NYC cyclist vs. bike lanes - kamikaze law-abiding

Discuss

109 Responses to “NYC cyclist vs. bike lanes - kamikaze law-abiding”

  1. ackpht says:

    Oh, fer cryin’- if you don’t WANT to wear a helmet, just admit it. Helmets increase risk? Safer than in a car? No and no.

    • kjulig says:

      Well, maybe not safer than in a car, but when it comes to traumatic brain injuries requiring hospitalization (i.e. serious injuries, cars do go faster and crash harder after all), driving a car is in the same ballpark as riding a bike risk-wise (per distance traveled). Also, a full 50% of those injuries are drivers and passengers. So if you really want to make a difference, drivers should be encouraged to wear helmets. However, it seems that the risk is deemed acceptable…

      • Courtney says:

        My sister-in-law is disabled due to a brain injury from a car accident, and the neurosurgeon that treated her told us he wears a motorcycle helmet even when in a car.

  2. Aloisius says:

    As a cyclist and a motorist and a pedestrian, I can honestly say that each group is made up of self-entitled aholes.

    When I’m walking, I curse at bicyclists for blowing red lights and cars for turning on red arrows.

    When I’m driving, I curse at bicyclists for running stop signs and pedestrians for jay walking.

    When I’m bicycling, I curse at cars for not sharing the road and pedestrians because of their shifty eyes. Can’t trust those pedestrians.

    • Gulliver says:

      As a cyclist and a motorist and a pedestrian, I can honestly say that each group is made up of self-entitled aholes.

      Does that make you a triple self-entitled a-hole? Damn, you just can’t win.

  3. pridkett says:

    Please. Just. Stop. This video is wrong and counterproductive.

    Here’s the situation in New York: When a bike lane is provided a bicyclist MUST ride in the bike line. When a bike lane is not provided the must ride in the far right lane. Individuals over the age of 12 may not ride any wheeled device on the sidewalks. That’s the law and it’s done for the safety of bicyclists, pedestrians, and automobile drivers.

    If there is an obstacle in the bike line, such as a a cop parked in the bike lane giving tickets to cyclists for not being in the bike lane, cyclists are legally allowed to take appropriate measures to ensure their safety — much like the situation with cars. If there is an accident in your lane of traffic you’re allowed to go around it and temporarily onto the shoulder, bus lane, etc, provided you return to your lane when it is safe. You don’t act like a dolt and run into every obstacle and you are not allowed to disobey all the other rules of the road while avoiding the obstacle. If an automobile driver did the same thing, for example running into a cab that was legally stopped to embark or disembark passengers, they’d be charged with a crime.

    Streets in New York, especially in Manhattan, are a shared resource and they have rules to ensure everyone is safe. Bikers acting like overly important douchenozzles do little to convince those who oppose the bike lanes that Janette Sadik-Khan’s massive increase in bike lanes has been a good thing. Props to cop for keeping cool in the situation.

    • Gulliver says:

      Streets in New York, especially in Manhattan, are a shared resource and they have rules to ensure everyone is safe.

      Shared? What is this “sharing” you speak of? Everyone who doesn’t think, live, eat, vote and get around like I do is the Enemy. Take no prisoners! Down with tolerance! Only superficial diversity is acceptable! Co-exist in hell, motor-appeasers!

    • torgeaux says:

      How can anyone be sympathetic to the cyclist here?

      I’m with you. This site recently hosted a video of a NYC intersection. What was the common denominator in almost every near collision? Bicyclists in the middle of the street, running lights, riding the wrong way, swerving in traffic.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Here’s the situation in New York: When a bike lane is provided a bicyclist MUST ride in the bike line. When a bike lane is not provided the must ride in the far right lane. Individuals over the age of 12 may not ride any wheeled device on the sidewalks. That’s the law and it’s done for the safety of bicyclists, pedestrians, and automobile drivers.”

      Here is the situation in New York: a pedestrian must stay on the sidewalk all the time and can only cross the street using marked crosswalks and/if the light is green. A pedestrian must not enter the roadway under any circumstances including waiting for the light to change, waiting for a bus, stopping a taxi, etc. A pedestrian must yield to all vehicles, including bicycles, when crossing the roadway in unmarked section of the roadway.

      How about that?

      So when all of you hypocritical complainers obey the laws equally and fully, all the time, you will have the legitimate right to complain about the cyclists. Otherwise keep your mouth shut (and fingers away from your keyboards) or practice what you pray.

      Everybody in NYC breaks the traffic laws. Stop picking on cyclists. The problem is larger than that. Equal enforcement is required for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. And pedestrians are the worst offenders of all. They are just mindless swarms walking like the streets belonged to them. They need to follow the laws too. People are mean and dumb regardless of their form of transportation.

    • gerta says:

      Hmm, maybe you should please just stop. If you’re going to educate us on what cyclists must and must not do, perhaps you should read the law a little more carefully.

      “When a bike lane is not provided the must ride in the far right lane.”
      Sure. Except when making a left turn.
      And when avoiding obstacles.
      And when the the lane is too narrow to share with passing automobiles.
      Oh, and you can ride to the far right or the far left on one-way streets.

      On the other hand, I suppose there aren’t too many left turns, obstacles, narrow lanes, or one way streets in New York, so these aren’t really common enough issues to warrant mentioning.

      I’m all for ticketing the cyclists who act like they’re above the rest of traffic and endanger everyone around them with reckless riding. I’m all against asinine ticketing campaigns that don’t really solve any problems. Everyone seems to agree there are plenty of asshat cyclists out there — could this cop not stop and cite one of them instead?

      • Gulliver says:

        Everyone seems to agree there are plenty of asshat cyclists out there — could this cop not stop and cite one of them instead?

