Friday, July 5, 2019

Reader reports: The NYPD forcibly stops a Citi Biker on Avenue A for his own safety

[Photo by Dave from 7th Street]

Multiple reader reports are coming in from earlier this evening about an NYPD Interceptor SUV who cut off a Citi Bike rider on Avenue A between St. Mark's Place and Seventh Street.

Several witnesses say that the NYPD pursued the Citi Biker after ran a series of red lights starting on Second Avenue and St. Mark's Place.

The video clip below captures the officer explaining the NYPD's actions.

Per the office: "At this point you are being forcefully stopped because, essentially, you are driving recklessly and refusing to stop after multiple lawful orders that you looked and acknowledged so I am going to use whatever means necessary to stop you. And that’s for your safety."

The officer saying that they "forcibly stopped" the Citi Bike rider for his safety drew laughter from onlookers.

The cyclist did not appear to suffer any injuries after being forced off the Avenue.

So far in 2019, 15 cyclists have died on NYC streets — five more than all of 2018. Earlier this week, Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD released details on a three-week initiative "aimed at reducing bike-related injuries and fatalities," per Gothamist.

The mayor had released this statement on Monday evening:

We are seeing a dangerous surge in cyclist deaths on our streets, and we are taking action. I have directed the NYPD to immediately launch a major enforcement action that will encompass every precinct and crack down on dangerous driving behavior like parking in bike lanes.

At the same time, I have charged the Department of Transportation with developing a new cyclist safety plan to make biking in our city safer. No loss of life on our streets is acceptable. Last year was the safest year on record — and we have to keep pushing the envelope and increasing our efforts until we achieve Vision Zero.

As one witness told us about this evening's police action: "The NYPD using their vehicle as a weapon on a bicycle adds another element to the unsafe conditions for cyclists in NYC."

Updated 7/6

The Post has part of a statement from the NYPD on the incident:

“When approached by officers, the individual jumped off his bike and it became wedged in between the police vehicle and a parked vehicle. Precinct leadership is reviewing the matter.”


cmarrtyy said...

Let the word go forth!

Brian Van said...

On a micro level, the officers had plenty of reason to stop the guy, but had no business ramming him with a car - even according to NYPD's own patrol guide. There were other ways to intercept. This was reckless and, as it appears, involved another vehicle in a needless collision (on top of the bike, which is city property and is now likely off to the trash heap. Frames don't usually get "bent back" into shape)

On a macro level, this is exactly the kind of stuff the NYPD was not supposed to focus on to keep cyclists safe. Passing through an empty intersection is technically illegal and a ticket well earned... but it doesn't rise to the technical standard of "reckless", which is a standard they can't even get to apply to drivers who actually kill people and drive away. So they vastly overreacted to a bike ticket situation. And they were supposed to be watching for car violations. A cyclist was killed just around the corner from this location not long ago, by a truck that zoomed across all the lanes of First Avenue into the cyclist's path.

NYPD is incoherent and DOT is useless. No one has good control of either of these agencies. So all promises to keep cyclists safe are worthless. Cyclists can just count on getting harassed by these loose-cannon types who want to crack down on them forever.

BushwickGrillClub said...

@12:38AM ...or, you know, perhaps cyclists could stop blowing red lights and passing through "empty intersections" I am a professional pedestrian (neither drive or bike) and I can unequivocally state in 30 years of living here I have never been hit by a car blowing a red light for an empty intersection. I cannot say the same thing about cyclists.

dwg said...

I am a citibike rider and private bike rider. The police should not use physical contact with their vehicle as a means to stop a bicyclist, but beyond that you could see things going downhill for the last couple years. Bicycles and e-bikes, scooters, skateboards and uni-wheels are everywhere and it's obvious there is no coherent city policy or program to govern the way people ride. They run red lights, ride against traffic on one way streets, ride on sidewalks, one way bike lanes are packed with people riding both directions, delivery people push and park their carts in the bike lanes, every vehicle imaginable vehicle parks in the bike lanes- it's the wild west. Trucks and cars need to be better governed too, but in the last year I've been hit, cut off or sideswiped by two delivery bikes and an e-scooter, as well as an e-skateboarder he swore at me for not moving fast enough for him to pass me on the sidewalk. Cops are way out of line using their vehicle like that, but who out there hasn't seen the chaos building for the last few years? Safety and control starts at the top and the city only reacts when injury or death occurs.

