The NYPD has kept busy this year writing tickets to cyclists for all sorts of reckless behavior—like biking near the site of a recent hit-and-run, or not using those strange green painted lanes that are often blocked by police cruisers. And while this sort of warm weather crackdown seems to be an annual tradition, new data shows that cyclists were targeted 25 percent more this year than they were in 2016.
Metro New York reports that as of October 1st, the NYPD has issued 23,452 summons to cyclists in 2017, compared to 18,991 summons in the same period last year. According to the NYPD, the most common infractions are running a red light, disobeying road signs, going the wrong direction on a one-way street, and not giving the right of way to pedestrians.
Cyclists may also receive summonses for doing things that are perfectly legal, like riding without a helmet—something that reportedly happened this year during a cyclist crackdown in Manhattan ordered by "borough-command."
Additionally, DNAinfo reports that in the first nine months of this year, cyclists in Williamsburg were hit with twice as many traffic tickets as commercial truck drivers. That finding comes less than a week after a cyclist was hospitalized after being hit by a dump truck driver on Bushwick Avenue, which is not authorized for heavy truck traffic.
According to a Vision Zero report issued by Mayor de Blasio in July, nine cyclists died in traffic in the first six months of 2017—down from 12 in 2016, but higher year-to-date than when Vizion Zero launched in 2013.
"The crashes that cause cyclist injury and death are due to reckless driver behavior the majority of the time," Caroline Sampponaro, a spokesperson for Transportation alternatives, told Gothamist. "With limited enforcement resources, the NYPD must focus more of its attention on the driver behaviors that kill time and time again: speeding and failure to yield."
Asked to comment on the increase in tickets, a representative for the NYPD told Gothamist, "When police observe an individual committing an infraction, either on a bicycle or in an automobile, they are subject to a summons."