NYPD Ordered to Crack Down on Law-Breaking Cyclists in New York City

lots of cyclists nyc photo

Photo: nickjohnson, CC

Not a Bad Idea, But Does It Need to be a Priority?

New York cyclists, be warned: The NYPD is on to you! Apparently the boys in blue have been ordered to begin a "borough-wide crackdown" on cyclists who commit "vehicular offenses" (not obeying traffic signals, going over speed limit, failure to signal before a turn, etc). This stricter enforcement should begin in a matter of weeks.

cyclist nyc new york photo

Photo: smilygrl, CC

It's not a bad idea to enforce the rules of the road and cyclists shouldn't be exempt, but some feel that making them a priority in enforcement is more questionable.

"They should focus on drivers, because frankly drivers have more potential to cause harm than cyclists do," said Lacey Tauber, a Williamsburg resident and rider quoted by the Brooklyn Paper.

Officially, of course, bicycle advocate groups have begrudgingly endorsed the increased enforcement -- as long as every driver, in car or on bike -- is treated with an even hand by police.

"Cyclists need to obey the law, just like any other street user," said Caroline Samponaro, a spokeswoman for Transportation Alternatives. "But the NYPD needs to prioritize enforcing the dangerous behavior of all street users, whether they be cyclists or drivers."

In general, the best way to make everybody - drivers, cyclists, pedestrians - safe is to 1) have good biking infrastructure that is designed with safety in mind and 2) make awareness of cyclists part of the culture, just like it is in places like Copenhagen.

As long as cyclists are forced to bike through unsafe places, and as long as drivers feel that cyclists don't belong on the road, it'll be hard to get things going smoothly, even with extra enforcement.

Via Brooklyn Paper
More on Bikes
The MacGyver Approach to Winter Biking (Zip Ties!)
Detroit Bike Shop Circa 1912 (Vintage Photo)
Yay! Bike & Pedestrian Cal Park Tunnel Opens in Marin County (Video)
CNN on Bike Sharing in Washington D.C. (Video)

Related Content on Treehugger.com