TICKETS TO BICYCLISTS SPIKE, BUT NYPD SEES ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT ON AUTO ENFORCEMENT

24th officer
An officer from the 24th at 92nd street and Amsterdam earlier this year (the traffic light had gone out).

By Joy Bergmann

Captain Marlon Larin, commander of the NYPD’s 24th Precinct, provided a mixed progress report on traffic safety for 2015 during a meeting Tuesday of Community Board 7’s Transportation Committee.

Larin announced that during from January 1 through December 6, the 24th Precinct (86th Street to 110th Street, Central Park West to Henry Hudson Parkway) recorded:

Larin offered an explanation for the reduction in summonses: fewer fatalities means fewer implementations of NYPD “72-hour plans,” a three-day period of intensified, full-court press traffic enforcement following a fatal collision. For example, when elderly pedestrian Luisa Rosario was struck and killed by a taxi at 109th and Columbus on November 8, 2015, the precinct carried out a 72-hour plan of concentrated enforcement yielding over 150 summons in the immediate area.

Larin recited some specific Vision Zero priority enforcement statistics for the 24th Precinct:

Larin noted room for improvement, especially on the speeding front. “With 365 days in the year, 543 summons may not be the best.”

A Committee member asked about the spike in summons issued to bicyclists, 873 vs. 484 in 2014, comparing it to the decrease in “failure to yield” summons issued to drivers, “How does that square with Vision Zero?” Larin responded that community complaints about bicyclists had spurred the increase, not evidence of injuries caused by bikes. “I hear about it a lot,” he said.

NEWS | 30 comments | permalink
    1. Joan says:

      Bicyclists constantly go through red lights and go the wrong way in traffic. I am glad to see an uptick in tickets. Every senior that I know is concerned with this.

    2. Margaret says:

      Community members complain about cyclists: NYPD tickets 873 cyclists.

      Senior dies: NYPD enforces the law for the next 72 hours.

      This can’t be right. I’m very grateful to Captain Larin and Richard Robbins for their focus, but please NYPD: why wait until after someone’s death for enforcement of traffic laws.

      • PedestrianJustice says:

        Yes! Failure to yield to pedestrians is the scariest violation I encounter daily on UWS.

        Overall crime stats have been falling, so I do believe NYPD has resources it could allocate to this serious danger.

    3. Barbara Litt says:

      I received a ticket for going through–as opposed to “RUNNING” a red light, on Columbus, just north of 58th, and there is a significant difference between RUNNING and going through a red light! I received a ticket for slowing to a near stop, seeing pedestrians already jaywalking and proceeding after they jaywalked. The fine was WAY big, $185, I believe, and the second offense will be over $300. I’m not a bike messenger, and if I were, they couldn’t have caught me! Yes, yes, I know people on bikes are sometimes horrible, but me? I’m not one of them! Further, ask bikers about pedestrians who innocently step off the curb into the bike lane. DANGEROUS for them and us. Discretion was not the part of valor in my case.

      • Eric says:

        Barbara –

        “there is a significant difference between RUNNING and going through a red light”
        No there is not. You, just like automobiles, must and should wait for the green to proceed.

        “I’m not one of them!”
        With respect … you are (if only to a lesser degree).

        “ask bikers about pedestrians who innocently step off the curb into the bike lane. DANGEROUS for them and us”
        You are 1,000% correct. They should be ticketed as well.

        What I take away from your post is that ticketing people can indeed make them reconsider their behavior. I am sorry that you are out the $185, but glad that it has made you more mindful of the regulations.

        • Christian says:

          In a better world, pedestrians, motorists, and bicyclists would all be ticketed fairly. In practice, a cyclist slowly going through a red light when there’s no pedestrian traffic in the crosswalk is no more dangerous than a careful jaywalker. I too get frustrated by pedestrians entering the bike lane without looking (especially when they’re on the phone) but these lanes are still pretty new and we have to allow for people to get used to them. Let’s try to stay alert and considerate. And let’s hope the police will issue tickets based on actual recklessness. (There’s plenty to observe — on wheels and on feet.)

          • Eric says:

            Christian –

            “In practice, a cyclist slowly going through a red light when there’s no pedestrian traffic in the crosswalk is no more dangerous than a careful jaywalker”

            I think we will have to agree to disagree. It seems to me that by your logic, a motorist stopped at a light could be allowed to carefully look around them, see that no one is coming, and then proceed to roll through the light. But that’s why some intersections have ‘STOP” signs and others have traffic signals. Unless they are assigned to control the intersection manually, the officer’s job is to police the regulation in force at the location.

            • Christian says:

              Thanks for disagreeing respectfully.

              In support of my opinion, I’d like to point out that a bicycle is very different from a car. Sight lines are better and the potential for injury, especially from 0 mph, is more comparable to walking than driving. Some NYC bicycle traffic rules even offer alternatives like “vehicular-style” and “pedestrian-style” (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/dot_bikesmart_brochure.pdf).

