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Anonymous's picture

"Here we go again. I recieved this notice in a 5bbc e-mail.

The NYPD has again proposed to make group cycling illegal by changing the definition of ""parade or procession"" in the Rules of the City of New York. The proposed rule would allow the police to arrest any group of 30 or more cyclists for ""parading without a permit"", even if they are obeying all traffic laws. Groups of as few as 10 cyclists could also be arrested, if a police officer decides that the cyclists have violated a traffic rule for ""more than two city blocks"". The full text of the proposed rule changes is available here in PDF format.

To express your opinion about this proposal, the 5BBC urges you to call and write both your City Council representative and the Mayor's office. Unlike the previous NYPD proposal, the civil liberties impact of these changes mostly affect bicyclists. Several City Council representatives who helped fight the earlier rule changes have already indicated that they feel the NYPD's new proposal is ""reasonable"" - it is thus doubly important for you to tell City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and your local City Council representative otherwise if you want them to oppose these changes.

To give City Council Speaker Christine Quinn your opinion, visit this web page on the New York City Council Web Site: http://www.nyccouncil.info/rightnow/contactspkr.cfm. To contact your local representative, visit http://www.nyccouncil.info/constituent/contact_member.cfm.

As required by City law, the NYPD has scheduled a public hearing for the rule changes - on November 27, the Monday after Thanksgiving, from 11 AM to 2 PM. The choice of a midday time suggests the the police are not especially interested in the public's input.

The Assemble for Rights NYC coalition has proposed that the City Council change the parade permit law, which currently allows the police to issue a new definition of ""parade"" with a mere 30 days notice and no public input. Their suggested legislation is at http://a4rnyc.org/the_legislation. The proposal is based on the Washington, DC local law that has been in place for several years and generally permits all peaceful assemblies, with guidelines for the police on how to treat both permitted and unpermitted demonstrations.

The 5BBC will notify members of any planned rallies or other events on this issue.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Wanted: someone to read my statement at the hearing.

I'll be far out of town during the hearing. If you are going to attend it but not speak at it (for yourself), I'd appreciate your contacting me. I'd like my one- or two-minute remark read into the record. And while it could be submitted in writing, its clout, such as it is, requires its being spoken in the presence of cyclists. And, no, there's no vulgarity and only mild confrontation that inheres in it; and what confrontation there is is not subject to dispute.

You can, of course, and should, state you are reading it for someone else.

Anonymous's picture
Jim N (not verified)
What about cars?

"Does the law cover groups of 30 or more cars? If so, I'm all for it. It would be an arrestable offense to be driving in midtown.

BTW, remove the trailing ""."" from that link: http://a4rnyc.org/the_legislation"

Anonymous's picture
Joe (not verified)

"Thanks for posting this Lynne.

Disclaimer: The following is based on my interpretation of the proposed rules. If I am mistaken in this interpretation, please correct me.

The proposed rules would allow the police to ARREST, as opposed to ticket, someone for parading without a permit, if that person is riding with 9 others and is in violation of ANY traffic law - that includes (among others) not having a bell, or if it is pre-dawn, dusk, or night, not having reflectors. Presumably if you are arrested, they will also sieze your bike as evidence. Good luck cutting through the red tape to get it back.

And if we do a larger ride with 30+ cyclists (ENY, etc.), we are all subject to arrest (even without violating any traffic laws) if a permit is not obtained beforehand. To obtain a permit, one must apply well in advance, and must not deviate from the approved route. So if the weather changes or someone is hurt, too bad, you had better stick to the approved route.

Many of you are probably thinking these rules are aimed at Critical Mass and not at recreational group rides like NYCC rides. You would be correct, the city and NYPD have been gunning for Critical Mass for some time, and this is their latest salvo. But our rides would also be subject to the proposed rules. The police may not be actively looking to enforce these rules against recreational group rides, but once the rule is in place, we are fair game. So if the cop thinks you looked at him/her the wrong way or is having a bad day, you can be ARRESTED. I, for one, do not want the police having that kind of discretion. If they want to ticket me for not having a bell, fine. But it's preposterous that I could be arrested and my bike siezed for the same offense because the law deems my recreational group ride a ""parade"".

Even if you prefer to ride alone, better make sure you don't ride too close to other cyclists heading up to the GWB, or you too could be parading without a permit!

Please, use Lynne's link to contact City Council Speaker Quinn. Or if you don't have the time to write a message, you can just add your name to a pre-written postcard at http://www.transalt.org/e-bulletin/2006/Oct/1026.html#nypd


Anonymous's picture
R. (not verified)
let's book permits for 365 days

Maybe we should apply for permits for 5 A rides, 5 B rides and 5 C rides for every single day of the year -- to cover all the bases. And ask 5BBC and other clubs to do the same. Nothing ruins a rule better than bringing it to a complete absurdity.
My two cents.

