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  1. #1
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    NYC ticket for riding on sidewalk

    So I got a little lazy this morning and didn't take my bike for a ride as I usually do. Around 4 pm I look out my window and the day was so beautiful that I decided to ride to Orchard Beach (I live in the South Bronx). I come out of my building and get on my bike. My building has an entrance that connects to the sidewalk in front of it, so I ride about 40 meters from the lobby door to the ramp on the corner (my speed was probably less than 3 m/h), and when I'm about to the get off the sidewalk this cop pulls up right next to the sidewalk ramp, he's driving a scooter. He's making a signal with his hand, and I'm thinking that he's giving me the right-of-way. I got off the sidewalk and ride next pass the scooter very slowly, making eye contact with him (you never want an NYC cop to think that we're fleeing, specially if you're a minority, and you have dreadlocks, and you don't want to get beaten up), and just when I'm about to ride across the streets he tells me "Can I have your ID please?".

    At that point I wasn't even realizing why he stopped me, since I'm just coming out of my building, riding slower than a turtle and ready to get on the street. Then he proceeds to tell me that what I was doing was illegal, and asked me the typical w-t-f-do-you-care questions like "where do you work", "do you live around here' blah blah blah.

    Apparently this guy (who was black, I'm Hispanic) thought I was a crackhead with dreadlocks riding a bike, but then when I looked at him in the eye, and spoke in clear English, and told him that I work in the technology field he immediately changed his demeanor. All of a sudden he was polite, all nice, and gave me the typical "I wouldn't had stopped you if I knew you were a nice guy" speech. Thanking me for the fact that I'm the only cyclist in the area whom wears a helmet, to which I replied that I'm probably the only person around here that does a lot of things, and that's why I'm moving to Queens. Then he tells that he "has" to give me the ticket, especially because this happened in the projects and NYC Housing Authority really cares about this stuff (Of course they often ignore failing elevators) and and even calling me by my first name. He was almost apologizing to me, "you know, I didn't put you in the system, and you can actually get this ticket cleared if you just tell them that you're a hard-working guy and blah blah blah".

    I don't know how true that is. I'm pleading not-guilty and we'll see what happens.

    I'm not one of those cyclists that rides on the sidewalk all the time. I prefer the streets. I ride in almost all the major streets in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens and I don't have a problem with this, and maybe that's why this really made me angry. It's just one of those things, you know, this city doesn't give a f*** about cyclists, and I'll still take the sidewalk on some dangerous places like sections of Queens Boulevard ( A.K.A. The Boulevard of Death). Ironically, this wasn't even one of those situations.
    I wanted to tell this guy so many things like where yellow cabs force you out of the lane on purpose, or when people block bike lanes, or why do we allow our maniac cab drivers to always be on the phone, but I just chose to give him short answers.

    Anyway, the only thing left for me is hope that someday, somehow, things do get better for us in this city.

  2. #2
    stole your bike roadiejorge's Avatar
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    Go to court and contest the ticket, explaining the circumstances might get you off. Usually they come down harder on people who were riding unsafely than someone just trying to get to the street.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Commando303's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffakil View Post
    So I got a little lazy this morning and didn't take my bike for a ride as I usually do. Around 4 pm I look out my window and the day was so beautiful that I decided to ride to Orchard Beach (I live in the South Bronx). I come out of my building and get on my bike. My building has an entrance that connects to the sidewalk in front of it, so I ride about 40 meters from the lobby door to the ramp on the corner (my speed was probably less than 3 m/h), and when I'm about to the get off the sidewalk this cop pulls up right next to the sidewalk ramp, he's driving a scooter. He's making a signal with his hand, and I'm thinking that he's giving me the right-of-way. I got off the sidewalk and ride next pass the scooter very slowly, making eye contact with him (you never want an NYC cop to think that we're fleeing, specially if you're a minority, and you have dreadlocks, and you don't want to get beaten up), and just when I'm about to ride across the streets he tells me "Can I have your ID please?".

