NYPD traffic priorities: Protecting you from the deadly bike menace - Brooklynian

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NYPD traffic priorities: Protecting you from the deadly bike menace

According to the numbers the police are more concerned with bicyclists than they are with trucks. You know, those giant multi-ton vehicles that can kill you without even knowing they hit anyone.

(for reference, between 1996 and 2005, New York City averaged less than 1 death per year from people hit by bicyclists)

On to the numbers!...

NYPD Issued Almost 50,000 Bicycle Tickets in 2011By Alex Goldmark | 02/15/2012 – 6:33 pmThe NYPD doled out 48,556 summonses to bike riders in 2011. That figure was reported by Executive Officer of the Transportation Bureau, John Cassidy at a hearing held by the NY City Council Wednesday on NYPD policies for traffic investigations.About 250,000 people ride a bike each day in New York city, and about 500,000 ride at least several times a month, according to the New York City Department of Transportation.At the start of last year the New York Police Department cracked down on cyclists breaking traffic laws. Bike community protests erupted, compromise was gingerly reached, and outrage faded. The pace of ticketing, however, did not abate.By the end of 2011, police handed cyclists 13,743 moving violations — those are for less serious infractions like riding on pedestrian-only paths in parks, or riding on a sidewalk. Most of the summonses last year — about 35,000 — were the more serious criminal court summonses for infractions like running red lights.By comparison, Cassidy said the NYPD’s specialized truck enforcement units issued about 25,000 tickets to truck drivers.

More: http://transportationnation.org/2012/02/15/nypd-issued-almost-50000-bicycle-tickets-in-2011/

Lo and behold, our elected officials might actually start holding the NYPD accountable for its clear negligence of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths. What a novel concept!

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/nyregion/city-council-eyes-police-response-to-biker-and-pedestrian-deaths.html

Lest you think the NYPD has concern when pedestrians or bicyclists are killed by cars, here's a fun (tragic) number: as of mid-December 2011, 146 people were killed in 2011, 20 drivers were charged (note that does not mean convicted).

TWENTY.

Comments

  • Are you saying that safety is not the NYPDs main concern? I'm shocked - shocked, I tell you!

  • As far as pedestrians getting killed by cars and the drivers not being convicted, it seems simple to me... peds. break the laws. I can't even remember the last time I came to an intersection where a ped. wasn't breaking the law.

    I was taught to cross with the light and to look BOTH ways b4 crossing as a kid. If I choose to cross against the light or out of the cross walk (illegally) I'm taking my life into my legs so to speak.

    I was an avid biker years back (downhill and city riding) I can't imagine riding a bike in NYC as an adult. NO ONE on the road follows the rules, cars, cyclists, or peds. WHY would you with positively knowing that as fact battle with a two ton missile?

    Also... It should be illegal to place children on bikes or in the tow behind carts on NYS roadways. It's child abuse.

  • rezist said:

    As far as pedestrians getting killed by cars and the drivers not being convicted, it seems simple to me... peds. break the laws.

    I take it that you didn't read any of the linked article?

    [A]ccording to Deputy Chief John T. Cassidy, who leads the Police Department’s transportation bureau, that unit investigates only crashes that result in a death or those in which the likelihood of death is reported by a hospital.

    The rest of your post is too silly to address.

  • the actual links? that dude didn't even read my post.

    Here, i'll help highlight:

    as of mid-December 2011, 146 people were killed in 2011, 20 drivers were charged (note that does not mean convicted).

    so by that logic, pedestrians & bicyclists are at fault in 82% of their deaths. pure numbers alone render this false as more than 18% of drivers are speeding at any given time, and a significant number of NYC drivers have suspended or no license at all.

  • a significant number of NYC drivers have suspended or no license at all.

    Just curious where you got this from? I'd be really surprised if it were true since it would represent a fairly significant revenue stream if the cops were simply to pull over folks, run their id's and ticket/impound folks in violation. I can't see the city passing up that kind of low hanging fruit if it exists.