Anonymous's picture
[email protected] (not verified)
Group permits

I would certainly vote against any rules that would unjustly govern our rides but when you stop to think about it (after you vote against it) how many of our rides group 30+ people together...? Even the SIG's split groups into less than 15 for manageability and continuity. I would even guess that most of our rides involve less than ten people. And most rides (maybe 90%) take us out of the city to NJ or Westchester or LI so, break the group in half if you have to until you're outside of the city limits. And incase anyone wasn't sure WHY this permit thing is being pressed by NYPD, after speaking to a close friend who was assigned to the Bicycle Task Force, it's specifically designed for Critical Mass rides. They're targeting all cyclists to prevent some cycling advocate lawyer from convincing a judge that the NYPD is in violation of the 1st amendment's right to assemble. If the goals of CM included raising the consciousness of gov't and the non-cycling public to the positive aspects of cycling for pleasure, a safer environment, commuting or transportation, and to engender legislation to promote those goals, then it's mission not only failed miserably, it has accomplished just the opposite.

Anonymous's picture
An anonymous cow! (Christian Edstrom) (not verified)

There you go. Let's roll over for the man! Why worry about them infringing on our rights - after all, they're just out to get those dirty Critical Massers. I'm sure they'll leave us fancy lycra-clad cyclists alone.

Thanks, but I think I learned my lesson from Martin Niemoller.

- Christian

Anonymous's picture
Lynne Kantor (not verified)

The typical nycc ride may not have more than 20 cyclists, but a 5bbc ride especially in the summer can have upwards of 40 or more. Also Transportations Alternatives sponsors several lesser known city rides that attract alot of people. The point is, they are in violation of 1st amendment rights. If it does not take some cycling advocate lawyer to convince a judge of this then what's to stop NJ,CT,etc from doing the same. If this effects some of us it effects all of us.

Anonymous's picture
Bob Ross (not verified)
"""let's book permits for 365 days"""

this was already suggested earlier in a previous thread. I love the notion of tying up the system in its own red tape. Unfortunately, as someone pointed out then, a parade permit may come with an associated processing fee.

If I'm doomed to be an outlaw anyway, you can be damn sure I'm not gonna pay 365 fees in advance!

Anonymous's picture
Alfredo Garcia (not verified)
Paying What?

There's no parade permit fees. I called the NYPD about this. If the NYPD gets away with issuing these new regulations, we should break them, the way Gandhi broke the salt tax laws in colonial India, for the simple reason that it's not fair.


Anonymous's picture
Maggie Clarke (not verified)
Are we sure there are fees?

That would be so elegant to get permits for 365 days, but I'm sure they require specifics - starting place, for example. What is NYCC going to do about this? I presume the leadership cares about this, right?

Anonymous's picture
Joe (not verified)

"Here's a link to the actual proposed change - check out the definition of a parade: http://www.transalt.org/campaigns/reclaiming/nypd_parade_proposal_10.18.06.pdf

So if 10 friends were to leave a restaurant or party and cross 2 intersections against ""Don't Walk"" signs, they constitute a ""parade"" and could be arrested for parading without a permit. I think the NYPD is smoking some of the narcotics they have siezed."

Anonymous's picture
PLee (not verified)

So every funeral procession with more than ten cars needs a parade permit?

And pedestrians don't need permits, regardless of the size of their group, as long as they don't violate laws?

This is ridiculous. As long as traffic laws are being obeyed, any group is just that - traffic.

Anonymous's picture
Josh (not verified)

The regulation ONLY applies to human-powered vehicles.

Anonymous's picture
PLee (not verified)

"Josh -

You're misreading the statute. The reference to ""vehicles"" is NOT an antecedent for the reference to human powered vehicles."

Anonymous's picture
Joe (not verified)

Funeral processions - if 30 or more cars, they need a parade permit. If 10-29 cars, no parade permit required UNLESS they break traffic regulations.

Correct, pedestrians don't need permits, regardless of group size, as long as they don't violate traffic laws.

The problem is that there are already laws on the books to deter and punish those who commit traffic offenses. Requiring a permit is an onerous requirement and the punishment (arrest, seizure and conviction) is vastly disproportionate to the offense.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Last day to register to speak at hearing

"To attend the Nov. 27 hearing, you must send a letter postmarked by today, Nov. 20.

If this rule change slides through, it will consume vast resources to challenge it and subsequent arrests. Enough, already.

To learn more about the proposed parade permit rule, and a more equitable alternative based on the DC law, go to the Assemble For Rights Coalition links here. (The second link will also tell you how to contact your elected representatives.)

Thank you for taking action now!


