Riding a bike could end up costing you your driver's license, according to one cyclist who says the DMV is threatening to add three points to his license if he's found guilty of failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk while biking in Central Park. Our tipster, who requested anonymity so his name isn't associated with scofflaw cycling in future Google searches, insists he did nothing to deserve the ticket, which was issued on the afternoon of August 28th. In email, he writes:
I don't believe that i failed to yield; there was easily 15 feet on each side of me and I was going 3-5 mph with complete ability to stop on a dime if needed. But what's important is that it posted online for pleading on Friday (3 weeks later), and their system has me down for 3 points on my license.
I suspect that if you look at all the tickets given out to cyclists since beginning of the year, anyone who had a license on them or in the system had their ticket tied to it. If the infraction was one with points, and they plead guilty to just pay the fine, they ended up with points and then have to go fight to get them removed (if they even know they are there).
Points would cause their insurance premiums to go up and if they already had 8 points on their license, lead to a suspension... Under state law, there are no points for a ticket on a bicycle, the NYPD officer who gave me my ticket said explicitly that.
The cyclist in this incident will be appearing in court in November to contest the ticket (a copy of which we reviewed, along with the DMV notice about the license points). Attorney Steve Vaccaro, who has represented the family of killed cyclist Mathieu Lefevre and the husband of killed pedestrian Clara Hayworth, thinks there's no legal ground for the DMV to do this. "The points should not apply," Vaccaro tells us. "And this guy should get a human being to tell him that they will not apply if he pays the fine, although that could take a lot of time and maybe a visit to court."
This news comes as the NYPD continues to enforce the letter of the law when it comes to bike riding in Central Park, and as a blind jogger run over by a cyclist sues the city for failing to enforce the letter of the law. In August, the NYPD issued 62 tickets to cyclists for failing to yield right of way to pedestrians, and, not counting August, the NYPD says 123 tickets have been issued so far this year.
But Vaccaro thinks the cyclist in this instance has a good shot of beating the ticket and never seeing those points added to his license. "The summons is facially invalid because it is based on a rule that applies only to 'vehicular traffic,' which in this context does not include cyclists," Vaccaro tells us. "Judges have been known to overlook such flaws, because there are other rules that could have been properly applied." If he loses and the points end up being applied, we'll let you know.