  • 75 percent of drivers with suspended licenses continue to drive

    link

    16.7 % of fatal accidents in New York involve unlicensed/invalid/unknown drivers
    .

    link

    Unlicensed drivers are 4x more likely commit hit-and-run than licensed drivers.

    link

    Here in New York, the problem is just as acute. According to Transportation Alternatives, unlicensed drivers are four times as likely to be involved in traffic crashes as properly licensed drivers, but 75 percent of motorists with suspended licenses continue to drive.
    link

    If Unlicensed/suspended drivers are involved in a significant number of accidents (deadly or otherwise), that means their existence is statistically significant.

    I'd be really surprised if it were true since it would represent a fairly significant revenue stream if the cops were simply to pull over folks, run their id's and ticket/impound folks in violation. I can't see the city passing up that kind of low hanging fruit if it exists.

    Why is this any different than (not) busting people who speed or run red lights? In fact I'd argue those two violations are easier to enforce, yet neither is particularly well enforced as all of us who drive in NYC can attest.

  • I have no statistics to back this up, but my impression (derived from an incident in which one such driver totaled our car years ago) is that many unlicensed and uninsured drivers in NYC are illegal immigrants, who tend to disappear when they get into an accident. So other than impounding their cars, the city would have difficulty collecting on tickets from such persons.

  • Booklaw, here are some statistics to back up your impression re: illegal immigrants:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/us/10license.html?pagewanted=all

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/us/14sfcheck.html?pagewanted=all

    Here are stats galore re: the rate of accidents among unlicensed drivers, including people with suspended lics

    http://www.aaafoundation.org/pdf/UnlicensedToKillResearchUpdate.pdf

  • Why is this any different than (not) busting people who speed or run red lights? In fact I'd argue those two violations are easier to enforce, yet neither is particularly well enforced as all of us who drive in NYC can attest.

    Because in order to bust someone for speeding or running a red light, the person ticketing has to actually see the violation occur.

    For a suspended license, it would be simple enough to set up a a random stop, pull over cars, run the license of the operator and impound/tow if the license comes back suspended. Its the same concept as the "stop and frisk", where if you stop enough people you'd get the numbers you were looking for. Clearly the cops don't have a problem doing that, so why wouldn't they do the same for vehicle operators?

  • homeowner said:

    Because in order to bust someone for speeding or running a red light, the person ticketing has to actually see the violation occur. For a suspended license, it would be simple enough to set up a a random stop, pull over cars, run the license of the operator and impound/tow if the license comes back suspended. Its the same concept as the "stop and frisk", where if you stop enough people you'd get the numbers you were looking for. Clearly the cops don't have a problem doing that, so why wouldn't they do the same for vehicle operators?

    Hey, I don't disagree, but as we can easily establish: the NYPD doesn't always have the most logical enforcement policies, nor do they prioritize according to threat to public safety.

    "the NYPD doesn't enforce it" does not mean the infraction doesn't exist, as the numbers show for unlicensed drivers.

    whynot_31 said:

    Booklaw, here are some statistics to back up your impression re: illegal immigrants:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/us/10license.html?pagewanted=allhttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/us/14sfcheck.html?pagewanted=allHere are stats galore re: the rate of accidents among unlicensed drivers, including people with suspended lics

    http://www.aaafoundation.org/pdf/UnlicensedToKillResearchUpdate.pdf

    All hail yet another benefit to our society from anti immigration bigots. Undocumented immigrants can't & won't get licenses.

  • BG-

    One can study and publish the accidents caused by illegal immigrants without being an "anti-immigration bigot".

    There are likely lots of things that co-occur with being an "illegal immigrant, unlicensed driver" that increase the risks of having an accident.

    For example, illegal immigrants are disproportionately poor and many lack a formal education. Both of these factors are likely correlated to accidents even among persons who are born and raised in the USA.

    Likewise, a disproportionate of illegal immigrants may be young and male. Young males of all varieties tend to speed, and drink alcohol more than the average driver.

    Here's some more things that may contribute:

    a. Not a lot experience driving due to not having a car in one's country origin.

    b. A crappy, poorly maintained, car due to poverty

    c. From a country with more lax driving habits

    d. No formal drivers ed, resulting in a failure to understand the traffic laws and signs.