November 20, 2006

Assistant Deputy Commissioner Thomas P. Doepfner
New York City Police Department
1 Police Plaza
Room 1406
New York, NY 10038

RE: November 27, 2006 public hearing

Dear Assistant Deputy Commissioner Doepfner,

I intend to testify at the public hearing on November 27, 2006 at 11am at 1 Police Plaza regarding NYPD proposed changes to Chapter 19 or Title 38 of the Official Compilation of Rules of the City of New York.



Anonymous's picture
Natalia Lincoln (not verified)

Can you still *go* to the hearing if you haven't registered?

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Yes, it seems


TA thinks you can show up and get in, but you *may* not be able to speak.

You can also *mail* your comments to the address above. But if you can show up, that would add to our numbers.

I looked on the NYPD and NYC web sites and couldn't find any contact info, and nothing about hearings. (If someone else can penetrate the opacity, please advise.) The NYPD switchboard operator said she didn't know where to send me but would try, then cut me off.

Thanks and see you there!

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)

Noah at TA tells me you CAN register to speak Monday at the hearing. So see you there!

10-11am -- press conference/rally

11am-2pm -- public hearing

One Police Plaza

Anonymous's picture
david (not verified)
This is a real threat

How come more people aren't up in arms about this threat to our civil liberties and to the ability of this club to function. At least people should come to the rally outside the hearing that Transportation Alternatives is advertising. If these rules go through it seems that almost every ride will be jeopardized and our ability to enjoy cycling in New York will be severly curtailed.

Anonymous's picture
steve chabra (not verified)
councilmembers mendez, brewer, james on proposed parade rules

"i emailed every member of the city council to express my outrage.

i also emailed speaker quinn separately and sent a letter to deputy commissioner doepfner, stating to both, ""I believe the proposed changes are arbitrary and unneeded; they would restrict freedom of assembly, place a financial and bureaucratic burden on the citizenry, and provide an excuse for any officer to stop, arrest and detain any individual for what today are minor, unarrestable offenses.""

i've gotten these responses from council members so far:

Hi Steve,

Thanks for forwarding me your message. As you read in the newsletter, Rosie will be speaking out against the amendment at the NYPD's November 27th hearing, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the 1st floor auditorium at 1 Police Plaza. I hope you can join us.

Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions, or would like further information on this matter.

Thanks again for your email, hope to see you on the 27th!

Kate Mikuliak (one of rosie's policy aides)

[previously posted in a different thread but bears repeating here]

Councilwoman Rosie Mendez E-Newsletter
Manhattan, Second District November 2006


Councilwoman Mendez to Speak Against Proposed Parade Permit Changes at November 27th Hearing:

Councilwoman Mendez has expressed her disappointment at the NYPD’s new proposed changes to the parade permit regulations, which will affect such peaceful assemblies as protests, funeral processions, group bicycle rides and walking tours. The Councilwoman had hoped that the NYPD’s new revisions, introduced after this summer’s proposal drew much public outcry, would protect New Yorker’s right to free assembly. Instead, she feels the proposed changes, introduced on October 18th, are still far too restrictive.

Councilwoman Mendez believes that requiring most groups to seek a permit for sidewalk marches and vehicle processions is an infringement to our first amendment rights. New Yorkers should not have to compromise their right to free assembly for the sake of preserving the public peace. Additionally, requiring that groups obtain a permit, which must be purchased from the City, places a financial burden on these groups; economic means should not dictate one's ability to exercise their right to free speech.

Councilwoman Mendez will be speaking out against the amendment at the NYPD's November 27th hearing, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the 1st floor auditorium at 1 Police Plaza. If you want to testify on this important civil liberties issue, please write NYPD Assistant Deputy Commissioner Thomas P. Doepfner, 1 Police Plaza Room 1406, New York, NY 10038. Those unable to attend the hearing may submit written testimony at the same address.


Dear Mr. Chabra:

Thank you for your advocacy. Council Member Gale A. Brewer agrees with you that the parade permit changes most recently proposed by the NYPD would still place an onerous responsibility on New Yorkers, compared with the original proposal. In effect, they might also discourage New Yorkers from using important physical and social alternative forms of transportation in going about their daily lives, for fear of violating the law.

Gale will be testifying to this effect with other electeds, advocates, and concerned citizens at the Public Hearing scheduled for 11am-2pm on Monday, November 27, 2006 at 1 Police Plaza, in the first floor auditorium. I would like to encourage you to attend the hearing if your schedule allows, but you can also send any written comments to: Assistant Deputy Commissioner Thomas P. Doepfner, NYPD, One Police Plaza
Room 1406, New York, NY 10038.

