NYC Prepares to Increase Sidewalk Bicycle Fines
New York City already has some of the most harsh sidewalk laws around—I’ve heard more firsthand stories of giant fines for simply hopping onto a deserted sidewalk to lock-up than I can count, with many resulting in an actual summons rather than a mail in fine. New York City already disproportionately targets bicycles for tickets and fines, and now they’re looking for more specifically aimed at delivery drivers often seen on the sidewalk according to the New York Daily News. I’m not saying people should speed along on the sidewalk or that there aren’t a lot of clueless delivery drivers in the city, just that there seem to be more important traffic problems to deal with than even more tickets for cyclists.
Not sold that bicycles are being targeted unfairly? In 2011 the NYPD issued 34,813 criminal court summons and 13,743 moving violations to cyclists in NYC while commercial truck drivers received a mere 10,415 criminal court summons and 14,962 moving violations according to Transportation Nation. Anyone who has been to NYC can attest to the number of trucks running red lights at speed, double parking, etc and common sense is clear on whether a bike or truck running a red light is more dangerous to the community. In 2011 only 8500 drunk driving arrests were made, meaning the four times as many cyclists had to go to court for traffic transgressions than people were picked up for driving drunk in all of New York City.
According to the city’s own traffic safety press release, traffic deaths happen at the hands of cars, not bikes.
As of December 27th, there were 237 traffic fatalities in 2011, 40 percent fewer than in 2001. Included in the 2011 numbers were 134 pedestrian fatalities in crashes with vehicles, an all-time record-low and a 31 percent reduction since 2001; 47 senior pedestrian fatalities, a 27 percent reduction since 2001; and a record low of only three child pedestrian fatalities. Bicycle fatalities have held within the same range over the last decade, despite bike ridership quadrupling during that time period.
Share your stories of getting ticketed in New York City, or your take on this in the comments below.