    As a result of these correlations, (and the links I cite above) I think "drivers who are unlicensed and undocumented" do present a problem that should be addressed.

    I've long believed that training and licensing this segment of the population would be a step in the right direction, but don't think your tactic of insulting those who reach different conclusions is constructive.

    Homeowner-

    Although it is tough to measure, let's not discount the deterrent effect. I.E. If the police were to begin randomly stopping drivers to check for licenses and insurance, they might find only a small % without such info. However, it would likely deter such people from driving and thus getting caught.

    The police make a similar argument re: stop and frisk. They argue that they are legally allowed to stop and frisk, and that the tactics cause people to leave their guns at home. They argue that the loss in civil liberties is outweighed by this "unquantifiable" effects, not merely the number of gun seizures.

    As we are aware, the Center For Constitutional Rights is presently pursing opposite in court filing. It should be an interesting court case.

  • BTW, If the police do ever begin a traffic crackdown, I look forward to the lawsuit that accuses them of civil liberty violations because they are stopping people in areas where drivers are shown to be less likely to have licenses.

    If a cop does something, s/he is screwed.

    If a cop does nothing, s/he is screwed.

    I am so glad I am not a cop, and just get to watch the silliness.

  • I agree - look how much damage this bike did to a bus!! (of course this is my sarcasm voice)

    http://video.uk.msn.com/watch/video/shocking-cctv-shows-bristol-bus-driver-smashing-into-biker/2gsmtigh

  • And then there is this:

    On the same day that the City Council blasted the NYPD for the way it handles investigations into pedestrians and cyclists who are hit by motorists, Brooklyn resident Jacob Stevens learned that the Kings County District Attorney would not press criminal charges against the driver who killed his wife back in June
    http://gothamist.com/2012/02/17/clara_heyworth.php

  • I have to defend @rezist a little bit here. Pedestrians flaunting traffic laws is a huge problem in Brooklyn, especially on thoroughfares like 7th Avenue where pedestrians seem to think they own the street. That said, it's offtopic and an oversimplification to say that pedestrian behavior is the only problem.

  • One can study and publish the accidents caused by illegal immigrants without being an "anti-immigration bigot".

    I stopped reading there, at your massively incorrect interpretation of my post.

    I am saying that if there are indeed a lot of undocumented illegal drivers, that makes the bigotry of anti-immigrant legislation even more damaging to our country. It is killing people on the road.

  • stacey said:

    And then there is this:

    On the same day that the City Council blasted the NYPD for the way it handles investigations into pedestrians and cyclists who are hit by motorists, Brooklyn resident Jacob Stevens learned that the Kings County District Attorney would not press criminal charges against the driver who killed his wife back in June
    http://gothamist.com/2012/02/17/clara_heyworth.php

    This is what I came to post.

    The stories of individual tragedies are myriad.

  • Sadly, you drew attention away from what is a good cause (i.e. What you perceive is a failure to hold drivers accountable for their actions), by dismissing a group of people who are also concerned about road safety (i.e. Those who don't want illegal immigrants to have licenses).

    I have yet to see how I misinterpreted your post. If people looks at the data and conclude that illegal immigrants should not be eligible for licenses, this does not make them bigoted. It does not make the legislation bigoted.

    Those opposed to illegal immigrants having licenses could believe that, even with the best drivers ed courses in the world, we will be unable to hold illegal immigrants accountable for their actions and -hence- the mere act of them driving places too much of a burden on the rest of us, and -thus- when an illegal immigrant drives a vehicle it should be an offense.

    Such a belief would does not meet my standard of "bigotry", and I believe that using such loaded labels to describe someone with rational, articulate views that happen to oppose the licensing of immigrants will not change their views. I fear that your tactics may even risk alienating people who may be willing to support licenses for illegal immigrants, and/or increased enforcement.

    When advocates for illegal immigrants call those opposed to their positions "bigots", they marginalize themselves as well those they purport to represent.

