Daily Bike Forecast — by Bike Snob NYC

Thursday, March 30th: Ticketing and Your Rights of Spring

***UPDATE 7:33am***

Ticket sting continues on 1st Ave. @ 59th St. Bridge:

***

It's another glorious riding day today, with the rain not due to arrive until late:

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Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 51. North wind 5 to 9 mph becoming calm in the afternoon.
Thursday Night A 30 percent chance of rain, mainly after 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 40. South wind around 7 mph.

Tomorrow's another story, so take advantage now by getting on your bike this morning:

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And be sure to make note of the sunrise:

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And sunset times:

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There are a few grey spots in Manhattan on the Citi Bike map:

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Including the station at Broadway and E. 17th Street which will be closed for 30-60 days for roadwork:

As I mentioned on Monday, it is "resurfacing season:"

So check the DOT's borough-by-borough schedule, and keep in mind the time gap between milling and paving:

In addition to street resurfacing, spring also means NYPD ticket stings, and the latest hotspot is in Manhattan on 1st Avenue in the vicinity of the 59th Street Bridge:

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I received numerous tips about this yesterday, including one indicating they were ticketing cyclists who were not using the bike lane:

If NYPD stops you for this reason you should know that it is in fact legal to ride outside of the bike lane according to New York State law:

Whenever a usable path or lane for bicycles has been provided, bicycle riders shall use such path or lane only except under any of the following situations: (i) When preparing for a turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway. (ii) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, pushcarts, animals, surface hazards) that make it unsafe to continue within such bicycle path or lane.

And here's how the NYC DOT puts it:

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You might politely inform the officers of this fact, and if they insist on ticketing you anyway be sure to contest it in court.

As for running red lights...yeah, that one's not allowed.  And yes, this includes Central and Prospect Parks, both of which have seen frequent bicycle ticketing stings over the years.

Tickets aside, you should take extra care when riding through the parks at this time of year as they fill up with people enjoying the spring weather.  In the absence of cars you're the potential bully out there, so be considerate.  And if you really need to ride fast in the parks consider joining a club (like this one, or this one) and entering a sanctioned bike race where there are marshals and pace vehicles and you and your fellow racers have the roadway to yourselves.

In other words, if you look around and you're the only one racing, you're doing it wrong.

Lastly, mayoral hopeful Bo Dietl may have an appetite for human testicles, but he hates bike lanes:

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Dietl is less well-known for his policy prescriptions—giving jobs to New York’s homeless, removing traffic-snarling bike lanes from city streets, and using cops to help abused children, among other recommendations on his campaign web site—than for his numerous acting gigs in television and movies.

Indeed, last year he pledged that "day one when I get elected, I’m going to be on a bulldozer taking out those bike lanes."

Of course, not only do bike lanes improve traffic flow, but they also keep people safer, so promising to get rid of them them makes about as much sense as removing all the manhole covers.  It makes even less sense as an act of political theater when you consider the last mayoral hopeful who made a similar promise is not exactly someone whose career trajectory you'd want to emulate:

“When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing?” Mr. Weiner said to Mr. Bloomberg, as tablemates listened. “I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.”

Unfortunately for him, it turned out bike lanes were actually popular, and so he disavowed the statement.  Then he took backpedaling literally by digging a 30 year-old bicycle helmet out of the recesses of his closet and hopping on a Citi Bike:

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Bikes may be good PR, but in the end he had bigger problems, and even if he'd ridden a Citi Bike to the moon and back it wouldn't have helped him.

Should be fun to see what Dietl looks like on a Citi Bike.