NYPD Files Criminal Charges Against Kids for Biking on Hylan Boulevard
Officers from the 122nd Precinct arrested at least four teenagers yesterday on misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct, according to CBS New York. Their crime? Biking on Hylan Boulevard.
The teens were “riding bikes the wrong way against traffic, causing motorists to move out of [their] way, causing hazardous conditions,” NYPD told Streetsblog. Police confiscated bicycles, and at least one defendant was also charged with resisting arrest and reckless endangerment.
While the kids on bikes now have criminal records, the arrests will do nothing to reduce the death toll on Hylan Boulevard, where drivers have killed 14 people since 2014, including nine pedestrians and one cyclist.
— NYPD 122nd Precinct (@NYPD122Pct) February 21, 2017
Abnormally warm weather greeted NYC high school students on spring break this week — irresistible conditions for wheelie-popping, much to the chagrin of the Staten Island Advance, which has been posting scare stories about groups of bike-riding teenagers since the summer.
In August, the Advance posted not one, not two, but three stories about young people biking on the borough’s streets, including video of what the paper described as “a large group of teens… antagonizing motorists, yelling at them and creating traffic mayhem.”
Yesterday, the Advance got its wish. Just hours after the paper posted about “concerns” aired on social media about the kids on bikes, the 122nd Precinct was out in force.
NYPD’s decision to file criminal charges stands out. Criminal arrests can have serious, cascading lifelong consequences. The response is completely disproportionate to the precinct’s handling of motorists who actually harmed people.
In multiple cases, NYPD has declined to arrest drivers who killed people in the same precinct. That was the case in 2015 when a driver killed UPS worker Tom Ryan as he unloaded packages from his truck. NYPD filed no charges when a driver making a turn killed 72-year-old Bujar Hasimja and injured his wife in the 122nd Precinct in 2013.
Motorists have killed no fewer than 13 people walking and biking in the 122nd Precinct since 2012, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. Drivers did not get as much as a traffic ticket in almost half of those cases.
The worst these kids did was cause motorists some stress, but now they’re facing worse charges than motorists who ended other people’s lives.