Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Bicycling

UPDATE: NYPD Plagiarized Image — And Badly! — for Anti-Cyclist Tweet

You can add theft to the list of sins the NYPD has committed recently against cyclists.

The cartoon image in an anti-cyclist tweet posted last week by the 107th Precinct in Queens — reported on by Streetsblog last week — was actually stolen from a 2017 article in Thrillist. The graphic, by artist Jason Hoffman, adorned a story in which Bike Snob Eben Weiss gave cyclists helpful hints on avoiding trouble in the city. It was not an anti-cyclist story.

Cut to last week, however, when the 107th Precinct swiped the graphic and repurposed it as a symbol of cyclist lawbreaking.

“Bike smart. Be visible, use bike lanes and remember to give pedestrians priority,” the tweet said, even though nothing in the picture suggests that cyclists were not prioritizing the pedestrian, who is walking against the light without paying attention, while a cyclist gets a ticket for, it seems, no reason at all.

107th tweet

Hoffman told Streetsblog that he couldn't talk about the plagiarism before discussing it with Thrillist's legal team. But he did say that no one from the NYPD contacted him about using the image.

It is unclear how the NYPD found Hoffman's image. But, curiously, it shows up prominently if you do a Google images search "cyclists breaking the law cartoon."

The NYPD declined to comment for this story. The agency had issued a statement last week that failed to answer Streetsblog's question about who made the image for the NYPD.

Now we know why.

Spokeswoman Jessica McRorie said only, "The goal of the tweet is to promote safety for bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike. The graphic was meant to depict officers addressing the concerns of bicyclists, and emphasize traffic safety for everyone. The NYPD is a proud partner of the Vision Zero mission."

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Justice Dept., Citing Streetsblog Reporting, Threatens to Sue NYPD Over Cops’ Sidewalk Parking

The city is now facing a major civil rights suit from the Biden Administration if it doesn't eliminate illegal parking by cops and other city workers.

April 19, 2024

What to Say When Someone Claims ‘No One Bikes or Walks in Bad Weather’

Yes, sustainable modes are more vulnerable to bad weather. But that's why we should invest more in them — not less.

April 19, 2024

NYC Transit’s New Operations Planning Chief Wants To Fight ‘Ghost Buses’

One-time transit advocate and current MTA Paratransit VP Chris Pangilinan will oversee bus and subway operations for the whole city.

April 19, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: Gimme Bus Shelter Edition

The days of the Landmarks Preservation Commission reviewing every proposed bus shelter in landmarked districts may be no more. Plus more news.

April 19, 2024

Deal Reached: Hochul Says ‘Sammy’s Law’ Will Pass

The bill, though imperfect, has been four years in the making.

April 18, 2024
See all posts