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How to avoid a ticket during the rest of the bike crackdown

Written by
Ned Hepburn

As bikers around the city are all too aware, we are in the middle of a two-week bike crackdown. That means cops are out in force to make sure you don't ride your bike the wrong way down the street, run red lights, or let your two-wheeler touch the sidewalk. The NYPD even seems to be using tactics such as blocking the bike lane with their squad cars so that they can give tickets to people that then ride outside the bike lane.  

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It all has something to with Operation Safe Cycle; a 2 week long "safety awareness" program for bikers. While that seems to have been the original initial intention, some bikers see it as an excuse for the NYPD to give out more tickets to cyclists. This isn't the first time the NYPD has muddled the point in terms of what it means by "bike safety." In 2012, there were nearly 3 times more tickets handed out for bicycling on the sidewalk (which is admittedly a shitty thing to do) than there were given out to all motorists in the NYC metropolitan area. 

If you haven't already gotten a ticket, the easiest way to avoid one may simply be not to use your bike at all for the next week. But that would mean giving up your God/Allah/Taylor Swift given right to ride a bicycle where you please in this city (or just having to commute via subway...and we're still scared of the bed bugs on the N train). So here's some tips and tricks to NOT getting a ticket on your bike in NYC: 

  • Don’t run red lights even if the pedestrian walk says go.

  • Make sure your light is on at night, even if it's not super dark outside. You can also get a light up bike belt for around $50. 

  • DO NOT—even for a second—ride on the sidewalk. This is where the majority of NYPD's tickets come from. 

  • Know your rights- Bike helmets are NOT required for people of over the age of 13.

  • Be careful if you're wearing headphones—by law you can only wear one earbud while riding. Having both in could get you a ticket. Also, don't be that asshole riding your bike with headphones. 

  • DO NOT ride the opposite direction of traffic. If you get caught that's an immediate ticket. 

UPDATE: It doesn't help that the DOT is using the same tickets they usually do for automobiles. If you're not careful and don't read your ticket correctly, you could end up paying a whopping $88 extra per ticket. So make sure to read the fine print and don't be afraid to pay the ticket via mail; Gothamist is reporting that the problem usually arises when someone tries to pay their ticket online. 

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