A blogger for Transportation Nation witnessed two cyclists being pulled over and ticketed in Manhattan for biking not on the sidewalk, but on the street — just not in the available bike lane. According to the Department of Transportation, “you have the right to ride in the center of travel lanes when necessary for your safety,” though state law clarifies, “Whenever a usable path or lane for bicycles has been provided, bicycle riders shall use such path or lane only except under any of the following situations.” On Centre Street, near where the tickets were given, cyclists biking north must merge onto Lafayette, ending up on the right side of the street, though the bike lane is on the left side, across two lanes of traffic. Cops were conveniently parked in a van just north of there, on Prince Street.
Probably not coincidentally, the police stakeout spot is the same intersection written about in the New York Post this week, where reporters claimed to watch 24 percent of 7,182 cyclists violate a traffic law. As Transportation Nation notes, “The Post did not count the number of cars or pedestrians that violated laws or obstructed the bike lane.”
Reporting from the scene today:
“When he pulled me over, I said, ‘Why you pulling me over?’ [The police officer] said, ‘I’m pulling you over because you are not riding your bicycle in the line bicycle [points to bike lane], you are on the other side.’ I said, ‘I never heard of that.’ He said, ‘We’re doing that now.'”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 27, 2011