Cops Slap Brooklyn Cyclist with Tickets Totaling Over $1,500, Making Him an Example For the Rest of us
How many times have you coasted through a red light or two on your Schwinn with no consequences? We all do it from time without a second thought. One Brooklyn man recently learned the hard way that the strong arm of the law may strike swiftly when you least expect it.
The story goes like this: a Brooklyn hipster woke one morning up last month, relaxed then combed his beard, enjoyed a nice French Press, tight-rolled his chain-side pant leg and set off on his fixed gear. During a romantic trek through Williamsburg he ran three red lights WHILE wearing headphones in both ears. Finally, the police intervened, slapping him with tickets totaling $1,555. Here’s what the cyclist had to say for himself:
He [the policeman] began asking me what I thought I was doing and we discussed what had just happened, he asked for my opinion on what I thought certain bike laws should be but quickly dismissed my answers as wrong. He told me I went through 3 red lights and I was wearing 2 headphones so he wrote me 4 tickets. He couldn't give me a price of how much the tickets would be, but estimated it would total around $700.
I was guilty for sure of going through the lights and wearing headphones so naively I pleaded guilty and sent in the tickets. A few weeks later I got a letter in the mail, it contained my 4 tickets stapled to a piece of paper that indicated I owed $1555. It didn't itemize the cost of each ticket so I have no idea what each one is worth.
Damn, that sucks for the cyclist, but now we're all once again reminded about the consequences of not obeying the same rules on a bike that we would in a car -- which is a good thing! Just yesterday, I had my own cyclist-related brush with death. I was strutting down the street, whistling a happy tune on my way to the gym. Beckoned by the white LED man telling me to go ahead and walk, I began to cross the intersection at Smith and Degraw and was nearly run down by a delivery boy on his bike. All I could muster was, “HEY!” and then, “Goddamn It!” I almost bought the farm in the wake of some lukewarm chimichangas and a Huffy. I tell this story to illustrate a point. If you’re biking like a dick, you may hit me while I’m walking to the gym. Or you might get a series of tickets totaling over $1,500.
The NYPD began a crackdown in 2011 on cyclists, issuing 48,556 summonses, which was said to have cooled off this year, though that is hardly evident by the number of cycling violations being doled out. I say keep up the good work. Bike lanes are wonderful and offer commuters cost-effective alternatives to driving and mass transit. Motorists, however, must have eyes on the fronts and sides of their heads, coming out of every finger and also in their asses to negotiate car, bus, Fresh Direct, pedestrian, emergency vehicle and yes, bike traffic.