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108 Precinct Cracks Down on Cyclists, Issues Hundreds of Summonses

July 1, 2015 By Christian Murray

The 108th Precinct has been targeting law-breaking bicyclists.

The precinct–which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City—issued 352 bicycle summonses over the past 28 days, compared to just three for the same period a year ago.

The summonses were for a range of offences—such as going through red lights, riding against traffic and failure to adhere to a multitude of road rules.

Captain John Travaglia, the commanding officer of the 108 precinct, said that 560 bicycle summonses have been issued in the precinct year to date, up from 75 for the same six-month period last year. He said the number also included wayward bicycle delivery people.

Travaglia said the clamp down is partly the result of adhering to Vision Zero, a concept that aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero.

He said that the precinct has yet to have any traffic fatalities so far this year and that this push is to help minimize deaths.

“We have all witnessed it,” Travaglia said. “Some bicyclists are like dare devils; they go through red lights fast and yet they don’t know what is coming.”

He said that he has been targeting bicyclists just like motorist to reduce injuries and fatalities.

However, Travaglia recognized that there are two sides to the problem. “Many bicyclists just try and do their thing and there are cars that impede on their bicycle lanes.”

Travaglia said that the enforcement has been taking place throughout the command and particularly at accident prone locations where both bicycles and motorists are ticketed. These include stretches of Queens Blvd., Roosevelt Avenue, Broadway, Van Dam Street and Vernon blvd.

The bicycle advocacy group Transportation Alternatives warned its members on a June 22 Facebook post that the NYPD was cracking down on cyclists in Long Island City.

“While it is great that the NYPD is enforcing VisionZero it is very disappointing that after years and years of lax enforcement over drivers of motor vehicles, who have been responsible for virtually all of the deaths and serious injuries of pedestrians and cyclists, the NYPD is focusing valuable resources on a group that is disproportionately the victims of reckless driving.”

However, Travaglia said that 500 summonses are not that many given the number of bicycles that are now on the road. He said that he plans to maintain the level of enforcement just like with vehicles.

Meanwhile, the number of reported crimes has dropped considerably in the precinct year to date—down nearly 24 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

Crime has fallen across the board, with the number of reported burglaries down nearly 28 percent compared to a year ago. The number of reported robberies and grand larcencies are both, respectively, down about 35 percent. The only significant increase has been the in number of reported rapes, up from 6 at this time last year to 10 in 2015.

In terms of crime overall, “We are having a fantastic year,” Travaglia said. “This is a great trend.”

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59 Comments

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Manzar

I’m a daily bike commuter and I’m sick of seeing cyclists break the rules – riding on sidewalks, riding the wrong way, ploughing through intersections, blocking crosswalks. The only rule I break occasionally is that I go through a red light after stopping if no cars or pedestrians are around. I’ll probably get a ticket now.

By the way, it really disappoints me to watch cars run red lights, take right and left turns without regard to crossing pedestrians, go upwards of 50 mph on Skillman and 43rd Ave…etc.

The big difference in my disappointment with rule breaking bikers vs. rule-breaking drivers is that a car is a 4,000 pound metal tank with a 200 horse power engine while a bicycle is a 20 pound frame. See the difference? One is much more likely to instantly kill me if I happen to be in the wrong place in the wrong time.

The funny thing is….I don’t think it’s possible for a car to get a speeding ticket in Sunnyside. Why can’t cops camp out – check speed with a radar and issue tickets to cars?

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RefugeeFromBourgeoisBrooklyn

I can’t believe I forgot this, but I also can believe no one else on this thread brought it up: As much as the NYPD wants to lie to us and deny it, they have ticket quotas.

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Native NYer

I’m a bit late to the party.. I drive in Sunnyside daily and see many bicyclists daily, I estimate about 2% obey red light laws. Almost every bicyclists runs red lights. To local bicyclists, I’m the crazy lady in the SUV who rolls down my window and yells at you when you brazenly run a red light. About once I month I have to slam on the breaks when driving past Skillman because some idiot on a bike runs their red light (I have a green light) on Skillman.

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Wolfsbane

It’s high time we required everyone over 18 to have obtain a bicycle operator’s license. Make it free, sign over the internet with a social security number.

That way we can assign points against it for bicyclists who are a menace and ignore traffic laws. Get enough points and lose the license just like a motor vehicle license.

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HELMET LAW

The city needs a required helmet law for bicycles if you are riding on a city street.

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Jei

MD l totally 100% agree with your comments, l think police should really go easy on cyclists…they should pay more attention in cars, and encourage people to use a bikes.. Less traffic, less car accidents and less pollution…

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Hate Bicyclist

Fuck bicyclists, i am glad they are doing this, these cyclists are punks! i was driving and this asshole is in the middle of the street! these guys are idiots and are wishing to be run over by cars! they need to be fined heavily. I ride bike, motorbikes and i adhere to rules. Now going back to this guy, he is going 10mph and is in the middle of the god damn FUCKING road!!! and he has the audacity to curse me out! god damn it! i am glad the 108 is doing this, it just needs to be enforced heavily!

