Summer 2004, p.7
Police enforce bike lanes.
It's a spring rite for NYPD bike cops to issue a flurry of bicycle traffic tickets and summonses for infractions like riding without a bell and riding on the sidewalk. NYPD bike cops also write a lot of spring summonses to double-parking drivers who block bike lanes.
For a decade, T.A. has worked with the NYPD to focus bike enforcement on making streets safer. We regularly meet with the Commanding Officers of local precincts and urge them to go after the most dangerous offenses, like biking on the sidewalk and against traffic, not pick on cyclists who are just trying to do the right thing.
Of the 25,000 bicycling-related summonses issued by NYPD bike units in an average year, about 19,000 are given to double parkers and other parking violators, 650 to those parking in bike lanes, 900 to red light running cyclists, 850 to cyclists riding the wrong way, 300 to sidewalk cyclists and the rest to cyclists for violations such as biking without brakes, not riding in the bike lane and to motorists blocking intersections.
Targeting cyclists who ride the
wrong way, ride on the sidewalk or fail to yield to pedestrians makes the
streets safer for everyone. ( T.A.’s Working Cyclist Safety Campaign focuses on
these most dangerous infractions.) On the other hand, ticketing bike riders for
much less serious infractions—such as riding outside the bike lane, not having
bells or not dismounting and walking their bicycles on certain bridge paths—has
a negligible effect on safety. In fact, such “harassment” summonses
Fortunately, the NYPD’s Chief of Transportation, Michael Scagnelli, has made “quality” summonses that do the most to improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety a top priority for both the NYPD’s Traffic Control Division and local precincts. For example, Chief Scagnelli has drastically increased summonses for double-parking, a ubiquitous threat to all road users because double parkers force motorists and cyclists alike to veer into adjacent traffic. Reducing double-parkers also improves visibility for bikers, walkers and drivers.
“Are You Riding In The Safety Zone?”
Answer these quick questions to find out. Give yourself one point for each question you answer yes to.
When riding I always:
1-3: Whoa there cowboy! What
are you trying to prove? Unsafe riding puts you and others at risk of serious
injury or worse.
A History of NYC’s Cops on Bikes
In 1895 New York City Police
Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt created the city’s
What started with five donated
bikes in the Upper West Side’s 24th Precinct grew
© 1997-2009 Transportation Alternatives
127 West 26th Street, Suite 1002
New York, NY 10001