    They pay the consequence of using lazy, ineffective techniques. If you are going to obtain the privilege of driving for illegal immigrants, you'll need to do better.

  • I agree that my initial statement was too vague. I do however believe that one of the most paramount reasons that drivers aren't charged or convicted for ped/auto accidents is because the drivers weren't actually at fault for the accident.

    And to WhyFi who claimed that the remainder of my post was too silly:

    What's silly about pointing out that bikers, peds. and drivers all break the laws with alarming frequency. Or pointing out that cycling in traffic and jaywalking are extremely dangerous.

    I drove professionally for several years in the city. I've been driving for over 15 years with no accidents. There's not much that could physically happen on the road that I haven't seen. Especially since I was an avid cycler and runner in my younger years.

    I've been on all sides of this issue. As for the ticketing I think it has a lot to do with revenue.

  • homeowner said:

    a significant number of NYC drivers have suspended or no license at all.

    Just curious where you got this from? I'd be really surprised if it were true since it would represent a fairly significant revenue stream if the cops were simply to pull over folks, run their id's and ticket/impound folks in violation. I can't see the city passing up that kind of low hanging fruit if it exists.

    Homeowner-

    This may be a situation in which there a lot of unlicensed drivers, yet they do not meet the definition of low hanging fruit. For example, I suspect that very few police are given quotas around motor vehicle traffic tickets. If we wanted them to do this type of enforcement, we would have to measure it, and create incentives.

    Until then, I expect the crackdown on bikers (a somewhat powerless, minority that is just starting to grow in numbers) to continue to be the subject of police crackdowns. After all, even the police officer who is walking the beat can issue a ticket against a biker. ....it takes an officer with a car to ticket a car or truck.

  • Homeowner - there are a lot of deadbeat dads in NYC and when they are in arrears their license will not be renewed. Also if you get a summons and do not answer your license gets suspended. I think if you go without insurance on your car for a certain amount of days and do not turn the plates in, your license gets suspended so I can see how there is a high number of suspensions in NYC.

  • Yeah, I get that, but I thought those would be a minority of drivers in NYC. And some of the folks who are suspended actually don't drive when they get that letter.

    I'm just trying to wrap my mind around the fact that deadbeat dads, folks already involved with the law and people with insurance lapses make up a significant portion of drivers in the city.

  • The percentage isn't necessarily significant, until you or someone you love gets crashed into or run over.

  • booklaw said:

    The percentage isn't necessarily significant, until you or someone you love gets crashed into or run over.

    Totally agree. I also wonder whether the stats we are looking are accurate. For example, some people may have their licenses suspended again and again. Is whoever is compiling these statistics doing it in a way that each suspension is not counted as an individual driver?

    Likewise, there are people out there with suspended licenses that manage to get new licenses under false names.

    http://www.dmv.ny.gov/fraud.htm

    http://nycfederaldefense.com/2010/02/new-york-city-dmv-workers-arrested-for-selling-fake-ids/

    These drivers should not be double counted, yet you'd have to have a pretty rigorous process to avoid that type of error.

  • booklaw said:

    The percentage isn't necessarily significant, until you or someone you love gets crashed into or run over.

    Sorry you had to go through something like that.

    If there was one thing I learned working with attorneys and being a driver in NYC is to pay a little extra for the uninsured/underinsured insurance on my policy as well as to carry an umbrella policy. Having dealt with many insurance companies I have to say GEICO is great when it comes to this type policies. Once you're under one of these policies it insures you as a driver and as a pedestrian who gets hit by an under/uninsured driver.

  • booklaw said:

    I have no statistics to back this up, but my impression (derived from an incident in which one such driver totaled our car years ago) is that many unlicensed and uninsured drivers in NYC are illegal immigrants, who tend to disappear when they get into an accident. So other than impounding their cars, the city would have difficulty collecting on tickets from such persons.

    It's poor people in general. NYC car insurance rates, especially in Brooklyn, are some of the highest in the nation. Hence the coverage for uninsured drivers. Because there's an alarming amount of drivers without it. If NYS could log insurance info on their data banks, and apply the info on a car's registration sticker, all one law officer has to do is scan a car without having to go through the nonsense of issuing a warning ticket to those drivers who don't have Proof of Insurance on them. Just confiscate the offending cars. While one has a right to own a car, driving is still a privilege.

