Bike Crackdown

Friday, January 21, 2011

Paul Steely White, executive director of bicycle advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, talks about the city's new crackdown on cyclists who break traffic laws and goes over what riders need to know about cycling traffic regulations in the city.

Cyclists: call in and test your knowledge on bicycle traffic laws in our true/false quiz!

Need to brush up on New York City's bike laws? You can find a guide to the rules here and (courtesy of Transportation Alternatives) here.


Paul Steely White

Comments [140]

Jd from Brooklyn

I am a part time cyclist who is usually afraid for my life out in the city. In Europe the bike lanes are on left instead of the right, which protects the lane from having people park in the bike lane. And, the traffic lights include bikes. Pretty common sense approach. Also, people should have to wear a helmet! Its as simple as having to wear a seat belt in a car. Bikes should have to obey the laws, as long as pedestrians do as well. If its OK to look both ways and cross on a red light, then it should be the same on a bike. When cycling becomes more mainstream, these common approaches will surface.

Aug. 27 2012 04:29 PM
Neile from Manhattan

"All say that they stop at red lights and then proceed through them. That is breaking the law and if you do it you might be ticketed. Why shouldn't you be? They have all sorts of rationalizations for why they do it. But bottom line is you're breaking the law."

There's "legal" and there's "safe". And there's not always the same thing. Other states have laws that cyclists can treat red lights as stop signs.

That's practical. Arguably, the most dangerous place for a cyclist to be in is to be accelerating away from an intersection the same time as motor traffic. Ideally, as a cyclist, you want to get ahead to establish position and visibility.

So long as you maintain vision of cross traffic (going strictly by a green light or walk sign may be legal but not safe) -- and are courteous to pedestrians (even jaywalkers), this should be accepted practice.

One shouldn't have to choose between safe and legal but if I'd rather be "ticketed" than "dead".

Jan. 26 2011 04:42 PM
melty from West Orange, NJ

art525 from Park Slope: "To me the problem is that bikers are incredibly self righteous and at the same time whiners. "

Hey, stop with the hate speech aka lumping everyone in the same basket already: There are good cyclists and bad cyclists. From the other side of the fence it is the motorist who -- in assuming that the road is there just for him/her and that cyclists are an unreasonable obstacle, wasting precious seconds -- is often the self-righteous one. There should be an huge education initiative aimed at both cyclists and motorists, especially in dense urban areas.

Jan. 26 2011 11:59 AM
art525 from Park Slope

I had to check out the comments here because I just knew what the tenor would be. I knew it would be righteous indignation from bikers. And I was right. To me the problem is that bikers are incredibly self righteous and at the same time whiners. They constantly complain about how vulnerable they are to cars and yet they don't have any concern for pedestrians and see them as mere impediments. One commenter here said that by riding incredibly close to a jay walker he was teaching him a lesson. All say that they stop at red lights and then proceed through them. That is breaking the law and if you do it you might be ticketed. Why shouldn't you be? They have all sorts of rationalizations for why they do it. But bottom line is you're breaking the law. I was on the Brooklyn Bridge on Columbus day weekend. It was sunset and the bridge was mobbed with tourist enjoying the view. Or enjoying it as much as they could as they made a very conscious effort to stay out of the bike line. Bikers rode quickly by yelling to get out of their lane. That's the problem- they have such a sense of entitilement and wouldn't adapt to the situation. It was crowded and they should have adapted rather than be so militant. I live a half a block from Prospect Park West and I don't buy all these statistics about how much safer it is now. I am reminded of Groucho Marx's line- "What are you going to believe me or your own eyes?" Now after you cross the street you have to gingerly peek out between parked cars to see if there are any bikes coming. ANd the car traffic was always very easy to read - it came in waves modulated by the traffic lights. Now bikes seem to pop out of nowhere. Also while there are red lights to accommodate pedestrians crossing the street once you get to the bike line there are flashing yellow lights so bikers are not forced to stop. So pedestrians who have the light do not have the light once they hit the bike lane. Not an issue anyway I guess since bikers take it upon themselves to decide when they are going to stop at a red light.

Jan. 24 2011 10:47 AM
Charlie from Brooklyn

In June 2005 my new next door neighbor newlywed pro-bono lawyer Liz Padilla was killed on 5th Ave as she swerved her bike into traffic to avoid a trucker's door swinging open. She was riding within the "suggested" bike lane. Rather than waste efforts such as licensing that discourage bikers, let's be bold and promote 24/7 bike-only avenues. The bike lane along PPW has substantially decreased all types of accidents. The image of rogue anarchist bikers terrifies Marty Markowitz and some of his constituents, yet not backed by statistics anywhere near the danger of motor vehicles. Biking is good for your health and the environment.Fuggedaboutit a no-brainer! NYPD: please be equally zealous in issuing summons for blocked bike lanes.

Jan. 23 2011 09:59 AM
Jenna from Brooklyn

I agree that bikers should responsibly obey traffic laws. As someone who stops, looks both ways, and then proceeds at a red light (just as you might while walking), I have been ticketed twice (in a prime commuter location) for red light violations. Fair. I went through the lights.

Thought I should illuminate the fee scale for these violations if they are within 18 months of each other: Violation 1: $190, Violation 2: $365. Violation 3: $960! Then, what? I think you have to go to court and your license gets suspended. This is the same tiered fee scale that a motorist would face for going through red lights (minus one surcharge). If you were a skateboarder, you would experience this same progression.

Tickets = fine. But, are the dangers of going through a red light on a bike and in a car equal? As someone who rides often (and responsibly) in the city, it seems that this punishment does not fit the crime.

Jan. 23 2011 08:18 AM
oscar from ny

This is a straight up robbing!the city is out to fine us for everything did you know you can get multiple tickets for ppl not wearing their seatbelt in the back seats?, ..

Jan. 22 2011 11:57 AM
Debora from brooklyn

I try to cling to the belief that we all share the road - as a cyclist, sidewalks are pedestrian turf and a walk-the-bike zone and merit tickets. I take what I feel is a common-sense approach - first, stay alive, stay aware. Being right is small consolation if you're in the hospital. I don't blow through red lights, but I do stop, look both ways, and yield to ALL traffic - cars and pedestrians. It's their light. If it's clear I'll go. But what scares me riding in NYC isn't the cars but the pedestrians - cars are predictable, pedestrians weave, dart & have love affairs with bike lanes in certain parts of town. I honestly feel unsafe riding the midtown Broadway bikelane - it's overrun by freerange pedestrians, and the choice I've got is riding at a walking pace (which begs the question why ride at all?), screaming myself hoarse because a bell does nothing (which is just too tiring), or just riding in traffic on Broadway, which is what I do. I feel I am respectful of pedestrians, of other people's safety, and of course I'm looking after my own. So when I hear about a bicycle crackdown where I could be ticketed for riding in Broadway instead of the bikelane that's routinely overrun by pedestrians, or for going through a red light after taking every precaution for everyone's safety, or for not signaling because at that moment I'm trying to dodge several things at once and kinda want both hands on the bars, I feel frustrated. I just want to get from point A to point B, I often have many miles to cover and I'm not fast, this is something I enjoy doing and I'd like to keep doing it. The police in New York are far too busy to prosecute signaling offenses. If they want to crack down on the truly egregious offenses, on people who do endanger others, I say fine. The rest is a waste of their resources, taxpayer dollars, and in some instances harassment.

Jan. 22 2011 02:22 AM
C Ronk

The thrust of the most sensible comments on this list is that common sense rather than a too legalistic mentality should govern enforcement of the rules of the road against cyclists, based on the obvious differences between cars and bicycles, and bicycles and pedestrians. They are three different things, so treating them equally means taking the full measure of their dissimilarities into account. We don't need more laws, more insurance premiums, more licenses. Given the current climate, this can only enable official harassment.

Jan. 22 2011 12:58 AM
EP from Manhattan

As a commuter cyclist in NYC for over 20 years, I have seen reckless behavior from all sides- bikes, pedestrians and cars. I do agree that cyclists need to follow laws and common courtesy- first and foremost riding in the correct direction and respecting red lights and stop signs. I do think that how bikes are viewed in relation to vehicular traffic needs to be looked at in another light. A bike is not a car- but it is a form of transportation. We as cyclists are more vulnerable than cars in an accident, just as pedestrians are more vulnerable than we are. At least pedestrians get sidewalks on all streets.

