Bicycle ticket blitz

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35 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

"This is not intended to start a thread on the appropriateness of police issuing tickets to cyclists. Rather it is meant as an ""alert"" to be extra careful.

Yesterday, I was riding my bicycle north on Central Park West and was pulled over by a police cruiser. I was told I had just gone thru 3 red lights. 3! I was polite, humble, and very apologetic. The officer told me that at times, in order to be sure cyclists are obeying the traffic laws, there is a concentrated effort to look out for cyclists. And guess what, he said, this is one of those times. So, be extra careful!

The policemam was polite, sincere, and caring. Yes, he was! He told me he would not issue me a ticket. But, he also told me other policemen might very well do so.
So, be extra careful. And if stopped, be polite, humble and apologetic."

Anonymous's picture
Jonathan Bloom (not verified)

Thanks Christy you always seem to get off the hook.

Also watch out at 35th and 6th Ave. I got nailed at a red light trap along with a few other bikers (mostly messengers) and was issued a ticket. OUCH! I was polite and humble but forgot to apologize.

Anonymous's picture
todd brilliant (not verified)

oh, so that's why there was a cyclist sitting there in the bike lane on cpw this evening waiting for the light to turn green (as i toddled by on my 100-year-old schwinn). very bizarre.

i hope all this nonsense about cyclists having to obey traffic laws cools down soon. i don't think i've ever done a ride of any length in the city without breaking at least 20 traffic rules along the way.


Anonymous's picture
Christy Guzzetta (not verified)

I even stopped at a red light this morning. Really, I did. Really, really, really. I always stop at red lights. Yeah, sure I do! Just be careful!

They have some nerve giving us tickets for breaking the law!

Seriously, be careful. It's bicycle ticket blitz time!

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Leave our toys alone

"""i hope all this nonsense about cyclists having to obey traffic laws cools down soon.""

Yeah, what's going on? You'd think a bicycle was an actual vehicle or something. Everyone knows bikes are just toys.


Anonymous's picture
Rita Tellerman (not verified)

"Christy, on Tuesday morning while exiting CP on West 100th St. at 7:00am I got stopped by the police. Not only was I going down a one way street the wrong way, I had no id, no bell, and no reflectors on my wheels. The officers gave me a ticket for no reflectors and all I have to do is go to the precinct and show them the reflectors and sign something. I will not be going down 100th Street anytime soon. They said they are cracking down as there have been a number of accidents of folks on bikes. Hopefully this ""blitz"" will be short lived."

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
It is not a legal requirement that you bike with I.D....I think.

I believe I'm right in saying that. Can anyone confirm, one way or the other?

NYC has the lowest ownership of cars of any major U.S. city so, I have to think, likely the lowest percent of licensed drivers.

I don't carry my driver's license when I ride; I don't know that I've ever carried legal I.D. when riding in cycle clothing. If you don't have a driver's license, what constitutes legal I.D.? It's not as though we're about to carry our passports or utility bills.

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
It changed, technically at least, with Supreme Court decision.

The ruling, in a case decided last term, included that it's OK to arrest people without ID, if there is a legitimate reason to stop them otherwise. In other words, you don't have to have an ID, but if you don't, you're subject to arrest when stopped for some otherwise ticketable offense. (I don't know whether NYC has changed its policing procedures to take advantage of that yet.)

As for the reflector requirement, however, I believe that it only applies when riding from sunset to dawn. See these legal requirements for bikes in NY (also posted recently on this board):

A brake which is capable of making the bike tires skid on dry, level pavement (Sec. 1236(c)).
A bell, horn or other device that can be heard at least a hundred feet away. Sirens and whistles are not permitted. (Sec. 1236(b)).
Bicycles driven between a half-hour after sunset and a half-hour before sunrise must be equipped with a white front headlight visible in darkness for at least 500 feet, and a red taillight visible for at least 300 feet. One of these lights must also be visible on each side for at least 200 feet (Sec. 1236(a)).
A bicycle, when purchased new and/or driven at night, must have reflective tires, or wide-angle, spoke-mounted reflectors. Reflectors must be colorless or amber for front wheels, and colorless or red for rear wheels (Sec. 1236(d)).

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
So what constitutes legal I.D.?

I appreciate your post. It is instructive.

It begs the question: What constitutes legal identification? People aren't going to carry their passports. Many NYers don't have a driver's license. Is it incumbent on the general populace to apply and pay the, I think, state Sec. of State for state I.D. that is merely that and is not a license? Or should people carry their utility bills?

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
What is a proper ID?