    At that point I wasn't even realizing why he stopped me, since I'm just coming out of my building, riding slower than a turtle and ready to get on the street. Then he proceeds to tell me that what I was doing was illegal, and asked me the typical w-t-f-do-you-care questions like "where do you work", "do you live around here' blah blah blah.

    Apparently this guy (who was black, I'm Hispanic) thought I was a crackhead with dreadlocks riding a bike, but then when I looked at him in the eye, and spoke in clear English, and told him that I work in the technology field he immediately changed his demeanor. All of a sudden he was polite, all nice, and gave me the typical "I wouldn't had stopped you if I knew you were a nice guy" speech. Thanking me for the fact that I'm the only cyclist in the area whom wears a helmet, to which I replied that I'm probably the only person around here that does a lot of things, and that's why I'm moving to Queens. Then he tells that he "has" to give me the ticket, especially because this happened in the projects and NYC Housing Authority really cares about this stuff (Of course they often ignore failing elevators) and and even calling me by my first name. He was almost apologizing to me, "you know, I didn't put you in the system, and you can actually get this ticket cleared if you just tell them that you're a hard-working guy and blah blah blah".

    I don't know how true that is. I'm pleading not-guilty and we'll see what happens.

    I'm not one of those cyclists that rides on the sidewalk all the time. I prefer the streets. I ride in almost all the major streets in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens and I don't have a problem with this, and maybe that's why this really made me angry. It's just one of those things, you know, this city doesn't give a f*** about cyclists, and I'll still take the sidewalk on some dangerous places like sections of Queens Boulevard ( A.K.A. The Boulevard of Death). Ironically, this wasn't even one of those situations.
    I wanted to tell this guy so many things like where yellow cabs force you out of the lane on purpose, or when people block bike lanes, or why do we allow our maniac cab drivers to always be on the phone, but I just chose to give him short answers.

    Anyway, the only thing left for me is hope that someday, somehow, things do get better for us in this city.
    On what are you basing your assertion of what the officer thought you were? Could you elaborate what you mean by his having said he wouldn't have stopped you if he'd known you're a "nice guy"? I think you're posting this message in the immediate wake of a situation that upset you, which is why I feel a bit critical of your characterization of events.

    Anyway, if your description of for what you were ticketed is accurate, I believe, indubitable, it's a garbage fine, and I feel you should fight it (which, it seems, you will I expect you'll win). Good luck.

  4. #4
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    I feel you,
    I had one of those nypd cops who was all friendly and understanding while writing out a summons.
    I bet you were with him at least half an hour shooting the breeze talking like you're old friends.
    but then you get that pink copy.
    and, my cop did show up to court and I was nervous and was just stammering and the judge didn't like it.
    of course, I lost.
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  5. #5
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    The sidewalk ticket laws were designed to permit police to run warrants on people riding bicycles. It is very annoying that you have to go to court, you cannot just mail the fine. They give tickets to all races, I am white, and got one. The racial part is that I have only seen them give tickets in poor areas.
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  6. #6
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    you might beat it. Do a search for sidewalk(s) in thread titles, Many of us have gotten nabbed for this here. I beat mine, though I had to take a half sick day to do so.
    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    People whose sig line does not include a jsharr quote annoy me.

  7. #7
    Huffy Powered heypaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffakil View Post
    ....Then he tells that he "has" to give me the ticket, especially because this happened in the projects and NYC Housing Authority really cares about this stuff (Of course they often ignore failing elevators) and and even calling me by my first name. He was almost apologizing to me, "you know, I didn't put you in the system, and you can actually get this ticket cleared if you just tell them that you're a hard-working guy and blah blah blah".

    I don't know how true that is. I'm pleading not-guilty and we'll see what happens.

    About 3 or 4 years ago, I was riding the sidewalk on Flatbush Ave between Eastern Parkway & Empire Blvd. Anyway, I got a ticket and had to appear in a sort of criminal court a little north of Chambers Street. There wasn't a judge but an administrative hearing officer or something like that. I figured I'd get hit with a $50 or $100 fine, but I was wrong. They called about 3 or 4 of us, who were all given riding on sidewalk tickets. The hearing officer told us that it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk and that we should ride in the street in the future. Then he threw out all the tickets. It worked out neater than I thought.