  • whynot_31 said:

    Sadly, you drew attention away from what is a good cause (i.e. What you perceive is a failure to hold drivers accountable for their actions), by dismissing a group of people who are also concerned about road safety (i.e. Those who don't want illegal immigrants to have licenses).

    It's amusing and cute that you think the majority of people who are anti-immigrant-licenses are primarily concerned with road safety.

  • rezist said:

    I agree that my initial statement was too vague. I do however believe that one of the most paramount reasons that drivers aren't charged or convicted for ped/auto accidents is because the drivers weren't actually at fault for the accident.

    I am lost as to what you could possibly be basing that statement on, other than your uncompelling anecdotal evidence (which I am happy to counter with my own anecdotal evidence as a pedestrian, bicyclist & driver).

    To repeat: 146 peds/bikers were killed by cars last year. Only 20 drivers were charged.

    As was demonstrated by the original post covering the public hearing, the NYPD's investigation of accidents is comically inept so as to make a statement like "the drivers weren't actually at fault for the accident" pure conjecture to support a preexisting viewpoint.

  • Boygabriel said:

    It's amusing and cute that you think the majority of people who are anti-immigrant-licenses are primarily concerned with road safety.

    I think they have lots of good motivations and would never try to dismiss them as "anti-immigrant bigots".

    Driving, after all, is a privilege. As citizens, we get to decide who should have what privileges.

    When one simplifies a complex issue into a simplistic motivation, it makes one look bad.

  • BG, what percentage of drivers charged would be acceptable? Going to Booklaw's point, if you are the victim or family member of someone who is killed and the driver is not charged does it make you feel better that in 50, 60, or 70% of the cases drivers are charged? I don't disagree that the city could be doing better, but I'm just not sure how we get to a place that is satisfactory to all parties.

    Just because someone isn't charged criminally doesn't mean that they aren't at fault. The person still could be found to be negligent in the operation of the vehicle in a civil case. I'd be interested to see how many of the families of those 146 people are pursuing civil action.

    Also, it appears from my quick perusal of the Penal Law (Article 125) that having a suspended license only isn't enough to get one charged with vehicular manslaughter unless that suspension was as a result of a refusal to take a drug test or conviction for operating the vehicle under the influence. If you get suspended because you can't pay your insurance or your child support that seems to be treated differently by the courts.

  • whynot_31 said:

    Driving, after all, is a privilege. As citizens, we get to decide who should have what privileges.

    Immigrants are going to drive either way, hence the fundamental flaw of that anti-immigrant logic.

    My right to safer streets supersedes the misguided idea that if you don't license immigrants then they will drive less.

    A lot of it is clearly rooted in xenophobia, as political posturing has shown (remember the attempts of our good friend Elliott Spitzer?). If you want to appear to know what you are talking about, you should stop pretending otherwise. Otherwise you just come off naive.

    homeowner said:

    BG, what percentage of drivers charged would be acceptable?

    Let's start with significantly higher than 17% (20/146 in 2011).

    From there, let's dramatically improve the way the NYPD investigates accidents and lets improve legislation surrounding dangerous driving, and then lets figure out rough statistics about who is at fault.

    From those we could create even better informed legislation that in theory makes the streets safer for everyone, from drivers to pedestrians.

    It is obvious to anyone in this city, from pedestrians to drivers, that traffic enforcement is woefully inadequate (try going the speed limit 100% of the time and then count how often you get tailgated or passed in a bike lane).

    Then when you start looking at actual instances of deaths, as this hearing did, you realize how fundamentally flawed the NYPD's approach is and how badly it is contrary to public safety.

    Going to Booklaw's point, if you are the victim or family member of someone who is killed and the driver is not charged does it make you feel better that in 50, 60, or 70% of the cases drivers are charged?

    The point isn't to make victims and families feel better, the point is to have fewer victims.

