NYPD Issued Almost 50,000 Bicycle Tickets in 2011

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The NYPD doled out 48,556 summonses to bike riders in 2011. That figure was reported by Executive Officer of the Transportation Bureau, John Cassidy at a hearing held by the NY City Council Wednesday on NYPD policies for traffic investigations.

About 250,000 people ride a bike each day in New York city, and  about 500,000 ride at least several times a month, according to the New York City Department of Transportation.

At the start of last year the New York Police Department cracked down on cyclists breaking traffic laws. Bike community protests erupted, compromise was gingerly reached, and outrage faded. The pace of ticketing, however, did not abate.

By the end of 2011, police handed cyclists 13,743 moving violations -- those are for less serious infractions like riding on pedestrian-only paths in parks, or riding on a sidewalk. Most of the summonses last year -- about 35,000 -- were the more serious criminal court summonses for infractions like running red lights.

By comparison, Cassidy said the NYPD's specialized truck enforcement units issued about 25,000 tickets to truck drivers.

Overall, police issued more than 1 million traffic tickets.  Cassidy did not specify an exact number.  More than half the tickets he said were for four categories of infraction: using cell phones while driving, not wearing a seat belt, speeding, and disobeying signs.

After an extensive crowdsouring project to map the scale and scope of the bike crackdown by Transportation Nation, NYPD leaked to the New York Post that they issued 14,000 tickets to cyclists who broke the law between January 1 and May 26, 2011. The Post reported that was more than a 50 percent jump over previous years.

In New York City, bikes count as vehicles and must obey all traffic laws unless posted signs or signals say otherwise.