Attention PoliceCommissioner William Bratton: two weeks of police ticketing scofflaw cyclists won’t solve our outlaw bicycle problem

Your Manhattan Voyeur is filled with sanctimony.

Yes, I fancy myself an enforcer, a smug pillar of our community.

It all started two months ago when i was knocked off my feet and onto 57th Street by a scofflaw bicyclist running a red light. The speeding miscreant didn’t even stop to see how I was.

Indeed she cursed me loud.

My wrist was broken in two places and I became a vigilante. I am radicalized.

I yelled “stop” to outlaw bicyclists left and right.

I was ignored.

But I took action.

urban bicyclist
Photo by Elvert Barnes

After addressing my complaint about scofflaw bicyclists to Police Commissioner William Bratton via this web site, I was grimly satisfied to learn that for this past week and next week, the police have been instructed to ticket cyclists who ride through red lights, ride on pavements, ride in pedestrian crossing areas, ride on walking paths in parks–and in general are ruining this town’s reputation as a glorious pedestrian city.

Two weeks of ticketing? That’s not enough Commissioner.

I’d say only 30% of cyclists are currently obeying the traffic rules. Nonetheless it does my heart good to see the 30% idling in orderly rows at red lights.

But I keep on taking action.

I have become a self-righteous aggressive New Yorker.

Yesterday morning I accosted a policeman chatting with an undercover cop at Columbus Circle, “Give that cyclist a ticket,” I ordered pointing at a messenger speeding through a red light.

The policeman answered , “I would but I got a situation here,” and turned back to smile at his amiable cohort.

I took the law in my hands.

Darting across the street I shouted at the fleeing felon, “Stop. Red light.” Of course I was ignored, but I’d taken the first steps.


Today at 16th and Fifth Avenue, a girl stopped at the red light, but she stopped in the pedestrian crossing. I walked very close to her and I said, “You have a red light.”

“That’s why I stopped,” she snarled.

“You stopped in the pedestrian crossing,” I said.

She turned her face away, but I made my point.

Getting out of a cab at Columbus Circle, I shouted at a messenger on a bike,”That’s a red light. Stop.”

He hunched down and accelerated, but my war has just begun.

We must take back the streets and the sidewalks and indeed the quality of life in our streets these fine summer days.

One Response to Attention PoliceCommissioner William Bratton: two weeks of police ticketing scofflaw cyclists won’t solve our outlaw bicycle problem
  1. Susan Finley
    August 25, 2014 | 1:47 am

    I’m glad you’re writing about this.

    For several years now the city has been encouraging people to ride their bicycles as an alternate and environmentally sound way to get around. Which seems like a reasonable idea.

    But must it be at the expense of the pedestrian?

    While the city spends our tax dollars to build bike paths and put thousands of bikers on our roads, what have they done to protect the safety of pedestrians who include some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers — children, handicapped and the elderly among them.

    My friend’s uncle was recently killed by a hit and run bicyclist.

    I’m glad that the powers that be have finally recognized we have a problem. But I don’t see how a two week police intervention
    is going to produce the kind of meaningful change that is needed..

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