    The court is a high security building, so they have you empty your pockets, put your bags through an x-ray device and scan you. So leave home any knives, guns or small thermonuclear devices and you'll be fine.

  8. #8
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    I would ride East on the wide sidewalk one block up to the 59th street bridge entrance on the Queens side but I've since started doing the more dangerous thing and gone against traffic in the street there because I know one day I'll get stopped there. You've got to love NYC!

    I give the cops here less grief than on Long Island though - those guys and gals get paid way too much to sit around and hassle people for dangerous actions like being on a beach past sundown or walking down the street after dark (ask me how I know).

  9. #9
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    Bad timing for you. He saw you riding on the sidewalk. You get a ticket. At least he was nice, right?
    Why buy 10 cheap bikes when one nice one will last longer!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Stray8's Avatar
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    I know that they gave a 65-year old retired Puerto Rican guy a $65 ticket for riding a bike on the sidewalk in the Bronx and he told them he's never even heard there was this kind of ticket (and neither did I). They said only kids 14 and younger can ride on the sidewalk.

    Well, on one hand we don't want any pedestrians run into by bikes, but easily there must also be an unofficial NYPD "revenue enhancement" push for the City to actually enforce this kind of thing with fines.

    Interestingly enough, I ride a tandem sometimes with little kids, so I wonder what the sidewalk rule is on that...

    .

  11. #11
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    I think it is a great law. I wish it was enforced in Japan. People on bikes riding on the sidewalk are dangerous no matter how careful you are. I think giving a warning first should be done instead of having to pay for first time offenses.
    Why buy 10 cheap bikes when one nice one will last longer!

  12. #12
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stray8 View Post
    Interestingly enough, I ride a tandem sometimes with little kids, so I wonder what the sidewalk rule is on that...

    .
    I think the law specifies wheel size as well as age. Kids 12 and under riding bikes with wheels that are less than 26 inches can ride on the sidewalk. Of course they have to wear helmets too.

    http://nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/biketips.shtml

    But what's to stop the cop from ticketing you and letting the kid off with a warning?

  13. #13
    meb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacy View Post
    I think the law specifies wheel size as well as age. Kids 12 and under riding bikes with wheels that are less than 26 inches can ride on the sidewalk. Of course they have to wear helmets too.

    http://nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/biketips.shtml

    But what's to stop the cop from ticketing you and letting the kid off with a warning?
    26 inches?
    For my seventh birthday I got a bike with 26 inch wheels.
    The 26 inch threshold seems way out of sync with 12 years.

  14. #14
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Yeah I thought the law was 24 inch wheels max when I checked the DOT website that's what I found. Maybe the idea is to keep teenagers on BMX bikes off the sidewalk?

  15. #15
    Senior Member Stray8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacy View Post
    I think the law specifies wheel size as well as age. Kids 12 and under riding bikes with wheels that are less than 26 inches can ride on the sidewalk. Of course they have to wear helmets too.

    http://nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/biketips.shtml

    But what's to stop the cop from ticketing you and letting the kid off with a warning?

    I'll just have to keep the front part of the tandem in the street....






    .

  16. #16
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geo8rge View Post
    The sidewalk ticket laws were designed to permit police to run warrants on people riding bicycles.
    WRONG!!!

    They are for safety. If this was the true reason, they would come up with some silly law to apply whether on the street or sidewalk.

    Many states have varying sidewalk laws. For example, in PA, it is only stated that you can't ride on the sidewalks in a business district. I am sure this is so that they don't have to ticket kids in the suburbs... or force young kids to ride on the street before they are ready.

    I wish they would enforce it better, but it depends on your locality. My guess, based on the people racing down the sidewalks downtown is that Wilkes-Barre police have never written a ticket for this offense.

  17. #17
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    the bottom line is don't ride on sidewalks, ever, if you can help it. It's good to share these experiences here, because when it happens to most of us, it's a bit of a shock.