              It is illegal for a bicycle not to stop at a red light, but it’s also illegal to jaywalk. People jaywalk all the time (and efforts to curb it have failed) because it’s often unnecessary to stand at the corner when it’s clear that no traffic is coming.

            • Christine E says:

              I am getting so sick of daily near death experiences from cyclists flouting the law. If you are on your bike, you need to follow the vehicle laws. As in, red light stop, green light go. You cannot legally roll through, stop-look-go, or any variation. If you can’t wait for the green then you need to dismount and WALK your bicycle as a pedestrian. You cannot ride through a red light, period! The defense of “pedestrians jaywalk” is a separate matter. Stop shifting the blame and follow the law.

        • Hypocrite says:

          Eric never uses his discretion to cross a street against the don’t walk sign. Because that would be against regulation. Riiiight….

      • Chuck D says:

        No one who is horrible thinks they are horrible. That’s part of what makes them horrible.

        Stop your bike. You are traffic.

    4. ChuckD says:

      I wish the cops would campout on Riverside between 103 and 97th. They could fund every school in New York City with the number of tickets they could give to cyclists pretending they are in the Tour de France.

      • Lance A. says:

        Perhaps you could inform us on how many injuries this has caused? Deaths? Let us know what the actual risk (not just “they are scary”) these cyclists pose?

        The point I am making, and that others are trying to, is that we should have laws enforced that actually improve the livelihood of the community. That help increase safety.

        Clamping down on cyclists may help make some people “feel better” but in reality it does little to help increase safety. How many people have been injured by cyclists this year? Killed? What is the actual goal of writing tickets for people who slow down or stop but then roll through a light? How many injuries or deaths could this prevent?

        The flipside is that clamping down on motorists WILL increase safety. The numbers are right up there for how dangerous drivers are. Increasing enforcement will have measurable effects on keeping people on the upper west side safer.

        • Richard says:

          That stretch Riverside is particular dangerous for pedestrians crossing legally, and is a disaster waiting to happen. I cross that stretch every morning and have been nearly hit by a cyclist countless times. This is an area that attracts a large number of young children due to the ballfields in Riverside Park in that area. Scores of bicyclists, especially on weekend mornings, race through that stretch (as if they’re not in a densely populated urban setting), ignoring every red light. For pedestrians, the view of the road is largely obscured by cars parked up the cross walk. Visibility is further impaired by the fact that the road curve slightly up hill. So a pedestrian does not have a full view of the road until actually in the crosswalk and has to trust that vehicles and bicycles are in fact stopping at the lights. The cyclists, however, weave around the stopped vehicles and crossing pedestrians.

          So I agree with Chuck D. A police cruiser camped out in that stretch (I’d suggest at the bottom of the staircase on 99th Street, an area where visibility is particularly bad for pedestrians) would be well-advised, particularly on weekend mornings.

      • Bill says:

        Yes, often cross @ 95th with my dog, often confroning a speeding bike ignoring the light.

    5. CTP says:

      Everyday, every single day, I see traffic violations so egregious that they could easily end in the death of a pedestrian or biker, but even if they did, these drivers would barely be fined, let alone arrested.

      On a daily basis, giant trucks back up into crosswalks with human people walking (with the right of way) through them. Every day, I see trucks and school buses blow through the red lights on broadway (especially 86th and 79th) barreling through full crosswalks and yelling at the pedestrians and bikers who have the right of way. Everyday, I see things like this.

      AND THERE’S MORE FOLKS:
      A few weeks ago, I was crossing 87th street on the east side of Columbus and a car was driving in the bike lane, oh, and it was going north! Yes, NORTH, on Columbus. In the bike lane.

      A few weeks before that, a driver crossing 86th street at Amsterdam turned the wrong direction and began driving south! She drove into the south crosswalk and people were yelling and she proceeded to back up into the intersection with crosstown traffic coming straight for her. This is actually the second time in 6 months that I’ve seen someone turn the wrong way on Amsterdam and drive through a full crosswalk. There isn;’t even a red light camera on 86th street, let alone a traffic officer.

      If you’re keeping count, I, one person out of 8 million in this city, have seen three separate drivers drive the wrong way on a one way avenue in less than a year. Nothing is working here. Pedestrians are sitting ducks at the mercy of drivers who don’t care and are not held accountable for their incredible ineptitude.

    6. Ken says:

      The 24th’s spike in bike tickets, most for “running” red lights, is just more evidence that we need street rules that acknowledge the huge difference between bikes and motor vehicles. Blowing a light at speed is one thing; slowing, looking to make sure there are no crossing cars or pedestrians and then proceeding is quite another. The law can and should make that distinction. Then the 24th could focus on the truly dangerous behaviors, starting with those most likely to kill and seriously injure.

