Drivers Are Killing People, and the 19th Precinct Is Sending Cyclists to Court

The 19th Precinct likes to boast about local officers aggressively ticketing people for riding bikes on sidewalks. A data analysis by Transportation Alternatives shows the precinct also issues far more criminal court summonses for sidewalk riding than other Manhattan commands.

According to TA, in 2015 the Upper East Side 19th Precinct issued 116 criminal summonses for sidewalk riding, and 15 moving violations — a ratio of eight to one. TA says the typical ratio for precincts citywide is close to one criminal summons to one moving violation.

A moving violation can be resolved online or through the mail, while a criminal summons requires a court appearance. Failure to appear in court can result in a warrant that leads to jail time and barriers to employment.

NYPD greatly reduced the issuance of criminal court summonses for sidewalk riding in 2014, but the 19th Precinct is one of several that still sends hundreds of cyclists to court per year. Next month TA will release an in-depth report on bike enforcement, which will include criminal court summons data.

“In addition to disproportionately high bike enforcement in general — they issue 51 percent of all bike on sidewalk c-summonses in the Manhattan North patrol area — [the 19th Precinct is] choosing to take the extremely harsh option,” says TA Deputy Director Caroline Samponaro.

It’s unknown how many delivery cyclists the 19th Precinct is ticketing relative to all cyclists, because the city doesn’t publish complete bike enforcement data. But last year the precinct was responsible for 17 percent of commercial cycling summonses citywide, and issued 95 percent of commercial cycling summonses in the 12-precinct Manhattan North patrol area, according to TA.

“Their practices are wildly different from everybody else’s in the patrol borough area,” says TA Policy and Research Manager Julia Kite.

Motorists killed at least 12 people walking in the 19th Precinct in the last 24 months, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog. NYPD data show the 19th Precinct ticketed just 21 speeding drivers this year as of the end of May.

The commanding officer of the 19th Precinct in 2015 was Deputy Inspector James M. Grant. Grant was succeeded this year by Deputy Inspector Clint McPherson after Grant was cited as a target of the ongoing NYPD corruption probe. McPherson has indicated he intends to continue the precinct’s focus on bike enforcement, and he has support from City Council members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick.

“One of the top complaints I get in the district is about bikes,” Kallos told Our Town after a recent precinct bike crackdown.

  • NYCer

    Shame on this pathetic and corrupt police precinct.

    I’m so embarrassed for the officers who are being told to go out and write these tickets by their horrible commanding officers.

  • When I ride over the QBB, I can see the NYPD staking out the 1st Avenue bike lane, almost every time. Usually not so obvious as this shot.

  • Jesse

    I would love it if UES restaurants adopted a policy of tacking on a “cyclist harassment surcharge” to all food deliveries to the CB 8 area to cover the costs of fines and wasteful court appearances. It’s a waste of time and money on the part of not just the delivery people who can hardly afford it, but probably for restaurateurs and certainly for taxpayers. CB 8 should not be able to externalize the cost of refusing to allow anything resembling a bike lane in their neighborhood.

  • jooltman

    On an unpaved, milled stretch at that! These people are already contending with possibly fatal road conditions. Any tickets given out under those conditions should be tossed.

  • jooltman

    “I’m proud to follow in the footsteps of my corrupt predecessor,” said no one, ever, except for the NYPD.

  • AMH

    Exactly, this is what happens when streets are horrible for biking. It’s entrapment.

  • I miss Mike Ameri. He showed what is possible when precinct leadership truly gets street safety.

  • BBnet3000

    Wow, six people a year killed on the streets of a single precinct? Bratton should take a break from bad-mouthing Vision Zero and address the fact that this Precinct is ground zero for sandbagging on street safety.

  • Vooch

    UES is a hellhole of motor traffic.

  • ganghiscon

    In my experience, 9/10 if someone is parked in the two-way lane at the Bridge (1st Ave bet 59 & 60), it’s the NYPD.

  • Joe R.

    This is what happens when you allocate police resources based on anecdotal complaints instead of actual public safety concerns. These precinct commanders should be ashamed of themselves.

  • JudenChino

    That’s so fucked up. Those cops should be “protecting” those people on bikes. Not trying to ding them. You’ve got an ocean of potential killing vehicles and they act like the bikes are the problem. Such simple-minded authoritarian mentality.

  • jposner

    That the 19th Precinct ticketed just 21 speeding drivers is only a part of the problem.

