July/August 1998, p.7

Road Hog Rampage

Read the latest news about this issue.

Last issue, we reported that summonses issued to bicyclists shot up dramatically in early 1998 in comparison to previous years. Cyclists first began seeing increased enforcement last July, when the 19th Precinct launched an offensive against cyclists in response to community complaints, according to sources at the NYPD's Traffic Control Division.

T.A. has criticized the increased enforcement for its one-sidedness. If police resources are being used for waves of intense (and often frivolous) summonsing of cyclists, why are no resources devoted to improving conditions for cyclists? Enforcement of the city's bike lanes was a critical first step, T.A. told the NYPD last summer.

Indeed, the NYPD had never tracked the problem, but last July the Manhattan Traffic Task Force began counting summonses issued to motorists for blocking bicycle lanes. As the chart below shows, enforcement has fallen from last July's enthusiastic levels.
In 1998, only one ticket has been issued for driving in the bike lane. T.A. urges the NYPD to summons bike lane blockers for obstructing traffic rather than double parking. As a moving violation, the former offense carries points on one's license and is a beefier impetus to stay out of bike lanes.

NYPD 9th Precinct bicycle patrol officers joined Give Respect/Get Respect campaigners to oust unlawful drivers from the Lafayette Street bike lane. Future enforcement on the new Second Ave. lane will also be the 9th's balliwick.