        It’s easier to erroneously mass ticket law-abiding citizens (and watch most of them not show up to contest it in court) than to ticket scofflaws who are far likelier to run or give the cop grief. It’s called perverse incentive and, while it doesn’t excuse the behavior, it goes a long way toward explaining it. Still, it could be worse:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTeH9D_tN-k

      • Pedant says:

        Those road rules suck. So you have to cross two or three lanes of traffic to turn left & it is left to someone elses discretion whether you did it too early & therefore to charge you? Nice.

  4. rebdav says:

    Car drivers demand that cyclists not only follow the law but also any made up law that the car driver thinks should exist all at penalty of death if you would believe nearly every Internet discussion board. Bad driving though should be understood, cars are king of the road and an American right far more than guns.

    FYI many cities now permit pausing or rolling stops at stop signs because traffic engineer analysis has shown it to actually be safer unlike cars, that is not a reason to call for cyclist deaths.

    After jokingly threatening the lives of cyclists the massively subsidized car driver(subsidized by cyclist and pedestrian income and property taxes BTW) will complain that cyclists who do almost unnoticeable wear to the road are not paying fuel tax!!

    Most cyclists are not offended or feel superior to auto/truck drivers, our angry attitude to crazy statements is because your mistakes can easily mean our lives, our mistakes mean your paint or dents, its called physics.

    I think I took care of the angry troll rants this story needs.

    Love the bicycle stories BB!!

    • Gulliver says:

      Most cyclists are not offended or feel superior to auto/truck drivers, our angry attitude to crazy statements is because your mistakes can easily mean our lives, our mistakes mean your paint or dents, its called physics.

      I ride my bike because it’s healthier, buses suck, I’m cheap, and Austin has finally started installing bike lanes the last few years. Not because it makes me feel superior. By that logic, pedestrians are my betters. And indeed, when bikes were first coming into widespread use in the 19th century, peds and horse-buggy drivers decried them as dangerous berserkers imperiling civilized safety.

      The more thing’s change…

  5. Mister44 says:

    Man – this guy has got to be a stunt man. I can’t imagine flying off my bike to prove a point on a stupid YouTube video unless I knew WTF I was doing. He seems to not rub off all of the skin from his hands and knees, so either he has skillz or is lucky.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This video is awesome, hilarious, and makes a great point. The only cyclists that annoy me are the ones who drive between cars, run stop lights, etc. If you want to have the same rights as a car, you have to obey the same rules as cars.

  7. AnthonyC says:

    As for the helmet sub-thread: I am in favor of wearing helmets, and opposed to laws requiring such (for adults). Two reasons. 1) Wearing a helmet is safer than not. 2) Helmet laws reducing bike ridership, whereas increased ridership makes cyclists safer (by encouraging bike infrastructure and making sure motorists expect to interact with cyclists). Those people foolishly shooing to not wear helmets inadvertantly make the helmet-wearers marginally safer.

    • Gulliver says:

      Those people foolishly shooing to not wear helmets inadvertantly make the helmet-wearers marginally safer.

      Well, I did admit I was taking a risk. Austin does require minors to wear one (which I support), but there is no helmet law for adults here. Which is fine by me since it’s my head to imperil :)

  8. psulli says:

    I’m not sure what it means about a society when protests become indistinguishable from Jackass: The Movie.

  9. mraverage says:

    “I did try to explain to the officer that sometimes the bicycle lane is not the safest place to be. It didn’t matter.”

    You can always tell a pig. You just can’t tell him much.

  10. Pedant says:

    Apart from the guy doesn’t say that he runs red lights, and as far as I can tell he is in Canada where the nearest relevant information I can see on filtering is “Sections 21,22,23 of the ALBERTA REGULATION 304/2002″ where filtering would appear to be legal (in the same way you can probably legally (although badly) overtake a cyclist in the same lane.

    & a nice youtube link as to why bikes are the way forwards… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8t3tAlBl4I

  11. Rectifier says:

    About time tickets were handed out to cyclists here in Vancouver, too!

    I rarely see a bike in our multi-million dollar bike lanes, while bike couriers and mass-holes swerve through traffic trying to start fights with our gridlocked commuters.

    The video is funny though, the man is certainly willing to eat pavement for his cause! Seriously, cycling is right about on the verge of becoming an official religion.

    • Baldhead says:

      Well let’s put it in perspective- there’s exactly two of those lanes, and they may not be anywhere useful. I’ve used the dunsmuir one exactly once- because where I need to go comes no closer than three blocks to it, and going three blocks out of my way just to use an official, seperated bike lane is idiocy. As for couriers, I gurauntee that 95% of their deliveries fall outside of that two- path system. Never mind that if drivers actually paid attention to the world around them, couriers wouldn’t be a big problem. I’ve yet to see one do something that wasn’t massively telegraphed and predictable.

    • kjulig says:

      Which probably means those bike lanes suck and are dangerous (try it yourself before you judge). I, too, sometimes get angry when even officials here tell us that a safe speed in bike paths and lanes is less than 20 kph (due to crossing/walking pedestrians, car doors, narrow curves etc.) when I could and do go 40 kph in the street.

      Not saying that messengers are great when it comes to respecting traffic laws BTW…

  12. zyodei says:

    Much better is the alternative, to be safely law-breaking…

  13. Anonymous says:

    The location where he got the ticket is three or four blocks from where I live. I also avoid using that bike lane as it is often blocked by pedestrians, double parked cars, trash bags, etc. He also got his ticket in the rain – and as New Yorkers appear to think they will melt in the rain (I’m originally from the UK so I embrace it) they are even less attentive to bikes when they are juggling umbrellas, phone, coffee, purse etc. You definitely don’t want to be in the narrow bike lane when people are jumping over puddles in front of you or have their vision blocked by an enormous golf umbrella (actually you don’t want to be walking on a sidewalk with them either, but that’s another issue).