All bikes should come to a full stop at a red light/stop sign before 'jay biking". On streets where there are no protected bikes lanes, I have on occasion proceeded though a red light only after all vehicular and pedestrian traffic has cleared- in order to protect my own safety by getting far enough ahead of cars to give me some cushion to not risk getting hit. Running red lights without stopping is dangerous- you may be lucky for some time, but eventually you're going to pay the price. I don't even trust that cars won't run red lights when I have the green.

If you are going to ticket cyclists who do this, then all jaywalkers should be ticketed. When I have the green light and pedestrians ignore my bell ringing as I try to go through an intersection they are putting myself and others in danger. I don't want to hit anyone or hurt anyone, I just want to get from point A to B in one piece.

And the city needs to address the abuse of bike lanes- cabs stopping to pick up and drop off passengers, people who use the bike lane as an extra sidewalk, cars doubled parked. I am so grateful for all the new bike lanes- I just wish I cold count on being able to use them safely.

I was punched in the ribs while passing a pedestrian standing in the bike lane- after ringing my bell and warning that I was approaching. It was night, on 8th ave in the theater district. The person who punched me was a white male in a business suit, with his date and I am a woman (I was passing by them, not running into them).

I have also had cars purposely swerve to hit me in the bike lane after I yelled at them for blocking the bike lane with their parked car while they had stopped to have a conversation with a friend- in the street, forcing me into car traffic. These are only two of the numerous dangerous insults I have suffered over the years.

Yes, I witness many cyclists behaving badly. It makes me truly upset, because I know it only increases the hatred I am going to have to experience, because I ride a bike too. Those that flagrantly disobey the law and put others in danger need to learn how to cycle responsibly. But we can't forget that this is a three way conversation and the other two (cars and pedestrians) need to be held accountable too.

Jan. 21 2011 07:28 PM
Gerald Duchene from Bayridge Brooklyn

I believe that if we going to hold cyclists up to the same standard as motorists than the same crack down should apply to the countless drivers who run red lights, cruise through stop signs, curse at pedestrians, double park in bike lanes or cut off cyclists as though they have no right to be on the road. I cannot remember the amount of times I have been spit on for just being on the road. By the same token, one only has to ride over the Brooklyn bridge on a summers day to see just how discourteous cyclist can be, especially to tourists who are unaware of the rules of the road because the city doesn't have the common sense to post it for them. There will be a day when someone is seriously injured and bike traffic will be banned on the bridge because of a hand full cyclists that cannot see the forest for the trees.
No, bikes shouldn't run red lights but neither should the police. How many times have you seen a squad car go through a red light without the emergency equipment on? Should we not all be obeying the rules of the road equally. Society has suddenly deemed the cyclist a menace on the streets of Gotham, but in this large urban sprawl, is it not more cyclists we are trying to encourage? More protected bike lanes are the answer but most motorists just see them as a place to double park. I do not see anyone cracking down on double parking. This issue is becoming more polarized and I do not see it becoming any better if one group is perceived as the demon while another group skates away.
Common courtesy and decency is the answer here, not demonizing.

Jan. 21 2011 03:07 PM
Laura from Manhattan

Bikers should obey traffic laws, both for safety and in order to keep the sympathy of taxi drivers, pedestrians, and law enforcement. Police should focus on the behaviors that are most dangerous, such as riding the wrong way and riding without lights. I think food messengers are under a lot of pressure to deliver quickly. I wonder if they really know how dangerous it is to drive the wrong way? I also think it's possible they can't afford to have lights, judging from conversations I have had with them. Even ten or twenty bucks is a lot to these guys. They also need lights they can take with them as their bikes do not belong to them but to the businesses employing them. Some restaurants should also be sponsoring bike racks as they are using up all the available "parking" in the area. Running red lights should really be avoided at almost any hour; you might not see me waiting to cross on my bike, but I've narrowly missed being chunked by another bike in this way more than once. Many of the worst problems happen at night, when there might not be as much enforcement. Another area it would be great to bring some attention to is the incredibly aggressive driving by cabs and limos at night.

Jan. 21 2011 02:01 PM
Raphael from from ABCity

Most bikers I know are aware and responsible, and will blow through traffic signals bc they have assessed the situation and there are no pedestrians or cars in the way. And if there is a texting jay-walker, I might give em a close call. He may be pissed at first, but he'll thank me later for looking both ways and not getting hit by a bus. If I were wearing Bloomberg's shoes, I'd only allow cabbies and business supply vans into manhattan, then I could finally sleep well without the reoccurring "getting-doored" nightmare. Plus, with mass transit raising prices, cyclists should have more freedom. I'll take my chances running red lights before having to shell out $2.50 a ride.

Oh! and that one headphone law is true, I couldn't believe it when a cop pulled me over and lectured me about it. I didn't really say anything or argue back, just gave him that Larry David stare that kinda says it all.

Jan. 21 2011 01:14 PM
David from Manhattan

@Andrew from Brooklyn,

Exactly what concerns or values would the "driver representative" represent? Convenience? Perceived convenience? Drivers certainly don't get hurt by cyclists.

Cyclists are getting cracked down on. So there's someone on the show responding to that. Problem?

Jan. 21 2011 12:48 PM
Jim B from Brooklyn

Additionally, I do want to say that despite my sentiments, I am not in favor of ticketing bikers. Nor do I believe that bikers should be required to follow all traffic rules. Most? Sure. But all would be unrealistic and damaging to the trend.

Violators of common decency should be excoriated but not ticketed. And if they cause an accident, then yeah! Book 'em.

Jan. 21 2011 12:32 PM
Jim B from Brooklyn

It's about time. I love riding my bike, but a lot of cyclists are just plain old &%$holes. I'm not talking about messengers or delivery guys who are working and are usually pretty modest.

For all the feel-good "green" happiness around the bike image, a lot of these people have the same attitude as owners of SUVs.

A great example is the Brooklyn Bridge. You're riding your bike over the most famous bridge in the world and yet you feel obliged to scream at tourists for getting in your way. As if that poor woman needs some cocky idiot to tell her to "watch your back". A lot of ugly people ride bikes (and SUVs).

I was once elbowed intentionally for meandering into hte bike lane.

Jan. 21 2011 12:21 PM
Michael Meyer from Brooklyn

I commute by bicycle from Brooklyn to Manhattan several days a week. I generally follow the laws--but none of us is perfect. I've never hit a pedestrian or caused an accident. How many drivers can honestly say that they never break the law? Never speed? Never run through that yellow that was really a red? Never made a u-turn or reversed down the one way street to grab that last parking spot? How many drivers can even name the speed limit in NYC?

Those cyclists who are breaking the laws like riding on the sidewalk or riding against traffic should be ticketed in the same way that motorists should be ticketed for running red lights, speeding, passing over double yellow lines and illegal u-turns. I see these actions on the part of motorists on every single commute. Pedestrians, too, break the law. I can't count how many times I've seen pedestrians step out into traffic moving with a green light, stand in traffic lanes waiting for the light to change and cross in the middle of the block. Some intersections are worse than others, and I tend to avoid the Union Square area because pedestrians make the Broadway/14th Street intersection in particular an unsafe area to cycle through.

This crackdown on cyclists is more harassment than anything else. If this were seriously about making the streets of NYC safer then the NYPD would be cracking down on all traffic offenders regardless of whether they are in a car, on a bike or just walking. You want enforcement? Fine. Enforce the laws equally for all vehicles or enforce in proportion to the damage and danger of the vehicles.

Jan. 21 2011 11:50 AM
Dianne from Manhattan

While I agree that the city will be a greener place if there are more bicycles and fewer cars, I strongly believe that cyclists should be required to follow traffic rules. I have narrowly escaped many collisions with cyclists going through red lights and traveling the wrong way on one way streets - most recently today on Bleecker Street. Lack of bells, horns or lights only makes the hazard worse for everyone. I used to ride a bike in a different city, where bikes were required to have license plates, a source of revenue for that city and a means for the police to identify scofflaws. Maybe we should try something like that here in NYC.