  • homeowner wrote: Just because someone isn't charged criminally doesn't mean that they aren't at fault. The person still could be found to be negligent in the operation of the vehicle in a civil case. I'd be interested to see how many of the families of those 146 people are pursuing civil action.Also, it appears from my quick perusal of the Penal Law (Article 125) that having a suspended license only isn't enough to get one charged with vehicular manslaughter unless that suspension was as a result of a refusal to take a drug test or conviction for operating the vehicle under the influence. If you get suspended because you can't pay your insurance or your child support that seems to be treated differently by the courts.

    Yup, guilt and malice remain important things to consider before charging someone with a crime. Civil courts try to look at similar variables before rushing to judgement based on raw statistics.

    Overall, its a much better system than one which would paint people with a broad brush (i.e. those against immigrants having a license = bigots, drivers who kill a pedestrian or biker = guilty of a crime, pedestrians and bikers = victims).

    Ideally, we could agree upon a price of a human life (a loss) as well as the utility to society from motor vehicle travel (a positive).

    Using these figures together, we could decide how much to spend on things like enforcement, training and licensing by determining where they intersected with the value of the lives saved and the gains from motor vehicles.

    If we care about avoiding charges of favoritism, we could value all lives and forms of travel the same, regardless of whether they were breaking the law.

    Once we are done in NYC, we will trek to India, where pedestrian deaths often out number the number of people murdered

    BTW, I wonder if the court system found those 20 drivers guilty. I hope the safeguards in our court system working; I'd hate for drivers to be found guilty of a crime just because they got a jury that assumed a motor vehicle accident should result in a finding of guilt or a civil penalty.

  • From what I can tell, usually what vaults bad driving from civil to criminal behavior is if one of the following occurs:

    1) The person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol

    2) The person is in the process of committing some other crime or fleeing from a crime

    3) The person is criminally negligent (ie. according to a definition in the penal law)

    The third is the iffy one in that criminal negligence is used to describe a spectrum of behavior and isn't specific to the operation of a car.

    Other than that, you are looking at a civil remedy and not a criminal one. I think the real question is do the NYPD statistics of traffic stops indicate that a significantly higher percentage of people are stop/arrested/prosecuted for DWIs or using a vehicle in the commission of a crime. For example, if 40% of the people arrested are arrested for DWI and another 10% use a vehicle in a crime then you'd expect that out of the total pedestrian/bikers killed by a car the numbers of people involved should be greater than the 17% BG cited.

  • Yes, you would expect more criminal charges to be filed if his stats are correct and that were the only factors involved in determining criminality.

    In my experience, one of the biggest factors that influences whether someone is charge with a crime is not whether a crime occurred, but whether a crime can ACTUALLY BE PROVEN to have occurred in court.

    Often, accidents don't leave a lot of evidence behind, and never go to criminal court because the officers and the ADA can't get the person indicted. This likely plays a role in the 126 cases (146 - 20) BG is concerned about.

    Pursuing a civil remedy is also very unreliable, because the insurance companies are damn good at hiring lawyers and other professionals to protect their interests (i.e. not pay out a dime).

    When a driver is uninsured, the situation is often worse. Unless the injured has coverage that will pay out in the event of an uninsured driver, they are forced to pursue a civil case against the individual.

    Even if they win their case against the uninsured driver, the victory is usually meaningless: Folks without insurance tend to be quite broke, and (in the US) we don't presently imprison people for merely being in debt.

    As a result, many lawyers are unwilling to take these cases, and the injured is unable to use the court system to prove that they are a victim that deserves financial compensation and/or obtain the joy of seeing their opponent behind bars.

  • Civil court does not strike me as an effective way to make the streets safer, which should be our paramount goal.

    It is hard to accurately determine fault (or even what happened) when police investigations are woefully inadequate if not non-existant.

    Go read about the Matthew Lefevre or Michelle Matson "investigations" and then tell me the NYPD is doing an adequate job.

  • I've read the various Voice and Streetsblog articles about their accidents, and reached the conclusion that the police is doing about same level work when it comes to car-bike accidents as it does with car-car accidents, etc. I'd give the NYPD a 5 out of 10, if I was asked.

