Hundreds of Kids Biked on the Cross-Bronx Expressway — So NYPD Arrested Them

The city's aggressive enforcement against kids riding bikes in large groups lacks any sense of proportion.

Video from Sunday's group ride on the Cross Bronx Expressway. Image: Inside Edition
Video from Sunday's group ride on the Cross Bronx Expressway. Image: Inside Edition

NYPD officers arrested 16 kids for biking on Sunday, CBS New York reports.

Hundreds of young people took to city streets and highways for a “ride out,” which is sort of like Critical Mass for the social media age. Kids organize large group rides, pop wheelies, and post videos of themselves online.

Videos of Sunday’s ride show the group biking on the Cross-Bronx Expressway. You may see kids taking advantage of safety in numbers to have some fun on city streets over the weekend. NYPD sees a criminal offense. About an hour in, NYPD officers set up a roadblock and began arresting participants.

In one video of the arrests shared on Instagram, officers hold a young rider against the ground. Other videos posted on the “NYC Social Cycling” Facebook group show helicopters and other police vehicles tailing the group, and one boy with bruises from being knocked off his bike by a police officer riding a moped.

A post shared by @lattidatti on

“This was a planned citywide rally of bicyclists,” a police spokesperson told CBS New York, as if that constitutes a menace to public safety. NYPD did not disclose the ages of the people arrested or what charges they face. The Post reported that most charges were for disorderly conduct. (Streetsblog has a request in for more information.)

This isn’t the first time NYPD has filed criminal charges against young people for riding bikes in groups. In April, after the Staten Island Advance posted its third scare story about the scourge of teens riding bikes, officers from the 122nd Precinct arrested at least four kids.

About a decade ago, NYPD issued new rules outlawing group rides of 50 or more people without a permit, an outgrowth of police aggressively targeting Critical Mass in the wake of the 2004 Republican National Convention. It didn’t make sense then, and it doesn’t make sense now.

The 16 kids arrested on Sunday now face more serious consequences than most drivers who actually end someone else’s life on city streets.

  • @cjstephens – I can’t help with your reading comprehension. You claimed that Critical Mass did more harm than good. I countered that the goals of the people targeted by the city because of Critical Mass were actually fulfilled, a reality that debunks that claim. I wrote nothing about one causing the other.

    The one unsatisfied demand involved restoring Park Ave. to a park.

  • Bloomberg built our bike infrastructure because he understood the concepts of livable streets that have long been propogated by various kinds of activists, including Critical Mass.

    In other words: while Critical Mass didn’t directly cause Bloomberg to build bike infrastructure, it did affect the conversation around bike-related issues to the degree that Bloomberg’s thinking on those questions could be influenced.

  • cjstephens

    I’ll ask Mike next time I see him (kidding!), but I think you need to keep in mind that the conversation around bike-related issues was also effected – to my mind to a much greater degree – by the negative coverage that Critical Mass generated outside our little bike-friendly echo chamber.

  • cjstephens

    I’m not surprised: restoring Park Avenue to a park? Park Avenue was never a park; it was a rail yard and railroad tracks that got platformed over in order to improve real estate values (and a great example of that model). And if it’s your fantasy to take credit for all the improvements cyclists have experience in the last few decades, I’m too tired to burst that delusion. Have at it.

  • Joseph S

    One has nothing to do with the other. Biking = good. Biking on the Cross Bronx Expressway = Idiotic.

  • AnoNYC

    I live near the CBX. The riders were moving faster than regular traffic. I doubt this impacted anyone’s commute any more than normal.

  • AnoNYC

    People stand between lanes to sell waters near exits on the CBX. These bicyclists were traveling about as fast as it can get during the day.

  • AnoNYC

    Looks like it was moving pretty smoothly that day too.

  • AnoNYC

    The motorcyclists move much more quickly than bicyclist. And the most likely reason for the breakdown of this event was fatigue after the NYPD started corralling riders.

    You are definitely overestimating the power of LE. There are limits.

  • AnoNYC

    Eh, traffic on the CBX normally travels at very low speeds. These bicyclists hardly shut down the northeast corridor.

  • Indeed, the “50 or more” rule in this instance is exactly that.

  • Andrew

    You seemed surprised that I said that I often see cars on sidewalks. I gave some examples, including outside police stations, at a packing company, in front of a dialysis center, and on a random street in Downtown Brooklyn.

    To be fair, I included a few trucks – it’s not only cars that regularly intrude on sidewalks in New York.

  • Alicia

    Of course one has something to do with the other, given that automobile emissions are a source of greenhouse gases.

  • Joseph S

    Just because biking in general is better than automobile use doesn’t make biking on the Cross Bronx Expressway a good idea. There are plenty of streets to bike on. The Cross Bronx is not one of those.

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