Jan. 21 2011 11:50 AM

Yes Steve, more common sense and respect please. Cyclists (I am one) should obey road rules but ticketing should be done with discretion based on how dangerous the offence.
On a safety note - I do sometimes anticipate the traffic light turning green and get ahead start on traffic because I've nearly been struck down by a truck making a right turn while I was travelling straight ahead. I do it carefully and I'll continue to do it until I know that drivers are respecting my presence on the road - because I'd rather get a ticket then be killed.

Jan. 21 2011 11:45 AM

I have been a messenger and delivery person in NYC for 7 years now. In that time I've been struck by cars making illegal u-turns, opening doors without looking, attempting to pass me while turning, and speeding to catch a light. And I certainly cannot count the number of times a pedestrian has stepped in front of me despite the fact that I had the green light. All of this behavior is far more dangerous than a 180lbs. cyclist riding through an empty red light any day of the week, yet it goes completely unchecked by the NYPD. I'm all for respect and sharing the road, but "share" is the operative word. Drivers need to understand that by virtue of being in a car, they are wielding a 4000lbs. weapon and it needs to be treated as such. They have no more right to the road than anyone else and cyclists do not have to scramble out of their way. As for pedestrians, I see many people simply not even bother to look up while jaywalking unless they hear the roar of an engine. I'm pretty sure it's standard practice that people are taught in kindergarten to always look "both ways" before crossing the street and this is just plain common sense. I have no problem with a completely reckless cyclist being ticketed but there is no reason to pull cyclists over for "victimless" infractions, i.e. pulling through empty red lights; especially when there are so many other infractions (and in the case of cars far more dangerous ones) being ignored left and right.

Jan. 21 2011 11:40 AM
Sean Montgomery from Manhattan

This city is getting much better, but in the past the system has done little to integrate cycling as a legitimate form of transportation. To ticket cyclists while not plowing bike lanes and not ticketing cars double parked in bike lanes is a double standard and is not right.

People will often double park in bike lanes even if there is a legit parking spot right next to them. There's little understanding that leaving a bike lane to merge with traffic is really dangerous and if I have to do it on every block, it's actually safer to just ride in the middle of a car lane and get honked at.

Jan. 21 2011 11:32 AM
Bob from New Yorkl

I'm a driver, biker, and pedestrian. Most people have multiple roles. There is no us versus them with me. All three contributes to unsafe traffic.

With cars, I find the most egregious violators are taxis, commercial vehicles, and government vehicles (police, DEP, DOT, etc,).

With pedestrians, nearly all people are violators (myself included) at one time or another. When there is a mass gathering of pedestrians at an intersection, they will overwhelm even trucks crossing against red lights or jaywalking outside proscribed area (crosswalks).

Bikers also have violators as you highlighted in your program, but by and large, bikers are most courteous and safe because hitting a pedestrian will result is liability damage and getting hit by a car can lead to serious injury or death.

Ticketing bikers is an shameful attempt to raise revenue under the guise of protecting people. If safety is the overriding concern, then pedestrians, drivers, and bikers should share equal responsibility.

Until the time comes when traffic violators in cars, on bikes, and on foot are equally held to the dictates of traffic laws, ticketing bikers are wholly unfair.

Lastly, I want to mention that the so-called bikers who blow through red lights are exaggerated as doing so can cause one to end up on the grill of a truck. On the occasions when I go through a red light, I stop and look before doing so -- mindful of safety for myself and pedestrians. If it cannot be maneuvered safely, I'll stop.

Jan. 21 2011 11:15 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I wish the city would stop having these little temper tantrums over bicyclists, jaywalkers, kite flyers by the Belt Parkway etc., etc. I have NEVER seen anyone stopped for passing a school bus while its red lights were blinking. This is really dangerous.

Jan. 21 2011 11:10 AM
John from Manhattan

My wife has biked around NYC for years, often riding to work, church and the market. A couple of years ago, she was ticketed in a sting - officers blocking a bike lane, she moving into the street because there was nowhere else to ride, then stopped and ticketed for riding outside of the bike lane. She fought that ticket and won; the victory cost several hours of her workday. Recently, she was leaving church on W. 49th St. Her elderly friend called and was hysterical; she couldn't get to the drugstore for her heart meds. Could my wife help? My wife immediately began to ride to her friend's apartment. She knows the streets well, and the right way final approach to her friend's address involved navigating a particularly bad pot-holed filled block. An early, icy bitter cold Sunday morning - absolutely NO other traffic or pedestrians - my wife decided to ride wrong way the final block to her friend. NO other traffic suddenly became one NYPD car; the officer pulled my wife over and began ticketing her. My wife explained the situation, insisted on calling up to check on her friend, eventually was allowed to do. But from my wife's account, it appeared that the officer's priority was writing the ticket and not checking on the condition of a frail New Yorker, who may or may not have required emergency service. Fortunately, afterwards, my wife got her friend's meds which immediately stabilized the woman. Protect and serve.

Jan. 21 2011 11:09 AM
steve the bike commuter from manhattan

Common sense, please, and respect for all. It's a crowded city. Enforce the current laws - no riding on sidewalks, no riding the wrong way, stop at red lights when intersections are busy, and ticket dangerous behavior whether from a bike, a car, or a pedestrian. AND enforce the bike lane rules against cars and pedestrians, enforce no jay-walking laws, etc. Stop the selective enforcement against bikes and remember that bikes are not cars. A 150 lb. bike at 20 mph is not an equal of a 2000 lb. vehicle at 40 mph. On a bike, I can't stop in a traffic lane waiting to turn or I'll get killed, I can't expect cars or pedestrians to respect my right of way and can't assert my rights to right of way without getting blamed, I can't assume I'm safe in a bike lane, and I now expect harassment from cops as well as the usual abuse from pedestrians and cars. Face it - if I need two hands to brake, I can't also hand signal. If my bike lane is blocked, I have no choice but to go into traffic lanes. If I'm riding at 2am and there's no one around, it's a very different situation than if I'm riding at 2pm through busy intersections. And if you harass me enough, or force me to license, I'll switch to my car and further crowd and pollute our streets. Common sense, please.

Jan. 21 2011 11:05 AM
Sean Montgomery from Manahattan

Crossing the park is unfortunately difficult:

I love the central park loop and I think it's great that pedestrians have lot's of peds (and blades) only paths in the park.

However, it's quite hard to cross E<->W in the park on a bike. Aside from two crossings in the park (72nd and 102) that are officially marked as one-way East to West only, the options for bikes to cross the park are to get off your bike and walk on a ped-only path or ride on the car transverse roads that are quite dangerous with single lanes, no checks on speed and blind curves.

I personally think a great solution would be to make the sidewalks on the car transverse roads into bike lanes. Pedestrians already have many (hundreds?) of ways to cross the park, so they don't really need these sidewalks, but as someone who lives on the West side and often visits my brother on the East side, it would make huge difference in convenience and safety to use my bike for this travel.

Jan. 21 2011 11:01 AM
Doug from Brooklyn

I think two things can be true:

1. Cyclists should obey all traffic laws.

2. Police should use more discretion and direct a larger amount of their manpower, time, and money to enforcing traffic laws that apply to motorists, which have a greater capability to injure and kill.

It should not be the case that cyclists bemoan following the laws. Follow them. But the NYPD has a responsibility to keep all New Yorkers safe from the biggest threats. So far in January, car accidents have severely injured a mom and her twins in Sunset Park, a toddler in Williamsburg, and a rabbi in Midwood.

We don't need a "crackdown." We need a sense of priorities and proportion.

Jan. 21 2011 11:00 AM
Terry from Manhattan

A month ago, I was hit by a bike bombing the wrong way down 6th avenue through a red light at night. The guy knocked me unconscious and shattered my right arm--but what he had to say when I came and was being rushed into the ambulance was. "you didn't look.". He went on to insist he was allowed to ride both ways on 6th avenue. This is exactly the willful arrogance--and cluelessness--that characterizes the bike culture advocated by PAul Steely White. The bikes are not behaving, the bike lanes are making the city safe for bikes going every which way and deadly for pedestrians. License them, insure them, and when they break the law, bust them.

Jan. 21 2011 10:58 AM
Anon from brooklyn

If cyclists want a piece of the road they need to obey the rules of the road. While bikes are great, they are not the form of transportation used by working class New Yorkers living in the outer boroughs. I'm not talking about hipsters in Williamsburg who ride their bikes across the bridge. I'm talking about the elevator operators who live in Bay Ridge, the masons in Sunset Park or the Human Resource managers from Westchester. These working class New Yorkers drive cars and need consideration.

