If you bike ride in Manhattan be aware that the NYPD is cracking down on cyclists who pedal through red lights, ride on sidewalks and make fast turns around corners.
Bike related violations have skyrocketed this past month to 123 percent. The NYPD has given out 38 summonses this April compared to 17 summonses last April. Captain James Dennedy, who oversees the 24th Precinct’s traffic enforcement, said “We are experiencing an increase in bike accidents. Bicyclists have to obey the same traffic laws as we do.” Seven accidents involving cyclists have occurred in the past month, four of which caused by cyclists zooming through red lights.
Residents complained that although the NYPD has cracked down on keeping bikers in line south of West 96th Street, cyclists in the Upper West Side are still riding wild. Last week, a reporter spotted several cyclists riding in the opposite direction of traffic and zigzagging past pedestrians on sidewalks.
The crackdown comes as more and more people are turning in their Subarus for Schwinns. The crackdown is necessary for protecting not only cyclists, but pedestrians and motorists too.
Under New York State law, bicycles are defined as vehicles, and bicyclists are subject to specific traffic rules. A few of those rules are:
• No person shall ride a bicycle on any sidewalk area unless permitted by sign.
• While working, commercial bicyclists must wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet.
• Bicyclists cannot ride against the flow of traffic; they must ride with the flow of traffic.
• Bicyclists cannot wear more than one earphone attached to an audio device while riding.
• Bicyclists must obey all traffic signs and signals. For example, cyclists must come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs. Cyclists are required by law to avoid colliding with pedestrians, motor vehicles and other cyclists.
• Cyclists must use marked bike lanes and paths when available.
• Cyclist must have safety and visible equipment on their bikes, including a white headlight and a red taillight, a bell or horn, and reflective tires.
It is important to always bike smart, and keep yourself and others out of harm’s way.