Catch of the day
Not everyone experienced the 1 March love-fest that I did; Ben Ackerley, who recently moved to Sydney from New York, was one of the first people fined under the oppressive new regime championed by Herr Gay.
Fortunately that bastion of quality journalism, The Daily Telegraph, was there to capture Ben’s fall from grace. That was lucky wasn’t it?!
His bike was damaged few weeks ago in a collision with a taxi (no word on how this collision was the fault of the cyclist) and was planning to ride his newly repaired bike the whopping 2 kilometres to take it home. Clearly dressed for speed in his business suit, well-shined dress shoes and bow-tie it clearly was imperative that this man should wear a helmet at all times.
Still he’s attained a dubious honour and short-lived Internet fame, and really, isn’t that what we’re all searching for?
I’m wondering if the Police Motorcyclist was forced to push Ben from his bike to make the arrest, because Ben appears to be suffering from a blow to the head. He made the puzzling statement that in New York City "the cops have better things to do than worry about this sort of stuff". Now while I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment, the underlying facts of that statement are certainly up for debate. Did he ever try cycling while back home, and has he not read Gothamist lately?
The NYPD are some of the most consistent abusers of the city’s bike paths, using them as private parking how and when they like – and then fining cyclists for exiting the bike lane to drive around their parked police cars.
Here's a sorry tale indeed from gothamist.com/tags/cyclistcrackdown;
The latest example is a two-for-one special: not only is it a crystal-clear example of the NYPD's disproportional, no-common-sense enforcement of traffic laws, but it also carries a whiff of classic cop misogyny. Hilda Cohen, an advocate for safer streets and a seemingly punctilious adherent to cyclist street etiquette, was stopped by the NYPD on Friday evening for biking through a yellow light. Here is her infuriating story:
I was travelling east on Bleecker at 5:20pm in Manhattan. Had on my StreetsPAC t-shirt, so I was going an intentionally respectable speed in the painted green bike lane on Bleecker.
Heading towards the intersection of Charles Street, I notice that the T&LC next to me is speeding up for a fare ahead. There is also a car parked in the bike lane past the intersection. So I let the car pass, and then come out of the bike lane to avoid the car ahead. I typically react about 20-30 feet ahead of obstacles in my way if I can. I pass through the intersection with a yellow light.
I get stopped by the guy standing next to the car, NYPD in uniform.
“You just ran a red light.”
“The light was yellow when I went through the intersection.”
“No, it was red”, he said. “I saw it.”
“I am actually 100% positive that it was yellow. I looked for it, I saw it, and I don’t run red lights,” I said. “Why do you say it was red?”
“We saw the pedestrian crossing sign change from a flashing hand to a solid hand when you entered the intersection.” These police officers could not even see the light that they were referring to; they were about 30 feet past the intersection on a one-way street. “That means that it was a red light.”
“Actually that proves that it was yellow. That is when the light changes from green to yellow.”
“Well you can’t go through yellow lights.”
To this I did say, “you’re not serious.”
“A yellow light means put on your brakes” he continued, “and you can’t go through a yellow light. You must have been going too fast to stop in time. I’ll give you a ticket for running a yellow and speeding. The speed limit is 25 mph, you were going faster than that.”
The above is an accurate telling of what he told me, and literally my jaw dropped. I realize now, at this point I should have just shut up because this was ridiculous. I should have just let him lie, and keep lying to me, and should have just kept my mouth shut, right?
But, in as even a tone as I could muster said, “you can enter the intersection when the light is yellow.”
“Then I’ll give you a ticket for being outside of the bike lane, and for speeding.”
I responded, “I could not stay in the bike lane as you are parked in the bike lane, and the speed limit is 30, and there is no way I was going 30 mph.”
“Lady, you just don’t shut up do you!”
So my resulting tickets are for “Reckless Operation of a Bicycle” (19-176-C) and “Obstructing Vehicle Traffic” (240-20-5) which I have been informed are code for disorderly conduct for a bicyclist. These are criminal offenses, and I have to show up to court whether I plead guilty or not.
I was stopped for running a yellow light, and then given two tickets for knowing my rights, and the law. These are the people that are looking out for our safety and well-being, right?
This one image succinctly conveys a thousand contemptuous, probably NSFW words about how the NYPD feels about its cycling citizens; the green is the designated bike lane opposite the police station. Just... wow. If they of all people DGAF, who else is going to ?
And as for me, 2 March was my tenth !!! commute in, and I promise I’ll stop counting [out loud] now.
The day began and ended well, with just a brief mid-day interlude where I had to file a police report after a motorist deliberately tried to carve the SO and I up. I’ll be writing in more detail about that interesting process shortly, but in brief I opted for the online complaint process because I dislike human contact, which is after all, why I blog. We’ll see how the complaint progresses. Stay tuned !