Well, the state issued one should be OK (it is issued at the driver's license bureaus and looks very similar).

As to what else suffices probably depends on the cop:

a photo ID from an established entity, e.g., employer, school, etc.,
a credit card,
as you suggest, a ConEd bill might be enough.

IDs, usually with photos, are required to enter many buildings in NYC, and of course to fly out of any airport, so most people have faced this question in some way previously. (I personally carry my previous (expired) driver's license when on my bike and I would show it if necessary to avoid arrest, plus it serves for ID in the event of incapacitation.)

Anonymous's picture
Kate (not verified)
I certainly hope you carry some sort of ID

"not related to the ""legal ID"" thread but please don't ever go out without some sort of identification on you! and make sure it's not your own phone number but someone that will be there to pick up in the event of emergency."

Anonymous's picture
Christy Guzzetta (not verified)

Rita - gosh, if I've told you once, I've told you 100 times, don't go down West 100th Street!

The policemen who stopped me told me the same thing, it's a ticket blitz. He also suggested it's focused on the upper west side. But, from what I'm hearing, cyclists are getting tickets all over town.

Be careful. If this blitz is anything like all the others, it too shall pass. Till the next one, next Spring.

Gosh, even Todd is stopping at red lights. Yeah, sure he is.

Anonymous's picture
David R (not verified)
6th Avenue

"I keep hearing about 6th Avenue being the focus of the tickets. It may have been sensationalized a bit, but a messenger friend told me police were essentially tackling cyclists there. That was two weeks ago, so they may target different areas each week. Yeah seriously, who do they think they are for enforcing the law? What's funny is that I am really convinced of this sentiment and find myself impetuous when approached by the police. I guess I see the ""innocent"" red lights, no bell, and no reflector as equivalent to getting pulled over for going three or four miles over the speed limit. It's just accepted."

Anonymous's picture
Rich (not verified)
Funny Thread

This is a funny thread.

According to the advice here-in, we should obey traffic laws, mainly because there is a ticket blitz on.

Not because it might be dangerous and increase your odds of colliding with a car while running a red light, riding the wrong way, or riding at night without lights or reflective gear.

And not because obeying the law puts cyclists in a much better position to demand that the city crack down on reckless driving.

And not because the right to use the road entails the responsibility to follow some common sense traffic rules, if for nothing else, at least for the sake of self preservation.

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Thank You!

I will provide any NYPD office with a $100 Starbucks card to come over to Second Avenue and ticket those on bicycles going the wrong way...

Anonymous's picture
Neile (not verified)
An informal poll

"""All of you who've NEVER jaywalked, please raise your hand ... ""

(Ok ... )

""And would those of you who FREQUENTLY run red lights when operating a motor vehicle ... please raise your hands.""

(I see ...)

""Now would all of you who frequently run red lights WHEN RIDING A BIKE please raise your hand ...

(Whoa ... !)

Ok, so there's a disconnect. Jaywalking is OK (or at least there are no known ticket blitzes to address the problem), but no one is advocating that cars be able to run red lights.

The problem is that cycling falls into a gray area, with the operative variable being the degree of enforcement.

The particular difficulty for those who cycle in traffic is that you must *continually, repeatedly* interact with have cars that refuse to acknowledge your legal right of way. Ditto pedestrians.

That being the reality, isn't it inevitable that even the most law abiding citizen would start cutting corners also?


Anonymous's picture
Isaac (not verified)


If the authorities want to crack down on reckless motorists, God bless them.

If the authorities want to go after Jaywalkers, they'll try ticketing them or they'll engineer intersections to prevent Jaywalking (like the barricades on 6th) but ultimately, at least in NYC, they can't stop people from crossing the street (go to Newport in Jersey City or to LA and you'll see what hostility can be engineered against pedestrians.)

If the authorities want to crack down on cyclists, they can enact laws requiring minimum age, licensing, registration and insurance, just like a motor vehicle. That'll dry up cycling and its supporting industry faster than you can say ""ultegra"".


Anonymous's picture
chris o (not verified)
If you are concerned about the law and safety

fuggedabout the cyclists

I guess you ride and obey all the traffic laws. That is fine. I commend that. But I won't tell you what to do if you don't tell me what to do.

When cyclists break the law, in the overwhelming majority of cases they put no one in harm's way, except maybe themselves as you pointed out. The majority however don't blindly run lights, but make sure it is safe or use the mass of jaywalking pedestrians as our blockers. Granted, there are some pretty reckless and selfish cyclists but I trust they number very few among the members here.

