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“Instead they threw him in jail.”

June 28, 2013

This story is somewhat buried at the end of this excellent Bike Snob post, and it shows further proof that the recent NYPD ticket blitz against cyclists has very little to do with safety.

…I recently received an email from a reader who got thrown in jail for riding on the sidewalk.  Here are the highlights:

Since my husband Lin and I came home from the hospital with our twin boys, Otis and Max, I’ve tried to sneak out for 20 minutes daily for a bike ride in Prospect Park to get a little exercise and clear my sleep-deprived head. It’s been easy to do, especially with Lin’s parents visiting. 

The Prospect Park traffic circle is pretty much a clusterfuck, and evidently the reader did what many people do, which is roll on the sidewalk for a bit in order to get to the park loop.  Unfortunately, he also did something I did a zillion times when I lived near Prospect Park, which was duck in for a few laps without carrying ID. 

Obviously you’re not supposed to walk on the sidewalk, and while sometimes there’s a good excuse, other times I think if you get ticketed for it then tough shit, them’s the breaks.  This, however, is ridiculous:

Without delay, she told me to put my hands behind my back and *handcuffed* me – not the plastic, protest-y kind of handcuffs, but big metal numbers. And then she put me in the car. (Thankfully a local business owner, alarmed at what he’d seen, offered to store my bike until my return, saving me an extra hassle.) While the one who cuffed me was outside on the phone, undoubtedly deciding whether to screw with me or not, I mentioned to the partner that I had two newborns and home and maybe they could verify my identity through the computer, as was readily possible. 

No, instead they threw him in jail.

In what world does detaining someone for riding on the sidewalk at a dangerous traffic circle make anyone safer?

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One Comment
  1. July 2, 2013 8:28 am

    This goes back to your recent post. I’ve ridden that section of pavement connecting bike paths many times because I had no idea that (the police believe) it’s illegal. If it is a “sidewalk” (generally these are found on streets) they should put up a sign.

    Not to mention the civil sickness displayed by police throwing people in jail for not carrying government ID, which is perfectly legal in this country.

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