Police Farce: Cops Corral Cyclists Into Trumped-Up Tickets

bike lane block Police Farce: Cops Corral Cyclists Into Trumped Up TicketsWe know cops and cyclists don’t get along. Police officers have a habit of pulling guns on bikers, on knocking them over in Times Square, of stealing their bikes because the president’s in town, and all other kinds of shenanigans–and then the bikers tend to get tickets, too, rubbing salt in those wound. As predicted, the bike backlash is getting worse. Following Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s report about the tribultions of the bike lanes, clueless cyclists wound up with as much, if not more, blame than their clueless compatriots on foot and in cars. As a result, the NYPD has promised to begin enforcing bike laws more stringently.

Uh oh.

Exhibit A is an event that occurred this morning on First Avenue near 23rd Street. Gothamist got word from a reader that an officer had parked his cruiser in the bike lane (certainly not the first time this has happened) and began ticketing all those who steered into the adjacent traffic lane because the cruiser had blocked their path. Presumably, this guy intended no malice and was just trying to game his CompStat scores. And yet he was not even handing out the right kind of tickets.

“It’s irresponsible-and illegal-for the NYPD to crackdown on ‘scofflaw’ cyclists using provisions of law or regulation that don’t apply to bicyclists (i.e., ticketing bicyclists for reckless operation of a motor vehicle or for riding outside the bike lane in violation of state laws that don’t apply in NYC),” an attorney told Gothamist.

Once you’ve gotten over having your mind boggled, consider this a warning to all cyclists. With bike laws now being enforced, the police will probably be looking for any opportunity to hand out tickets. They will probably relish it, even, and since it will be the biker’s word against the cop’s, it will probably be a hard rap to beat.

Bikers, be on your best behavior. Not that you weren’t already…

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo