including several precinct captains belong in prison.
    http://copsinbikelanes.tumblr.com/

  • neroden

    I’m beginning to think the correct move is to buy your own tow truck. Just start removing these cars permanently, one at a time.

  • ummm…

    i understand your position. I understand that it only takes one mistake by a cyclists in not looking before they merge to hurt themselves trying to get around a double parked vehicle. However, is this in an area where all your upset is warranted? Are you unable to consistently and safely get around the car? I only ask because if dominoes doesn’t have a spot for their car, and they are constantly doing deliveries, then it is a small nuisance in a city full of nuisances. Are they using it as a spot, or sitting in it idling?

  • The street is extremely narrow, and very busy. A bicyclist who attempts to go around the blocked bike lane is very likely to be in conflict with a steady stream of passing cars.

    There are businesses and and homes that line Onderdonk Avenue on the entire route of that bike lane. Yet it is only in front of Domino’s that the lane is constantly blocked, sometimes for the entire stretch of street between Putnam Avenue and Cornelia Street. This one business has no special right to break the law; they should be finding legal spots, just as everyone else on that street is expected to do. It is important that this problem with Domino’s be addressed, or inevitably the tendency to park in the bike lane will spread as other people notice that there is no penalty for this illegal act.

    And the Domino’s drivers aren’t just sitting in their cars; they are parking their cars in the bike lane as they go inside and get their orders. As I mentioned earlier, the result of this is that the bike lane is blocked every day from morning until night.

    During last week’s initiative regarding bike lanes, I noticed an improvement, as that lane was mostly clear when I passed it. Also, the 311 call that I did have to make last week resulted in the police telling the obstructing driver to move his car, rather than in their saying “it’s a Domino’s delivery car” as though that is a good reason for parking in a bike lane.

    I expressed my thanks to the 104th Precinct’s community affairs officer for his attention to this matter, and also my hope that the attention will keep up even after the initiative is over. I will take note of the situation as I pass by every day both on my commutes and in pleasure rides; and I will keep in touch with the precinct and with the City Council Member’s office.

  • ummm…

    Keep up the good work. I myself have gone out of my way to make hazards known to authorities as well – with differing levels of satisfaction. It is a difficult thing to navigate – we know that NYC is to much of a behemoth to control and so sometimes I except a bit of chaos and danger as the cost of doing business.

  • Thanks. It’s a big frustration, and one that has been going on since the bike lane went in there two summers ago.

    I was basically banging my head against the wall and losing all hope until I talked to this one particular officer at the 104th. I will admit that I don’t usually have good things to say about the NYPD; but this guy has been very encouraging. It seems that he, like the late Inspector Ameri, is one of the few there who understand that they cannot just give a wave of the hand to drivers who create unsafe conditions with their law-breaking.

  • AMH

    Why do they even need to use cars? I see a lot of Domino’s delivery bicycles. If they care about their delivery cyclists at all (not a given, obviously), they should care about this sort of thing.

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