Jan. 21 2011 10:56 AM
dboy from nyc

What's up with these (Chinese) motorized, electric "bicycles"???

Unlicensed. Uninsured. Unlit. Everywhere and OUT OF CONTROL!!!!


Jan. 21 2011 10:52 AM
Charles Baker from Manhattan

Bicycles are a menace to Senior. They don't
follow traffic rules. The rider's should all
have a license. The bikes should have a
license plate attached and the owner should
carry insurance.

Riders should pass a driving test on the
rules of the road.

The bike lanes are horrible - what about
the pedestrians - don't we have rights.

I love walk - but hate bikes that don't follow
the rules.

Jan. 21 2011 10:51 AM
xheight from Brooklyn

I was a bit disappointed with the show for not picking up on the role of the delivery cyclist in giving cyclists a bad wrap and it seems like this "crackdown" isn't doing anything to address that. I live in Brooklyn and the boom of commuter bikers hasn't once made me feel endangered but those pizza delivery guys are as much a menace as ever.

Jan. 21 2011 10:47 AM
Jane Iyer

I am DELIGHTED to hear that finally something is being done about the out of control cyclists on NYC's streets (not all of them are out of control but many are).As a European who arrived to live in NYC 5 years ago, I have been shocked by the cavalier attitude of bikers here - riding down one way streets the wrong way, in dark clothing, no lights, no reflectors..these people are a danger to pedestrians, motorists and themselves !
That said please cld the NYPD use some intelligence in the way they handle this,and totally agree that education is essential.
I also agree with the caller that many NYC pedestrians are also a danger to themselves and others...there often seem to be more people crossing the street on a red light than a white one - some kind of badge of honour, very silly, very dangerous.

Jan. 21 2011 10:47 AM

I wish they would come to Inwood and confiscate the delivery people's bikes and illegal scooters. It was bad enough when they were riding bikes on the sidewalks. Now they all have motorized vehicles, ride them on the sidewalks at full speed, do not have driver's licenses or insurance (you can't register those scooters because they are not street legal in NY), and have no lights. When they do ride in the street, they run red lights. I ride a legally registered and insured scooter, and am incensed at what these folks are doing.

Also, the bikers who choose to ride down Riverside instead of using the bike lane should be ticketed for running EVERY red light. If they don't want to be hindered by red lights, they should use the bike path. Why must these fools ride abreast? I've have been put in danger repeatedly because I have to pass the same bikers 20 or so times on my way to the Upper West Side on my scooter. I have almost been hit by cars many times while passing. If they stopped at red lights, as required by law, this would not happen. Even if they just rode single file, there would be no problem as I can easily share a lane with a bicycle on my scooter.

Also, weekend bikers, your fancy bike outfits look ridiculous. This is not the tour de France. It is the tour de Washington Heights.

Jan. 21 2011 10:46 AM
Michael Green from Brooklyn

Michael Green
It's one thing if the NYPD can differentiate between obnoxious cycling breaking the law and being unsafe to pedestrians such as riding on the sidewalk. Unfortunately what we are seeing is continued harassment from the police indiscriminatel...y giving tickets to everyone they see. Running red lights? Come on...this is like cracking down on jaywalking. A friend of mine got a ticket for not riding in the bike line on 1st Ave. The law states that you must use bike lanes unless obstructed for any reason. We all know the bike lanes are always obstructed, half the time by police. The cops were using these same tactics during critical mass and then had to pay out a million dollar lawsuit. This is clearly a backlash to the NYPD being sore losers who hate biking and the direction the DOT is taking. On any given day you can find any number of people "at the transportation table" being naughty and breaking the law. This includes uturns, runniing reds, jaywalking, double parking, driving while texting or using a cell phone without a hands free device. Come on, in the dead of winter when the ridership is at its lowest the NYPD is calling for a crackdown? Are we expected to believe that the police are so inundated with complaints form pedestrians on 311 they are actually doing something about it? Yeah right? come crackdown on the people who's dog poop I am stepping in or idling cars or double parking fresh direct trucks. Biking is up, the community boards are pushing for infrastructure for biking as we are seeing in Prospect Park. Face it NYPD. Yes cyclists need to obey laws, be respectful, stay off the sidewalks, yes. Crackdown...come on, get real. The NYPD needs to get with the program. The age of alternative transportation is here and being punitive with 270.00 tickets for running a red is not the direction this broke city should be heading especially with an MTA who doesn't disclose it's books and raises fares. Read more at

Jan. 21 2011 10:46 AM
kim murdock from Upper West Side

I live on Riverside Drive which is very popular with cyclists, often traveling in groups especially on the weekends. They run red lights constantly! They usually are traveling at high speed, which has been built up over many blocks. They have almost hit me and my small dogs, which would have seriously injured me and probably killed the dogs. No one has ever stopped or apologized for this uncivil behavior. It would be great to see tickets issued.

Jan. 21 2011 10:42 AM
gene from NYC

The off-road lanes on West St., from 14th St. to the Battery, are clearly marked: one's for bikes and skates, one's for pedestrians.

But look at them: bikes in the pedestrian lanes, pedestrians, often hand-in-hand, in the bike lane.

We should ticket a-holes!

Jan. 21 2011 10:42 AM
Andrea from Brooklyn

I am a fair weather bike commuter in Brooklyn, not a bikophobe.
But, I am really really tired of having to dodge Chinese restaurant and pizza delivery guys riding on the sidewalks, the wrong side of the road, etc. And why do these jerks never have lights or reflectors on their bikes, and usually wear black?
In my neighborhood, Kensington, there is a really disturbing trend--electric bikes. Fast & silent. I was hit by one the other night while crossing a side street with my dog.
There is absolutely no enforcement directed at deliverymen.
Can it be that our pro business Mayor and BP have put out the word for the cops to never enforce the laws for commercial bikers?

Jan. 21 2011 10:41 AM
Sean Montgomery from Manhattan

Laws vs rules of the road:
Show me an NYC pedestrian that has never crossed on a don't walk and I'll show you a cyclist who has never run a red light.

It's a matter of getting around quickly and safely.

Fact is that lights are timed for cars. If you're a pedestrian, you walk unless a car is coming regardless of lights. If you're on a bike you often get 3-4 blocks and then wait at a light (and watch the pedestrians continue walking). A car, however, is getting 10 or more blocks on untimed lights and can catch a wave to make it 20+.

On the safety side there's the fact that if a cyclist hits you, you might fall down. If a car hits you, it's unlikely you'll get away without a trip to the hospital, if not the morgue.

So the question is how to balance the laws and lights that are written for cars and apply them to bikes.

I personally both bike and drive a car. When I'm in a car I stop at red lights until they're green. When I'm on a bike, I treat lights like a 2-way stop sign. I stop, see if anyone is coming and if it's safe to cross. I personally think this is a good solution to the problem of trying to time lights for cars and bikes. Some cyclists blow through lights in a very unsafe manner and I do believe they should be ticketed. But I think ticketing cyclists who are carefully crossing on red as are pedestrians all around them is somewhat legitmately called harassment.

Jan. 21 2011 10:41 AM
sandy shapiro from williamsburgh

nyc cyclists are rude and feel they're above the law. i've had my car mirror smacked, my car kicked and my family has heard many 4-letter words shouted at them. i am all for cutting down on emissions and freeing up subways and buses. bikes are great exercise too. but ive seen cyclists riding dangerously, putting those around them in harms way. and their attitudes have to go. they must be treated like the rest of us.

Jan. 21 2011 10:40 AM

Bike traffic rules and laws need to be posted more prominently on streets and on those free NYC bike route maps that are given out at bike shops. The lack of correct responses on those on-air quizzes just now is a good example of how uninformed riders, drivers, and pedestrians are about bike traffic rules, but there is no place to EASILY find this information.

Jan. 21 2011 10:36 AM
dboy from nyc

How about requiring brakes???

You super cute, hipster "fixie" and BMX riders, know who you are...

So "cool".


Jan. 21 2011 10:36 AM
Rob from Westchester from Westchester, NY

The more segregated bike lanes, traffic lights timed for cyclists speeds, and other bike infrastructure improvements, the better bicyclists will abide by the laws. We're in this situation because bikes were treated like outlaws on car-focused roads, and bicyclists behaved that way as a result.