    Once you know, you can avoid it.
    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiberiusBTkirk View Post
    ...my cop did show up to court and I was nervous and was just stammering and the judge didn't like it.
    of course, I lost.
    wow...a cop has nothing better to do on that date and show up in court for a stupid summon he wrote on u. and how much was ur fine?

    i will ride my bike on the sidewalk again if it is dangerous on the road or steps from my home. and if i get a summon again, and if the cop do show up in court, i will tell the judge a piece of my mind.

  19. #19
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    the fine was either $50 or $55 in 1984
    I was summonsed for bringing a "bulky article" in the columbus circle station.
    that item was my bicycle.
    I'm sure you guys have better luck than me.
    I still made it through numerous background checks, though an army recruiter did ask if I gotten any tickets.
    my friend got the same summons, I think he ignored it because I didn't see him on the appearance date.
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  20. #20
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    There was a lot more enforcement after an incident a few years ago when a take-out food delivery guy, riding on the sidewalk, clocked some 80 year old man coming out of a restaurant (if memory serves). The 80 year old died of his injuries. That and a need to send a message to the messengers to get off the sidewalk. It's a good law in my opinion, especially in Manhattan.

    Steve B.

  21. #21
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiberiusBTkirk View Post
    my friend got the same summons, I think he ignored it because I didn't see him on the appearance date.
    Ignoring it can be worse than the summons.
    There was a recent story about a guy who was busted in Brooklyn for riding on the sidewalk. Cops brought him down to the precinct, did a background check and then ran him through the system. Apparently he was a serial sidewalk rider.

    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories..._scofflaw.html

    And then there's this guy who got held overnight because he was riding on the sidewalk and wasn't carrying any ID.
    http://mobile.gothamist.com/2009/06/...t_jailed_f.php

  22. #22
    Senior Member Commando303's Avatar
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    I think what tricky is determining what, exactly, counts as "riding on the sidewalk." Most of us likely "start up" on the sidewalk, and even more ride from the street onto the sidewalk for at least several feet, when ready to dismount our bikes. I, for one, would not consider this to be a problem, but, admittedly, I'm not typically upset, either, by a cautious, slow-moving bicyclist's presence on the concrete, generally.

  23. #23
    Huffy Powered heypaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commando303 View Post
    I think what tricky is determining what, exactly, counts as "riding on the sidewalk." Most of us likely "start up" on the sidewalk, and even more ride from the street onto the sidewalk for at least several feet, when ready to dismount our bikes. I, for one, would not consider this to be a problem, but, admittedly, I'm not typically upset, either, by a cautious, slow-moving bicyclist's presence on the concrete, generally.
    In some ways, the bottom line is that we shouldn't be riding on the sidewalk. When I got my ticket, I had ridden about 1/2 mile along Flatbush between Eastern Parkway and Empire Blvd. The officer who wrote the ticket told me that there had been complaints to the precinct about bikes on the sidewalk endangering people. As I explained in my previous post, the tickets were thrown out with an admonition not to ride on the sidewalk. I've often ridden that section of Flatbush on the sidewalk after that.

    I'm reminded of a Three Stooges routine (they were one of my great teachers about human nature). Moe either slaps Larry in the face or gives him two fingers in the eyes. Larry complains that he didn't do anything and didn't deserve to be abused. Moe justifies his actions by saying it was meant to cover anything that Larry did in the past or will do in the future that Moe wasn't aware of. (I'm sure there's a simpler way of saying that)

    Along the same twisted lines. I was riding up in the Fort Washington area of Manhattan on the day of some bike event. I came to a stop at a red light facing me on Fort Washington Ave. A nice older woman complimented me for stopping at the red light, which she explained most bike riders don't do. I couldn't let her shower me with kind words and explained to her that I stopped because there was a patrol car sitting at the intersection.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Johannes's Avatar
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    i was rolling onto the sidewalk in front of my house. just a few feet as every day when i come home from work. got a ticket for $50. sucked it up and paid. well, first i waited until it became $80. $50 plus $30 stupidity fee in all.

    i broke the rules. i got caught. i paid up. big whoop.

  25. #25
    danke shubonker's Avatar
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    My boss got the same ticket the other day near LES. There was a patrol car parked and theyre specifically assigned to ticket bicyclists on the sidewalk. What a load of crap.

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