Please see the informat"

Anonymous's picture
steve chabra (not verified)
response from speaker quinn

"given that alfredo posted this verbatim in the ""City Council Speaker Quinn's response to NYPD Parade Permit"" thread, i suppose this is a automatic response from speaker quinn.

i find this statement's vagueness, uncertainness and unwillingness to take a stand very disturbing.

an email can be sent to her through the form at:

if anyone wants the list of email addresses for the council members, email me at: s [dot] chabra [at] verizon [dot] net.

individual council members' email addresses are located on their individual pages on the city council web site. the list of council members is at: http://www.nyccouncil.info/constituent/member_list.cfm . you can find your council person by using the form at: http://www.nyccouncil.info/constituent/index.cfm .


November 21, 2006

Dear Mr. Chabra:

Thank you for writing to me to share your views on the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) proposed regulations defining when and under what circumstances individuals and groups must apply for parade permits.

As you may know, in July of this year, the NYPD proposed a number of changes to the city’s parade permit rules that would have required pedestrians and cyclists to obtain parade permits for many activities that currently do not require such permits. I have tremendous respect for the NYPD and the lengths to which the Department goes to ensure that the city is safe. However, I found the proposed regulations to raise serious legal and practical issues. In particular, I thought the proposed rules were overly broad, difficult to put into practice, and would unnecessarily restrict free expression. I was pleased that, after hearing my concerns, the NYPD agreed to withdraw its proposed rules and to reconsider its proposal.

After an extensive review, the NYPD issued a new proposal on October 18, 2006. The proposed rule would require permits for the following groups:

? A group of ten or more pedestrians, vehicles, bicycles or other devices moved by human power, or ridden or herded animals proceeding together upon any public street or roadway for more than two city blocks in a manner that does not comply with applicable traffic laws, rules and regulations; or

? A recognizable group of 30 or more vehicles, bicycles or other devices moved by human power, or ridden or herded animals proceeding together upon any public street or roadway.

The NYPD's newly proposed regulations for when and what activities will require parade permits are a substantial improvement over the regulations proposed earlier this year. Recognizing that it is difficult to balance the protection of civil liberties with the need for public order, I believe that the newly proposed rules have struck a better balance than those rules proposed by the NYPD in July. However, I hope that the NYPD will carefully consider all the comments that they receive during this public comment period, and be open to suggestions from you and other concerned individuals and groups of ways to better balance the competing interests at stake.

I have enclosed for you a notice of opportunity to comment on this proposed rule. I would encourage you to share your views directly with the NYPD, and, if you are interested, to testify at the hearing on November 27, 2006. We support your efforts to encourage bicycles and other human-powered vehicles (HPV) as alternatives to vehicular transportation.

Thank you again for sharing your views with me. I look forward to working with you in the future to ensure that the city is as HPV frien"

Anonymous's picture
Josh (not verified)
Yes, I agree, very disturbing

So much that I just emailed Quinn. Thanks for posting the link.

Speaker Quinn,

If you think that the NYPD parade rules, as they are revised, are an improvement, then you are misguided, deluded, or blind. I urge you to reconsider your position, and if these rules go into effect by your silence or inability to see injustice, then I along with thousands of other cyclists from all walks of life and representing groups as diverse as The Five Borough Bicycle Club, Transportation Alternatives, the New York Cycle Club, will make every effort to remind our constituents of your position should you seek re-election or run for another office.


Josh Gosciak
member, 5BBC, TA, NYCC

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
My take on Quinn

"Councilmembers Mendez, Brewer, and James are truly models of leadership here. They deserve our support and thanks! (So do you, Steve.)

My take on Quinn, however, sees perhaps less malfeasance than others. If you read between the lines, Quinn is begging for a public outcry.

If cyclists don't kick and scream about this, she will not feel she has a mandate to face down the NYPD. That can't be an easy job for a council speaker to take on.

Quinn is trying to look ""reasonable,"" to the dept., the mayor, and the public at large. The NYPD responded to the council's protests the first time--it would be bad form for her not to acknowledge it.

Quinn says the new rule finds a ""better balance"" than the last one, but she doesn't say its a ""good"" balance. And immediately afterward, she says go to the hearing and speak up so an even better balance can be found.

By urging cyclists to attend the hearing, she's saying she needs us to lead on this issue.

I don't see this as a failure on Quinn's part (to enter politics is by definition to compromise) as much as a CALL TO ACTION.

She needs to show that mayor and dept. that her constituents have forced her hand in opposing the rule further. How can we make this happen?

People should speak up however they want -- and the more and louder the outcry, the better! But personally, I'm urging Quinn to support cycling, free speech, and the proposed First Amendment Act -- and saving up my anger for Ray Kelly.


Anonymous's picture
Josh (not verified)

You can rail all you want against Ray Kelly. He's not elected, and has no obligation to do anything for you.

The competing concerns she mentions are what? NYPD on one side, cyclists on the other. What other concerns are there?

