What did THE LAW say at the club meeting

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Anonymous's picture

I couldn't make it to the club meeting. I would appreciate posts on any interesting comments made by the various government speakers.

Anonymous's picture
Peter Hochstein (not verified)
"The ""LAW?"""

LAW, the League of American Wheelmen, wasn't there. However, there were several NYPD bicycle cops and they were interesting and enlightening. I'm not going to summarize the whole roughly 75 minutes worth. However...

Some of the key points:

•First of all, you'd like these guys (and one woman.) You'd enjoy their company. They're like us. They love to ride. They think they're having more fun than any other cops in New York.

•Bicycle lanes on Avenue Streets may suck, and you may be one of those who can do better on the opposite side of the street. But you'd better not. You can be ticketed for not using the bicycle lane on a street that has one.

•Their primary ticketable beef against recreational cyclists has to do with those who violate crosswalks and, they say, endanger pedestrians. The pedestrian now always, always, always has the right of way, even when jaywalking.

•As previously confirmed by various people on club bulletin boards, moving violations on a bike are certainly ticketable just like automobile violations, although the fine is slightly lower because the state doesn't add a surcharge to bike violations. You should not be charged points on your driver's license for moving bicycle violations. However...

•If a police officer asks you to identify yourself, you must do so under the law. Otherwise you can be cuffed and shlepped off to the station house.

•They are making efforts to ticket the jerks who use bike lanes as a handy place to double-park trucks and cars. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of bike cops. They're the ones who are primarily doing the ticketing of motor vehicles in bike lanes. It's progress, but slow progress, subject to the size of the bicycle cop force.

•We also had a couple of DOT folks there who explained the rather Kafka-esque ways things like bicycle routes and dedicated greenway space get approved or trashed. Don't even get me started.

•The really good news is, when it comes to ticketing cyclists, the bike cops are focusing primarily on messengers and delivery guys who ride on sidewalks, ride wrecklessly, ride without lights, and so on.

•The really bad news is, the bike cops speak only for themselves. They cannot influence and do not speak for the guys in patrol cars who, as you know, have often ticketed recreational cyclists.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
B.S. from the NYPD

I couldn't make the meeting but asked that two statements be made in my name to the police. I don't believe they were.

I read following the most recent Critical Mass ride bicycles that were chained and locked had their locks broken by the police and the bikes were confiscated. The transparently b.s. pretext by the police: they claimed they thought the bikes were abandoned.

My question: How many cars that have had their doors and steering wheels locked have been broken into and confiscated by the police in the belief they were abandoned?


For several years I,going through all the proper channels prescribed by the police, have sought to learn the number of tickets given to drivers in Central Park for speeding or being in the park when the park was closed to cars.

In one instance the public information officer, a Det. Burns or Barnes, promised to get back to me with the information by my deadline, which was still sufficiently in the future. He never did call back. Ever.

A second inquiry, a few years later, ended up on this same public information officer's desk, as directed by the Central Park Precint. This time Burns/Barnes, who didn't recall me from our previous back-and-forth, simply and outright lied to me and said there were no such statistics or records kept. Funny, the CP Precinct says there are...but I would have to get them from the NYPD Public Info Office.

Anonymous's picture
Peter Hochstein (not verified)
Central Park and other forms of cycling grief

"Please understand, this is not a challenge to Richard, whose energy, advocacy and activism on behalf of bicyclists I greatly respect.

However, what the bicycle patrol cops said to us is that they cannot speak for anyone in the NYPD save themselves. One suspects their sympathy for some of our problems is a bit deeper than they may express. They never mentioned the words ""departmental politics,"" but you can read between the lines.

My memory is now fuzzy on whether there was a discussion about Central Park and what was said. To the best of my very faulty memory, the question of cars in the park came up and somebody (The DOT people? The police?) said, if I recall correctly, that they had no responsibility and that you have to talk to the Central Park Precinct.

Which leaves Richard in a quandry on some issues that he and I share, and provides a less than satisfactory answer. Alas, Kafka could have a field day.

But I still dig the bicycle cops. I think their presence and attitude, most especially if it eventually spreads to other members of the NYPD, could do a great deal for the future of cycling in New York City."

Anonymous's picture
Yogi (not verified)

"The Rally for a Car-Free Central Park

Tuesday, October 26th, 7-8:30 pm

Landmark on the Park, Central Park West at 76th Street

To attend, please RSVP:


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