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Bikes

NINE cars in the bike lane on 43rd Ave on my way home tonight. And that’s just between 42nd and 46th. Thanks NYPD!

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Model citizen

They’re only on ebikes because they can’t get a scooter which needs registration which needs a license which they can’t get because they’re illegal.

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MB

This is nothing but a poorly veiled attempt to raise money. As a cyclist for the past decade, I have been breaking the law CAUTIOUSLY for years.

It is perfectly safe and acceptable to break a red if there is no car or pedestrian in sight. In addition, such crimes as riding against traffic, riding on the sidewalk, not riding in the bike lane, etc, are highly circumstantial and often done out of necessity for a half block or so.

Moreover, the cost of the tickets is absolutely insane. I was ticketed for running a red a year ago, and fought it. I was charged at the same rate as a car, and had to go into the DMV to contest the ticket. Is everyone else but me crazy? The DMV is in charge of Motor Vehicles. A bike is in NO way equivalent to a car in terms of potential damage and thus shouldn’t be ticketed at the same rate.

We should be encouraging cycling, not deterring it.

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O'Malley

I am also a cyclist. And I go through red lights, very cautiously, after stopping or slowing way down first. But to say that riding on the sidewalk or the wrong way is out of necessity for a block or two is absurd. Take the extra minute to follow the rules and not be an asshole.

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MB

I agree with you, but this should not be a ticketable offense, because it is nothing more than a slight annoyance.

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Sunnyside guy

I agree that we should be encouraging cycling, and I’m even willing to say that you maybe shouldn’t be ticketed at the same rate as a car. However, running red lights is neither safe nor acceptable. Ever. Neither your personal track record with avoiding incident nor your personal necessities on the road excuse you from obeying the same traffic laws as everybody else.

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O'Malley

There is a big difference between zipping through a red light and slowly going through the intersection after making sure the coast is clear. The former is no different than jay walking when there are no cars (we all do it).

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Reader

Oh, so I can do that in my car and no one will ticket me, huh? I don’t think so.

If you want a lane on the road all for yourselves, which you deserve, then obey the rules of the road. I ride a bike, so I know it is so much more efficient to keep your momentum, and you can’t stop on a dime without danger, etc. etc. But, if you want to share the road, obey the rules, don’t make up your own. It makes everyone dislike you. Your goal is a worthy one, go about achieving it the right way.

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RefugeeFromBourgeoisBrooklyn

Traffic laws are designed for the safe and efficient movement of large motor vehicles. They are not designed for the safe and efficient movement of slower and safer forms of transportation. This is why jaywalking is routine and ignored.

If we’re going to ticket bicyclists we have to be fair and ticket jaywalkers.

Native NYer

Well said, Reader. As pointed out in another post, bikes can easily go 20 mph and many, many times they are going that fast. Bicyclist on city streets should be required to wear helmets and follow all the rules of the road.

Sunnyside guy

O’Malley, you’re equating cyclists to pedestrians when (in my opinion) you should be equating cyclists to drivers. Cyclists in NYC are pretty capable of reaching the top speed limit allowable to a car – that means (and I’ve mentioned this somewhere above) they have significantly reduced reaction times and maneuverability – especially when compared to the average pedestrian. To me, this spells “vehicle,” and as such, you should be held to vehicular standards. As Reader points out, we don’t typically run red lights in automobiles – even if it is broad daylight and no one is around – why is that? Because one person’s “cautious stop” is another person’s “rolling stop”…or MB’s “highly circumstantial necessity.” Sure, you might not cause as much damage as a car in any event, but you will be almost certainly cause the more damage should you collide with a pedestrian that came out of nowhere.

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MB

Thus, one should be ticketed at the potential rate of damage.

Drive a car through 30 people, you will likely kill 25. Ride a bicycle through 30 people, you will likely kill none, with a slight chance of serious injury.

Thus cyclists should be ticketed at 1/25th the cost of a car ticket.

O'Malley

Bikes, cars and pedestrians are all very different and should have rules that reflect those differences.

MB

You can safely cross on red, the same way you do while walking. It has been this way for decades and will continue to be this way, regardless of ticketing, because it just doesn’t make sense to wait if you don’t need to.

In addition to not posing as much threat as a car, you have a bigger field of vision – when you roll up on a bicycle to the very edge of a block you can see exactly what is and isn’t coming, whereas cars stop behind the double white line. Thus you CAN cross safely and without putting yourself or others in harm.

I don’t think people barreling through red lights are worth protecting, but the vast majority of us who cross safely should be left alone. There are more worthwhile uses of police time.