Quinn is looking to her political agenda, and Bloomberg's on it. I see a lot between the lines, and it tells me a quite different scenario.

Anonymous's picture
steve chabra (not verified)
response from avella

"tony avella has sent the following letter to a.d.c. doepfner. received this in the mail yesterday from avella in response to my email to the council members.

November 24, 2006

Assistant Deputy Commissioner Thomas P. Doepfner
New York City Police Department
1 Police Plaza, Room 1406
New York, New York 10038

Dear Commissioner Doepfner:

I am writing in response to the New York City Police Department's (""Department"") proposed amendments to Chapter 19 of Title 38 of the Official Compilation of Rules of the City of New York concerning the issuance of parade permits.

While I was pleased that the Department's prior proposed amendments were rescinded, I believe that the new proposed rules are no more reasonable than the first. I understand the Department's stated purpose of ""preserving the public peace and preventing obstructions of public streets and sidewalks"", however the manner in which it seeks to achieve these goals is unreasonable and unduly burdens residents of this city.

One example I would offer is that of funeral processions of 10 or more vehicles proceeding more than two blocks, which often violate certain traffic laws by virtue of their need to navigate as a procession through city streets. It would be wholly unreasonable to require parade permits for such processions and it would create an administrative nightmare for the Department to manage this process.

Furthermore, I find it unreasonable to deny bicyclists the ability to engage in impromptu rides numbering more than 30 people regardless of whether they are engaging in any violation of traffic laws, rules or regulations.

I urge the Department to withdraw the proposed amendments and begin a dialog with all interested parties to come up with a proposed set of rules, which will promote public safety and protect and the rights of citizens to assemble.

Tony Avella Council Member
District 19 - Northeast Queens

Anonymous's picture
steve chabra (not verified)
brewer's testimony

this, emailed to me today.


NEW YORK, NY 10024
(212) 873-0282
FAX (212) 873-0279

NEW YORK, NY 10007
(212) 788-6975
FAX (212) 513-7717


November 27, 2006- I am Gale A. Brewer, representing Council District 6 in the Upper West Side and northern Clinton neighborhoods in Manhattan. Thank you for the opportunity to testify here before you today on behalf of my constituents regarding the proposed parade permit regulations. I have closely followed the changes proposed to these regulations since their introduction last summer. While revisions have been made due to a citywide response, I cannot support the current proposal as it falls short of significant reform.

The proposed changes by the NYPD would still place an onerous responsibility on the daily lives of New Yorkers. In effect, they promise to discourage New Yorkers from engaging in ordinary, everyday and universally accepted practices of bicycling and walking by installing fear of arrest; these proposed regulations have a chilling effect on completely innocuous and non-disruptive traditional activities, such as walking and cycling tours. We know that these proposed regulations are a response to the challenges posed by the Critical Mass bicycle rides during the Republican Convention and on-going. But, as a result, is it really necessary that New York be the only city in the world requiring a parade permit to organize a walking or cycling tour? It will not be a benefit if groups of visitors decline to use the walking and cycling tours of our City in favor of vehicles, simply to avoid obtaining the required permits and route approval.

Of course, any new proposed street rules should contribute to a sustainable city streetscape which is safe and accessible for all. But the current proposal remains far too cumbersome and heavy handed. Pedestrians and cyclists, by and large, alleviate motor vehicle traffic. Moreover, the Department of Transportation, the Department of City Planning, the Parks Department, and other city agencies working with Deputy Mayor Doctoroff (a bicyclist) and the Sustainable Task Force, and with all first responder agencies, are emphasizing cyclist and pedestrian friendly travel routes. The challenge is to get people out of cars and onto public transportation that moves swiftly, and into safe places where they can walk and ride a bicycle. The proposed parade permit rules run contrary to the planning that is being done elsewhere in city agencies, and contrary to the best interest of New Yorkers' rights and privileges, as well as our health, mental health and fitness.

Thank you.


Anonymous's picture
Somebody (not verified)
Feeling ambitious?

"You can't move the Mayor and his little police toadies by whining about civil rights. You gotta hit them where it hurts.

Start finding travel and tourism websites and blogs. On each one, post a warning to potential visitors to New York that if they're in a group of 30 or more tourists or convention goers they can be busted, fingerprinted and held overnight for parading with a permit.

Remind them that if they're in a slow moving line of horse drawn carriages in Central Park, they can be busted for parading without a permit.

Remind them that if they follow a crowd crossing against a couple of lights, they might be considered part of the parade and smacked down into the slammer.

Paint a clear picture. Be sure to mention the crowded cells and the smell of urine, not to mention the charming people they'll meet waiting for their arraignment.Post it wherever it makes sense.

Then e-mail a copy of the post to every hotel manager in New York, every airline, and the New York Convention and Visitors' bureau. Be sure to mention the regulation.

