The Chainlink

Yikes! New York Fines Cyclist $1500 for Running Red Lights

Off the chain! City slams bicyclist with $1,500 in fines for running red lights

Sunday, August 21st 2011, 4:00 AM

Bicyclist Juan Rodriguez fought a ticket he got for running a red light on his bicycle and lost - big time.
John Roca/News
Bicyclist Juan Rodriguez fought a ticket he got for running a red light on his bicycle and lost - big time.

Manhattan bicyclist Juan (JC) Rodriguez didn't learn his lesson after running his first red light. Or his second.

But the third time may be the charm - because it came with more than $1,500 in fines.

"It's absurd," complained Rodriguez, 45, who's also a pedicab driver. "When you look at the fines leveled and the actual offenses, it makes no sense."

Some bicycling advocates agree fining two-wheelers the same as tractor-trailers is overkill, while others say bikers should stop at red lights.

"They are endangering pedestrians, many of whom are elderly or children who may not be able to get out of the way quickly," said City Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx).

"We have too many people riding their cars and bicycles and thinking these rules are not meant for them."

Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Nick Cantiello says cyclists are subject to the following fines for red-light violations: $190 for the first offense, $375 for the second, $940 for the third.

They don't, however, face $80 in surcharges that motorists get and there are no license points to worry about.

"Bicycles are expected to follow the rules of the road just like any other vehicle," Cantiello said.

Rodriguez says that regardless of whether it's legal, it's common practice for bikers to roll through red lights when it's safe.

He did it on March 3 as he rode down Central Park West near 109th St. on his way to work, and a traffic cop pulled him over.

"My first thought was, 'Are you serious? Is this some sort of joke?'" he said.

It wasn't. The officer also gave him a ticket for not having a bicycle bell.

Rodriguez figured it was a fluke. But six days later, an officer pulled him over for blowing a red light at Riverside Drive and W. 96th St.

"I thought, 'Oh my God! What is going on?'" Rodriguez said.

Last month, Rodriguez was stopped after he rolled through a red in Chelsea.

He pleaded not guilty to all three tickets by mail.

"I thought if I show up in court I might have a say and show how unbelievably ludicrous this is," he said.

At a hearing this month, Rodriguez contested the Riverside Drive ticket. The judge slapped him with a $375 fine.

Rodriguez returned to traffic court last week to plead guilty to the two other tickets and was fined another $1,000.

Barbara Ross of the pro-bike environmental group Time's Up! said the penalty system needs a tune up.

"Fining cyclists up to $950 for a traffic violation - the same rate as drivers of 4-ton vehicles that kill hundreds of people annually - is excessive and unfair," she said.

"Traffic enforcement policies should focus on safer streets, not use them as a revenue source for the city."

Rodriguez, who lives in Washington Heights, hopes by telling his story, other cyclists won't have to shell out a lot of green for running a red.

"Things have changed," he said. "[Bicyclists] need to be aware of what the worst-case scenario can be."

tsamuels@nydailynews.com



Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/08/21/2011-08-21_big_fines...

Views: 1202

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Seems a bit excessive.

 

We should have fines based on a percentage of income like in germany.

Seems a little high but then again a cyclist running a red light near me a little while ago caused a two car crash that nearly took out a woman pushing her stroller.  So even on a bike, it's possible to cause a bunch of damage.

Personally, I'd think after getting two tickets, the guy would have stopped doing it for a bit after seeing the escalating fines.  Or at the very least, been a bit more cautious about making sure the cops weren't around.

Sounds good, but if that were the case, many of us who got tickets...well, the city would owe US money.

Davo said:

Seems a bit excessive.

 

We should have fines based on a percentage of income like in germany.

His hairdo ain't offensive, it's his awful moustache.

 

The Law is the The Law.  

 

I was almost nailed by a bicyclist running a red the other day while I was on my bike.  Got the customary Flying Bird in response.  Nice.  It would have really hurt as she was flying!

 

Coming home from the southside the other night, some young hipster douchetard with no lights, no helmet, iPod screaming in his ears and no common sense came up from behind me as I was stopped at a red light at Clyborn/Damen/Diversey.  He then proceeded to circle around in the intersection waiting for the green.

 

His circling almost caused a big fender bender, fortunately a couple drivers were really paying attention when it was so late.  The light finally turned green and when I caught up to him in less than 50 yards and i pulled the ear phone out his left ear and proceeded to severely berate him for his obvious wrongs.  I got the customary "Flying Bird."  Dumb ass, probably deserves to get doored and I know I'm in the wrong for even wishing that.

