To add to the recent bike drama in NYC (the Department of Transportation is being sued for a project that has added a bike lane in a Brooklyn neighborhood, reducing a local artery from three lanes to two) — watch out for the bike lane police!
A friend just got a summons in Manhattan from the police who followed him in a car and “pulled him over” for NOT riding in the green bike lane… (He was riding on the opposite side of the street with traffic.) I’ve heard of NYC initiatives to ticket riders for riding on the sidewalk, against traffic, etc. but this is a new one.
He showed me the summons, and they had to write in “bike” in the “vehicle type” area because the summons is designed for cars. I couldn’t make out if there was a dollar amount attached to it, so maybe it is just a court date/initiative to annoy people.
Bike lanes are not everywhere in NYC. But if it is mandatory to use them where they exist, bikers are sure not aware of this. While I get that following recent investments, the city wants people to use the new bike lanes, I can think of a host of instances where one would not. Does the New York Police Department understand that sometimes it takes a block or more to merge from one side of the road to another, weaving between cars? What if you need to make a turn on the opposite side of the road? What about the pedestrians who dart out into the bike lanes all the time without looking to see who might be coming?
The bigger question/conversation here that Makes People Angry is about punishing bikes for not behaving more like cars… While on a bike, you sure don’t have the power or protection of cars.
Has anyone else encountered this?
Are bike lanes optional or mandatory in your city?