The increase in bikes is a huge positive for the city, and should be encouraged elsewhere. Want to talk about unhealthy, car-based lifestyles that cause obesity, diabetes and heart ailments? Come to the suburbs!

Jan. 21 2011 10:33 AM

Bicyclists should not only receive tickets for traffic violations, but they should be required to have licenses and insurance. When I was knocked down by a bicyclist who was running a red light, it was two motorists, stopped at the light, who helped me up, prevented the bicyclist from escaping, and found a policeman. The policeman did get the cyclist's contact information, but gave no ticket. The cyclist, of course, had no insurance. (I was crossing with the Walk light, and had checked that cars were all stopped. The bicyclist came roaring out between the stopped cars, ran the red light, and knocked me down.)
Since this incident, I have watched cyclists more closely, and find that many, many of them have total disregard for traffic regulations and for pedestrians. I am very skeptical of cyclists who complain of police "harassment.

Jan. 21 2011 10:32 AM
Carol from Manhattan

I support cycling, but as a pedestrian I welcome the crackdown of cyclists disobeying traffic laws. I have often been blindsided at intersections by cyclists rushing through the intersection in the wrong direction. I especially wish the police would crack down on cyclists riding their bikes on the sidewalk. This is also a problem in Central Park, where cyclists ride right by the signs stating no riding on walkways.

Jan. 21 2011 10:32 AM

I am happy to hear that police are cracking down on cyclists who violate the laws. We don't need new laws, we don't need bike registrations and licenses -- we need to enforce the laws that already exist. They are designed for the safety of the people in this case, so really, it is in the cyclist's best interest to follow them. I also ride. I would accept a ticket if I violate the laws.

Jan. 21 2011 10:31 AM
dboy from nyc

It is unconstitutional to fine someone for something they are not required to know.

Licensing cyclists and requiring knowledge of cycling laws will elevate awareness of the law and reduce illegal riding habits. And make the city streets safer for all.

Jan. 21 2011 10:31 AM
David from Manhattan

Time for bike advocates to start looking out for the safety of people IN cars. What's the danger to those people? Cars. Not bikes.

Jan. 21 2011 10:31 AM
Jerry Danzig from Manhattan

To the caller who said he's a cyclist who runs red lights if there's no traffic -- he needs to consider pedestrian traffic as well. The two worst offenses I've seen cyclists commit are riding their bikes on sidewalks and zooming through red lights, causing pedestrians in crosswalks to jump out of their way. Tickets must be issued for these types of offenses. Another cyclist made the point that pedestrians who dart out between cars cause accidents as well, but I can't see how you can ticket all pedestrians who do this. I do think, however, that pedestrians who fail to cross at the green -- AND cause an accident in consequence -- should receive tickets.

Jan. 21 2011 10:29 AM
Elise from Lower East Side

(Unfortunately)I've seen an old woman knocked down by a bicyclist who not only ran a red light but didn't have the decency to stop. Also, I've almost been hit by bicyclists who were riding the wrong way in the bike lane.
I'm all for the increase in bike traffic in the city but I'd like bicyclists to have a modicum of respect for others.
Of course, I realize that there's something about traffic in all respects that makes us idiots out there so I'm not holding my breath...

Jan. 21 2011 10:29 AM
E from NYC

This is much more complicated then yes or no. Sometimes, as a biker, I need to blow the red light for the sake of safety. Sometimes bikers blow red lights recklessly and should be ticketed.

Really the lights should be changed like the ones crossing Queens Blvd. Pedestrians and bikers should get a head start of car * truck traffic for the sake of safety and to stay visible!

Jan. 21 2011 10:29 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

This guy Paul from Transportation Alternatives is the biggest jerk in the city, hands down! I "used to" support bikers rights until I heard him advocating double taxation for motorists only (in the case of an accident, NYFD CHARGE!). Seriously, just a malicious moron who probably never had to work for a living. Fire this moronic tool of hipster overreach before he sinks your ship with reasonable people who don't want to be lectured to by another precious , park slope douchebag.

Jan. 21 2011 10:28 AM
Nancy from Westchester, NY

I am so happy this issue is being discussed. I see bicycler's causing dangerous situations all the time. Why do they have to ride their bikes during rush hour on a narrow road when there are plenty of bike trails around for them to use. There seems to be a lack of common sense and courtesy on their part. A sense of entitlement that is very arrogant. I have seen traffic jams started over this and very dangerous situations. On another note, I would like to bring up the double standard on bicycler's and skateboarders. Bicycler's seem to be very protected and privileged while skateboarders (who are not on the street, mind you) are treated like criminals. Is it a social class issue? Is bike riding more acceptable and tolerated because there are a lot of affluent, white males who bike? Something to think and talk about!

Jan. 21 2011 10:28 AM

Restaurants should provide bikes with reflectors, helmets to all their delivery people and reflective vests. I drive in the city and at night it's very difficult to see riders who are not properly equiped.

Jan. 21 2011 10:28 AM
Jeff Pappas from Ct.

An ex girlfriend of mine had her Grandmother Killed by a bike messenger who ran a red light, he got away with it and is out their.....

Jan. 21 2011 10:27 AM
Andrew from Brooklyn

Totally unbalanced segment. Enough of Transportation Alternatives- where was the driver representative?

Jan. 21 2011 10:27 AM
Connie from nj

Thank goodness that the rollerblading fad seems to have permanently gone away.

Jan. 21 2011 10:27 AM
Smokey from LES

I agree with the caller that pedestrians need to also be smart and more respectful of the rights of bikers - don't stand in the bike lane waiting for the light to change would be a great start!

Even more than enforcement, this all comes down to safety and respect.

Jan. 21 2011 10:26 AM
Future biker from Harlem

Revenue raiser? Quota satisfier?...I was actually hit by a cyclist riding against traffic, so I'm no apologist for reckless biking. But I think neeedling bikers is overkill. Police the most egregious violations, like the one that victimized me. But no real need for such micromanagement of this much slower, less deadly, healthier, more navigable vehicle.

Jan. 21 2011 10:26 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Brooklyn

This is just another way for the police to meet their ticket quotas. Just once, I will like to see this city do something because it is meant to have meaningful effect. If they were serious about protecting anyone, they should certainly enforce jaywalking laws.

Jan. 21 2011 10:26 AM
Robert from NYC

He's right I've seen pedestrians who just don't give a .....! If it's a crowded area with lots of traffic of all kinds then the laws should be followed strictly. That's where the laws really work. Red for pedestrian and bike speeding down street, pedestrian wait til bike passes and vise versa. I think that's common sense and respectful and, well, it works!

Jan. 21 2011 10:25 AM
edie from NY

When I was 9, in rural English town in the 70s, part of the school curriculum was teaching and administering the "Green Cross Code" which was the rules for bike riding - signaling, turning, stopping. The test for all kids that could ride was just held in the schoolyard. The area wasn't thick with bikes, but they were an accepted alternative mode of transport for all ages, and in the narrow lanes the normative behavior encouraged by acceptance of common sense rules etc. I'm sure led to a safer moving environment. Different place, different time, but good example?

Jan. 21 2011 10:25 AM
Tucker from Manhattan

I have been hit on several occasions by bike riders on the sidewalk, running a red light, or going the wrong way in the bike lane. After they hit me, they all said that it was "an accident," but never acknowledged that they had been riding in an illegal manner and therefore responsible for the "accident." Right now I'd like to see current laws enforced and followed, not new laws.

Bike riders are calling to complain of harassment. I have never seen any enforcement, so for me lack of enforcement, not harassment is the problem. Nevertheless, I would like to encourage bike use. But bikes need to do their part for this to happen --- pedestrian support is needed for bikes to succeed.

And I agree with cyclists that cars and pedestrians need to adapt.

Jan. 21 2011 10:25 AM

Please bring up the the new bicycles that have engines being used all over chinatown

Jan. 21 2011 10:25 AM
Damon from UES

Cyclist pose a particularly serious threat to pedestrians in Central Park, where cyclists on racing bikes frequently reach speeds equivalent to the speed of a car -- this in a recreational area where many people are afoot.

