Bike Crackdown: Is The NYPD Setting Up Cycling Checkpoints This Summer?

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The Voice just got some info suggesting that the New York Police Department might boost bike ticketing efforts, including setting up more cycling safety checkpoints around the city -- and the NYPD doesn't plan on informing the public beforehand.

Here's what's up: a reader was recently riding away from the Bedford Avenue L-station and saw a squad car and two officers stationed near North 12th Street, near the corner of McCarren park, where she encountered a bike checkpoint -- an encounter which prompted us to ask a few questions about the NYPD's efforts.

"One officer ran out into the middle of the road as I approached and waved me down. I figured they had the street closed off for filming or something, as happens occasionally in the neighborhood, so I stopped and got off my bike," she said.

"The officer proceeded to examine my bike, commented on my reflectors, asked me to move to the sidewalk, and asked for my ID. At this point, I realized I was probably about to get a ticket for something, but hadn't run a red light and wasn't on the sidewalk."

He then asked whether she had considered getting a bike bell, since it's the law.

"He explained that this was a checkpoint for enforcing bike safety, and that I was about to be issued a summons for failing to have a bell on my bike," she said.

"While this was happening, another car rolled up, and there were total about five officers on the scene, blocking traffic on Bedford and trying to stop every biker that went by. I saw several bike go by without bells who the cops didn't get to, or who just plain ignored the calls to stop. I was corralled in with another young man who was stopped. He suggested to the officer that we leave our IDs and run to the bike shop up the street to purchase a bell on the spot. The officer denied it.

I was issued a ticket for $90 under code 1236B, as was the guy they stopped with me. One officer told us if we mailed in a receipt showing we had immediately purchased a bike bell with our plea, they would waive the fine. When we asked the other officers how to go about doing that, they had no idea what we were talking about.
All in all, I saw them stop about 6 or 7 people in the time I was there."

Now, bike checkpoints in New York aren't anything new per se. Streetsblog reported on a seeming bike ticket blitz recently taking place in Central Park, for example.

We still wondered whether anything was changing with ticketing techniques, so we reached out to the NYPD, asking via e-mail: "Is the NYPD planning bike checkpoints to check for things like bells and lights this summer? I was told that an informal checkpoint was set up on Bedford Avenue Wednesday, and I am curious to know whether more are planned and if so, whether there will be notice given -- such as with DUI checkpoints."

Here's what the cops said: "We will not be giving the times and locations of our checkpoints."

We then asked: "Question -- if bike checkpoints are supposed to encourage safety so that people get things like bells and lights -- why not give some heads up? Some have said that not giving any indication beforehand makes it seem like the police department is more concerned with ticketing than safety? Please let me know the reasoning behind not giving a heads up."

We're still waiting to hear back on that second inquiry.

However, the NYPD did not deny that more checkpoints will be set up, and said that checkpoints will not be publicized beforehand (unlike safety crackdowns for other vehicles which are publicized beforehand, such as Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "Operation Hang Up.")

If you want to read up on city bike laws, check out the Department of Transportation. Administrative Code and New York State Law also apply, and info on those statutes can be found here. Transportation Alternatives has put together a nifty guide to bike rules, too!

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.


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18 comments
DanielDanTastic
DanielDanTastic

Who stops for police on a bike? It's not like they can waddle that fast, and if they decide to chase you in a car just go down a one-way street in the opposite direction.

Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker

All the Spandex Nazis are out in force.

Screw you.  Obey the laws, stop at red lights, get off the sidewalks and shut up whining.  And stop trying to excuse your own reckless behavior by pointing to motorist.  You are just as bad.

Moparlary
Moparlary

Perhaps the NYPD should get the cabs out of the bike lane on Second Ave in midtown, cabs come so close to you that it is safer to ride the bus lane, I'm talking cabs coming in inches of you and leaning on the horn. This is the real safety problem.

Me
Me

How about getting rid of Bloomberg?Seems to me that he wants to set up his own littleCountry , and thinks he alone can dictate what You eat, drink, ride or for that matter- anything else you may wish to do in "his" city.He's a little neo-nazi wannabe. Ironic for someone whose race was almost wiped out by Hitler.Too bad the Bloombergs weren't one of those families

Jacobsdad0306
Jacobsdad0306

Because a bell will help you in the city. Give me a break.

Ka2owz
Ka2owz

well now we have been warned. get your bike set up, comply with the rules and demonstrate that bike riders are willing to abide by the rules and that means also that biking has a future in the city. create a good environment and relationship immeadiatly. spread the word, avoid the tickets , act responsibly

conaldarcy
conaldarcy

Got to pay for the new uniforms somehow.

IRMO
IRMO

They still can't be bothered to investigate when a reckless driver maims somebody, but they have the manpower for this nonsense? 

NYPD: who do you think you work for??

Ultra97rider
Ultra97rider

Move out of new York or change the way you vote, enjoy your big gulp too.

asterios9
asterios9

This is how NYPD treats motorists as well.  I've never heard of anybody getting a warning for anything, just expensive tickets.

billdav
billdav

Bicyclists aren't any worse than motorists.  Quit making excuses like a child.

Lostarchitect
Lostarchitect

Also, I don't mind if they enforce these rules--I just don't see why they can't start enforcing the law against parking in bike lanes, too.

Lostarchitect
Lostarchitect

A bell is extremely useful. I always use one. Pedestrians constantly step out in front of you, and a bell is a very good way of getting their attention.

Victoriabekiempis
Victoriabekiempis

In the past when there have been concerted checkpoint efforts (rather than isolated ticketing events), there have been times when the law enforcement agency would give a warning to the public. For example, with the texting and driving crackdown, the efforts were widely publicized beforehand. This in advance notice has happened with DUI checkpoints too, if I'm correct. 

Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker

Didn't do so well in Reading Comprehension, did you?  I never said cyclists aren't any worse than motorists, did I?  I said they were "just as bad".

It 's true. Give a human any machine with wheels and they think they are better than pedestrians.

Typical dumb cyclist's attitude and comment.

 

VictoriasDaddy ..
VictoriasDaddy ..

Hey Victoria darlin, ya know why ya can't play cards with monkeys don't ya babe?  cause some are  "cheeta's  ,,,  har har har   ...  

if you can't play by the rules babe stay off your bike, even a cheeta knows that  .... 

billdav
billdav

You're just making excuses for your childish delusional hatred.  Bicyclists aren't a problem.

billdav
billdav

If you can't play by the rules then you should stay out of your car.

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