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Native NYer

By the same logic, cars should be able to drive through red lights too, much as they do at a stop sign. A car can easily inch up and see if any traffic is coming. The problem is that bikes frequently don’t check at red lights and just ride right through. I observe it daily on Skillman avenue and, too many times to count, I’ve had to slam on my car breaks to avoid hitting one of these cyclists. This is extremely dangerous to the cyclist (if, god forbid) I don’t see them and dangerous to me and my passengers if there happens to be a car behind me.

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RefugeeFromBourgeoisBrooklyn

You mentioned you fought your red light ticket, but didn’t say whether or not you were successful. I got one myself in Brooklyn a few years ago – ran through a barren intersection in industrial Red Hook – and beat it with a lawyer.

I agree, it’s not at all a safety issue, it a revenue generating issue, and I’d rather give a few bucks to a lawyer than capitulate to a dishonest fundraising scheme.

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Wolfsbane

There’s another solution. I saw this done during bicycle races by overly competitive participants.

Take an air pistol. Cut a steel rod slightly smaller than the diameter of the bore and a bit longer. Shove it down the barrel. When a bicyclist runs a red light, shoot at the leading edge of the front tire. The rod goes through the spokes and locks the wheel to the front fork, stopping it from spinning almost instantly. Miscreant cyclist is launched over the front handlebars.

We can assign plainclothes enforcement officials at intersections to do this. This work better for you than tickets?

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RefugeeFromBourgeoisBrooklyn

Ha Ha.

Some moron is going to read this and actually do it.

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RefugeeFromBourgeoisBrooklyn

And if if does happen I’ll point right to your post for investigation.

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Anonymous visitor

What is the purpose of having the barricades up on vernon blvd if they are going to ride their bikes on the opposite side of the road. This is not only causing more traffic because of all the double parked trucks but now these fools are riding with the cars on narrow roads. They need to enforce that if you are riding a bike you are riding behind the barricades. Isn’t that the purpose? And they need to place reflectors on the barricades there are many people who are accustomed to speeding on vernon blvd making it more dangerous being that you can no longer go around the idiots or merge out of the way. Even better why not put red light cameras there being that all these folks love to run lights on vernon blvd.

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anonymous

the bicyclists are bad, but the guys on motor scooters are worse. these guys ride on the sidewalk and you don’t even hear them sneaking up on you.

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Saigon

I almost got hit by a bicyclist today who ran thru a red light. The moron was even rude about it. I also witnessed another bicyclist almost hitting a mother pushing a baby carriage. Not all bicyclist are idiots just have to catch the ones who feel that they can run red lights and not following the road rules.

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VelvetKnight

That’s why the “crackdown” should only be on those who run lights dangerously, rather than any biker crossing even when there isn’t a car or pedestrian in sight. Same goes with pedestrians. If they want to jaywalk when there’s no traffic (like we all do), no problem. But if they cross in front of my bike when I have the green light, then they should get ticketed too.

Funny thing is pedestrians are at least 10 times worse when it comes to crossing dangerously, but it’s the bikes that have gotten vilified. The sooner the city institutes the Idaho Stop, the better it will be for everyone.

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Sunnyside guy

I disagree. Like it or not, bicycles are vehicles and should be held accountable as such. You are traveling at higher speeds and have slower reaction times than any pedestrian, and just because an intersection appears empty doesn’t mean that someone with the right-of-way might not appear by surprise.

We can certainly debate whether we should have stricter enforcement against jaywalking pedestrians, since – just like you – they are putting themselves at risk when they cross out-of-turn. However, we all know that traffic laws lay responsibility on the party likely to cause the most damage in a collision. Should you collide with a pedestrian, that party would be you.

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Reader

I disagree, too. Should cars that come upon a red light when no one is in the crosswalk and no traffic is coming be able to go through a red? Look either you admit you are on a vehicle or you don’t. Don’t try to take for yourself the allowances given to drivers and others given to walkers. Not only is it absurd, you look as if you find yourself superior to both and that won’t make you any friends.

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Sunnyside guy

Sorry Reader – I meant to like your comment but I accidentally disliked it!

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Sam Adams

some bicyclists are assholes, but more often than not they end up hurting themselves. What about all the drivers that deliberately swerve into and antagonize bicyclists? Who is cracking down on them?

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JOReilly

Please please please start enforcing the law allowing for confiscation on the spot of an e-bike in operation. E-bikes have long been banned in NYC and in May 2103 the law was amended with great fan fare to provide law enforcement officials (broadly defined) authority to confiscate on the spot an e-bike (this was in response to the death of a pedestrian killed by an e-bike). E-bikes (power assisted bicycles which travel less than 20 mph) are a menace and the police should act as soon as possible to remove them from our streets.