Jan. 21 2011 10:25 AM

I have ridden my 60-year-old Italian hand-made track bike every day for more than 40 years, usually with traffic. But now I am afraid to because of all the unskilled and rude riders who are making us veteran riders look bad.

Jan. 21 2011 10:24 AM
Sue from Manhattan

If a cyclist gets a ticket for running a red light, will that cyclist get points on the NY Driver's license he provides as ID?

Jan. 21 2011 10:24 AM
Tucker Ranson from Manhattan

I have been hit on several occasions by bike riders on the sidewalk, running a red light, or going the wrong way in the bike lane. After they hit me, they all said that it was "an accident," but never acknowledged that they had been riding in an illegal manner and therefore responsible for the "accident." Right now I'd like to see current laws enforced and followed, not new laws.

Bike riders are calling to complain of harassment. I have never seen any enforcement, so for me lack of enforcement, not harassment is the problem. Nevertheless, I would like to encourage bike use. But bikes need to do their part for this to happen --- pedestrian support is needed for bikes to succeed.

And I agree with cyclists that cars and pedestrians need to adapt.

Jan. 21 2011 10:23 AM

I am a biker but have often been afraid when walking w/my tiny dog on the greenway along the Hudson. Bikers really have to be more careful of walkers and their pets who are on 6 foot leashes. These bikers depend on the walkers never moving sideways, never stopping and never bending over in a direction that is not in line with the direction they are traveling. Where I live I often see food delivery bikers w/ no helmets & going the wrong way or on the sidewalk. Geezzzz

It is annoying as a biker to see other bikers w/out helmets. These folks have no idea how quickly and permanently they could be severely injured requiring longterm medical care.

Jan. 21 2011 10:23 AM
Roger from Brooklyn

I cannot believe this guy is against safety laws for cyclists. 91% of cyclist deaths happen to cyclists who are not wearing helmets... LOOK IT UP..
I am a cyclist.. but I do not blame car drivers for everything... Plenty of cyclists need to wake up.. wear bright clothing use lights at night and yes lets have a helmet law for cyclists the statistics dont lie

Jan. 21 2011 10:23 AM
Will Miles from Morris Plains, NJ

Yes, all laws should be enforced--equally. That includes tickets for pedestrian jay-walkers, tickets for cars and cabs that cut into and out of traffic dangerously, without using signals, and of course tickets for every vehicle that breaks the laws. Bikes are targeted for the ridiculous reason that we are more visible and slower.
The obvious solution is to eliminate all cars from mid-town, increasing public transportation and cycling and pedestrian space.

Jan. 21 2011 10:23 AM
Andy from Manhattan

The NYPD has recently begun to give tickets for running red lights in Central Park. $270 tickets to people putting no one at risk.

Utterly ridiculous!

How the hell are you supposed to train when you have a good chance of having to stop every third mile or so???

NYPD should start with enforcement against delivery cyclists. They are single-handedly ruining the entire city for cycling for all.

Jan. 21 2011 10:23 AM
Steven from Brooklyn

Everyone seems to think this enforcement is to benefit pedestrians. It's not. The purpose is to save cyclist's lives. If you ride the wrong way down one way streets, it's just a matter of time before you are peeled off the pavement. I ride every day and was nearly killed by oncoming traffic while riding the wrong way down a one way street. Lesson learned. Will never do it again.

Jan. 21 2011 10:23 AM
Rose from Brookly, of course

There is an arrogance that bike riders have developed after the bike lanes increased. The violations towards pedestrians are ridiculous.

Reflectors are not petty, neither is riding without your ipod. All laws should be obeyed—period. Same should and does apply to car drivers.

Cars are pulled over/ticketed for busted headlights, expired registration, etc.

Jan. 21 2011 10:23 AM
Mike from Park Slope

If we're going to implement registration and licenses for cyclists, let's also implement biannual medical exams for licensed drivers over 65 as well - they kill more pedestrians than cyclists.

Jan. 21 2011 10:23 AM
suz from upper east side

Cyclists should be ticketed for all moving vehicle violations: driving on sidewalks, the wrong way, running red lights, improper lighting, no hand signals, no helmets. As a senior pedestrian, over 50 years in Manhattan, conditions are more dangerous despite statistics. I know too many people injured by cyclists, delivery and non-delivery, skewed statistics notwithstanding. And a helmeted cyclist breaking a traffic law and hitting a pedestrian should be locked up. Self-pro- tection but utter disregard for others.

Jan. 21 2011 10:23 AM
Yusef Jeffries-El from Brooklyn New York

Please mention that the traffic lights are timed to stop bicyclists (pedestrians and cars also) at EVERY block!

Jan. 21 2011 10:23 AM
Andrew from Brooklyn


Enough of transport alternatives! We get their viewpoint ALL THE TIME on wnyc!!

Jan. 21 2011 10:22 AM
Rob from Westchester from Westchester, NY

More bicyclists would stop at red lights if they were timed to their speed. In Copenhagen, the traffic lights provide a "green wave" so bikes don't have to stop so much.

It is a lot harder to stop a bike than a car.

Jan. 21 2011 10:22 AM
Karen in Brooklyn from Sunset Park

I ride regularly on the 5th Ave bike lane in Park Slope. It often feels quite dangerous, especially since many drivers use the bike lane as a parking lane, and many open cardoors into the bike lane. When I come to a red light, I stop, make sure there are no cars or pedestrians coming, and then go through the light. This allows me to get ahead of the traffic and feel a little safer for a few blocks. Many bike-friendly cities have amended laws so that bikers may stop and then proceed through a redlight. New York should do the same.

Jan. 21 2011 10:22 AM
Elizabeth Payne from Manhattan

Bicyclists should definitely be ticketed for running red lights and Stop Signs, also for riding in the opposite direction of the traffic lane they are in, AND for riding on the sidewalks.

Jan. 21 2011 10:22 AM
dboy from nyc

Cycle licensing.


Jan. 21 2011 10:22 AM
nina from east village

As a native and lifelong resident of the city I believe that having cyclists in the city is great, but not at the expense of pedestrians whom we need to safeguard. Cyclists should never ride on any sidewalks, cyclists should be required to have lights - front and back - on their vehicles, as well as lights on their required helmets. This will safeguard cyclists as well.

Jan. 21 2011 10:22 AM
Robert from NYC

it's the sidewalk riders i have a problem with. Some at least move slowly but many zip down even narrow sidewalks and are very frightening and dangerous.
As for examples, my example bicycle city is Amsterdam. It is a city chockfull of bikes and pedestrians in fairly narrow streets and it works. There "pedestrian has right-of-way" is fully respected but pedestrians also respect the cyclers and allow passage. The mutual respect works beautifully there. It's the trolleys that scare me there.

Jan. 21 2011 10:21 AM
Howard from Brooklyn

I was ticketed maybe 10 years ago for running a light in Manhattan. Cost $125--same as for a car. And, thanks to the NYS llegislature, if you do show you driver license, a notation of that ticket goes on your permanent driving record (but no points go against you)

Jan. 21 2011 10:21 AM
Rebecca from Brooklyn, NY

My friend failed to pay a ticket she received on a bicycle and ended up having her driver license suspended. What is the legal connection?

Jan. 21 2011 10:21 AM
jmp from Brooklyn

Red lights should be stop signs for bikes.

it is SAFER for a bicycle to get out ahead of a line of cars. Sit at a red light and you will get run over.

Bikes are not cars.

Cycling is clean, safe transportation. It should be encouraged.

Jan. 21 2011 10:21 AM
Ed from Maplewood

the big problem is that cyclists do not respect the autos - drivers have such bad experience with us that as they approach us their only thought is that they have no idea what the cyclist will do. We can do our part by being ultra courteous and understanding that cars do not know what to make of us! Let's do our part, instead of being out there trying to declare our space

Jan. 21 2011 10:21 AM
Laura from Brooklyn

What about lights?!?!? I can't see the bikes coming at me at night, whether on foot or in a car.

Jan. 21 2011 10:21 AM
snoop from brooklyn

My questions are:

Are we going to ticket all those pedestrians who stand in the street when waiting for the light to change?

Are we going to ticket people "jaywalking?"

Are we going to ticket pedestrians who cross the street against the light, even if there are no cars around?

Jan. 21 2011 10:20 AM
Keith from Montclair, NJ

Smarter enforcement, okay. Don't ticket for not signaling, but ticket for riding on the sidewalk.