FearsCrazyPeople said...


Unknown said...

This has happened to me several times in the east village. The 9th precinct seems to draw pleasure in harassing cyclists in the EV. Also I might add, it is very selective. Never delivery guys or electriC bikes. The last time I had a run in with the 9th was on 6 St when I was chased down the street with a siren going. I stopped and was proceeded to be harassed like I was a criminal. The officers then explained to me what I had done wrong. No signaling on a turn, an illegal right turn from a bus lane and finally no reflector on my front tire. They said they would let me off easy this time with a $50.00 ticket for no reflector on the front tire. Which by the way isn't required by law. Nor was the turn from the bus lane illegal. It's sheer harassment and quota meeting. The police are part of the problem...not the soluton to a safer NYC for cyclists.

Choresh Wald said...

Prime example of the how unsafe the Av A bike lane is. If an SUV driver can harm a bike rider intentionally so easily then the designated un protected bike lane is unsafe. NYC DOT needs to stop painting this kind of lanes which offer zero protection to bike and any other micro mobility device users (e scooters etc.).

Fuego said...

Nicest cop ever explaining what he was doing and why. How times have changed. People need to relax and be a bit more respectful of others safety.

anon said...

As a long time cyclist in NYC, I'm constantly appalled by the recklessness and disrespect for common safety and traffic laws that is so often displayed by Citibikers. This guy wouldn't stop, wouldn't listen to the cop's commands? This cop seems calm and reasonable. What else should the cop have done to make the biker stop? Sorry, I'm with the cop on this one.

tom said...

See how cyclist respond to this, that the cops are harassing cyclist now. The guy ran red lights....a bunch. This is why we need to have all cyclist register their bikes and have license plates on them as well as safety inspections. If a driver of a car did this all hell would break loose. And that driver should be rammed off the road and jailed. Not that this cyclist should have been rammed off the road in the first place. But cyclist don’t care about anyone except themselves.

raplhy said...

I ride a bike in the city and I’m pretty good at obeying traffic laws ..yes I’ve received a ticket for my front tire being in the crosswalk .. cop said that’s going thru a red light .. (???) but it got me to pay attention to bike laws .( this was about 15 years ago ) however the amount of delivery drivers going the wrong way is ridiculous ! And the citibike riders who come in on the weekend think it’s a free for all and ride wherever they want to causing confusion and dangerous situations for other riders . Riding down any ave or street the wrong way .
At one time the police used to crack down and give tickets .. it seems all has been given up with stupid diBlahsio as mayor who has no rhyme or reason of what he’s doing as mayor ..And what happen to the bike lanes on 7th and 9th ave .?? paved over and not replaced letting drivers park back “ where the bike lane was “ !

40 years cyclist said...

As a person with 40 years of daily experience as a Manhattan cyclist, the anarchy exhibited by many cyclists these days is getting too much. Have I been a totally legal cyclist over the years? No but the aggressive recklessness towards pedestrians I see every day is too much. This is not to say pedestrians have been all respectful, that’s another problem. This particular situation I lean towards the police, this cyclist was clearly in his own head space and not in reality. The accident we see here (unless video footage shows up) could have only happened if the cyclist never stopped even with the van in front of him. Maybe the guy was high, even more reason he shouldn’t be operating a vehicle.

cmarrtyy said...


That was my problem. The biker couldn't care less.

Unknown said...

The Take Away-

Cops are assholes.

Cyclists are assholes.

People who drive motor vehicles are assholes.