Oh, and copies to Hizzoner, the wannabe President of the U.S. Remind him that a lot of angry people are watching his civil rights record.

All this takes work, but I guarantee you that if half the membership of the NYCC follows this blueprint zealously and quickly, you'll win.

""If the monkey flings dung at you, fling it right back at him. He doesn't like a faceful of it any more than you do.""
--Zopeck the Zookeeper.

Your Pal,
Eto...uh, I mean Ebenezer J. Grumpwig"

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
EJG (or is it Eto?) has it right.

Exercising economic muscle is far more powerful and likely to prevail than any other kind of demonstration.

If this rule does go into effect, they will have to enforce it uniformly in order to ultimately succeed against their apparent objects. This could mean that NYCC riders who haven't broken any traffic laws will be subject to arrest and confiscation of their bikes if one person in the back of the group runs a red light to keep up.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
RALLY Monday, Nov. 27, 10-11am

"Come to One Police Plaza:

Before work
On your morning break
On your lunch break
Or take the day off!


Press Conference and Rally Nov 27th at Police Public Hearing

ASSEMBLE FOR RIGHTS NYC OPPOSES NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly Restrictions on Political Speech in the Public Spaces

WHAT: Rally to voice opposition to recent New York Police Department proposals that would restrict public gatherings

WHO: Assemble for Rights NYC

DATE: Monday, November 27, 2006

TIME: 10AM to 11AM

WHERE: NYPD Headquarters, One Police Plaza

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has again proposed undue and constitutionally questionable limits on political speech in New York City. The proposal represents a narrow retreat from a similar proposition that NYPD withdrew two months ago after vociferous opposition from members of the City Council and the public.

The current proposal, which would prohibit public gatherings of as few as ten people who do not first apply for and obtain a permit from the police, will be the subject of public hearings at Police Headquarters on November 27th from 11am to 2pm.

Opposition to the proposal is lead by Assemble for Rights NYC, a coalition joined in this quest by City Council members Rose Mendez, Charles Barron, Letitia James, and Alan Gerson. Assemble for Rights represents a diversity of groups which support free speech or which directly use peaceful assembly either for political speech or recreation. The Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, United for Peace and Justice, Housing Works, the Five Boro Bike Club, the New York City Bicycle Coalition, and the Birth Control Project are among the members of the coalition. (See www.assembleforrightsnyc.org for additional members.)

The public hearing is being held only because it is required by the city charter before the police can implement such rules. In an attempt to minimize public input the hearing is being held the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the middle of the work day.

Assemble for Rights NYC has denounced the Police hearing as a mockery of the democratic process, and will be holding a rally outside of One Police Plaza during the hearing to allow members of the public to gather and express their opposition to Police rulemaking without being forced to endure the indignity of asking the Police Commissioner to reconsider his own proposal from within NYPD headquarters.

City Council member Rosie Mendez stated, “New Yorkers should not have to compromise their right to free assembly for the sake of preserving the ‘public peace.’” and has stated her intention to attend the Police hearings. The prospect of elected representatives being forced to lobby the Police Commissioner as to how the law should be written has raised serious questions about the unchecked power of the NYPD.

The Assemble For Rights Coalition believes that only the New York City Council, as the elected legislative representatives of the people, have the authority to make laws affecting fundamental rights.

Assemble for Rights Director, Mark Taylor stated, “The most shocking thing about this is the City Council is letting the NYPD write the new parade permitting rules. Particularly because this is an area that deals with civil liberties, this is an area we need the New York City Police to be enforcing the rules, not to be writing the law.”

Members of Assemble For Rights NYC coalition will be available for comments before and after the hearing.


NB: As a precedent for the mess the NYPD is getting the city into, see the Partnership for Civil Justice site for info on the fallout"

Anonymous's picture
mike p (not verified)
this will only be used against non clout people

guarantee the pedestrian gathering and walking portion of the parade rules will be selectively enforced. If the shooting in queens happened after jan 1, the nypd will not be arresting the mourners. The bicycle memorial rides gather more than 30 people and like a vehicle funeral procession, may not follow all traffic rules. We will be selectively targeted.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Short report

"Considering the timing of the hearing--in the middle of a work day, just after Thanksgiving--I'd say the turnout today was astounding -- maybe 150. Not many NYCCers--you all missed a great show and chance to see democracy in action--even if the NYPD tries to derail it.

I took a half day off work to attend and waited nearly three hours to testify, at around 2:20. Speaker after speaker raised eloquent and passionate points about our constitutional rights, our duties as citizens of conscience, and the joys of bicycling.

Kudos to NYCC Vice President Annaline Dinkelmann for attending the entire session, and taking a visible place in the second row. I'm afraid I missed her testimony. It took me about 20 minutes to get through the security line.



