[UPDATE BELOW] Sometimes the NYPD's inanity is so perfect, so immaculately risible, that you just want to burst into applause and toss a bouquet of roses onto the hood of a squad car. Today is one of those days. According to a tipster, a cop parked in the bike lane on First Avenue near 23rd Street proceeded to write tickets for cyclists who weren't using the bike lane, because they had to ride around him to get by. This is presumably part of the new crackdown on scofflaw cyclists, and hey—sometimes you have to destroy a bike lane in order to save it. (How come there's never a clown cop around when you need one?) Our source says:

This morning I received a ticket on the corner of 14th and 1st for not riding in a bike lane. The lane was being blocked by a cop car and as I pulled around it a cop pulled me over and informed me of my infraction. About 5 or 6 other cyclists got the same treatment. The cop later moved his car so that it wasn't in the bike lane (but was now parked squarely in the turning lane).

A couple of other cyclists got pulled over, but argued with the cop that they had to leave the lane because he was parked there—those people were allowed to ride on. After pulling a bunch of us he must of realized how stupid his logic was and decided to cross to the other side of the road (where the bus lane is) and pulled a cyclist from there.

Our unlucky tipster says his ticket is for $130 for "Reckless operation of bicycle." We've put in a request for comment with the NYPD press office, and we're sure they'll get back to us STAT. In the meantime, here is the city's law about cyclists and bike lanes:

34 RCNY § 4-12(p) Bicycles.

(1) Bicycle riders to use bicycle lanes. Whenever a usable path or lane for bicycles has been provided, bicycle riders shall use such path or lane only except under any of the following situations: (i) When preparing for a turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway. (ii) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, pushcarts, animals, surface hazards) that make it unsafe to continue within such bicycle path or lane.

Attorney Gideon Oliver writes in to tell us that after consulting with our tipster, he's determined that the ticket he was issued is for a NYCAC 19-176 violation. "That’s the bicycling on the sidewalk part of the code," Oliver tells us. "It’s irresponsible—and illegal—for the NYPD to crackdown on 'scofflaw' cyclists using provisions of law or regulation that don’t apply to bicyclists (i.e., ticketing bicyclists for reckless operation of a motor vehicle or for riding outside the bike lane in violation of state laws that don’t apply in NYC).

"It’s also irresponsible and illegal, not to mention dangerous and just plain nonsensical, for NYPD officers to set up 'checkpoints' to ticket cyclists by illegally parking police vehicles in bike lanes, forcing cyclists out of the bike lanes and into the streets, then citing cyclists for “reckless operation of a bicycle” in violation of NYC Administrative Code 19-176 - a provision of local law prohibiting bicycling on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, Commissioner Kelly’s NYPD is not interested in making the roads safer for cyclists, and these tickets are good for buffing summons stats, so it’s likely we’ll continue to see this kind of outrageous police misconduct, including issuing facially insufficient and illegal summonses and flat-out perjury, in the future."