If cyclist law-breaking troubles you, how do you feel about the endless and really dangerous law-breaking of drivers with tons of steel at stake? Most drivers don't use signals when they turn or change lanes. That is dangerous. A great many drivers speed and run lights - very dangerous stuff. They speak on cell phones. They crash and kill and maim innocents. This happens all the time. Usually when a cyclist is killed, (s)he was hit by a driver.

On a lesser but serious quality-of-life note, drivers constantly honk their horns, annoying up to hundreds of residents per blare. This is also illegal - and it makes me want to kill them.

But why worry about the mad illegality of drivers and pedestrians, let us target the cyclists! After all, it is a cycling message board.

Your mad cyclist,

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Yes Chris!

Another $100 Starbucks card to any NYPD officer who comes over to the east side and tickets drivers for illegally honking, or for anything...

This gets me thinking. The police don't ticket because the basic reality is there is nothing in it for them. Maybe we need a privateer system, kinda like what is done for illegal parked cars, or cars with unpaid violations. Trust me, that system works.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
A fantasy-idea: Citizen bounty hunters tkt cars, get a percent.

John is on to something I've long mused about.

Police ticket less than .1% of illegally parked cars.

Citizens register with city, after vetting, are deputized to cite cars for illegal parking, supported by proof in the form of video showing date and time and affidavits from witnesses.

Citizen gets a percent of fines collected from tickets he writes. If ticketed driver challenges citation and is upheld (and citizen found in error or having written a ticket fraudulently), citizen is subject to some penalty that will hurt him SUBSTANTIALLY. Enough to be a 100% disincentive to commit fraud or error.

Think of the implication: City coffers are enriched; poor people make money; city streets freed a bit of illegally parked cars. Everyone is a winner except illegal parkers.

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
NYC Car Towing

The only operation in this city that is swift and efficient. This is because private tow trucks are paid a bounty to tow cars of scofflaws and cars egregiously parked illegally (i.e. blocking a fire hydrant or driveway).

Anonymous's picture
rb (not verified)

problem is, in nyc this would be prime territory for scams.

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)

The privatized tow truck system works. Only too well, from my personal experience. 3 tickets and my car was off on an urban adventure ride to Red Hook. Even the JP was a non-city employee, and the car was impounded on a private lot, guarded by a Chow dog shaved to look like a lion. This is real NYC: free enterprise.

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)

"Yes, there was a scam in this. After taking the Q train to Neck Rd. to pay off the JD, I had to go to Red Hook to get the car (at the private lot with the Chow shaved to look like a lion). I get to my car and notice the interior is disheveled. The attendant says ""Cops looking for drugs."" I said ""BS. It was you looking for drugs..."" And any other loose change and other valuables he could find..."

Anonymous's picture
rb (not verified)

i was responding to richard. although in principle it seems like a good idea, citizens being 'deputized' (self-policing nation/city) is a frightening idea.
the 'proof', in the form of video, etc., is so easy to manipulate for personal or financial gain, not to mention witnesses. and it could backfire on those it's meant to protect, ie. legally parked vehicles, including bikes.

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Easy Technological Solution

Locked Camera with an integrated GPS reciever providing location and time.

Anonymous's picture
rb (not verified)

cameras covering every imaginable move every person makes? not feasible or desirable.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Solution: the videocams soliders wear on their helmets.

"You see soliders/marines patrolling with what looks like something Hasidim or orthodox wear on their heads/helmets. In the case of the soliders/marines, it is a small video camera that lets some central location record what the soldiers/marines see.

Obviously--well, obviously not so obviously, some part of my tongue/brisket/corned beef/pastrami is in my cheeky cheek...but, having said that, can you not imagine a panel of monitors in some central location (or, better yet, regional Parking Violations Bureaus every, say, 70 blocks) where the Citizen Patroler calls into it, alerts a NYPD fellow: ""I'm on monitor 173-C, reporting from (street) at (time of day). His head/the camera takes in the no parking sign, then the offending car and its license. All this is recorded in real time with date and running time stamped on the tape.

Apparently the oath of their position is not incentive enough for the police to cite cars, so let's create an incentive that serves multiple good purposes.

And see the Wall St. Journal article I cite in a different thread today, something having to do with puke or wretch."

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)

Handheld devices for use by roving privatized parking enforcement agents.

Anonymous's picture
rb (not verified)

example: it's very common for motorists to move (legally parked) scooters to make room for themselves.....handheld-GPS-camera guy happens by later and reports 'illegally parked' scooter lying on it's side on sidewalk. (yes, of course the earlier illegal move could have been recorded as well, i'm just pointing out how things could go wrong).
but, hey, i'm with you guys, i would LOVE to see these drivers get nailed, and the $ be well-spent.

