NYPD Is Handing Out A Lot of Tickets To Nonthreatening Bicyclists Right Now

April 27, 2015 | Liam Mathews

Cops in Fort Greene are handing out tickets to cyclists like Oprah giving out cars, probably yelling, “You get a ticket! And you get a ticket! And you get a ticket!” to riders caught running red lights.

Summons for bicycle-related offenses have increased 600 percent in the 88th Precinct this past month, DNAinfo reports (from 2 to 14, but still, that’s not an insignificant number in a single precinct).

Capt. Benjamin Lee, executive officer of the 88th Precinct, which covers Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, regularly witnesses cyclists disobeying traffic laws on his commute into the office, he said.

“They [bicyclists] look and see that it’s good and then they just ride,” he said. “A lot of accidents that we see have a lot to do with the cyclists running red lights.”

Lee mentioned that Lexington, Classon and DeKalb Avenues in the 88th Precinct are particularly problematic.

First of all, Capt. Lee appears to contradict himself in the first and second halves of his own quote. This could possibly be due to DNAinfo’s Janet Upadhye compositing quotes out of order, but it’s dissonant: how can cyclists get in accidents after they’ve looked to see that the coast is clear? Unless they’re running red lights at the last possible moment as a vehicle is bearing down on them, in which case they’re making a very dumb, dangerous decision, and that happens less than Capt. Lee probably assumes. To be fair to Lee and Upadhye, however, he could simply mean that cyclists look and don’t see cars coming, which does happen.

Second, one of the problem spots he cites is the intersection where the 88th Precinct house sits. How lazy is that? These dudes are sitting on the stoop, picking people off as they ride by. Also, there are always (literally always) police vehicles parked in the bike lane on DeKalb in front of the building, which is illegal. So they should be ticketing themselves, if they’re going to be cracking down on dangerous behavior.

“That is where the selection of priorities comes into play,” street safety advocate Hilda Cohen told DNAinfo. “Because a lot of the cyclists that are being ticketed are running lights at the T intersections along Flushing Avenue and yes, that is a violation, but I do not think it is necessarily a safety hazard.” That’s the key concept: not necessarily a safety hazard.

Meanwhile, cars continue to hit and kill people regularly and the drivers continue to get away with it.

(Photo: Japp1967)