Pedestrians are powerless to do anything save for posting internet complaints.

Joe Jusko said...

Remember when people actually complied with a police officer’s request or lawful order and didn’t force their hand toward a more aggressive alternative? I do. I was a cop in the Bronx in the 1980’s and as bad as it was people had more respect for the police than is had today.

From the East Village said...

I read the story on as well. It looks like the bicyclist was so distracted by his headphones or he was willfully disobeying the order to stop.
I usually atop the 1st time that I'm directed to by police.
I know some cops can abuse their power, but some civilians can abuse their "rights" as well, and then try to slant it so it looks like the cops are the ones at fault. As a cyclist, I'm for more enforcement of reckless behavior, be it from: motorists, cyclists, and even pedestrians.

Anonymous said...

In this thread, I think the citing of statistics about accidents involving cars vs. bicycles misses the point. Any accident involving a car must be reported (yes, please cite all the ones you known about where there was no report). Many of us have close calls with bicyclists which are not reported (near misses going against the flow of traffic or skipping lights). Cyclists seem to have a sense of entitlement to violate laws (i.e., I am helping to protect the environment and that excuses everything). About three days a week, I cross First Avenue and Fourteenth Street to the West Side of First Avenue and then make my way to Beth Israel. I am always impressed by the regard of the cyclists for the traffic rules (yes there are crossing guards there). My chances of encountering a car going the wrong way on Broadway and weaving in and out of the traffic lanes are infinitesimal compared to the recklessness of cyclists. I doubt if courses in responsibility, imposing a required license plate on bikes would do more than make us feel good. Personal respect for civil responsibility is not something easily legislated.

Brian Van said...

First thread I've been in where "Anonymous" makes a good point, ha ha ha

A lot of complaints about cyclists are about close calls and ethics/manners. I'm more than happy to have a one-on-one conversation about that, but it won't do much use because I'm not in contact with all the cyclists who are doing that to others. (And, frankly, I'm not interested in having close calls because I'm not interested in crashing and breaking my collarbone)

One thing I think that gets really warped in any of these discussions is that bicycles are not cars, and all the laws and road designs are 100% car-centric. It would be totally safe to cross First Avenue if it had a two-way cycletrack with clear sightlines and no red lights (still must yield to an occupied crosswalk)... and no automobiles, or very very slow speed automobiles. And yet... First Avenue is a car-first thoroughfare. DOT isn't interested in putting a two-way cycletrack on a one-way avenue. We forget that these avenues were all two-way traffic (with elevated trains!) a while back, and then all of it was redesigned to make it a one-way highway. It's all there to maximize the flow of cars - the merge lanes for the turns, the traffic signals every 220 feet, parking on two sides, the stoplights timed for a 30mph flow of traffic... everything. It's not designed for good bicycle circulation - the one-way cycletrack is an add-on, and not a very good one. (It's been 10 years, you think they could have relocated utilities or converted some of the sewer grates/roadway plates by now?)

All our discussions about bicyclists having "no regard" for the law fail to take into account that some of these laws are meaningless in the context of cycling. The officer who pulled over the cyclist above? At least one of those "blown red lights" was a right turn on red, and maybe both of them were a near-lane turn. A right on red is legal for a car in most parts of the country, why isn't it legal for a cyclist here? Did we ever make a good case for lumping bicycles into that traffic law in NYC? Probably not, but here we are, arguing about how 100% compliance with the law is the only safe way to operate a bicycle.

