With Matthew von Ohlen’s Killer Still at Large, NYPD Is in Bike Blitz Mode

You read that right: While the driver who brazenly struck and killed Matthew von Ohlen last weekend has yet to be apprehended, police officers are handing out frivolous tickets to cyclists on the Manhattan Bridge.

Police are stopping cyclists on the bridge for riding without a bell, according to several accounts on Twitter.

So far this year, motorists have killed 12 cyclists on New York City streets, an increase from five at the same point last year, according to the New York Times.

Other than a one-week initiative in May to keep bike lanes clear of motor vehicles, the NYPD hasn’t updated its usual approach to “bike safety” — ticketing cyclists who break the letter of the law but don’t endanger anyone.

Even after a driver was shown on video deliberately running over von Ohlen, inflicting fatal injuries, the local precinct responded by ticketing cyclists and handing out flyers.

The Manhattan Bridge is shared by the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn and the 5th Precinct in Manhattan. To the north, officers from the 9th Precinct were also seen doling out tickets at First Avenue and 12th Street. We have an inquiry in with NYPD to determine if today’s ticket stings were a coordinated enforcement action or the work of precincts acting independently.

But regardless of who initiated these bike ticket blitzes, they point to NYPD’s institutional failure to mount an effective response to deadly driving that threatens New Yorkers.

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