NYPD “Bicycle Safe Passage” Stings Aren’t Creating Safe Passage for Cyclists

Earlier this year, when City Hall announced NYPD’s “Bicycle Safe Passage” enforcement initiative to ticket drivers for blocking bike lanes and failing to yield to cyclists, it sounded like a step up from predecessors like “Operation Safe Cycle” — which were notorious for fining cyclists, not protecting them. But the new NYPD bike safety approach still looks a lot like the old.

This week marks the third “Bicycle Safe Passage” operation of 2016. So far, people have reported NYPD ticketing cyclists on Ninth Avenue, Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side, Second Avenue near Stuy Town, and Jay Street by the Manhattan Bridge.

On Jay Street, the 84th Precinct is ticketing cyclists around Nassau Street and Concord Street. Just south of that location, between Fulton Street and Tillary Street, the bike lane remains blocked by double-parkers, as per usual.

During the previous “Bicycle Safe Passage” week, in June, the NYPD gave out 1,757 tickets to drivers obstructing bike lanes and 810 for motorists who failed to yield to cyclists or pedestrians, according to AM New York. It’s not known how many tickets were given to cyclists.

Some enforcement activity today does seem to be more in line with the stated goal of giving cyclists safe passage. Outside of NYPD headquarters at 1 Police Plaza, the Lafayette Street bike lane was entirely obstructed by parked vehicles earlier in the day, then it was cleared north of Worth Street was cleared by the 5th Precinct.

But that’s the same precinct that ticketed cyclists for turning left from Chrystie Street onto Hester Street. The left turn is banned to reduce potential conflicts caused by turning motorists. Ticketing cyclists for violating the turn ban will only make cycling less convenient — it doesn’t address the dangerous behaviors putting lives at risks and it certainly doesn’t create a “safe passage” for cyclists.

So far this year, cyclist deaths have more than doubled compared to 2015. Handing out tickets to cyclists for making left turns or riding without bells isn’t going to reverse that trend.

  • J

    When you have a snarling, callous anti-bike NYPD commissioner, is it any wonder that this is the result? #WhenIsBrattonDone?

  • Elizabeth F

    Chrystie to Hester? That’s pretty low of the NYPD. Such configurations are set up to funnel traffic to major arterials. Making illegal but safe-on-bike moves is one of the key ways to increase safety by getting oneself away from cars. Hester looks far safer to bike on than Broome.

  • kevd

    Jay Street lanes both totally clear at 6:30. Never seen that before.

  • And in Queens I continue to see groups of youngsters and teenagers riding on super dangerous Northern Boulevard rather than 34th Avenue which has been filled with undercover cops giving out heaps of tickets (while I haven’t seen a ticket issued yet in the 7 years I have lived here for anyone double parking in the bike lane).

  • BBnet3000

    That was the only spot where I saw a difference during previous stings. The thing is, sting ends, bike lanes get blocked up again immediately.

    Some of the worst parts (southbound from the bridge to Tillary and southbound between Fulton and Livingston) aren’t going to be protected even in the new design.

  • kevd

    I do not agree that southbound from the bridge to Tillary is even CLOSE to the worst.

  • BBnet3000

    Correct. The southern blocks that will not be made protected are certainly the worst, though I’d argue that given that the blocks above Tillary are really minor side streets they punch well above their weight in terms of crashes.

  • kevd

    Checks out with my experience.
    The Northbound blocks Tillary – Sands are the problem. Southbound are a piece of cake. There isn’t even an intersection. Then both directions From Tillary down to Schermerhorn…..

  • notsurprised

    NYPD on Bicycle Safe Passage this morning: Bike ticket traps at Queens Plaza N, 2nd ave & 34th, 33rd, 32nd. Not seen: failure to yield trap, driving on phone trap, speeding trap, blocking bike lane clearance, etc.

  • neroden

    Criminality by cops, nothing more.


Scenes of Mindless Bike Enforcement From “Operation Safe Cycle”

NYPD’s bike ticket blitz, a.k.a. Operation Safe Cycle, is halfway through its two-week run. The department has promised to target “hazardous violations that create a danger for pedestrians and cyclists,” but the accounts pouring in from readers suggest that police haven’t raised their game since the last flurry of bike enforcement. While it’s tough to get […]