    Ticket cyclists for breaking the rules – riding against traffic, sailing through red lights, and riding on the sidewalk, but also ticket drivers who drive in the bike lane, double park, block the intersection, etc. The bike lane is a nice area for people who feel uncomfortable in traffic, but it is not and should not be mandatory for all cyclists.

    Right now the NYPD have a major hard on for writing bogus tickets to cyclists. I believe they have learned from the similar effort for ticketing every driver in the UK through automated cameras. The people in this case are mostly middle class people with jobs who don’t want to miss a day of work to go to court so they pay the ticket (even if it’s bogus). So the court and the PD get a nice “solved” check in their spreadsheets and $50++ in the bank.

    It’s a lot nicer and easier for the cop to stay sat in his dry car giving a cyclist a ticket than it is dealing with the piss-soaked junkies in Tompkins square park, the mafie-backed construction crews in Queens, or the real thieves on Wall St.

  14. mcv says:

    The only cyclists I ever see wearing a helmet are little kids and cycle racers in the mountains (downhill they can reach speeds of 90kph). Though it’s possible that motorists in my country are less homicidal than those in the US.

  15. Anonymous says:

    If you’re typing in this comment section about the use of a helmet, you’re missing the point entirely.

    Clearly, you cannot stay in the bike lane indefinitely when there’s all kinds of obstructions. Get off the bike and walk around the obstruction? If there’s an obstruction in the middle of the street and a car must drive in the other lane to get around it, should the driver stop his car and walk it around the obstruction? That’s all ridiculous.

    Anyway, the law clearly states that cyclists can bike around any obstruction in the bike lane. That’s just common sense.

    Ticketing those who obstruct bike lanes makes sense in some cases, I suppose. But we all know that sometimes you need to double park your car (with your hazards on) or there may be a pot-hole or construction where the bike lane exists. Even taxis need to pull over and pick passengers up. So, just blindly ticketing those that obstruct the bike lanes is about a nonsensical as it is to ticket cyclists who need to veer out of the bike lane to avoid a crash.

    Anyway, isn’t this argument moot anyway? It’s not illegal to ride outside the bike lane.

  16. Neon Tooth says:

    Typical anti-cycling stuff here. The real story is all the cars, pedestrians and obstacles making it impossible to use the bike lanes as they’re supposed to be used. Meanwhile people are nitpicking over helmets……sigh..

    • Gulliver says:

      Typical anti-cycling stuff here. The real story is all the cars, pedestrians and obstacles making it impossible to use the bike lanes as they’re supposed to be used. Meanwhile people are nitpicking over helmets……sigh..

      So…

      If you’re riding a bicycle, automobiles and pedestrians (especially those pesky old infirm ones too poor to afford gas and a car) and inanimate objects are The Problem.

      If you’re walking, cyclists and automobiles are The Problem.

      If you’re driving an automobile, cyclists and pedestrians are The Problem.

      So everyone who travels is The Problem.

      Useful stuff.

  17. Neon Tooth says:

    A great local site with nothing but photos of cars and trucks blocking Chicago bike lanes: http://chicago.mybikelane.com/

  18. Anonymous says:

    We have “bike” lanes in Glasgow, but drivers use them as car parks.

    When the oil runs out people will realize how easy/fun cycling is, with purpose built car free lanes, maybe covered to protect us from rain. Any average fit person can cycle 20-30 miles in a day

  19. Rider says:

    Notice the one thing the video fails to show is the obstacle he was avoiding when he got ticketed.

    • pmhparis says:

      Pfff, what an idiot. If there was an obstacle in the bike path which caused him to use the street, he clearly would have shown it. So, intead he attempts to justify that the presence of any obstacle, anywhere in a bike path in NYC gives him the right to anything he wants. The cop looks to be justified in handing the twit the ticket.

      I encourage him to continue riding into obstacles on bike paths without a helmet. Indeed I encourage him to go twice as fast, so as to remove himself from the gene pool as fast as possible.

    • marenlc says:

      Didn’t he mention a double-parked car when he was talking to the cop?

  20. lewis stoole says:

    i am not even going to watch the video. stop signs and stop lights. stop signs and stop lights. stop signs and stop lights. and maybe riding side by side outside of the lane, but my car can get around that.

  21. Purplecat says:

    OK. As a non-cyclist, a non-driver, and a non-cop- Will everybody just chill out already, and stop identifying your sense of self with your mode of transport.

    A proportion of people are idiots. Can’t escape that. And if you live in a crowded, dense city you’re going to encounter some of them. Probably when you’re already stressed.

    And because we have idiots, we also have the blunt instrument of the law to try and prevent idiots from harming people.

    In short- ticketing this guy for doing something that wasn’t illegal was stupid. Being an idiot to other people is stupid. And using other people’s idiocy as an excuse to also act like an idiot to third parties is doubly stupid.

    • Gulliver says:

      In short- ticketing this guy for doing something that wasn’t illegal was stupid. Being an idiot to other people is stupid. And using other people’s idiocy as an excuse to also act like an idiot to third parties is doubly stupid.

      That’s how it works though. When someone visits injustice on you, and you’re powerless to stop it or doing so requires actual effort (like showing up in court), you just take out your frustration on the easiest target, preferably one that can’t find or bring you to justice, and put it on YouTube so the masses can cheer you on.

      Then your victim can pass it along to someone else, and so on and so forth.

      NSFW:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ_Nbm0zq94

  22. Anonymous says:

    In NYC, how many cars can move faster than bikes, most of the time? Why are bicycles considered so different from mopeds or even motorcycles?

    I don’t get it. Car drivers seem to perceive bikes as slowing them down when there is one bike in a several-lane car gridlock. Maybe it’s jealousy when that bike manages to snake out of there.

    Would you really rather have *another* car on the “misery loves company” principle?

    On average, cyclists who would otherwise drive alleviate more congestion than they cause. At the cost of their own discomfort, no less. Though it benefits their cardiovascular health, of course.

