The first two weeks of the year saw the New York Police Department crack down on wild bike riders, delivering “an all-time high” amount of tickets for offenses like “going the wrong way, running lights, making illegal turns and riding on the sidewalk,” according to a report in today’s New York Post. The avalanche of summonses hit every borough, but none harder than Manhattan where 979 tickets were handed out, as compared to 315 in Brooklyn and 167 in Queens. “It’s from now until forever,” one person told the Post. “There is no set time.” There will be no more riding free in this city.
For their part, the Post seems eager to target any unruly group of (mostly) young people, stacking four anti-bike quotes on top of one defensive take from a rider. The paper also calls the above stats city records, but also admits that the NYPD “did not have the exact number of bicycle tickets written out in Manhattan over any other two-week period.” Their sources were pretty sure though! Even a waiter in Williamsburg, just 20-years-old, and a bike lane advocate were made to seem grumpy in soundbites:
“They should abide by the laws that are made for them.
“[The police] should give more summonses, and maybe people will obey the laws more.”
Norman Steisel, of the advocacy group Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, said he thought there was definitely a need for the crackdown.
“There’s a lot of abusive riders who don’t pay attention to whatever the rules of the road are for bikes,” said Steisel, the city’s former sanitation commissioner.
“They think they have free rein and . . . and they don’t realize the dangers.”
Another Brooklyn waiter, a cyclist, called the more stringent policing “annoying.” And nuanced debate continues to thrive in our city’s tabloids.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 24, 2011