Council Bill to Target Sidewalk Cyclists for Ticketing

The city’s been running a “Don’t Be a Jerk” campaign for months to try to dissuade cyclists from riding on sidewalks but apparently the soft touch hasn’t been effective enough so officials are preparing to up enforcement in the form of a new band of DOT ticket writers. An article in today’s Daily News frames the problem as largely a commercial delivery issue–after all, people want their take-out food pronto–but any adult sidewalk cyclist will be targeted for ticketing under new legislation working its way through the City Council. “Commercial bicyclists treat it as the Wild Wild West,” said James Vacca, chairman of the Council’s Transportation Committee. “That has to stop.”

24 Comment

  • dnk

    Crackdown on sidewalk biking == good.

    I say this as an everyday bicycle commuter, and as someone who is (mostly) encouraged by the city’s accomodation of bikes.

    Sidewalk biking is rude and can be dangerous. There’s no excuse for it, except (as per NYC regs) for children 12 or under, who are allowed to pedal on the sidewalk.

  • Brenda from Flatbush

    Given the terrifying nature of some streets (like Caton Avenue, a narrow corridor crammed with trucks), especially those with wide and sparsely populated sidewalks, it’s very understandable that this happens. I’ve done it occasionally along Prospect Park Southwest, being careful to watch out for peds. But I’ve also nearly been sideswiped by crazed cyclists. Guess I’m just not sanguine about the effort to turn the mean streets of NYC into Amsterdam…

    • To turn the NYC streets into Amsterdam or any place in the Netherlands for that matter requires 2 things.

      1. Tear up ALL the streets up and start over again. These roads were never designed to support both. Painted lines are mere suggestions. What they are doing on PPW would need to be done everywhere. A pedistrian sidewalk, followed by the bike lane, then another raised curb, then a parking lane, then the roadway. This is standard everywhere in the Netherlands on almost every street. Even the smallest towns, not just one strip of roadway.

      2. The of course, the bikers in the Netherlands respect the tarffic laws. They stop and wait at red lights (even with no oncoming traffic, what a concept!), they give pedstrians the right of way, they stay on the designated paths, no one speeds, and everyone co-exists peacefully.

      I am not sure the bikers here can handle that.

  • Hmmm. Why not also focus their efforts on all the cars who park in bike lanes. They are an absolute joke in some areas of Brooklyn.

  • I wish we would start one of these campains against double-wide strollers and people who walk three across down narrow streets…

  • In addition to cracking down on dangerous sidewalk cyclists, can we please crack down on folks riding the wrong way in the bike lane? I’m tired of playing chicken with these lunatics.

    • Totally agree. As somebody who commutes nearly every day on bicycle I have little patience for those who both endanger my ride by riding the wrong way (bike lane or not) and also make us cyclists look bad. Sidewalks? If you are over twelve, WALK IT.

  • I think we have to hit all the problems simultaneously to really make a change: ticket cyclists for riding on sidewalks and the wrong way in bike lanes and ticket cars for double-parking in bike lanes.

  • This is the sanest commentary to a biking story I’ve ever seen on the internets.

    To continue the sanity: as a daily bicycling commuter, cracking down on sidewalk bikers is a great idea. The city is giving us a great infrastructure for biking. We must use street space – claim it – as is our right.

    C:

  • This is the sanest commentary to a biking story I’ve ever seen on the internets.

    To continue the sanity: as a daily bicycling commuter, cracking down on sidewalk bikers is a great idea. The city is giving us a great infrastructure for biking. We must use street space – claim it – as is our right.

    C:

  • This is a good thing. I am an avid cyclist, and as such I stick to the road. My wife and I were almost run down recently by a pizza delivery guy who cut us off from behind at high speed. I gave him an earful, but he just cursed back.

    I also agree that cyclist should be ticketed for going the wrong way, not just on bike lanes, but on any street. The only times I have ever been almost hit by bikes is delivery guys going the wrong way. there is no excuse for this, there are lots of bike lanes now, with traffic in both directions. It is one thing I find myself shouting to other cyclists: WRONG WAY!