    • Gulliver says:

      @ Anon #76

      On average, cyclists who would otherwise drive alleviate more congestion than they cause. At the cost of their own discomfort, no less.

      Speak for yourself. I like feeling free from a metal cage. I miss my old long-range vehicle, a 2003 Harley.

  23. spleen says:

    Applause!! Applause!! Applause!!

  24. Pedant says:

    I’ve nothing to add to what I paste below.

    http://www.nohelmetlaw.org.uk/nhl/headline-concepts/all-the-evidence-says

    “The most widely-studied population may be that of New Zealand, where a mandatory all-ages helmet law was passed in 1994. This resulted in a doubling of helmet use to over 95% in a single year, and no measurable change in cyclist head injury rates. There was a numerical drop in head injuries, and an equivalent numerical drop in non-head injuries, both of which are consistent with the large concurrent observed drop in cycling, but the proportion of cyclists’ injuries which are head injuries trended no better than for pedestrians.”

    • Gulliver says:

      The most widely-studied population may be that of New Zealand, where a mandatory all-ages helmet law was passed in 1994. This resulted in a doubling of helmet use to over 95% in a single year, and no measurable change in cyclist head injury rates. There was a numerical drop in head injuries, and an equivalent numerical drop in non-head injuries, both of which are consistent with the large concurrent observed drop in cycling, but the proportion of cyclists’ injuries which are head injuries trended no better than for pedestrians.

      I don’t wear a helmet while riding. I did when I owned a Harley though. Speed counts and I still marvel at the morons who ride their motor bikes without helmets. I’m taking a risk. They’re plating Russian roulette.

  25. lewis stoole says:

    and i might add, cyclists on the sidewalk, in the opposing direction, and still cycling even in heavy foot traffic. good luck.

  26. MS says:

    Isn’t a “Mass-hole” an a$$hole from Massachusetts?
    I’m seeing it thrown a couple times here. NYC isn’t in Massachusetts :)

    btw love the video. great work

  27. Anonymous says:

    He’s the Mat Hoffman of commute cycling!

  28. winkybb says:

    I can’t believe you “rarely see a bike” in our downtown bikelanes. I ride into town every day to our office on Dunsmuir and see these lanes heavily used.

    As for the cost, the total cost of all bike infrastucture EVER installed in Vancouver would have paid for just 0.6km of 4-lane road.

    Having said that, given the attitude of people like you, the bike lanes might be a negative in terms of the ongoing relationship between cars and bikes. I’d be happy eneough to have them all taken out and I’d just ride on the street like I do for the 99.9% of riding where there are no bike lanes.

    Here’s a test for all you haters. Take a little notepad in your car. Mark an X for every time you are held up behind a car. Mark a O for every time you are held up behind a bike. Tally up at the end of the week.

    Car drivers, you are not “stuck in traffic”, you ARE the traffic. And if it wasn’t for cars getting in each others’ way, they would pretty much break the law all the time.

    • torgeaux says:

      Does it count when a cyclist passes me on the left as I’m making a left turn, causing me to slam on my breaks?

      How about when a cyclist rides between cars to get to the front of a line of cars at a light and then I have to wait as he goes first at the green?

      Or, when a cyclist rides on the sidewalk and blows across an intersection causing traffic to stop? How about when they ride the wrong way up the street and we have to dodge them?

      Yes, cars are the traffic. And bikes, when in the road, are subject to the same rules we are, they just ignore them. And they should get ticketed. I’d like to see some way for them to lose their “license” to ride, but that’s not an option for a reckless idiot on a bike.

      • jacob_ewing says:

        Yes, cars are the traffic. And bikes, when in the road, are subject to the same rules we are, they just ignore them.

        Wrong, and that’s the problem with almost all of the arguments that ever get put forth on a thread of this subject. There are idiots driving all vehicles out there, but there are good drivers too.

        I can give several examples of idiots in cars cutting me off, swearing at me for daring to be on the road, throwing garbage at me (not only littering, but using it as a projectile), hitting me with the side of their car because they feel they can still squeeze around in a narrow lane rather than wait five seconds, and so on ad nauseam.

        There are idiots using every type of vehicle. I get at least as pissed of as you when I see people squeezing their bicycles between traffic lanes, running lights, taking the sidewalk, etc. I don’t do that. I – and many other cyclists – follow the rules strictly. So don’t go bunching everyone together. That’s oversimplified and useless.

        • torgeaux says:

          Really? Which part of my quote was, “Wrong.” Nothing I saw. Cyclists, when in traffic, have to obey the traffic rules.

          Someone above said they’ve yet to see a bicyclist do something that wasn’t massively telegraphed and predictable. Look at the video I linked.

          And, I’m not lumping all bicyclists in any group. We’re talking about the idiots, in both camps. Cars are not the problem. Nor are bikes. It’s morons. However, this video appears to be by a moron, so I have no sympathy for him in particular.

          • Gulliver says:

            Cars are not the problem. Nor are bikes. It’s morons. However, this video appears to be by a moron, so I have no sympathy for him in particular.

            Sure, take all the fun out of hating.

          • jacob_ewing says:

            Ahem – once again, quoting you perhaps a little more specifically this time:

            …bikes, when in the road, are subject to the same rules we are, they just ignore them.

            So yes, you were indeed lumping into groups. Perhaps then what you meant is that morons just ignore them.

          • torgeaux says:

            I would hope that it’s clear that we’re talking about the trouble makers, not everyone. However, to be clear, yes, I’m referring to the morons.

            Like the guy who proudly posted above that he a) disobeys the laws by weaving to the front of the line and b) implies that he then disobeys again by going through the red light to get ahead of traffic. Those guys, and their pride in their moronic, self-centered, self-endangering actions are the bicycle end of the problem.