Jan. 21 2011 10:20 AM

Question for cyclists. Have you been hit by a vehicle more often or less often than you have hit a pedestrian?

Jan. 21 2011 10:20 AM
Batya Stepelman from Brooklyn

If cyclists get ticketed then so should all the cars blocking the bike lanes and using them as a parking lot. The 5th Avenue bike lane in Park Slope is a joke. Ticket the cars parked in the lane-- it will make the streets safer for cyclists AND close our budget gap.

Jan. 21 2011 10:20 AM
will from williamsburg

How about a means of stopping for each wheel? What is Paul's position on this.

Jan. 21 2011 10:20 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

First of all, I think it is important that any vehicle, motorized or other, follow traffic laws. The laws that were put into place were for the organization of traffic and the protection of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

When I was in elementary school, we actually had bicycle lessons and learned the hand turn signals and all the other appropriate rules of the road.

On the other hand, because of NYC's budget crisis, the City administration seems to be cracking down on all sorts of things that may be trivial or not, but following cyclists with the intention of ticketing them is part and parcel of this attempt to make up a serious budget shortfall the wrong way. There are far more serious traffic infractions that can be legitimately ticketed. I think the police should be out on the street ticketing motorists who turn left on standing red lights rather than following bicyclists.

That said, bicyclists should indeed be ticketed for egregious infractions, i.e., riding on sidewalks (which I, as a pedestrian, hate), but they should not be followed because officers have nothing better to do. They should be ticketed in the same random way that motorists are when they happen to be observed, not targeted.

Jan. 21 2011 10:19 AM
Richard Veith from Chelsea

Absolutely! I am a Manhattan commuter cyclist who agrees that cyclists should not be immune from the law HOWEVER it is easier to catch a cyclist than a vehicle and I fear that cyclists will be unfairly singled out. Among my complaints are cabs that regularly ignore unprotected bike lanes to pick up fares, cars that cut off cyclists when they make turns and cars (cabs especially) that relentlessly use their horns.

Jan. 21 2011 10:19 AM
don eremin from new york

Puleeze, I drive in Manhattan and northern Queens every day. I have NEVER seen a cyclist stop for a stop sign.

Jan. 21 2011 10:19 AM
will from williamsburg

How about a means of stopping for each wheel? What is Paul's position on this.

Jan. 21 2011 10:19 AM
Esteban from midtown west

got a ticket for not riding on the bike lane in Times Square where bike lanes are overcrowded by tourists and pedestrians and bike lane is wedged between sidewalk and tourists lounge lane.

Jan. 21 2011 10:19 AM
Bob from Fairfield

It is legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in Connecticut. It would be nice if the police here knew that, but it's funny watching them flip through their ticket books looking for the supposed infraction.

CT Statute Sec. 14-286

"Each person operating a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or across any roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal within a reasonable distance before overtaking and passing a pedestrian."

Jan. 21 2011 10:19 AM
Carl Eklof from East Village

* Let's keep the consequences of a 180lbs bicyclist breaking traffic rules in perspective, relative to the 4000lbs pound automobile, that the laws were written for. ...Does it make sense for a bicyclist to get charged the same ticket amounts?
* The people the complain about the amount of bicyclists should consider what the roads would look like if all those people were in cars. (eg china)

Jan. 21 2011 10:19 AM
Susan Onaitis from Manhattan

Cyclists should ABSOLUTELY be ticketed if they don't follow traffic laws. I live near the corner of 8th Ave. & 23 St. and have seen many near collisions between pedestrians and cyclists going the wrong way on 8th Ave.

If our streets get clogged with cyclists who don't obey traffic laws, pedestrians will be taking their lives in their hands just as they do in Beijing! Pedestrians have rights, too!!!

Jan. 21 2011 10:18 AM
Richard Veith from Chelsea

Absolutely! I am a Manhattan commuter cyclist who agrees that cyclists should not be immune from the law HOWEVER it is easier to catch a cyclist than a vehicle and I fear that cyclists will be unfairly singled out. Among my complaints are cabs that regularly ignore unprotected bike lanes to pick up fares, cars that cut off cyclists when they make turns and cars (cabs especially) that relentlessly use their horns.

Jan. 21 2011 10:18 AM
Suize from Lima, Peru

I was knocked over once by a pedestrian crossing on a red light while I was trying to go through a green light.

I got a ticket for riding through Madison Square Park. I didn't know and I don't do it anymore.

Jan. 21 2011 10:18 AM
Mike Flood from Rockaway

I miss the old messengers who knew how to stay out of motorist’s ways. Unlike the hipsters with their feeling of entitlement. Which gets them killed?

Jan. 21 2011 10:18 AM
Ronnie B.

Its about time!

Here in Williamsburg I cannot tell you the number of times that I've encountered a bicyclist riding down a one way street in the wrong direction. It is outrageously dangerous for me as a parent, when crossing the street with my stroller bicyclist come from the wrong direction. We need more enforcement in Williamsburg NOW!

Jan. 21 2011 10:18 AM
Tad from Inwood

If bikers are to be held accountable to the same laws as automobiles then our road, the bike path should be maintained. The Bike path AND access to the Bike path is unacceptable. Roots push up the surface and parts are crumbling into the Hudson at places. Snow was never cleared from large section of the Bike Path which was and still is treacherous. The Bike Path ENDS with a stair case in Inwood. How would automobiles fair? The Bike Path is an embarrassment.

Jan. 21 2011 10:18 AM
Peter Benson from Manhattan

To expect bicyclist to behave like cars is absurd. There is no reason to ride a bike if it is as inconvenient as driving a car. Also, a bike is much less of a threat to pedestrians than a 2000 lbs car. The outrage of pedestrians always astounds me - they walk and stand in the streets etc etc. It would be equally absurd to ticket those pedestrians. NYC should be doing everything possible to encourage bike riding.

Jan. 21 2011 10:18 AM
Ronald Gross

Bicyclists should be required to have lights to alert pedestrians, and to obey traffic rules, especially going with traffic instead of against it. Delivery-persons seem particularly negligent.

Jan. 21 2011 10:17 AM
Richard Veith from Chelsea

Absolutely! I am a Manhattan commuter cyclist who agrees that cyclists should not be immune from the law HOWEVER it is easier to catch a cyclist than a vehicle and I fear that cyclists will be unfairly singled out. Among my complaints are cabs that regularly ignore unprotected bike lanes to pick up fares, cars that cut off cyclists when they make turns and cars (cabs especially) that relentlessly use their horns.

Jan. 21 2011 10:17 AM
Amy from Manhattan

40 feet, huh? How many lanes is that?

Jan. 21 2011 10:17 AM
david from Jersey

I ride 12 months out of the year. Love the freedom and the physical benefits.
Unfortunately, far too many cyclists shouldn't be on the road. A bike is not a toy, and if you're on the road, commuting by bike, you are a vehicle. Motorists are crazy, yes, but many of my fellow cyclists are their own worst enemies, disregarding their own safety and the safety of pedestrians. I might be inclined to support some sort of mandatory training or testing for cyclists to be on certain, high-traffic roads.

Jan. 21 2011 10:17 AM
Rose from Brookly, of course

There is an arrogance that bike riders have developed after the bike lanes increased. The violations towards pedestrians are ridiculous.

Reflectors are not petty, neither is riding without your ipod. All laws should be obeyed—period. Same should and does apply to car drivers.

Cars are pulled over/ticketed for busted headlights, expired registration, etc.

Jan. 21 2011 10:17 AM

cyclist running red lights get punished by the car bumper . If you are careful and look both ways and no one is coming you should be able to go. Share the road.

Jan. 21 2011 10:16 AM
Joseph from Brooklyn

Bikes should be allowed to run red lights and stop signs. Bikes cannot accelerate they way cars do and a slow bike is a more dangerous bike.

Cyclists should absolutely be ticketed for going the wrong way or cycling without lights at night or riding on the sidewalk.