Anonymous's picture
rich (not verified)

"1. I'm not telling you what to do; NYS & NYC traffic law does.
2. I agree with you that many (not most) motorists are also scofflaws and drive dangerously; I would like to see a lot more sustained enforcement of dangerous motorist behaviors (not the occasional ticket blitzes). That being said, we cyclist can't have it both ways, by demanding enforcement for some while protesting/complaining when those same laws are enforced on us, pointing the finger at motorists, while excusing ourselves. I've also had some close calls with cyclists running red lights, riding the wrong way, & being completely invisible at night. There are an increasing number of cyclists also using cell phones or cycling with head phones. So, yes, cycling dangerously can endanger other cyclists.

3. I disagree with you that MOST motorists drive dangerously. When I ride in traffic, I find that it is actually a minority that do rude, stupid, and dangerous things in traffic. But those are the ones that get our attention. We don't pay any attention at all to motorists who are doing what they are supposed to do. I've even seen attentive motorists save cyclists lives, when the cyclist was breaking about every rule in the book, and doing nothing on behalf of his own safety. If the majority of motorists did drive dangerously, I'd probably stop cycling.
4. I'm not advocating or defending that the police ""target"" bicyclists. Nothing in my previous post suggests that. Such temporary ""targetting"" is ineffective. If cyclists want to run red lights, even if they do it ""carefully"", they run the risk of getting a ticket. Why is that so controversial?
5. The behavior of cyclists on the street is not a separate issue from the larger ""bike safety"" environment; which is why, if we cyclists are concerned about law & safety, the cyclists are the first place to start. After all, we cyclists can't control the motorists or NYPD; we can only control ourselves.


Anonymous's picture
JC (not verified)
Eyewitness News Report

"Eyewitness ran a story on the ticket blitz.
According to them the ticket blitz was brought on by complaints from motorists. Quote from the report: ""We (the police)are just trying to save lives""
Tell that to the cab driver who crossed the double line on Vanderbilt(sp?) and almost hit me head on.

Anonymous's picture
Isaac (not verified)
Eyewitness News

Eyewitness did give TA's Paul Steely White a cameo (in helmet) saying that they should focus on motorists and seriously errant cyclists (as opposed to missing bells).

Then followed up by at least two pieces of pediestrians hid by cars.

God Bless Channel 7.

Anonymous's picture
Michael Y (not verified)
motorist ticket blitz

The NYPD should have a periodic motorist ticket blitz.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
"Why merely ""periodic""?"

Those who write cyclists violate the law more than drivers are right: 100% of cyclists violate the Vehicle and Traffice Code 100% of the time.

The distinction worth making is between illegal driving and riding that, in diminishing terms, endangers>jeopardizes>causes apprehension to>or merely inconveniences others who are driving/walking lawfully.

Let me go on the record: I am for 100% enforcement against cyclists who transgress the right-of-way of pedestrians and drivers. I am also for 100% enforcement of drivers who imperil>endanger>jepordize>cause apprehension to>or merely inconvenience cyclists riding responsibly.

Anonymous's picture
andrew kagan (not verified)


Only a day after reporting the crackdown on New York cyclists by traffic cops, this intrepid cyclist was pulled over and given a ticket on Riverside Drive and 97th St. on his way to work! The arresting officer (who asked that I not identify him by name), informed me that I had ""failed to keep right"" and passed a vehicle on its left-hand side. I explained that I had no choice as the car was blocking my ability to pass on the right, and then officer then said:

""I agree with you 100%. I hope that you will plead not guilty.""

Huh? I couldn't believe my ears. The officer then pulled a xeroxed page from his dashboard and showed it to me.

""Look at this"" he said. He pointed at the top of the page, to the address at the top. ""We receive these teletype messages from police headquarters. I don't agree with it but we're under pressure from our bosses to comply.""

The page had what looked like a list of bicycle traffic-fine codes and a bunch of numbers next to each one. ""This is what we're supposed to do."" he said. ""We're being told to meet these numbers. Like I said, we're being forced to do this.""

He then went on to say that he hoped that I would plead not guilty, and that he wouldn't remember me or the violation if he was at the hearing (meaning it would be dismissed). Lastly he looked directly at me and ""when you post this story on the New York Bicycling Coalition website tonite, just don't use my name. Please ride safe.""

I thanked him for his candor and warily made it the rest of the way to the shop without incident.

Andrew Kagan
New York Cyclist"

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