            However, since I a) hate all other drivers/bikers without exception and b) think all people are stupid (defined as acting contrary to their own interests), I’ll just say, traffic would be so much better if I were just alone on the road. Dammit, stay home the rest of you.

          • tybalt says:

            Torgeaux, sure, he’s self-entitled. But there’s a very legitimate justification for lane splitting (the ‘official’ term). Case in point: http://www.azcentral.com/12news/news/articles/2010/03/25/20100325phoenix-motorcycle-crash-abrk-CP.html

            As a bicyclist, I’ll weave through cars to get to the front of an intersection (but not run the red light) if only to cushion myself from the trouble makers/morons who are too busy texting/applying makeup/driving while drunk to notice a bicycle in front of them.

            So call it self-entitlement, or call it being a moron. I’ll stick with self-preservation.

        • Gulliver says:

          So don’t go bunching everyone together. That’s oversimplified and useless.

          And easier. A lot easier than dealing with people as individual human beings. Here’s an example:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_history

      • joeposts says:

        How about when a cyclist rides between cars to get to the front of a line of cars at a light and then I have to wait as he goes first at the green?

        That’s one of the best parts of urban cycling! I do that every day on my way to work, and it’s very satisfying.

        Do you expect us to sit in traffic in front of you? You’d still have to wait for us to get moving.

        • Gulliver says:

          That’s one of the best parts of urban cycling! I do that every day on my way to work, and it’s very satisfying.

          I feel the same way. When I see someone weak and slow in front of me in line, I butt in front of them because it saves me time and is sooo satisfying. It’s too bad more people don’t feel think the ability to get away with something means they should do it and feel good about it. Oh well, their loss suckers.

    • Beaver says:

      “Car drivers, you are not “stuck in traffic”, you ARE the traffic.”

      You just blew my mind… +1

  29. Aloisius says:

    Clearly you’re supposed to stop your bike, get off and walk it around the obstruction.

  30. jere7my says:

    Clearly you’re supposed to stop your bike, get off and walk it around the obstruction.

    No — you’re supposed to ride in the street, as you’re explicitly instructed to do when the bike lane is obstructed:

    Cyclists in New York City must [...] 4. Use marked bike lanes or paths when available, except when making turns or when it is unsafe to do so, etc. If the road is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to travel safely side by side, cyclists have the right to ride in the middle of the travel lane. Bicycling is permitted on all main and local streets throughout the City even when no designated route exists. [cite]

    • Anonymous says:

      So, cops and judges confirmed for being corrupt assholes who don’t care about the law?

      Yep. I think that’s the larger story than bikers being discriminated against, though that is personal opinion of course.

      • jere7my says:

        So, cops and judges confirmed for being corrupt assholes who don’t care about the law?

        No. The law says that cyclists have to use the bike lane unless they can’t (it doesn’t exist, is blocked or otherwise unsafe, etc.). Is there anything in the video that shows he was unable to use the bike lane when he was ticketed? If not, he was breaking the law, and was open to being ticketed.

        I think mandatory bike-lane laws are dumb, and I’m glad I don’t have to deal with them in Boston. But I also think cyclists need to obey the laws that exist, and not whine for getting ticketed when they don’t.

  31. Anonymous says:

    The NYPD has lost the trust of the black & hispanic community & now they are destroying any goodwill they might of had with whites, samoans and asians! They are now basically a tax collection agency.

  32. penguinchris says:

    The ending is great. The whole video is great! I wonder how non-cyclists will react? ;)

    I’m guessing we’ll get the typical internet cycling argument here, but this video should help non-cyclists understand why we sometimes break the rules (it’s not always this obvious, of course, and yeah a lot of cyclists are douchebags who break the rules for no reason).

    And WTF is up with police giving out tickets for something that apparently isn’t even a violation?

    I support ticketing douchebag cyclists (and I probably should have received a few cycling tickets by now myself), but police need to make sure that they’re actually violating a traffic law!

    • tmdpny says:

      As someone who has to deal with cyclists in Central Park – who run right through red lights, cross walks, etc and yell at ME for getting in THEIR way, I have virtually zero empathy. I am 110% supportive of this city giving bike lanes on just about every road in town, and with that becomes responsibility. It thrills me to see a police officer giving a cyclist a ticket, not because they deserve or not deserve it (that’s for the courts to decide), but because with each one we are working on a relationship between cyclist and pedestrian, cyclist and civics, and refining our culture in the long run to be more accepting of cyclists on the road.

      I think this piece is funny, but half of the things he runs into are construction issues – like a collapsing street with an iconic NYC trash can definitely placed by a fellow citizen to warn people of the hole.

      This is NYC. Find me a car that can stay in one lane down the avenues without having to deal with potholes, construction, stopped delivery trucks, etc. Welcome to being a normal part of NYC’s fabric, rather than some Puck-crazed gear head (that’s David “Puck” Rainey if you didn’t get the reference).

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not a cyclist, but honestly that is only because I’m too afraid of not riding in the bike lanes. And this video now has me afraid of that. :(

    • Anonymous says:

      Umm… $50?

    • Blaine says:

      I wonder how non-cyclists will react?

      The only notable, perhaps inflammatory reaction I had was.

      “This guy has no idea about traffic laws”

      I mean, if that’s what you’re fishing for. Just illustrates he didn’t know what he could and could not do.

      That said, a really, really, really funny video that would make an amazing case for ‘you have to ride in the bike lane’ as a horrible idea. Good thing it’s not a law.

  33. spejic says:

    He really should wear a helmet.

  34. Anonymous says:

    As a non-cyclist this is something I can get behind. While I don’t agree with some of the damage to other people’s property (eg. the taxi) it’s short, simple, and helps explain some of the difficulties with cycling in a crowded city without resorting to being a Critical Masshole. Bravo.

    Also surely he should be able to cite that statute as a means of getting out of a ticket?

