There were at least 19 cyclist fatalities in NYC through October 31, seven more than in all of 2009, according to an analysis of NYPD data conducted by the Wall Street Journal. And during the same period, 3,505 bikers were injured in crashes with motor vehicles, more than last year's total and up 20% compared to the first 10 months of last year. In response, the NYPD has gone on a ticketing blitz targeting cyclists, issuing summonses for such infractions as talking on a cellphone while biking and cycling without lights.

Sources tell the Post that NYPD officers in the Midtown North precinct are cracking down on cyclists who pedal on sidewalks and disregard traffic rules, and cops are paying special attention to pedicabs and deliverymen on bikes. In the past month, Midtown North police have issued 53 summonses to cyclists, and almost 70 restaurant owners have been issued warnings about their employees biking on sidewalks. From January through October, Midtown North officers have issued 805 summonses to pedicab drivers, while Midtown South police wrote 649, and the Central Park precinct wrote 284.

The NYPD recently received a $150,000 federal grant to step up enforcement on reckless drivers and cyclists. But spokesman Paul Browne insists there isn't any ticketing blitz, telling the Journal, "We're down 5,000 cops since 2001 and we've just been told that we have to get rid of 350 civilian places that were created to put cops who handled administrative duties on the street. That's a long way of saying, 'Yes, we want to do more in this area, but a grant of that size is not going to make a significant difference."

Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer, who recently called for an NYPD Bike Lane Enforcement Unit, says, "We have to do something about it." To that end, the DOT is pushing a new public service ad campaign called "Don't Be a Jerk," featuring prominent New Yorkers preaching about bike etiquette. According to the Journal, superstar chef Mario Batali recently filmed a spot, but we think there must be some mistake, because the last time we saw Batali he was driving his Vespa in the bike lane on Prince Street!