Got the end-of-weekend blues? Well here's a cycling story that's sure to imbue you with enough self-righteousness and indignant rage to make you forget your troubles: a cyclist is complaining about receiving $1,500 in fines for running red lights. "It's absurd," pedicab driver Juan Rodriguez tells the Daily News, referring to his miserable luck in getting three red light tickets, despite the fact that 30 people probably ran a red light in NYC by the time you finish reading this sentence. "When you look at the fines leveled and the actual offenses, it makes no sense."
At Rodriguez's first ticketing on Central Park West, he was incredulous: "My first thought was, 'Are you serious? Is this some sort of joke?'" No joke Juan, just stepped-up enforcement to meet quotas. Six days later, he was pulled over again, this time at Riverside Drive and West 96th. "I thought, 'Oh my God! What is going on?'" His final ticket came in Chelsea. A DMV spokesman notes, "Bicycles are expected to follow the rules of the road just like any other vehicle," which is true, except that "any other vehicle" weighs thousands of pounds, can travel in excess of 40 mph and regularly kills people.
Rodriguez tried to fight the fines in court, but a judge wasn't having it. In addition to being guilty of running red lights, Rodriguez also appears to be guilty of not keeping up with the news: it doesn't matter if you break the law or not, the NYPD has been ticketing a lot more cyclists. Bike law enforcement has even spawned a class of lawyers to defend cyclists, with one firm poised to file a class-action suit against the city for handing out bogus tickets. Lawyers! Can we just institute the Idaho stop so we can all cut back on our legal fees?