    Obviously, a car-bike accident is much more likely to result in injury than one involving two cars. The police are very aware that a jury will be instructed to look only at the acts of the driver, not the effect on the biker.

    http://gothamist.com/2012/02/22/driver_who_fatally_doored_cyclist_f.php

    Under our current system Malice and negligence need to be shown, not just injury. I don't think it's reasonable for you to expect the police to act as if that is not the case. The police seem well aware of reality, and I would not want them to allocate more resources to doing investigations until this reality (both in law, and in the biases of jurors and the public) changes.

  • Until this paradigm shift, I'm glad the NYPD is making attempts to stop law breaking behavior by bikes; Running red lights puts them at serious risk of getting hit by a car, or having the crap beat out them by some pedestrian who has had enough of being yelled at by guys on bikes who feels they owns the road.

    I saw a guy with a cane threaten such a biker in midtown recently, and thanked him.

  • BG, I think its a balancing act. Making failure to signal before making a turn or unsafe lane changes (two common things that result in bikers getting hit) criminal acts, you may indeed save many lives. But that has to be balanced by the fact aganst the added burden on the court system, the potential number of people that could be subject to arrest, conviction, loss of employment, family separation, etc. Is that the proper result? To date, the legislature has determined that it is not.

    Also, in a civil case, the lawyers would not rely solely on a police report or the presence or absence of a criminal disposition to determine fault. Indeed, the fact that a police report says that one party is at fault (or no one is at fault) is not dispositive for determining fault at s civil trial. It is merely one piece of evidence that is submitted.

    I think that rather than criminalization, more needs to be done on the licensing side. Why not require drivers to retake their road tests every ten years? People who fail would be required to take a refresher driving class that includes time in a car with an instructor. They could then retake the exam to get their license back.

    By the same token, more must be done to explain to bikers what their rights and responsibilities are. For example, every bike that operates from dusk to dawn must have a white headlight a red taillight and a bell in addition to reflectors. I know most bikes I see are not outfitted in such a manner. Bikers shouldn't be running red lights at night or salmoning at any time.

    Should citizens expect and demand that the NYPD do better? Absolutely. Are they the only group at fault? Absolutely not.

  • homeowner said:

    BG, I think its a balancing act. Making failure to signal before making a turn or unsafe lane changes (two common things that result in bikers getting hit) criminal acts, you may indeed save many lives. But that has to be balanced by the fact aganst the added burden on the court system, the potential number of people that could be subject to arrest, conviction, loss of employment, family separation, etc. Is that the proper result? To date, the legislature has determined that it is not.

    You're getting way ahead of anything I've proposed.

    I'm not asking for changes to criminal law.

    I'm asking the NYPD to evaluate enforcement of traffic laws, which already exist, based in part on threat to public safety.

    As anyone who has driven a car for 5 minutes in NYC knows (myself included), people speed and run red lights with relative impunity.

    As anyone who walks the city streets knows, cars regularly drive dangerously and, unlike bicyclists, threaten the lives of all of us.

    whynot_31 said:

    Until this paradigm shift, I'm glad the NYPD is making attempts to stop law breaking behavior by bikes; Running red lights puts them at serious risk of getting hit by a car, or having the crap beat out them by some pedestrian who has had enough of being yelled at by guys on bikes who feels they owns the road.

    I saw a guy with a cane threaten such a biker in midtown recently, and thanked him.

    I'm not arguing the police shouldn't enforce bike laws.

    I'm arguing that it is extremely irresponsible for the NYPD to ticket bicyclists over drivers of MULTI TON TRUCKS by a ratio of about 2:1.

  • I'm asking the NYPD to evaluate enforcement of traffic laws, which already exist, based in part on threat to public safety.

    But even if the police do this, it doesn't get them to your initial complaint that they are not bringing criminal charges against drivers who are involved with accidents that result in biker or pedestrian fatalities. Spending more resources ticketing drivers that run red lights is fabulous, but that is not going to change whether or not they will be able to charge someone who has been involved in one of these accidents with a crime.