      • Jocelyn says:

        Unless you are clairvoyant, I don’t see how anyone is able to determine whether going through a red light quickly or slowly, whether in a vehicle or on a bike, will result in a hazard for a pedestrian. Cyclists and drivers alike are moving traffic need to follow the law, period–no qualifications, justifications, or hedging. And stay off the sidewalk!

    7. Lucerne says:

      Do we consider motoriZed bikes a bike I thought they were illegal on the bike lane.7000 deaths in the years of bike lanes. Also trAffic doesn’t ticket bikes that is what I was told. I think this picture needs some changes

    8. Siddhartha says:

      I really don’t get the outrage over cyclists sometimes. Sure, they can be obnoxious, but so can pedestrians and cars.

      The fact of the matter is, cars are the single biggest danger. From NYPD/DOT statistics: From 2012-2014, 97.6% of pedestrian injuries/fatalities were caused by cars, whereas 2.4% were caused by cyclists.

      • Christine E says:

        It is not about death. If you have death, that is too late. We should focus on quality of life and threat of danger. We should not have to live with the constant, yes, constant threat of injury and death. Every day I experience danger crossing an intersection. Every day. I am so tired of having to dodge cars and bicycles from all directions. And I am terrified for any kid or senior who doesn’t stand a chance.

    9. UWS cyclist says:

      If I disobey the traffic laws on my bike, then I most likely will merely injure you (possibly severely, rarely deadly). But if I do so in my car, then odds are great I will likely severely injure you or kill you.

      We can all agree that minor injuries much better outcome than death. Therefore I should be allowed to disregard all traffic laws.

      sincerely,

      typical spandexed bicyclist.

      • Margaret says:

        According to the NYPD records, the 24th precinct responds to a cyclist-involved collision every 9 days, and a car crash every 6 hours.

        Can’t tell who was at fault or involved (cars or pedestrians) in any of the cyclist-involved collisions.

        3.3 cyclist-involved collisions per month, vs 4.9 injuries per week from motorists. This precinct (not Capt Larin, but other reps) often says it doesn’t have enough time, energy, and resources to enforce traffic laws. It’s not rocket science… why aren’t we asking for resources in line with the risk?

    10. Christian says:

      “I am getting so sick of daily near death experiences from cyclists flouting the law…. The defense of “pedestrians jaywalk” is a separate matter.”

      I fully agree that cyclists who endanger others are wrong and should be stopped. Jaywalking is a separate matter, but similar enough that I stand by the analogy. Apropos:

      “Unless you are clairvoyant, I don’t see how anyone is able to determine whether going through a red light quickly or slowly, whether in a vehicle or on a bike, will result in a hazard for a pedestrian. ”

      I understand why people often conflate driving a car with riding a bike. One reason bicycles are different from cars is that when a cyclist stops, he or she is sometimes able to look left, right, and forward without obstruction. If the pedestrian lane and the street are clearly empty, that is how he or she is able to make the determination you describe. Under those circumstances I believe it’s OK for a cyclist slowly to cross the street. It’s a lot like jaywalking, when a pedestrian stops at the curb, looks to see if anyone or anything is coming, then walks across the street even if the light is red.

      I agree with you that if there is an obstruction such as a car or a person, neither the pedestrian nor the cyclist should proceed. I honestly hope that helps.

    11. dannyboy says:

      Christine E, I agree. Bicyclists often don’t stop because they have so much ‘peddling energy’ invested in the bike’s momentum that they hate to lose that and have to get up to speed by peddling from a stop.

    12. Andrea says:

      Cars are an apparent danger to pedestrians, but it’s the bicycles that frighten me most. One can’t see them whizzing through the lights (in the dark, often the wrong way) in time to avoid them. One could easily die from injuries sustained from a hurtling bike! The cyclists (upscale business people in suits and non-English speaking delivery people alike) just don’t give a fig about “laws or lights.” It’s long past time that they were ticketed.

    13. I count traffic for a living. Drunken or oblivious pedestrians raise health insurance rates, as do careless cyclists and drivers. Could classroom time be required? Never. Schools must teach foreign languages, science labs, math methods and histories that are forgotten. Accidents and injuries are for law enforcement to teach us. I do not get it. I quit driving and cycling only to be scolded by an aging parent about where and when I walk about.

    14. Eric says:

      Just this evening my wife was knocked to the street by a cyclist rolling through a red light. Blood was everywhere. She had to be taken to St. Lukes by an ambulance to receive stitches for a head laceration. In the 9 minutes we were waiting for the EMS folks to arrive I counted 8 cyclists who blew or rolled through the red at the intersection WHILE we were standing there talking to the NYFD and NYPD officers.

      Cyclists … It does NOT matter how observant you think you are. It dies NOT matter that you think the regulations are too strict. These are NY streets, not country lanes. You NEED to STOP and WAIT at the reds. There is no argument you can make that justifies sending people to the hospital so that you may travel uninterrupted.

      I try to be dispassionate in posting here but it really is enough already.