By the Numbers
The 78th Precinct was in Prospect Park this weekend, ticketing cyclists for such violations as red light running and speeding. There are no official counts available, but a few anecdotal reports from various park-goers who witnessed the crackdown firsthand paint an interesting picture.
The image above, courtesy of Michael Mandiberg, shows five NYPD officers stopping three cyclists. A FIPS reader also reported witnessing “9 bikers get tickets within 10 minutes for whizzing past the red light near the lake.” The reader describes the scene: “I’ve never seen so many police and parks department crews in the park ever and they were stationed at every red light giving out tickets.”
As a comparison, here are the number of specific moving violations issued
to motorists to all street users by the 78th Precinct during the entire month of October. [PDF]
- Backing Unsafely: 3
- Disobey Sign: 8
- Fail to Stop on Signal: 44
- Improper Passing: 2
- Improper Turn: 3
- Not Giving Right of Way to Pedestrians: 3
- Speeding: 5
- U-Turn: 1
- Unsafe Lane Change: 6
The above list reflects only my own opinion of the most dangerous violations, at least from the point of view of a bike commuter, pedestrian and stroller-pushing father. There are nearly twenty-five other categories on the list, including Tinted Windows (44), Cell Phone (178), and Safety Belt (100).
Let’s be conservative and say the real number of tickets issued to cyclists on Saturday was five. Let’s also assume the tickets were for running a red, or Failure to Stop on Signal. If the 78th ticketed drivers at the same rate, they would have had to have issued 111 additional tickets during October, and that number would not even begin to reflect a fraction of the red light violations that occur on a daily basis in the area under the precinct’s command. Heck, you could probably count 111 drivers running red lights on just one stretch of Fourth Avenue in less than a few hours. And the only thing I can say about the fact that the 78th issued only 3 summons in October for “Not Giving Right of Way to Pedestrians” is that I’m not given the right of way at least 3 times a day. Getting hit by a car as I push my daughter’s stroller through a crosswalk is probably my number one fear as a parent.
Then there’s the issue of speeding. Does the NYPD believe it’s a good allocation of resources to crack down on cyclists going 28 mph or on drivers going 40, 50, or even 60 mph through residential streets? The fact that the 78th issued just 5 speeding tickets
to drivers for all of October may answer that question for you.