P.S. In my testimony, I identified myself as a daily bike commuter for the last 2-1/2 years who finds conditions on the streets frightening. I generally try to ride in bike lanes, I said, but they are often blocked by parked cars and delivery trucks. As an example, the bike lane on St. Nick' is blocked solid for about 8 blocks around 146th St., and the police precincts are particular offenders.

Reading from the NYPD's ""statement of basis and purpose,"" I noted that the rule change is declared to address activities likely to ""significantly disrupt vehicular and pedestrian traffic and adversely affect public health and safety."" But as far as I could see, the biggest threats to public safety coming from unregulated and uncontrolled automobiles.

I read into the record three paragraphs from Richard Rosenthal's eloquent letter to the department, in which he cites numerous instances of cyclists being killed or grievously injured but no citation issued to the driver. To summarize:

--Andre Anderson, 9/24/05, hit from behind and killed by 23-year-old in SUV; NYS 1122, prohibits aggressive passing.

--Unnamed man, 6/20/06, cyclist swerves to avoid cabdriver opening door, hit by bus, loses leg; NYS 1214, prohibits dooring;

--Dr. Carl Nacht, 6/24/06, hit (and killed) on greenway path by NYPD tow truck; NYS 1143, driver crossing a roadway shall yield to all approaching vehicles.

The NYPD needs to enforce laws already on the books intended to protect public safety, I said. I urged the department to devote resources to protecting the lives and safety of cyclists and pedestrians by enforcing these rules."

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
More on hearing; keep calling Council

The NYC Bike Coalition estimates that more than 100 people showed up at the hearing, about 50 of whom testified. Three people from the NYPD heard all comments, which continued until after 4 p.m.

All speakers were against the proposed rule and provided a wide range of reasons why the rule should be withdrawn. Only one speaker (a staffer for Councilmember Lappin) was for a revisiting of the rule instead of its outright withdrawal.

Councilmembers in attendance or represented by staff were: Gerson, Lappin, Brewer, Mendez, Di Blasio, Yassky, L. James.

Now that the formality of the hearing is over, NYPD will have to make an official announcement that rule is in place. The rule could be revised from what was originally proposed. More details to come.

People should continue to call their councilmembers and Speaker Quinn. Urge them to
--push for the NYPD rule's withdrawal
----take control of the issue by introducing the NY First Amendment Act, based on the DC parading rules (www.a4rnyc.org).
--Ask: What evidence is NYPD using to support the rule? (e.g., what objectively demonstrates that nine cyclists riding together is safer than 29 or some other number?)
--Ask for an oversight hearing on the rule as currently proposed.
--To members who spoke against the rule, ask: What else are you doing to oppose the rule? (i.e., thanks for speaking up--but more than talk is needed)

Considering the 25% pay raise the council just gave themselves, members should give us an extra 25% effort.





Anonymous's picture
Annaline Dinkelmann (not verified)
NYCC Statement at the NYPD hearing

"Dear all

I attended the NYPD hearing on behalf of the club today. Below the statement I delivered. A few general comments:
I attended the hearing for about three hours. The panel asked NO questions from the speakers - they just passively listened.
Several speakers raised the question of why the NYPD and NOT the City council is now making laws.
Towards the end several statements from City Council members was read - they were mostly opposed to the ruling.
I am here to represent the 2000-plus member New York Cycle Club. We sponsor and organize over 400 group bicycle rides in and around New York City each year, none of which pose the slightest danger to public order or safety. We submit this statement in opposition to the Department's proposed rules because they could be used to arrest or punish participants in New York Cycle Club group rides.

NYCC rides are open to members and non-members alike. Ride leaders determine a route and destination, and the ride is listed on in our monthly Bulletin and on the Club website. Organizers do not know how many cyclists will participate until the ride begins. Almost all our rides will have more than 10 participants, and rides can draw more than 30 participants. All participants are required to wear helmets and have properly equipped bicycles.

Each spring, the NYCC sponsors a 10-12 week Special Interest Group (SIG) series for three different levels of cyclist. Each series teaches bike handling skills, safe cycling, and group riding skills. We emphasize safety and stress the fact that a bicycle is a vehicle and must conform to all traffic laws applying to vehicles. The A-level series generally has 50-70 participants, including leaders; the B-level has 120-130, including leaders; and the C-level has 60-80, including leaders. Each level is divided into smaller groups of 10-12; however, several groups may leave Manhattan at the same time, so that 30-40 cyclists might be proceeding up Riverside Drive in what could look like one long line. Nevertheless, these groups do not pose a threat to the public.

The NYCC also provides ride leader training where, again, safety is stressed. While the Club has no minimum qualifications for ride leaders, most of our leaders begin as co-leaders in order to learn from more experienced club members. One of our members, a prominent doctor at a major city hospital, teaches a class each year in how to deal with emergencies on the road. If there is an accident or someone becomes ill, our ride leaders know what to do.