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NIcole

But bikes are not supposed to be on the sidewalk. If someone is on an E bike, they are supposed to be in the bike lane or on the side of the road. If they are on the road like they’re supposed to be, they wouldn’t be running over pedestrians.

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anon

E-bikes are not supposed to be on any public street in New York State. They are considered an unregistered and uninsured motor vehicle.

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JOReilly

By law adopted by the City Council in May 2013, E-bikes are subject to immediate confiscation when spotted in operation by a law enforcement officer. There are few things in the City subject to immediate confiscation, for example, items like assault rifles. That’s how dangerous an E-bike is considered.

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Wolfsbane

Better idea. United States Department of Transportation has ruled that electric bike that operate under 20mph are legal. So send the FBI to arrest the city council members who have put themselves above the constitution, throw a bag over their heads and ship them off to Gitmo for a indeterminate stay.

Electric bikes are the best idea ever. Every one on the road takes a gasoline scooter and the exhaust it pumps out off the road.

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bik

The survey is confusing. Yes, No, Unsure. What does ‘keep it at the same level ‘ mean? Same as what?

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cycler

as a cyclist myself, i think this is a great thing.nothing frustrates me more than seeing fellow cycllists breaking every rule of the road. and its not just delivery guys,its across the board from casual cyclists to guys with all the best of gear.i also think that maybe now they need to fix the potholes in the cycle lanes all over the city as they are one of the biggest dangers to cyclists in my opinion.

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frozen

I didn’t edit that and admit it looks bad, guess I’m not that computer savvy, it’s many a year since I left school, sorry if you find it confusing, I do myself.

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Sunnysider

If you bike the same way you write, maybe you shouldn’t be riding a bike either.

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frozen

I got a ticket last week, going the wrong way, can’t argue with that going up skillman in the carpark adjacent to the LIRR at the bottom end. I pointed out that I was neither in the road or bike lane, but accept that I’m splitting hairs and was in the wrong. 43rd avenue up to 39th st is the most dangerous road in queens for cyclist, I’ve been hit twice by cars while in the bikelane ending up in Elmhurst both times. Since last weeks ticket, I’m back on this route, 2 close calls already this is prime taxi driver country, there is a place there called the Taxi driving Academy (oh to be a fly on the wall in that place.) very close miss when a truck turned without indicating and why would he? brushed me while turning left into skillman on 43rd st ( yes against the traffic (how ironic) luckily no cars were coming down skillman so after a few F’s and other choice words he done a 180 and went his merry way. anyway back to the day of the ticket, The evening news on TV showed a massive truck driving over a 95 yr old man, who was then drove over by sedan car were the female driver got out to see what was caught in her wheels, she looked upon the poor soul got back in the car and drove off, since then 9 days ago I have heard on TV of 7 hit and runs in the ny area with no arrest’s having been made. no cyclist are suspected in any of these incidents. don’t be worried though there has been 352 tickets alone to cyclist’s by 108 alone god Know’s how many overall in NYC? but lets get away from the bilge spouted by CP John Travilga (Safety my arse ) and say it as it is, which is an easy money raising exercise against law abiding, tax paying citizens with the pettiest of charges than doing the job of protecting the public from true criminals. 108 have chosen the easy way out without solving the real cyclist problems, The cyclist’s that use the queensboro bridge are for the most responsible but there’s no doubt it has more than it’s fair share of psycho’s especially when the pick up speed descending, a tragedy will occur sooner or later because of these nut jobs who must think they are in the finish of the tour de france on the champs elysee a police precence on there is a necessity. I could go on but for the police officer who issued the ticket to me 3 minutes cycle from my home, and offered the kind words if another cop issues you a ticket on your way home tell them ## ***** has already done so, I thought I’ve been cycling 30 years in a dozen countries and you have issued me with my 1st ever ticket, the odds for me to get another ticket before I get home must be bigger than being struck by lightening or winning the powerball and megamillions in the same week. ah well such is life.

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Kim

wow! that’s awful! hope you’re ok. we must all do our part to observe laws of safe travel. in fact, dept of motor vehicles should do more to enact more stringent rules of the road for all users

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Reader

A famous writer, it may have been Faulkner, said, “I’m writing you a long letter because I don’t have time to write a short one.”

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O'Malley

So you were biking up skillman where the cars are parked by the yards – the wrong way – and then complain about it? We need education as well as enforcement.

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parking woes

the restaurant delivery people that drive on the sidewalk with their mopeds need to be dealt with also

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danielle

yes they need to continue. ive almost been hit by these bike riding assholes many times. they run red lights they don’t think any traffic rules apply to them. I hope the 108 keeps giving out tickets.

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A.Bundy

i say to each his own. if the cops can catch you on your bike, that would be something. throw some donuts at their windshield! that’ll stop them! seriously, if you cant watch were you’re going, then stay at home where its safe.

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