Map | Tracking Bike Ticketing in the Five Boroughs

Friday, May 27, 2011


The crackdown on cyclists who break NYC traffic law is widespread around the city and not targeted at any one neighborhood or offense, according to results from our crowdsourcing project. 

Click here for full size map. 

The results are in from our crowdsourcing project to map the uptick in tickets to cyclists who break traffic laws. Poke around on the map above for details about each ticket submitted by readers and listeners. (Add your ticket)

The most common violation was running red lights, which carries a fine of up to a $270, just as it would in a car if issued by a police officer. (Drivers caught by a red light camera pay a $50 fine.) Riding on the sidewalk was also frequently cited, earning cyclists in our survey $25 and $50 fees, sometimes more depending on the danger it caused.

Mapping the Tickets

WNYC has requested data from the NYPD on the number and locations of cycle summonses several times, starting in March. With no response from NYPD, we asked our readers and listeners to help us map the scope of the crackdown, as laid out in the map above.

A Quick History of the 2011 NYC Bike Ticketing Crackdown

Cycling has more than doubled in NYC since 2006. In mid-January, the NYPD initiated Operation Safe Cycle, a citywide step-up in enforcement of cyclists who violate the traffic law. Shortly after, a memo on what and how to ticket cyclists was distributed within the NYPD and an initial mid-winter ticket blitz immediately attracted the ire of hard core cyclists who felt the brunt of it.

Over time, a consensus was reached that the best policy for ticketing cyclists in Central Park was to focus on safety for pedestrians, which means allowing red light running in some cases. Ticketing remains widespread and common throughout the city.

The Law, and What's Next

A bike counts as a vehicle in New York. As such, it must obey the Vehicle Traffic Law code. Fines for bike offenses are just like fines for driving offenses: they can vary depending on circumstance and level of infraction.

Paul Steely White, the head of Transportation Alternatives met with the NYPD Chief of the Transportation Bureau, James Tuller, earlier this month. "We brought with us a number of recommendations," Steely White told Transportation Nation. "Those included more police officers on bicycles."

NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne said a citywide consensus to change the police ticketing policy was not in the works. Ticketing is here to stay, just as bikes are. But what earns you a ticket, may be slowly evolving. 


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Comments [4]

What's shown here is a TINY fraction of bicyclists' actual violations of traffic laws. Just take a 10 minute walk anywhere in the city and you'll witness at least a dozen violations -- from running red lights, riding the wrong way, riding on the sidewalk, and endangering pedestrians. Bikes are at least as big a menace to pedestrians as cars are.

Jun. 06 2011 05:22 PM
Drew from Brooklyn

Unless the cops aren't issuing any "riding the wrong way" tickets, you have to consider that most of the tickets issued aren't on here. It's easily the most widespread and blatant dangerous biking practice. Are the cops avoiding delivery bikes because they know they're illegal aliens and don't want to deal with that?

May. 31 2011 02:56 PM
Janice Dougherty from Marine Park

I looked at my neighborhood first. The lone ticket on the southernmost portion of Flatbush Avenue is opposite the golf course between Kings Plaza and the Belt Parkway, where the speed limit for cars increases to 40 and the official bike path IS ON THE SIDEWALK, and always has been.

May. 29 2011 07:20 PM

"Over time, a consensus was reached that the best policy for ticketing cyclists in Central Park was to focus on safety for pedestrians, which means allowing red light running in some cases. Ticketing remains widespread and common throughout the city".

This is really great to hear! It's another crowdsourcing success in relation to transportation!

Here's a presentation which featured the "Roads Scholars" investigative series that rocked Colorado, strengthened state laws and saved people's homes (here's the link, For sure, this will be inspiring the crowd out there to do more in order to bring about changes for the community.

May. 27 2011 10:58 PM

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