We simply cannot understand why the Police Department would want to redefine ""parade"" so that the New York Cycle Club and other New York City bike clubs would have to apply for a parade permit in order to conduct a law-abiding, safe group ride of 30 or more cyclists. The NYCC would have to apply for a permit for every weekend ride just in case 30 or more participants show up. Does the NYPD really want to process 300 permit applications each year for group rides that proceed in a perfectly safe manner? And will all applicants receive a permit? Is there a chance that permits will be denied and the NYCC will have to cancel rides? We believe this constitutes a serious violation of our constitutional right to free assembly.

We understand the need to enforce traffic laws, the NYPD already has the right under existing laws to ticket and prosecute irresponsible drivers and cyclists. We resent the fact that under the proposed rules, we could be arrested for leading or participating in a perfectly safe and law-abiding ride. Therefore, we urge the Police Department to withdraw the proposed rules.

Respectfully submitted,
New York Cycle Club
Carol Waaser, President
Annaline Dinkelmann, Vice-President


Anonymous's picture
Joe (not verified)

Thanks for delivering that well-crafted statement at the hearing.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
My statement to the NYPD re: parade permit

I submitted to the NYPD for inclusion in its record of the hearing a long (four page) statement.

If you would like to read it, please write me and I'll e-mail it to you (but not before Wednesday as I'll be airborne all day Tuesday).

If you wonder on what basis the police arrest, book, fingerprint, and jail cyclists and confiscate their bikes for going through red lights or obstructing traffic but not do the same to drivers and their cars for commiting the same infractions, you'll read this wonder put to the police.

If you're not already angry at the failure of police to arrest, or even ticket killer-drivers of NYC cyclists, you should be after reading it.

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)

Thank you to both Carols and Richard for your efforts in this matter on behalf of us.

Surely the NYCC has a member with the clout to get an opinion in the NY Times to deliver the essence of the outrage.

Anonymous's picture
Somebody (not verified)
And speaking of outrage...

"The New York Crank has had his own say. His blog puts the blame for this parade permit nonsense squarely on the mayor (to whom the police department reports).

The Crank's article also connects the misfocused concerns of the mayor and his cops to other outrages, such as the rampaging cops who pumped 50 bullets into unarmed civilians.

For the full poop, go here:


""Don't get mad. Get furious.""
--Madman Carpescu


Anonymous's picture
steve chabra (not verified)
"the villager: ""Cyclists ... say put brakes on new regs"""

"""A Police Department hearing attracted more than 500 people to Police Plaza on Monday to denounce the department’s proposed new rules defining what constitutes a parade requiring a police permit.

Civil liberties and bicycle advocates, several city councilmembers and organizations including the city Bar Association, 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, Transportation Alternatives, Time’s Up!, United for Peace and Justice and Assemble for Rights said at the Nov. 27 hearing that the proposed rule change was a threat to freedom of expression and assembly and a usurpation by police of the legislative function of the City Council.""

more at:


Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Good article

"That reporting captures something of the spirit of the hearing, as well as recording some of the many impressive speakers.

The NYC Bar Association has issued a statement against the proposed rule change. It's really worth reading -- spells out the issues with startling clarity.

Press release


Anonymous's picture
Russ B (not verified)
The City Bar's Statement is Compelling


Thanks for posting the City Bar's statement.

I've been watching the NYPD's machinations with some qualms, not out of respect for Critical Mass (or concern over the doubtful threat to NYCC group rides) but for the more fundamental rights issues posed by the rule-making process. The City Bar's statement is the first totally coherent analysis of the problem I've yet seen and deserves to be read by those of us who are inclined to blame the whole controversy on Critical Mass (which may well be responsible for stirring up the NYPD but certainly not for the outrageous fashion in which the NYPD has undertaken to deal with the problem). The statement is a bit lengthy, but, boy, is it on the money! If it isn't already on the Mayor's and every Council member's desk, it needs to be.

Anonymous's picture
Somebody (not verified)
NY CRANK posts most of Richard Rosenthal's statement

"Let's give this thing wider currency than just New York cyclists and NYCC members. If daylight is the best disinfectant, let's keep this story moving around the world with the sun. The more that people know, the more the NYPD and the mayor it reports to will be shamed into withdrawing.

Feel free to copy my current blog article extensively quoting Richard Rosenthal's statement, (or the URL) and send it out to friends and legislators.
Encourage the people you send it to pass it around, too.

Also refer them to the wonderful Villager article. Keep that in circulation.

Keep the word moving.

""If you stop covering the world when you cough, you can make the whole world catch a fever.""
--Gideon W. Qwerty


cycling trips