Cyclists who’ve been ticketed in Midtown for certain minor offenses–think riding on the sidewalk or outside of a bike lane–might now be sentenced to time in a cycling traffic law class, rather than the traditional DMV court.

The mood in these remedial bike classes in not exactly one of somber repentance, New York Times reports. “He said I wasn’t in the bike lane,” said Kenny McKissick, a 32-year-old bike messenger. “But I was on the line.” Cyclist Steve Galiczynski agreed, slightly more deliriously. “This whole thing is nuts,” he said. “It’s like I’m in a Russian novel–a crazy Russian novel.”

The approach is an admirable one–offering an educational alternative to traffic court for very minor cycling offenders–but zealous cops might be too eager to ticket. A quarter of the offenders teacher Rich Conroy sees are there for riding outside of the bike lane, which they’re legally allowed to do if the path is obstructed or unsafe. To combat that, Conroy’s also been holding classes to help police officers better understand the law.

(Photo: Matthew Bourgeois/Flickr)