All year, the NYPD has been writing avalanches of tickets for cyclists as part of an ongoing “crackdown” meant to make the roads safer, and the New York Post has been celebrating. The city is “on a roll,” the tabloid wrote this week, with 13,843 tickets for bike-riders so far this year, up from 9,345 last year over the same period, and only 3,708 in 2009. The problem is that many of the so-called violations are probably bullshit, not on the NYC books, and therefore not ticketable offenses. And so the cyclists plan to strike back with a class-action lawsuit now in the works.
Gothamist reports that Oliver and Oliver Law and Rankin & Taylor are putting together a class-action lawsuit for everyone who’s been ticketed so far. “We believe there’s a viable claim because officers are being improperly trained and issuing tickets for violations that don’t apply in NYC,” said attorney David Rankin.
Oliver and Oliver tease the forthcoming lawsuit, writing, “NYPD’s enforcement of traffic laws against cyclists over the years has been inconsistent and in several respects deeply flawed. Cyclists can help protect themselves against arbitrary traffic law enforcement by learning the history and details.”
“We need enforcement driven by data, not anecdotes,” said a representative of Transportation Alternative, who are designing a map of exactly where and why cyclists have been given tickets. “More New Yorkers are killed by cars than by guns; 200-300 people die on our streets every year thanks to automotive violence.”