  35. g0d5m15t4k3 says:

    I can’t watch the video because I am at work, but I have an amusing story about a bicyclist getting a ticket while I was visiting London, UK.

    My boyfriend were sitting on a park bench overlooking the Thames when we see a bicyclist coming toward us on the sidewalk. I can’t recall if the officer was on foot or a bike himself, but he stopped the guy and was issuing him a ticket. They were just barely out of earshot. You could hear noise and see gesticulating, but not the actual words. I imagined from their wild movements and shouting, the bicyclist was NOT happy to get a ticket for riding on the sidewalk (and possibly for no helmet, not sure if there is a law about that but he wasn’t wearing one). Then the argument escalates and the cop starts writing ANOTHER ticket. Possibly for mouthing off. The guy grabs the ticket out of his hand and gets on his bike, riding toward us on the sidewalk then hops the curb onto the street loudly muttering and cussing as he drove past us.

    We were amused because of the guy’s grumpiness but I do agree it sucked for him. We ride our bikes all around at home on the street and bike paths. The streets in London were very busy, I wouldn’t want to ride on them either, but there were no bike lanes. To be fair, there are a LOT of pedestrians on the sidewalks too so really there’s no good choice for bicyclists in big cities.

    • Gulliver says:

      I imagined from their wild movements and shouting, the bicyclist was NOT happy to get a ticket for riding on the sidewalk (and possibly for no helmet, not sure if there is a law about that but he wasn’t wearing one).

      This happened to me too. The sidewalk was deserted at the time. I didn’t give the cop grief; I don’t fight battles I know I won’t win and I don’t make life difficult for cops just doing their job enforcing actual laws. But I did contest the ticket in court. The judge basically said, cyclists on the sidewalk endanger pedestrians and we can’t let you off the hook just because you were lucky enough not to clobber someone out for a stroll. Not that I’m happy about paying a fine, but I decided she was right.

    • Pedant says:

      Most paths shouldn’t be cycled on in London. There are some shared usage ones though. No laws against not wearing a helmet.

      As a tidbit on cycle lanes & why people don’t use them, have a look through the ‘cycle facility of the month’ pages here http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pete.meg/wcc/facility-of-the-month/January2008.htm (Arrows at top of page to flip through.) Shows the unfortunate state of the nod given to cyclists by councils.

      • g0d5m15t4k3 says:

        Those are great pics. And by great I mean terrible. I don’t blame the guy who got caught riding on the sidewalk in London. I probably would have done the same. Either the bobby would have felt bad for me as I spoke in my American accent or he’d give me even more grief for not knowing the laws. We walked and Tube’d it everywhere.

  36. Kimmo says:

    I’ll tell you WTF is up with spurious NYPD ticketing; check out this story: http://www.boingboing.net/2011/06/07/ticketed-for-being-c.html

    And the article someone linked explains the reasons for it: http://www.villagevoice.com/content/printVersion/1797847/

    As for whether this dude should wear a helmet, clearly that’s bullshit. Doesn’t this guy demonstrate that he can come off his bike any which way without smashing open his head? The automatic assumption that you require a helmet creates the impression that cycling is a lot more dangerous than it actually is, discouraging cycle use. People should evaluate risk for themselves rather than taking highly flawed general assumptions as gospel.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually no matter how good he is at falling off his bike when he expects to hit something doesn’t mean he doesn’t need a helmet. What if a car hit him from behind. He would be able to react the same. If he isn’t expecting to crash then his reaction is different and can be fatal with out a helmet. Biking is a dangerous activity, especially biking with traffic. Not because it is unsafe to ride a bike but because you have to trust others to not swerve into the bike lane or stop quickly in front of you or throw something at you. Better safe than sorry.

    • Anonymous says:

      UH, biking can be very dangerous with or without a helmet. I have a friend that was hit while wearing a helmet and they had to preform brain surgery to save his life. If you are in control of the wreck (like this guy was) and see it coming, sure you can make due without a helmet. If you don’t see it coming and get thrown over your handle bars you very well can end up dead without a helmet and sometimes with one.

    • retchdog says:

      no, his crashes are obviously choreographed (to make a great political point). a helmet is just obvious common sense to anyone who values and uses their brain to “evaluate risk,” since a decent one doesn’t impede cycling in any way.

      you know what gives “the impression that cycling is… dangerous”? cars.

      • Marktech says:

        a helmet is just obvious common sense to anyone who values and uses their brain to “evaluate risk,”

        And occasionally (less occasionally when it comes to evaluating risk) common sense turns out to be wrong, which is why it’s useful to look at the evidence as well. Small-scale case-control studies tend to show large safety benefits to helmet-wearing, population studies invariably (as far as I know) show no discernible benefit. I believe population studies to be closer to what happens in the real world; YMMV. In any case, the level of risk is very low; one problem with the case-control studies is the small amount of data.

    • Anonymous says:

      The assumption that “he can come off his bike any which way without smashing open his head” is faulty. These are all deliberate crashes. If you’re riding and someone, say, opens a car door in your path, who knows what damage will result? I’m with spejic: “He really should wear a helmet.”

  37. Metronicity says:

    Brilliant! We have the same problem here in Paris – even though the Town Hall promotes the use of Velibs (the bike hire program) and bike-lanes. And the cops are just as dumb.

    This guy is my HERO – I applaud you Sir. And how the hell you didn’t get an injury from all that falling off I don’t know.

