NYPD Issued Almost 50,000 Bicycle Tickets in 2011

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 06:33 PM

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.



Comments [9]


Seth, are u out of your mind? Should we just make the entire world in total fear of a million laws? Must be a lawyer.

May. 13 2012 02:07 AM

Our city is becoming the biggest wimp in the world, pathetic. Rules. Rules. Rules. Tickets. Tickets. Tickets. I'm moving.

May. 13 2012 02:06 AM
Nicholas Malter

I'm sorry, Hal, that you were struck cycling. You were put on a backboard and had your head and neck immobilized because that is to protect you should you have had a neck or spine injury. The reason a fire engine came is because... that's what we do. Since there are not enough ambulances in the city to handle the amount of calls, firefighters are now trained as Certified First Responders. We go to medical calls and start first aid until an available ambulance arrives.

Feb. 27 2012 06:15 PM
Robert Hurst

Cracking down on the benign traffic violations of urban cyclists won't bring positive results for anybody, even the frightened jaywalkers.

Feb. 20 2012 05:26 PM
Steven F

50,000 reported tickets issued.
But if the quality of bike tickets previously issued during Critical Mass stops,and other crackdowns is similar, there will have been many illegal and poorly written summonses. Many of those earlier tickets were dismissed. How many of these new tickets were thrown out of court and how many stuck? We have yet to see any breakdown of causes and outcomes from the NYPD.

Feb. 18 2012 10:31 PM

i commute to work nearly everyday, and the biggest problem i encounter is pedestrians-- looking at their iphones instead of both ways, jogging in the bike line and darting out between vans/trucks into traffic. i think an nypd pedestrian crackdown is unrealistic, but some common sense and courtesy from walkers would be nice.

Feb. 17 2012 02:45 PM

I posted a similar comment beneath an earlier article, so forgive me if you'd already read this:

As the number of bikers increase in the city, the City has to take a more active role in enforcing measures to make it safer for pedestrians AND bikers. Keep in mind that, I’ve been a biker in NYC for over 35 years and I’ve never injured myself or any pedestrians, which means I think this makes me somewhat of an expert in how to ride safely in NYC.

These are rules that we KNOW will work (see Amsterdam, been there, done that):

The city needs to enforce:

Stringent rules against stealth bikers – riding without lights at night.

Stringent rules against riding against traffic.

Stringent rules against the running of red lights at FULL speed. Rolling through a red light after checking the cross street (what I’ve heard referred to as the Ohio Stop) should NOT be enforced, though technically I’m not sure you can make the Ohio Stop legal.

Delivery bikers should be required to wear conspicuous reflective signage.

Bikers should be required to have a drivers license or if they don’t have, a bike license. Anyone should be able to apply for a bike license (knowing the safety rules would be required), regardless of your legal standing or residence (a lower age limit of 13 or 14 might make sense).

The city should confiscate bikes when riders can not produce one of the two forms of identify. Riders who break the law too many times (not sure what that number should be), would lose the privilege of riding.

Yea, these changes would be considered by some, draconian. But, it will go a LONG way to making the streets safer for all.

Feb. 17 2012 11:20 AM

Although "compromise was gingerly reached" in Central Park, cyclists have not lived up to their end of the agreement, and Captain Wishnia has basically refused to enforce any pedestrian safety laws since that date.

Simply put, cyclists with a red light do not stop for pedestrians in Central Park. If tickets aren't written, cyclists just don't care about pedestrian safety.

Feb. 17 2012 07:06 AM
Nathan H.

I am pretty sure the pace of ticketing did "abate", unless you have the numbers plotted over time to show otherwise.

When news of the so-called crackdown broke last winter I switched from mindfully riding against traffic signals to walking against them. (Oh, the illegality!) Around May or June, it seemed safe to go back to riding through them and I did. No tickets.

The NYPD can only operate in crackdown (enforcement) mode for a limited time. They can't sustain just doing their jobs. I wish they could, because that would motivate the public to demand changes to its backwards traffic laws. But knowing the way things are, I'm just going to keep carefully breaking laws on foot and on bicycle, exactly as I am expected to do. Whenever I do get a ticket, it will be worth it.

The real issue is that motorists are getting away with murder. When that pin comes loose, the whole machine will burn itself out.

Feb. 17 2012 12:01 AM

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