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

    We do shut down some arteries for special events (Five Borough Bike Tour, for example). But that’s done on a day with lower traffic loads and with lots of advance warning and safety protocols in place. And, you know, permits.

    And if the police hadn’t cracked down the way they did, what would discourage these kids from doing this every one of the other 364 days of the year. It’s illegal. It’s dangerous. Why do you keep wanting to encourage it?

  • cjstephens

    I think we’re both too busy/tired/lazy to get the exact statistics on what flavor of vehicles are responsible for traffic congestion, be it on the highways or the surface roads. I recall the taxi lobby trying to promote a few studies to “prove” that Uber/Lyft were single-handedly responsible for causing congestion in Manhattan but the numbers proved to be, let’s say, weak.

    Would I like to see less traffic congestion? Sure, but putting the blame all on one group is, I suspect, never going to be the answer. Would I like to see fewer single-occupant private vehicles on busy arteries? Sure, but there are already so many forces discouraging that behavior (expensive parking, high insurance rates, etc.), that many (most?) of those trips get shifted to other modes wherever possible. Do you really know of many people who drive by themselves in NYC to get to A to B unless they absolutely have to?

  • baklazhan

    I don’t want to encourage it. I just don’t see it as a big crisis given that similar traffic jams happen every other day, and I think it’s a little odd to heap scorn on them while ignoring the elephant in the room.

  • baklazhan

    There is a huge amount of free parking on Manhattan streets. That’s a policy which would make perfect sense if the city wanted to encourage as much congestion as possible, and is quite terrible otherwise. And insurance rates are more-or-less a fixed cost for most people, so they don’t serve as much of a deterrent against driving more. And taxis/Uber are effectively single-occupant vehicles too, most of the time– their only advantage is that they don’t cruise around looking for parking. Not to say that they don’t have a role to play, but if you want to address congestion you have to address them as well.

    As far as highways go, it doesn’t take much observation to show that cars are still dominant in traffic numbers. Just walk out onto an overpass and watch.

  • DumpsterFire

    These kids need a lesson in scared straight. A huge number of them will be in prison before the decade is done.

  • And that’s the difference between being the hegemonic group (drivers) and being a marginalised group (bicyclists).

  • Joseph S

    This *totally* makes sense. These idiots had plenty of places to ride their bikes, but they chose they highway. This is NYPD doing its job for once.

  • Amber Greene

    If you can’t ride a bike on it, it doesn’t belong in a city.

  • Amber Greene

    That’s quite a stretch. Someone riding on the sidewalk and a critical mass ride taking the freeway are two entirely different things.

  • Amber Greene

    We don’t need helmets, thanks though.

  • Amber Greene

    Sounds like you have a low opinion of yourself.

  • William Lawson

    It doesn’t matter where the term originated, the fact is that it was *intended* to describe the act of a large crowd of kids going wild and breaking the law en masse. Show me a large group of white kids charging into a store and running out with loads of stolen goods, I’ll quite happily describe that as wilding and I’m pretty sure most other people would too. It’s not mine or anyone else’s fault that these kind of incidents usually happen in inner cities.

  • William Lawson

    If the kind of behavior that wilding describes is largely done by inner city kids, that’s really not the fault of the people describing it as wilding, and it’s intellectually dishonest to hint at them being racist for using the word.

    The NYPD’s response to what these kids are doing was clearly rooted in them clearly not going to let a large crowd of kids cycle up a busy expressway. If someone had gotten hurt and it was then determined that the NYPD had stood off on the grounds that people like you would accuse them of racism if they acted, there would be hell to pay. Gonna support them on this one.

  • Andrew

    so let me guess- ppl should start riding their cars on the sidewalks huh?

    I often see cars on sidewalks. I rarely see their drivers ticketed for the infraction, and I’ve certainly never seen them arrested.

  • Andrew

    I’d suggest that we focus our enforcement resources on discouraging people from doing things that endanger other people rather than doing things that endanger themselves.