    In the 19th Precinct, drivers routinely start to drive into crosswalks while they have a red light. Drivers routinely fail to yield when turning through a crosswalk with pedestrians who have a walk signal. Those two moving violations occur almost every light cycle at almost every intersection.

    Last month, I spoke with someone from the Precinct, who said that they could have all of their officers writing moving violations for red lights & failure to yield 24/7, and it still wouldn’t be enough enforcement to stop the problem, not to mention that their other work would suffer. This means they aren’t looking at the problem the right way.

    The obvious solution is red light cameras EVERYWHERE. They refuse to do this. They have blood on their hands.

  • ahwr

    That the 19th Precinct ticketed just 21 speeding drivers is only a part of the problem.

    In the 19th Precinct, drivers routinely start to drive into crosswalks while they have a red light. Drivers routinely fail to yield when turning through a crosswalk with pedestrians who have a walk signal.

    Neither of those violations is covered by speeding tickets. Compare that 21 speeding tickets to 475 tickets YTD for not giving right of way to pedestrians, 2237 for “improper turn” – how many of those are cutting off pedestrians and cyclists? – 371 for disobey steady red signal, 1270 for disobey traffic control device, 5723 moving violations total. Speed enforcement isn’t what NYPD should be focusing on.

    The obvious solution is red light cameras EVERYWHERE. They refuse to do this. They have blood on their hands.

    To be clear, “They” isn’t the 19th precinct.

  • AnoNYC

    The technology for failure to yield camera enforcement exist.

  • ADN

    NYPD mostly just needs to be removed completely from traffic enforcement duties. Almost all traffic enforcement should be done by robots, lasers, cameras, radars and databases. Human cops — especially NYPD — are simply horrible at traffic enforcement. Human cops should be doing other things. This is a bad use of human policing resources. Added bonus: Robots won’t refuse to give summonses to police officers.

  • HamTech87

    We should hire the guy who brought CompStat to NYC. Oh wait…

  • HamTech87

    Love watching the cars not signaling lane changing at the 23 second mark. If only the cop turned around.

  • Kevin Love

    Don’t forget that robots also do not really care all that much about anyone’s racial or ethnic origins.

  • Kevin Love

    If only the cop gave a rat’s ass about human life.

    There. Fixed it for you.

  • neroden

    I still suspect murder. It’s too convenient.

  • neroden

    How long until McPherson is shown to be part of the same corruption as Grant?

    The 19th Precinct needs an outsider brought in to clean up their dirty, dirty corruption. Probably half of the cops in the prison need to be thrown in prison.

  • Email Account

    Yet the harlem river drive bike path is closed for construction and forces you off into the streets and there is so much construction on the streets especially 2nd ave where there are no shoulders at all and I cant ride anywhere safe. By the way when I map it on google maps it tells me to ride on the sidewalk at times b/c there isnt another way to ride. There are no updated bike info maps b/c ive used them all and those damn roads and paths are closed.

  • david

    Come on, nobody should ride on the sidewalk.

  • Conscience_of_a_conservative

    On Riverside Drive between 72nd street and the park entrance on65th street there are more bikes on the sidewalk than on the street. It’s not just the delivery guys with e-bikes but families going to the park.

  • MatthewEH

    Riverside Boulevard, you mean? Riverside Drive ends at 72nd.

    This doesn’t square with my experience of Riverside Boulevard, which is fairly calm, though sometimes cars drive too aggressively near the northbound HHP entrance at 72nd Street. It seems like a pretty calm street to me, and most cyclists I see are (properly) in the road.

  • Conscience_of_a_conservative

    Riverside driveends @ 72nd street and then becomes blvd as it heads south. there are tons of people on bikes south of 72nd street riding on the sidewalk.

  • MatthewEH

    Eh, the only satisfactory way to resolve this disagreement is to actually choose some defensibly-representative time period, camp out, and do a traffic count.

    btw, the park entrance is at 67th Street, not 65th. (It’s actually a hella annoying one, as the north/south ramp down to Riverside Park South there is marked as “walk your bike” only, and PEP officers will scold you or write you a ticket if they see you acting otherwise. Even if the ramp was otherwise completely empty.)

  • DW

    The real problem here is the stop sign, that most cars just roll through without fully stopping. This is a big hazard for pedestrians and cyclist that have to walk their bikes out of the park


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