To help stop police officers ticket cyclists in central park, we created an easy way for you to contact the Mayor, DOT, or your City Council Member to ask them to put an end to the harassment. Just copy and paste the letter below into your email.To contact the mayor, you can do this via an email form online at www.nyc.gov
You should also write your City Council Member asking him/her to pressure the mayor to stop the crackdown by NYPD. (If you don't know who your Council Member is, go to www.council.nyc.gov and click on the "Council Members" button on the left side.)
It only takes a few minutes to make a difference.
I am writing regarding a recent "crackdown" by NYPD on cyclists in Central Park. I have heard numerous accounts of cyclists receiving tickets for as much as $250 for running red lights in the Park.
I am an avid cyclist who easily logs several thousand miles each year in the Park. I belong to a cycling club in the City that has hundreds of members who use the park regularly - often during the early morning weekday hours. While I have been spared ticketing so far, this new effort by the City is disturbing for several reasons.
I, like almost all cyclists I know, take safety seriously. We are constantly on the lookout for reckless drivers, unaware pedestrian tourists, and careless taxi patrons. We are also aware that there are some dangerous cyclists in the City, including but not limited to the ongoing problem with delivery persons (particularly those that now ride motorized scooters). The NYPD crackdown seems to be an attempt to make the Park safer. However, the enforcement seems quite unfair. I have friends who have received tickets early in the morning or late at night when the Park is closed to car traffic and foot traffic is scarce. There are dozens of traffic lights on the Central Park loop. To target and ticket cyclists in a largely empty Park that is closed to cars (partly so cyclists and other pedestrians may enjoy safer riding) seems unreasonable.
If I were to enter the Park, at perhaps 6:00am or 7:00pm, and stop at every light, a formerly pleasant spin would be a worthless chore. Even worse, I have heard of bike commuters (who reduce congestion and pollution) who have been ticketed on the way to work. Shockingly, the enforcement is selective in nature. Pedestrians, skaters, and joggers who run red lights and/or jaywalk are exempt.
If I may propose one potential solution - during car free hours the city can put the traffic lights in the park on flashing yellow with "press to walk" buttons for pedestrians. This would allow cyclists - particularly those of us who use the park during the wee morning hours when foot traffic is extremely sparse - to continuing using the park in a safe manner without having to stop at red lights that are essentially not in use.
I'm not sure who initiated this new policy and for what reason. I would kindly request that your office look into this matter. Safe recreational cyclists want to work with the City to make the park safer and the City as a whole a more pleasant place to live. I am certain that with rational discussion an amicable solution can be found for all of the parties involved.