  • David K.

    Yeah, and you just want my attention.

  • David K.

    “I often see cars on sidewalks” << BULLSH*T… i dont know what city you live in?!

  • Andrew
  • @William Lawson – Doubling down with a reductionist “usually happen in inner cities” factoid doesn’t help.

  • @cjstephens – To be a “rational actor” in an infrastructure designed to cook the planet and kill tens of thousands of us every year involves lots and lots and lots of denial. Irrational amounts, in fact.

  • William Lawson

    Taking valid points and manhandling them into a tiresome racial agenda helps even less.

  • @Jeff – Indeed, the highway-lovers never consider the massive damage done by freight trucks to their precious road surface (a function of the fourth power of weight per axle) and the resultant staggering subsidy it entails. But suggest a return to far less-damaging freight by rail and you’ll have a political struggle over every penny of the far-smaller subsidy.

  • @Simon Phearson – Streetsblog doesn’t avoid this issue, search especially for “equity” on the site. Can’t judge a site by those who troll the comments sections.

  • @Orwell’s Hood – I moved to NYC from Omaha and you’re not making any kind of point.

  • @cjstephens – Your revisionist version of Critical Mass is missing a lot of facts. At the peak of the crackdown, which was started by militarization of the NYPD for the Republican National Convention and continued for years afterwards — over 1,000 arrests — the city attempted to sue my group, which they blamed for the ride. We responded with a list of demands.

    The mayor appointed a great Commish and the great strides forward in bike infrastructure came a few years later, meeting every demand on our list except one.

  • (Texas Hill Country)

  • David K.

    Wow! Police Stations??? Thats your response to me saying, “so let me guess- PEOPLE should start RIDING their cars on the sidewalks”? You sent me pics of police cars PARKED on sidewalks!! Like i said before- we understand that you guys hate the nypd and want to be lawless…. I often use to wonder why they parked their cars like that so what i did was something called “research”. I actually went to the precinct and asked them myself instead of assuming and giving out false, incorrect, bias information. It all made sense after…. Educate yourself. Thats whats wrong with you and ppl like you now. Often comes from artist/ppl who dont work and or are on public assistance.

  • David K.

    Sounds like you want these low hanging balls in your mouth.

  • David K.

    The disturbing part about this is- all they had to do was get a permit from the precinct…That simple! Had they got a permit, the police would had blocked off certain streets from vehicular traffic, post signes and informed the neighborhood of the upcoming event instead of inconveniencing ppl due to an impromptu bike ride on the EXPRESSWAY which is very dangerous! What if a mad man got angry and decided to ram everyone off the road? …. Then you call the police “confrontational” for doing their job.

  • Isaac B

    “The “ride out” attracted hundreds of participants, mostly young men of color, who rode through the Bronx and Manhattan.” – Streetsblog

    I believe what I experienced was part of that same ride.

  • Brad Aaron

    This person has been banned from commenting on Streetsblog.

  • It’s the hypocrisy of “auto-centric” that is the problem, and is what’s being pointed out. Everybody here knows plenty well what an expressway is for and why they shouldn’t really exist in an urban environment. Don’t get all confused by the sardonic and sarcastic expressions here in the comments.

  • I could walk down almost any sidewalk in Seattle, which is exponentially more civil than NYC or SF sidewalks, and still take a half dozen pictures of cars parked on sidewalks. Rarely ticketed. Also there’s a huge problem with blocking the box here in Seattle, and it’s only getting worse as people keep driving and thinking they’ve got a human right to forcefully encroach on others with their automobile.

    But the world’s a changing. Slowly people are wising up to the situation.

  • cjstephens

    Well, if we took your approach we would certainly have more candidates for the Darwin Awards, but I still think that cops should try to talk people down from jumping off roofs, bridges, etc. And would it be too much to hope that these cyclists’ parents might be the ones to say “hey, don’t ride your bike on the highway, OK?”