    • megazoid

      As an avid cyclist myself, I entirely understand your feelings. My first gut reaction is always to give them a piece of my mind. However, I do have to think about the reasons for their constant “unlawful” bike conduct. I don’t think it’s laziness. It’s the constant pressure from the restaurant business where you have to make 10 deliveries in 5 minutes and then come back and do the same again. And again. For $7 an hour, under the constant risk of getting run over. I’m not sure what the right answer is (ticketing them? more bike lanes?), but I think that a bit of understanding from our side (the non-commercial cyclists) wouldn’t hurt.

      • dnk

        Good point on understanding the perspective of the delivery cyclist. I recommend a fine piece of reporting from a couple of months ago in the Times.

        A reporter followed around a Chinese takeout delivery guy, documenting the occasions when the guy biked the wrong way down the street, but — just as importantly — also reporting on hustle that this guy had to perform in order to just scrape by a living.

        The Times also reported on what the guy made in tips: Pretty horrible. One person tipped $3 on a $40 bill, a measly 7.5 percent — and this came from a building on Fifth Avenue directly across from the Met Museum. Sheesh.

        Check it out: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/nyregion/for-food-delivery-workers-speed-tips-and-fear-on-wheels.html?pagewanted=all

        I hate to see delivery cyclists doing stupid, dangerous, and patently illegal stuff. But I also hate to think what the stakes are for them, busting their butts, constantly on the move, and barely making any dough. I don’t know aht the solution is…

        • megazoid

          Thanks for the article link dnk, I had no clue someone actually documented this, I love the Times! Dodging NYC taxis on a bike for $60 to $80 per day has to be one of the toughest jobs out there. Anyway, from my side, I did learn to keep an active eye out for unexpected encounters with deliverymen. It makes my bike ride slightly slower, but it helps until a better solution is found.

      • dnk

        Good point on understanding the perspective of the delivery cyclist. I recommend a fine piece of reporting from a couple of months ago in the Times.

        A reporter followed around a Chinese takeout delivery guy, documenting the occasions when the guy biked the wrong way down the street, but — just as importantly — also reporting on hustle that this guy had to perform in order to just scrape by a living.

        The Times also reported on what the guy made in tips: Pretty horrible. One person tipped $3 on a $40 bill, a measly 7.5 percent — and this came from a building on Fifth Avenue directly across from the Met Museum. Sheesh.

        Check it out: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/nyregion/for-food-delivery-workers-speed-tips-and-fear-on-wheels.html?pagewanted=all

        I hate to see delivery cyclists doing stupid, dangerous, and patently illegal stuff. But I also hate to think what the stakes are for them, busting their butts, constantly on the move, and barely making any dough. I don’t know aht the solution is…

    • megazoid

      As an avid cyclist myself, I entirely understand your feelings. My first gut reaction is always to give them a piece of my mind. However, I do have to think about the reasons for their constant “unlawful” bike conduct. I don’t think it’s laziness. It’s the constant pressure from the restaurant business where you have to make 10 deliveries in 5 minutes and then come back and do the same again. And again. For $7 an hour, under the constant risk of getting run over. I’m not sure what the right answer is (ticketing them? more bike lanes?), but I think that a bit of understanding from our side (the non-commercial cyclists) wouldn’t hurt.

  • On the other hand, parking in bike lanes is practically encouraged by the NYPD. Where’s the real danger?

  • expert_textpert

    “Target Sidewalk Cyclists for Ticketing”

    You mean my yelling at cyclists on the sidewalk as they narrowly hit me isn’t working?

  • daveinbedstuy

    I don’t drive in NYC butI do in Philly and the problem I encounter is these jack a s s bicyclists drive right into the car lane when something’s blocking the bike lane. The rules of the road, for both, is that you yield when changing lanes. They are just plain stupid, most of them

    And yes, stay off the friggin sidewalks