    Will it serve as a deterent to bad driving? Possibly, and that may make the streets safer. But the NYPD's ability to charge people after a crime has occurred is limited, and only changes in criminal law and/or the interpretation of that law will result in significantly higher numbers of people who are involved in a fatality being charged with a crime.

  • whynot_31 said:

    Under our current system Malice and negligence need to be shown, not just injury.

    Aren’t malice and negligence mutually exclusive?

  • sandcastler said:

    Aren’t malice and negligence mutually exclusive?

    Yup. That should be an "or" instead of an "and". I'd like to hire the awesome attorney who could prove both.

    BG-

    If our main concern was bikers safety, we would pass laws that stated they could only bike in the parks. I feel pretty confident that most would feel such a policy to be too restrictive, and I would not want to live in such a nannystate.

    In response to such concerns, we let bikers go up against MULTI TON TRUCKS. What I would be interested in seeing is the number of such trucks that are able to run red lights and disobey traffic laws, and then compare them to the incidence of bikers doing the same.

    From what I understand of the trucking industry, all moving violations must be reported to their supervisors and they lose their jobs after about two such incidences.

    Even if the truck is a privately owned commercial vehicle (eg no supervisor), I believe the driver's insurance would increase to the point where it would become cost prohibitive to behave in a such a manner.

    Most of the reputable companies (UPS, NYC MTA, JB HUNT, etc) won't hire drivers with two or more moving violations within the past three years.

    I think the recent crack down on bikers is an attempt to bring some similar degree of "accountability" to them. As you correctly point out, "Public Safety", is not the primary concern of the police when they ticket.

    When I think about it, no concern may be primary, and it may be silly to try to look for a primary concern. To me, it seems like the NYPD is acting not only to protect the bikers from themselves, but also in response to public outcry, and (yes) to generate some revenue.

    I've come to believe that the NYC mantra is that there is nothing wrong with taking money from people who should know the risk of losing it, yet do little to protect themselves from the authorities.

    I also see no reason that the city should be expected to not act like everyone else: Fools are often parted from their money first.

    Our world is complex. The motivations and actions of those on it are similarly complex.

    Bike Safely!

  • homeowner said:

    I'm asking the NYPD to evaluate enforcement of traffic laws, which already exist, based in part on threat to public safety.

    But even if the police do this, it doesn't get them to your initial complaint that they are not bringing criminal charges against drivers who are involved with accidents that result in biker or pedestrian fatalities

    No, that was not my initial complaint.

    whynot_31 said:

    What I would be interested in seeing is the number of such trucks that are able to run red lights and disobey traffic laws, and then compare them to the incidence of bikers doing the same.


  • 78th Precinct:

    188 tickets to bicyclists in 4 months (link)

    22 speeding tickets to cars in one month. (important note #1: according to one study, 90% of cars in Prospect Park are speeding at any given time.)(important note #2: "A radar-gun study by Park Slope Neighbors showed 193 drivers speeding in Prospect Park in just two hours")

    Keep up the intelligent priorities, officers.

  • Radar use is limited to those officers properly trained by Highway District, which is scarce. It is also extremely difficult to use radar in congested areas because the officer must be able to "eliminate" all other vehicles from the radar's field. It is also very difficult to be "out of sight" in urban areas. What happens when a speeder sees a cop car? They slow down. Then we have traffic court testimony which is complex and easily flubbed leading to a possible investigation of the officer by Internal Affairs for losing a case. Radar is great on open roads with limited traffic.

  • This idea seems promising:

    According to the rough translation I've found here, an elderly woman in China who lived near a pedestrian crossing that drivers often speed through found a clever way to get motorists to slow down. She tied a sex doll to a tree at the crosswalk. That's her, and her sex doll, above.

    http://boingboing.net/2012/08/02/traffic-hacks-elderly-woman-i.html

  • admittedly, we will need to use a better looking inflatable to get the attention of speeding NY bikers and drivers.

    ...Might want install a motor, to make her waive, and -um- jiggle.

This discussion has been closed.