Nobody designed these laws to fit cyclists... many of them have little impact on pedestrian safety & bicycles, compared to whatever the status quo would have been if you didn't write all these laws around cars only. (You still wouldn't be able to legally turn through an occupied crosswalk, but you could write the law to legitimize turning from a one-way street through empty crosswalks, and naturally there would be no pedestrian danger in this at all)

A decent portion of the law-breaking is, in fact, quite dangerous to bystanders... riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is a prime example of a behavior that is well-kept illegal. And it would be really good to focus on those incidents. Not to act like all these times where a bicyclist going through a green light & encountering a pedestrian slipping off the sidewalk (against the light) was being "reckless", and then equating that behavior with the times you've seen a bicyclist going through an empty intersection in technical violation of the law. The law doesn't really give bicyclists a fair time out on the streets. All traffic citations for this behavior are fair, but there are lots of safe things you can do on a bicycle (or as a pedestrian!) that are illegal because streets and traffic laws are only designed for cars. Unsafe behavior has to be defined by the impact that it has, not by whether or not it would be unsafe for a motorist to do.

Anonymous said...

all the moron had to do was stop when instructed. This seems to be a thread in many of these 'outrage' clickbait videos. Some entitled jerk with a cell phone who won't obey a simple, lawful instruction.

Anonymous said...

Bicyclists are out of control. There has been almost zero enforcement of traffic laws. Vision Zero is a big zero when it comes to bikers. They don't look, they don't listen and basically they don't care. When it comes to pedestrians, we are more in danger today than ever before. The added danger of morons on two wheels makes crossing the street a dangerous adventure.

Anonymous said...

I am concerned as a resident of the east village. I will probably get a lot of slack for what I am about to say. Many cyclists in NYC can be reckless anarchists. There I said it. Not all. Not everyone. But many are. They seem to do things their way without a care for anyone else really. I often fear for my safety when I am waiting to cross the street at a red light fully alert with no headphones on. I have seen numerous bikes plow through in front of me even though the light is not green. Many scream if you are close to them. And very few actually wear helmets, which is I think is stupid. I have seen many go in the opposite direction and launch a tirade of unsavory words if you god forbid are in their path. I once tripped as I walked to the stop light and a cyclist almost ran over my foot without an apology or recognition

I understand this young man in the video was probably unaware of his surroundings because of his headphones, which places him in a vulnerable state if he can't hear others or sirens especially. There needs to be more ordinances and regulations if we want decorum and civility amongst citizens regardless if you are a pedestrian or a cyclist. Perhaps the police used too much aggression and/or force with the situation. However, if you are taking to the road on your bike, it is YOUR obligation to remain alert and to comply with rules. No headphones should be worn. A helmet should. If you are running through red lights, then you are not obeying the law. I have discussed this with some friends who are also cyclists. They become irate if you question or discuss this ongoing problem.

I also know they are not immune from injuries and death from cars and trucks too. The amount of fatalities this year alone is staggering and dreadful. Very scary. I would not ride a bike in this city for anything. Too dangerous. The lesson learned is if you ride a bike, great. Have fun. Enjoy. Just be mindful of laws, pedestrians, police, animals, red lights, sirens, and so forth. The roads belong to all of us.

Anonymous said...

As an everyday cyclist I used to push back at those who'd say things like "I was almost knocked over by a bike!". My reasoning being that, despite perceptions, I (and my 20lb bike) am not actually a hazard to your existence. These days though it bothers my conscience to push back, seeing now how people typically ride their bikes and Citibikes (and scooters and monowheel thingies) in NYC, which is very rudely and selfishly. Shitty people are represented on ALL modes of transportation obviously, but bikes can enable a certain specific manner of stealthily inconsiderate behavior. Yes, a bike is not a very deadly weapon like a car is, but I am starting to see how bikes can easily be used to nuisance other people who are also just trying to use the road safely.

Citibikers' behavior seem slightly worse to me than that of veteran cyclists. Something about borrowing a ride for 30 minutes at a time, not having to be responsible for the bike itself, seems to make riders more flippant and carefree and entitled. I often see people riding as if their Citibike is a sort of VIP, all-access pass to NYC streets.

Anonymous said...

If NYC got 5 cents for every bike rider's infraction of the law (like running red lights, not yielding to pedestrians, riding on the sidewalk, etc.) the city's budget would be balanced for the next decade right this second.