 

I'm beginning to really dislike all the bicycle traffic and wish it was back to levels of 15+ years ago when I was one of the few out there commuting and all that.  I guess the ONLY good thing about that fucking season, winter, is that it thins the herd.

 

Now where's my evening, curmudgeon cocktail?

 

Get off my lawn!

Chris C said:

I know the officer.  He said the fine was for the bad hairdo.
I say, fine him.  Folks like that give cyclists a bad name and if we're ever to be respected on the road, we've got to obey traffic laws just like everyone else.

Barbara Ross of the pro-bike environmental group Time's Up! said the penalty system needs a tune up.

"Fining cyclists up to $950 for a traffic violation - the same rate as drivers of 4-ton vehicles that kill hundreds of people annually - is excessive and unfair," she said.

 

 

Someone needs to be reminded that this guy could've been killed by one of those "4-ton vehicles that kill hundreds of people annually." 


The cherry on this stupidity sundae is that the guy is 45 years old!  45!


The Law is the Law, true.  But is the goal to blindly enforce the law as written, or is it to protect the public and save lives?  If it's the former, then sure, give cyclists the same fines as motorists.  But if it's the latter, then the woman from Time's Up! is absolutely correct, and the focus of law enforcement needs to be targeted at preventing behavior which endangers the most people.  Anything less compromises public safety.

 

The idea that cyclists endanger pedestrians is greatly overblown.  For all the anecdotes you hear about a cyclist "almost" killing someone, or "nearly" causing a crash, the fact is that cyclists don't kill people, no matter how badly they ride, at least not anywhere near the rate that motorists do.  In the City of Chicago, one pedestrian is killed by a car every single week, on average, while exactly zero are killed by bicycles.

Well, i know i won't be riding (or anything else) in the Big Apple any time soon...

This guy seems to have become the pinup poster child for all the bike haters out there, and there are hundreds of thousands of 'em out there, eh?

 

Well, as Dickens' Mr. Bumble said, "the law is a ass."

 



Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:

 

 

Someone needs to be reminded that this guy could've been killed by one of those "4-ton vehicles that kill hundreds of people annually." 


The cherry on this stupidity sundae is that the guy is 45 years old!  45! 

 

What difference does it make how old he is?  we all take chances riding our bikes and could be killed STOPPED at a sign/light. I stop at lights 99% of the time, but on side streets, late nite/holiday traffic I say we need the Idaho stop rule.

I wonder if he would have gotten a ticket at all if he wasn't a hipster looking type of dude that draws the ire of all the bike haters.

 

I gotta say, this does seem more like revenue generation, not about keeping people safe. BS I say.


Craig S. said:

His hairdo ain't offensive, it's his awful moustache.

Well... some of those crazy fixies that weave through cross traffic, but this guy got pulled over while continuing (so he says) through an intersection with no cross traffic, AND he was in a pedi cab not really know for bone crushing speed.

The little old lady might get a ride from him, and if your child is out walking the streets of NYC w/out parents?

Dan Korn said:

The Law is the Law, true.  But is the goal to blindly enforce the law as written, or is it to protect the public and save lives?  If it's the former, then sure, give cyclists the same fines as motorists.  But if it's the latter, then the woman from Time's Up! is absolutely correct, and the focus of law enforcement needs to be targeted at preventing behavior which endangers the most people.  Anything less compromises public safety.

 

The idea that cyclists endanger pedestrians is greatly overblown.  For all the anecdotes you hear about a cyclist "almost" killing someone, or "nearly" causing a crash, the fact is that cyclists don't kill people, no matter how badly they ride, at least not anywhere near the rate that motorists do.  In the City of Chicago, one pedestrian is killed by a car every single week, on average, while exactly zero are killed by bicycles.

Ha!  Who knows and who cares, I sure don't.  

 

I don't like most laws and I sure as hell don't stop at every stop sign nor every stop light but the law is the law and Johnny Law was probably in the right to give the dude that ticket.  

 

I'm also remembering why I don't post to threads that do not have:

 

a) any mention of liquor/drinking

b) any mention bacon

Jason W said:

I wonder if he would have gotten a ticket at all if he wasn't a hipster looking type of dude that draws the ire of all the bike haters.

 

I gotta say, this does seem more like revenue generation, not about keeping people safe. BS I say.


Craig S. said:

His hairdo ain't offensive, it's his awful moustache.

RSS

Groups

© 2008-2016   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C.   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service