Jan. 21 2011 10:16 AM
Peter from Glendale, Queens

Rules of the road should be followed in direct proportion to the damage you can cause with your conveyance, taking into account being courteous to everyone else. So cars should have to follow all traffic laws, because they can cause major damage. Bicycles should follow the laws if they would be cutting off cars or pedestrians, but if there are no others to yield to, bicyclists and pedestrians should be able to ignore traffic laws. In general, cars should yield to bicyclists, who should yield to pedestrians

Jan. 21 2011 10:16 AM
don eremin from roosevelt island

your guest is preposterous when he suggests that cyclists not be required to obey traffic lights or stop signs when there is no apparent traffic. How about cars? Should drivers make their own rules?

Jan. 21 2011 10:16 AM
Ben from Park Slope

I'm mostly a walker and a driver these days, but I ride my bike in the park occasionally.

This crackdown is insane. I think cyclists should obey the law, but EVERYONE in New York breaks the law.

Pedestrians jaywalk, walk in the street, and stand a foot off of the curb. That endangers lots of people but shouldn't be ticketed if it doesn't cause a disturbance.

I'm in Park Slope and cars cut double lines to get to parking spots, cross the double lines in other technically illegal ways, double park. Again, this should be ticketed IF it causes a problem.

Likewise, cyclists should be ticketed if they run a red light and hit someone. But running a red light if there is nobody there, riding on the sidewalk to get to a corner if there is nobody there, these are "victimless crimes" and ticketing them is only harassment.

Jan. 21 2011 10:16 AM
Robert Matson from Brooklyn, ny

Keep this in context of how dangerous NYC streets are.
In the 15 years from 1994 up through 2009, 5,746 people were killed in the five boroughs of New York City in motor vehicle accidents. (source: US Dept. of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administreation's "Fatality Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia" at
Cyclists are not as dangerous as cars (which I've also seen run red lights and stop signs with regularity), therefore, while cyclists should be expected to obey road rules, they should not be punished at the same level as motorists.

Jan. 21 2011 10:15 AM
Zmanbk from Brooklyn

The cyclists SUCK, and constantly cause near-accidents by not following the laws. They should follow the same laws as everyone else on the road. Don't stop for a red light at 2am!? BOOK EM, DANN-O!!!

Jan. 21 2011 10:15 AM

Riding the wrong way definitely! I remember one day I was crossing a bike lane and admittedly not paying attention (since bikes are silent I didn't hear the approach) and some guy in office clothes yelled at me as he blazed by. I thought "ok, my bad" and on my way back I was sure to check the bike line this time...then some hip-hop kid going the wrong way almost runs me over! Cars may be dangerous but at least if they are about to run you over they will honk the horn and second cars almost never go the wrong way down the street. I live on a one way street, sure it happens once or twice, but bicyclists think going the right way is just optional not mandatory, apparently.

Jan. 21 2011 10:15 AM
Jon Erik Larson from Oradell, NJ

For many years, I commuted 22 miles from my home in New Jersey to my job in Midtown Manhattan. I absolutely agree with the crackdown. Dangerous cyclists make cycling more dangerous for cyclists. (I happen to disagree with the current speaker about left turns. While riding my bike up Third Avenue, I found that the cars would give me my space.)

The police also should crack down on the skate boarders and roller skaters using the bicycle lanes in Central Park. They should be forced to get out of the bicycle lanes because they endager cyclists.

Jan. 21 2011 10:15 AM
Elaine from Bronx

I really want bicyclists to follow rules. I drive in the city for my job. My biggest fear is hitting a bike. THey change lanes in a crazy manner. THey always run red lights. Every time I am in Brooklyn I see so many laws being broken. When I go to turn I fear hitting a bike that I can not see. Please follow rles for your own saftey!!! Please

Jan. 21 2011 10:14 AM
Leta from Brooklyn

The problem with bicycles is that they are neither vehicles nor pedestrians so most of them don’t seem to follow any laws at all. I have never seen a bike stopped at a red light. Also, I have never been hit by a car in New York but I have been hit by bicycles multiple times.

Jan. 21 2011 10:14 AM
Muriel from Manhattan

I think bikes must be cracked down on. I have been knocked down flat in the middle of the street by a bike going the wrong way up the avenue and turning into a one way street the wrong way too. They play chicken with pedestrians and vehicles at red lights and challenge pedestrians on the street. Bikes should be licensed like all vehicles with a big license number on their backs and ticketed for all infractions because they cause ripple effects of dangerous moves when they for example dash through a red light. I am happy for the city to collect revenue from bikes, especially the professional bikers.

Jan. 21 2011 10:14 AM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

I'm a cyclist and I support cracking down on cyclists riding the wrong direction and other egregious violations. When I ride in the street, sometimes as fast as 20 mph, the last thing I want to have to worry about is having a head-on collision with some jerk riding the wrong direction.

Jan. 21 2011 10:14 AM
Hal from Crown Heights

At what age are bicyclists required to stay off the sidewalks and obey traffic laws? (age 14)

In what grade are children educated about NYC traffic laws pertaining to cyclists?

Jan. 21 2011 10:13 AM
Smokey from LES

Some bikers not only break the traffic laws, but they endanger my personal safety when they run red lights at full speed without concern for me and other pedestrians. These riders should be ticketed and maybe even lose the right to bike!

And the rest of the bikers who respect my safety, welcome to the road!

Jan. 21 2011 10:13 AM
dboy from nyc

I'm a 20 year veteran NYC cyclist. I've been hit by a van whilst cycling...


At the same time...


Jan. 21 2011 10:13 AM
Michael from Tribeca

If the city is going to treat bicycles as a proper vehicle then they must provide adequate parking and protected bike lanes. And then we will have to start ticketing all the pedestrians who walk into the street and the cars who drive in the bike lanes. Thank you. Michael

Jan. 21 2011 10:13 AM
Sue from Manhattan

Does a rider's ticket for passing a red light go on his automobile driver's license? My son recently passed a red light and is considering challenging the ticket because he does not want points on his DMV license. It also seems unfair for those with DMV licenses to get points since many cyclists have no car license, and those from out of state presumably would not get points.

Jan. 21 2011 10:13 AM
Unheard from NYC

Bikes shouldn't have to follow the same laws as cars. They aren't cars. The laws should be similar but applied to the reality of riding a bike in NYC.

This issue seems to be driven by the ire of motorists and this "crackdown" is making me wary of riding my bike at all. Way to go NY.

Jan. 21 2011 10:13 AM
Girologio from UES

I am a cyclist. Yes we should get ticketed. Good luck catching me.

Jan. 21 2011 10:12 AM
Amy from Brooklyn

Cars are dangerous - but most people know not to drive them on the sidewalk. If you want respect, behave with respect.

Jan. 21 2011 10:12 AM
MP from Brooklyn

Of course bicyclists should follow traffic laws and be ticketed when they don't - how can this even be a question?

Jan. 21 2011 10:12 AM
snoop from brooklyn

Cyclists should follow most traffic laws, but bicycles are NOT cars and should not be regulated the same way. If you are going to ticket cyclists, then adapt the laws for bicycles.

And David is right, CARS are the real danger on the road. Even the most reckless cyclist is less dangerous than even a very careful driver.

Jan. 21 2011 10:11 AM

Why not crack down on jay walkers too- it's also a misdimeaner like these bike violations.

Jan. 21 2011 10:11 AM
hazy from brooklyn

ridiculous to fine bikers. those efforts and costs should be focused on controlling drivers in a 4000 lb piece of moving machinery.

Jan. 21 2011 10:09 AM
David from Manhattan

This bike backlash is the result of a chasm between perception and reality.

I sympathise with pedestrians being scared of bicyclists, but both before and after NYC cycling nearly doubled in recent years, bikes still kill just ONE person for every 250 people killed by cars each year in NYC.

Bike violations look more obvious and flagrant to the pedestrian's eyes, but car violations are far more frequent and dangerous. If there are police resources available for cracking down on any bad operators, cracking down on bikes will, mathematically, simply not make the streets measurably safer.

Jan. 21 2011 09:54 AM
Joseph Cavalieri from east village new york

Seconds after buying my new bike this fall I rode from the bike store to the curb. There was a police officer giving a bicyclist a ticket and he stopped me and gave me one. This guy was passing the tickets out like pancakes! Last week I spent 4 hours downtown where I pleaded guilty. Most other bicyclists were given fines of $50 but politely asked the judge. He asked if I had ever been in court before , and I said, "yes, twice, I served on jury duty" - he decided not to fine me.

Jan. 21 2011 09:25 AM

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