    • Beaver says:

      I hope I don’t cosmically affect myself by saying this aloud…

      I haven’t seen any cops being strict with cyclists in Paris. There is just so much going on with people double parked and pedestrians ignoring crosswalk lights. I would be pretty pissed if I got a ticket for not riding in the bike lane when there are so many delivery trucks in the bike lanes and people jay walking. Bike lanes snake and change so so so much. It goes from Bus/Bike lane to no Bikes in Bus lane, to sidewalk lane, to 2 way lane, to no lane, back to bike bus lane. I just started biking to work and I was wondering how enforced the rules here were. In places like Republique and Nation bikes are part of the traffic. I was actually amazed at how easy and honk/hassle free it was to merge into traffic and be treated like a real vehicle and not an alien space ship, like in LA. I was talking about this to a cab driver last night and he went a step further and said where is from…somewhere in Indonesia I think, that Paris sucks for bikes compared to where he is from haha. It’s funny how that works, LA is about cars, by comparison Paris is amazing for cyclists, but by comparison it’s stifling to people who are used to riding bikes anywhere they want without penalty….except maybe injury…but no legal penalty.

      • tmdpny says:

        I’ve ridden in Paris many times as either a peddling or motorized cyclist and I completely agree. I responded to another post here about how NYC is working on building a relationship with cyclists and the rest of the city by creating these bike lanes and enforcing the rules. In my mind, I was thinking of the cyclist culture in Paris and also in Ottawa where I was puled over for not having a headlight on my bicycle (during the day, all bikes must have a light on at all times). NYC is taking the right steps towards getting there, and one day hopefully they will be treated by others as well as they are treated in Paris. But it starts with bicyclists having some respect themselves.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Staged ‘fall’ != unsuspecting fall

  39. IamInnocent says:

    Here, starting this year, the obligation to use the lanes has been abolished. They’ve become multi⁻users lanes in most cases any way. I so came close to park my bike between the buttocks of an old man using a walker once!…

    As for helmets, such debate as this one should be printed in full, as a sort of EULA for every purchase. :D
    I wonder what the size of the Internet would be if we could eliminate all redundancy out of it?…

  40. wylkyn says:

    My question is, did he leave the bike lane to go around an obstruction when he got the ticket? If so, why would the cop be citing him? He could simply say “I had to go around this thing”, but he doesn’t say that to the cop. Why wasn’t that his main argument to the cop giving him the ticket? Was something blocking the lane? If not, the whole “sometimes you have to leave the bike lane because things block it!” theme of his video is misleading.

    The law quoted in the second comment above says that New York cyclists must use marked bike lanes when available, but may leave it when it is unsafe to stay in it (such as when doing so would cause you to collide with an obstruction). The fact that he never states that he left the bike lane because it was obstructed leads me to believe that he was out of his lane for no good reason. He doesn’t deserve his $50 back.

  41. Anonymous says:

    If you like this guy’s film style, you can see more of his stuff on an awesome HBO show “The Neistat Brothers” http://www.hbo.com/the-neistat-brothers/index.html

    • Wood Nymph says:

      Thanks for the info and link Anon No. 9 (what a lovely scent.) This piece was a great introduction to these film-makers.

  42. Kimmo says:

    Given that the most damaging brain injuries cyclists suffer are a result of the brain rotating inside the skull, and a helmet makes this more likely due to the extra purchase on and increased target area of the head, I won’t wear one.

    I’m twice as safe on my bike as in my car, anyway. Cars scare me more when I’m in my own.

    • marlowe says:

      Kimmo, I am not sure where you get your data on rotational injury, but if there is study with a direct comparison of rotational brain injury rates between helmetless cyclists and ones wearing standard helmets, I would be interested to see the link. The references I can find state that this MAY be the case, but provide no hard data, except in comparing standard vs. full-face helmets in simulated crashes. I wear a full-face for more serious offroad riding for just this reason. I agree that a standard styrofoam helmet is much less of a protection than many people think…however, as a serious commuter I have been hit several times and been able to walk (okay, limp) away with a crease in my helmet that I would not like to have experienced as a crease in my head. Last summer I had a seat bolt give out (while I was riding in the bike lane!) and came down HARD with no warning right on my cerebellum — the helmet caved in, it hurt like hell but I was able to walk away. I very much doubt that would have been the case had I been helmetless.

    • Anonymous says:

      As a daily driver/motorist, a motorcycle rider, an ex-road racer, volunteer EMT and brother of an ER doctor, I don’t agree with you. While you have looked at the data and come to a different conclusion, which I totally respect, I would like to put more facts out there so that others can make up their own mind.

      Your observation that a bicycle helmet of most conventional designs increases the risk of rotational brain injury, or diffuse axonal injury, absolutely, totally has merit in some cases. The literature I have read shows that if a head of a mass between 4 and 5 kg experiences a 5 to 6 kN of force produces 7500 to 12000 rad/s^2 of rotational acceleration. A 54cm (E) sized headform with a helmet with a similar amount of force would have only had 3000 to 8500 rad/s^2, while a 57cm (J) sized headform with a helmet would have received 10,000 to 20,000 rad/s^2.

      For the record, the general measure is of rotational injury shows that at 5,000 rad/s^2 can generate an AIS 1-2 injury which is a concussion. A fatal injury of AIS 5-6 can occur at 10,000 rad/s^2. At 10,000 rad/s^2, the statistis is a 35% probability of an AIS 3-6 injury, and from 10,000 to 20,000 rad/s^2 the number changes to 35% to 50%.

      Anyway, onward and upward. To convert the kN measure to NYC standards, a test of a 57cm headform in a 19.6 mph impact gave an average of measure of 13,500 rad/s^2. A full sized crash test dummy with a helmet going over the handlebars at 28 mph produced average rotational accelerations of 58,000 rad/s^2. Motorcycle helmets (which are tested for sliding impact friction) reduced the rotational acceleration by half. However, bicycle helmets with a chin guard also showed a similar reduction. Dutch research also shows that reducing the impact speed from ~25mph to ~18 mph also halved the maximum head acceleration.

