NYPD bike lane safety initiative results in thousands of tickets against drivers

Results from an NYPD crackdown to protect cyclists illustrate city drivers’ apparent disregard for bike lanes and parking rules.

During the second Bicycle Safe Passage initiative, a week-long ticketing blitz that took place from June 20 to June 24, police in all 77 precincts issued a total of 1,757 tickets to drivers for blocking bike lanes and 810 summons for motorists who failed to yield to bicyclists and pedestrians, according to data released by the mayor’s office on Wednesday.

“We believe in protecting every New Yorker on our city’s streets, and these numbers make clear: we take our cyclists’ safety seriously,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “NYPD was out in full force reminding our drivers to keep this city’s bike lanes clear and safe.”

Police also doled out 142,456 parking tickets, another 8,704 tickets for double-parked drivers, and 14,133 tickets for motorists in no standing zones. A total of 1,086 summonses were issued for drivers running red lights.

“We’re very pleased whenever police take a dedicated effort to crack down on behaviors that we know kill cyclists,” said Julia Kite, policy and research manager at Transportation Alternatives. “But we’d like to see what they’re doing become standard practice. These violations are happening regardless of whether it’s Bicycle Safe Passage week or not. And those drivers should have a consequence when they endanger cyclists.”

The data release comes four days after a hit-and-run driver fatally struck cyclist Matthew von Ohlen, 35, who was traveling in a bike lane in Brooklyn at the time of the crash.

The driver remains at large.

After the crash, the city came under criticism from advocates at Transportation Alternatives, who said police officers on Sunday went to the street where von Ohlen was killed to issue summonses to cyclists.

Monica Klein, a spokeswoman for the mayor, responded in an email saying that the city is “cracking down and stepping up” enforcement against dangerous driving while also building out smart bike infrastructure to encourage bike ridership and increase safety.

Summonses issued for speeding, failure to yield to pedestrians and failure to stop at a stop sign have collectively increased by about 18% since 2014, according to data provided by the mayor’s office.