  • cjstephens

    If all you can see when you look at a highway is some evil vector of global warming, you must not have a very broad imagination.

  • cjstephens

    Do you honestly think that Bloomberg built all that bike infrastructure because of Critical Mass? Or do you think that Bloomberg built it because we finally elected a mayor who wasn’t limited to a windshield perspective of how traffic should move? Whose being revisionist now?

  • Exactly. A highway may go on the periphery of a city, but it should never go in a city’s interior.

  • Anyone who refuses to accept the reality that black people, especially black males, are improperly targeted by law enforcement has nothing meaningful to contribute to discussions on any aspect of life in this country.

    This is the over-arching problem that we face in our society, the problem of out-of-control, over-militarised police behaving as occupation forces and engaging in genocidal practices. To call complaints about this excessive racist violence “tiresome” is to be part of the problem, as this dismissiveness helps to trivialise and to normalise a great evil.

  • qrt145

    Based on my driving experience, I’d say the average vehicle speed on the Cross Bronx Expressway is about 1 mph, which would make it safer than a parking lot. 🙂

  • William Lawson

    Translation: anyone who refuses to accept my point of view should be shut down and ignored. Yep, got it.

    Rational people ignore the sloganeering nonsense of bandwagon movements like BLM and consider the matter objectively. To wit: there is no evidence to show that cops are any more likely to shoot a black person than a white person in exactly the same situation.

    The problem of violence is far more pronounced in the black community than in the white community. That’s not conjecture, it’s an objective fact. You’re six or seven more times more likely to die violently if you’re black than if you’re white. That figure is not due to racist cops shooting black people, it’s because black people are murdering each other. This level of violence almost guarantees that black people will be more likely to find themselves in violent/desperate situations with law enforcement.

    The BLM movement does not take any of this into account, because it dilutes their agenda somewhat. In fact it dilutes it tremendously. Yes, there are highly publicized cases of unarmed black people being shot by overzealous thug cops. But what % of black police shootings does these cases account for? The BLM movement does not make that distinction. In their eyes, any shooting of a black person by police is racist and unjustified. When an unarmed white person is shot dead by police, the race-mongers stay silent. Like that white guy in the video yesterday who was shot dead at a point where the cop he was wrestling with was no longer in any danger – as he stood and ran his hands through his hair. Shot seven times. If that had been a black guy in the video then people like you would be marching through the streets by now.

    The fact is that BLM types are driven and motivated by the stories that are drip fed to them by the media. They don’t care about non-publicized cases of unarmed white people being shot dead by police in the suburbs or in rural communities. The media heavily skews its coverage toward black police killings. This is for two reasons, a) because racial controversy sells newspapers, drives page clicks and generates ad revenue, and b) because they are far more likely to cover a shooting case when there is a video they can accompany the story with. Most black police shootings happen in relatively densely populated cities where there are numerous witnesses who invariably whip out their smartphones and start filming – shootings which happen in quieter suburban neighborhoods and rural communities are far less likely to be caught on camera and thus the media isn’t interested in them.

    I really don’t think you understand the word “genocide” by the way. But this kind of ridiculous misuse of language is typical in the over-emotional, slogan-driven social justice warrior.

  • “Genocide” is the applicable term. In this country, black people are routinely and systematically brutalised, and sometimes even killed, by racist whites who use their status as law enforcement officers as a pretext to carry out their violent acts. And judges and juries, who tend to have sympathy for the same racist views, almost never hold these scum accountable.

    Furthermore, the greater incidence of violence within black communities versus that which occurs amongst whites is a function of poverty and deprivation — conditions which have been imposed upon black people.

    The point is that the issues that face black Americans are caused entirely by their treatment at the hands of white Americans, both institutionally and individually. To locate the cause anywhere else (such as in black people’s own behaviour, as you have been doing with your invocation of the imaginary phenomenon of”wilding” and in other equally inappropriate comments) is profoundly immoral, as well as completely at odds with the historical facts.

