The NYPD is cracking down on road hogs blocking bike lanes.
All 77 Police Department precincts will take part in a week-long crackdown that started Monday specifically targeting motorists blocking bike lanes or idling in no-standing zones. It’s part of a new Bicycle Safe Passage initiative to promote Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of Vision Zero.
“We believe in protecting everyone on our streets,” de Blasio said in a statement. “This targeted initiative will make sure New Yorkers on bikes have clear bike lanes and safe conditions as more and more people take to the streets.”
Launched during Bike Month, the NYPD wants to correct bad behaviors as summer cyclists hit the street.
“We see, as the weather gets better, more cyclists in New York City and we want to make sure they can utilize the bike lanes in a safe manner,” said NYPD Transit Chief Thomas Chan at a press conference Monday.
Since 1990, daily cycling trips in the city have increased by 320 percent, according to a Department of Transportation report released in May.
As more cyclists ride in the city, safe streets advocates have questioned the NYPD’s commitment to Vision Zero.
At March’s Vision Zero Conference, Police Commissioner William Bratton told the crowd that the idea of reaching zero traffic deaths would “probably remain elusive.”
“We are focusing on violations that can endanger our city’s cyclists, and making sure New Yorkers can safely travel on bike lanes throughout the five boroughs,” Bratton said in a statement supporting the initiative.
Chan said that the NYPD has remained dedicated since the mayor launched the initiative in 2014.
“In 2014…we actually reduced the number of traffic deaths by 15 percent and last year, in 2015, we reduced the number by 9 percent,” Chan said. “So we’ve been working towards the goal of reducing the total number of fatalities and injuries that are occurring on the streets of the city of New York.”
The enforcement blitz will run through Friday. Chan said that a focused, week-long window can be more effective than extending crackdowns longer. The NYPD hasn’t ruled out more crackdowns under the initiative, but will wait to see how the results turn out this week.