Now add in 5 cents for every rider who scares the living daylights out of pedestrians, and/or shouts & curses at those on foot who dare to somehow get in their way by the very existence of being on foot, and we'd all get tax rebates.

Biker riders, by and large, are out of control in NYC, IMO. I think Bloomberg & De Blasio unleashed something they didn't comprehend when they decided that NYC should be Amsterdam.

And NYC government has never reconsidered what an effin' mess they have made of the streets and of the ability of EVERY CITIZEN to get around safely. "Vision Zero" is a great way to describe De Blasio: he has no vision (except of himself as president!).

De Blasio sure as hell has not felt the fear that pedestrians routinely experience: of bike riders going both ways in a one-way bike lane PLUS bike riders who ride OUTSIDE the bike lanes, plus the skateboarders & scooter-riders who are also in the bike lanes. It's a free-for-all that NYC started and now has NO IDEA how to control.

And it's clear the bike riders don't want any control.

Anonymous said...

I can't let Anon @1:28 PM's post go by without asking how she/he ascertains that people using Citi Bikes are not "veteran cyclists" and therefore irresponsible, flippant, carefree and entitled? This entire thread could be analyzed as a case study in seeing and believing what you want to see and believe. Cars and the people who drive them are evil; people who own their own bikes are decent, obey the rules of the road and couldn't possibly hurt anyone if they happened to knock into them. But, Citibikers are in league with the devil: no respect for rules, not real cyclists. Wow!! And this isn't even facebook or twitter.

Anonymous said...

@Brian Van 10:11am: You say " A right on red is legal for a car in most parts of the country, why isn't it legal for a cyclist here?"

The rest of the country is irrelevant in this situation. AFAIK, right turns on red are ILLEGAL everywhere in NYC unless there's a specialized traffic light OR a specific sign at an intersection that permits a right-turn-on-red. Cars have no right to make those turns in NYC except as noted, and neither do the bike riders. Unless, of course, the bike riders would like to even further exempt themselves from all rules & regulations.

Anonymous said...

As a pedestrian (do not know how to drive) native New Yorker....I absolutely fear cyclists now, the "regular" cyclists (not delivery people.

Daily see multiple near misses/accidents due to cyclists.
Cyclists blow through red lights, go the wrong way, weave around pedestrians trying to cross, weave in front of vehicles causing vehicles to stop short, etc.

Yes vehicles are dangerous but most drivers follow traffic laws. There are fewer cyclists and most cyclists ignore traffic law.
Moreover, in NYC most cyclists are completely nasty if "scolded" by a pedestrian.

Just in June saw two different incidents, elderly people hit by cyclists and my friend - bicycling on Citibike - was hit by another bicyclist goingthe wrong way.

Brian Van said...

Does everyone here posting their anecdotes about bad cyclists understand that:

* You are apparently arguing that it's good to use deadly force on cyclists for traffic violations.
* Your observations are, in no way, proper statistical data in a city this large with hundreds of thousands of bike trips a day, and you've never made a deliberate attempt to study traffic at all.
* A bicycle, no matter how much you exaggerate its danger, still weighs less than 250lbs with its occupant and goes about 15mph, while a car is 4,000+ lbs and is usually going 25-30mph, and is simply a greater collision threat.
* Many of us know people who were killed by bad drivers. This blog has reported on many of them.

Above all other things, it's such a thoughtless piece of logic to say that cyclists are, somehow inherently, more "lawless" than anyone else & need to be punished as a class. There is absolutely nothing to back this up other than selective facts about seeing traffic violations. 90% of the arguments for this are about "almost" collisions that did not, in fact, involve any collisions or injuries. To repeatedly bring this up at a time when this is in the news because people are getting crushed to death by illegally-driven trucks... it is perceived as trolling and condescension. It is an attempt to change the subject from a very important cause, by people who are irritated at cyclists & who think that rallying people, to collectively dislike & denounce everyone on a bicycle from now on, gives them a cool personality.

Anonymous said...

Well said.