Bloomberg on Bettering Bike Behavior: It's Going To Take Public Pressure

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NYC Mayor Bloomberg (photo by Richard Yeh/WNYC)

(Transportation Nation) A New York-bike-ticket-protest-video has been making the internet rounds (and we reported on how TN producer Alex Goldmark makes an auditory cameo), and this morning it collided with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The mayor was in East Harlem this morning to announce a plan to install free Wi-Fi in 26 city parks. In the Q&A afterwards he fielded questions on a range of issues from Anthony Weiner to pension reform to Alec Baldwin's purported mayoral run. But the journalist posing the last question asked the mayor about the video, which filmmaker Casey Neistat made following his being ticketed for not riding in a bike lane. You can listen to the question and the mayor's response here; a transcript follows.

Mayor Bloomberg (responding to whether or not it is fair to ticket a cyclist for not riding in a bike lane if the lanes are encumbered):

There’s nothing fair in life. But the bottom line, is every once in a while, I don’t know if we gave a ticket out that we shouldn’t have, I haven’t seen the video, but generally speaking, you have to obey the laws. And I think there’s a lot of people in the city who love to ride bicycles and we’re trying to accommodate them just like we’re trying to accommodate the people that want to walk on the sidewalks, cross the streets, just like we’re trying to accommodate those people who want to drive their cars. You have to obey the law. If you don’t obey the law you’re not going to have the rights to do things that you want to do, and bicyclists are just as required to obey the laws as anybody else, the police can’t spend all their time going after anybody that breaks the law. Generally speaking bicyclists are going to stay in bicycle lanes because of public pressure, the same ways that smokers aren’t going to smoke in this park, we’re not going to give out tickets, it’s public pressure -- the same way you pay your taxes. Most people in America, unlike other places in the world, pay their taxes, and that lets us go after the handful that don’t. If nobody paid their taxes – and you have that in some countries, it’s a very difficult problem for government. Thank you very much.

Transportation Nation looked at New York City law and bike lanes -- and whether riders are legally obligated to ride in them --  in this post.