    It’s not anyone’s “point of view” that you’re arguing with; its objective reality. You’re the equivalent of a flat-Earther here; and you are embarrassing yourself.

  • False premise, never said that was all I can see. To see only all the positives about cars that are shoved down our throat by the largest advertisement campaign in history is not exactly testament to imagination or even critical thinking.

  • False premise, that’s not what I wrote.

  • cjstephens

    Uh, yes, you did. You just took credit for the improvements under Bloomberg. Though I’m curious which of your “demands” didn’t get met.

  • cjstephens

    So there’s not a single good thing you can think of when it comes to automobiles? Nothing at all?

  • William Lawson

    I’m sorry man, I just don’t buy this bullshit in a million years. Never have done and never will. When people misuse terms like “genocide” to such an extent, I doubt their intelligence from the get go and the rest of their arguments invariably come crashing down after that.

    When you’re talking about racist cops “using their badge as a pretext to commit racist violence against black people” you’re talking about such a tiny fraction of the overall number of black murders every year that to describe it as genocide is just plain childish. Furthermore, those particular kinds of police shootings are a small minority of police shootings as a whole, most of which have a pretext *extremely far removed” from “racist violence” (e.g. the perp being shot in the course of committing an act of violence or attacking a police officer).

    The greater incidence of black violence is not a function of poverty. Let’s just nip that particular line of reasoning in the bud immediately, because it’s so obviously bullshit. If it were true, then why aren’t more poor black Americans committing violence? In fact the vast majority of poor black Americans never commit a violent crime in their lives. How do you explain that?

    The violence in the black community is disproportionately perpetrated by an extremely small subset of black people – gang members. And this gang violence was a product of the early 70’s onwards – before this, when poverty was even more acute in the black community, the rates of violent crime in black America were significantly lower.

    “…the issues that face black Americans are caused entirely by their treatment at the hands of white Americans” — absolute horseshit. I cannot stress that enough. Making such ridiculous statements only serves to immunize toxic black leaders and influencers like Sharpton as well as violent, racist black separatists like Huey Newton and black Marxists like George Wiley from their destructive actions against the black community. Just because the root of a problem was originally white racism does not mean that everyone who has perpetuated these problems and made them *much worse* throughout history, including black politicians and leaders and everyone else who perpetuates the toxic industry of victimhood and buck passing in the ghetto, is absolved from guilt.

    Of course I’m not the equivalent of a flat earther. Again, it’s statements like this which completely and utterly ruin your credibility.

  • Kwyjibo

    Congratulations. Along with Trump, the Manhattan Institute and the New York Post are in your corner.

    http://nypost.com/2017/09/26/all-that-kneeling-ignores-the-real-cause-of-soaring-black-homicides/

    OK, so “wilding” is racist because (a) it is virtually 100 percent of the time applied in reference to black kids and (b) it is virtually 100 percent of the time applied in reference to black kids because it dovetails with the centuries-old practice of white people dehumanizing black people by likening them to animals and supernatural beings whose behavior can only be controlled by deadly force. Unless of course they’re entertaining us on the football field or the basketball court.

    See: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/11/14/Study-shows-whites-think-blacks-are-superhuman-magical/6881416006231/

    Stopping kids from riding bicycles on the highway does not necessitate criminal charges. There are other ways to do it. But when faced with people of color who get out of line, power knows no leniency. As someone else here said, it’s a wonder cops didn’t execute them on the spot. They would have gotten away with it.

    No matter. It’s obvious from your remarks in this thread that your regressive opinions on race won’t be influenced by other people’s reality. Not, as you say, in a million years.

    This is to be expected. The typical white fish doesn’t know he’s swimming in privilege, and doesn’t want to.

  • disqus_tWpcfVpy4l

    How is carbon influenced climate change working out? Doing nothing assures more death and destruction. A radical reboot is required. We should applaud these young folks not look them up. They are heroes

  • Repeating a false premise doesn’t make it true.

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