      Using the 1996-2005 NYC DoH report on bicyclist injuries:
      3. Nearly all bicyclist fatalities (92%) occurred as a result of crashes with motor vehicles.
      207 bicyclist deaths from motor vehicle accidents in 10 years vs 18 bicyclist deaths from non-traffic accidents (of which 4 of the 18 were collisions of bicyclists with stationary cars with no occupants inside).

      If traffic fatalities
      49% of the fatalities had head injuries only.
      25% had head and other injuries
      26% had only non-head injuries.
      Of the 207 deaths, they had helmet information for 122.
      4 of the fatalities (3%) wore helmets
      118 of the fatalities (97%) did not wear a helmet
      Narrowing down to the years 2004-2005, where they had an 87% documentation rate for helmet use:
      1 of the fatalities (3%) wore a helmet
      32 of the fatalities (97%) did not wear a helmet

      So anyway, if your biggest fear is getting clocked by a car at 30mph, helmet or not, you are getting creamed. A 30mph impact with a motor vehicle is something along the lines of a 20% fatality rate (head only/head & other/other only) for pedestrians who are not in the habit of strolling around wearing helmets. Wearing a bicycle helmet if you are helmet size J would apparently significantly increase the possibility of serious or deadly rotational brain injury, but if you are size E, wearing a bicycle helmet may significantly reduce the possibility of serious or deadly rotational brain injury. For any sized head, wearing a motorcycle helmet or a full face bicycle helmet (think BMX/Downhill) would significantly reduce the chance of serious or deadly rotational brain injury over either a bicycle helmeted or non-helmeted person.

      I won’t get into the effectiveness of a standard bicycle helmet or motorcycle helmets vs non-rotational injuries, but I think that many can assume that motorcycle helmets are far more effective than either non-helmeted or bicycle helmeted in head injury protection, as well as wearing other protective gear a la motorcyclist or downhill/bmx riders. I realize that it is not likely that more than a very small minority will ride around wearing full motorcycle/downhill/bmx protective gear, but the problem of DAI is not from wearing helmets, but from wearing helmets not designed to deal with DAI, and which are largely ill-fitting (forgot that the worse the helmeet fit, the higher the rotational force)

    • Anonymous says:

      :) What does that say about your driving?

  43. GlenBlank says:

    “I can’t believe you’re busting my balls – I’m doing the world a favor riding my bicycle…”

    Hahahaha! :-)

    Well, at least I don’t have to wonder if he’s one of those douchebags with entitlement issues. :-)

  44. Kimmo says:

    I should note my car is a sensible 900kg, not a two tonne urban tank.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I am not a lawyer, but the Rules of the City of New York seem pretty clear. Title 34 covers the Department of Transportatio. Regulation 4-12, section p, subsection 1 states
    “Whenever a usable path or lane for bicycles has been provided, bicycle riders shall use such path or lane only except under any of the following situations:”
    Situation ii in that subsection is:
    “When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, pushcarts, animals, surface hazards) that make it unsafe to continue within such bicycle path or lane.”
    So if the event for which he was ticketed was him leaving the bike lane due to an obstacle that made it unsafe to do so, and he has proof of the existence of that obstacle, it seems to me to fall within that exception.

  46. bunaen says:

    All I know is, once he’s my age he’ll be revisting all the injuries he had 30 years earlier. I’m feeling that 1978 getoff and kneecap into the cobblestone right now. Oweee!

  47. Anonymous says:

    Way to go Casey! Very nicely done.
    Very good stunt riding, helmet-less too.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Notice the machete hanging next to the door in the ‘radio shot’ portion of the video?

    Guess that’s life.

  49. donniebnyc says:

    “this video should help non-cyclists understand why we sometimes break the rules (it’s not always this obvious, of course, and yeah a lot of cyclists are douchebags who break the rules for no reason).”

    “I support ticketing douchebag cyclists (and I probably should have received a few cycling tickets by now myself)”

    While I sympathize with anyone who gets a ticket for something that isn’t illegal (I’m shocked, shocked to see a cop who doesn’t know the law), whenever I hear a cyclist whining about a ticket I immediately think of maniac cabbies who do the same when they are caught.

    I’ve lived in NYC and walked the streets for almost 54 years and have never been hit by a car, but I have been hit by cyclists three times in the last 8 years and have lost count of the near hits. They were in the wrong every time, but I’ve received only one grudging apology. Like all New Yorkers I do cross the street mid-block but I am purposely very wary when approaching bike lanes because of the cyclist mindset: “You shouldn’t be in my lane and I’ll nearly hit you to remind you of that.”

    Lately, though, I’ve seen something I’ve never seen before: Cyclists stopping for a red light. So, I fully support the campaign to aggressively ticket the overwhelming number of cyclists that are a daily menace to pedestrians. If anything, the ticketing should be increased because a few good ones shouldn’t save a barrel full of rotten apples.

  50. Anonymous says:

    As a disabled pedestrian who lives in mortal terror of bicyclists I just am at a loss about the attitude of the cycling community. They never follow any laws, not even stop lights and one-way signs. These people seem not to comprehend that some people are disabled or old. The bike lanes are so much worse for us, because we cannot now see either errant cars or bicycles. When the “walk” sign turns on, one is tempted to take a step as directed by the sign; I learned painfully that to do so means certain injury from a cyclist. It’s all around impossible to walk in some parts of town now–second avenue is especially treacherous.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Re: Kimmo – curious about your statement about brain rotation etc. Is there a study somewhere about this?

  52. oasisob1 says:

    Let me see if I get the gist of this video correct:

    “Dear New York City Police,
    Hello, my name is Casey. You know all about me, because you’ve ticketed me once (illegally) for biking outside of the bike lane. I’m angry about that, so I made this video of me intentionally hitting things with my bike, including taxis, city property, and, wait for it…. a police car!

    In case I’m not making myself perfectly clear, THIS VIDEO IS EVIDENCE OF ME BREAKING THE LAW FOR YOU TO USE IN THE FUTURE!”

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