NYPD Gives Doored Cyclist Two Tickets and Lets Driver Off the Hook Apr 1, 2010

Rodney Seymour, after being doored and ticketed, and before having his bike stolen.

This sucks and it goes to show why NYC will never be a city for cyclists. Go read the full story at Streetsblog, then come back here for a little story.

You done reading? Sucks doesn’t it?

Ok, so I saw the story about Rodney Seymour earlier today and it really bummed me out. While I was out riding my road bike just now adjusting the fit a bit, I had a cop pull me over for not stopping completely at a stop sign. Luckily, I was on my road bike with brakes. I also had a front and back light so there wasn’t much he could ticket me for. He tried to say something about a bell, which I backpedaled out of since I said it was my race bike and I was just trying to get the fit right.

He was being cool about it for the most part (I live around the corner from a precinct so this happens a lot actually), then he tried to bust me for not having reflectors (is this a new ticket spree?). At this point, I brought out something I carry with me at all times; a print out of the NYC cycling laws. We talked (respectfully, as you should) and eventually I got off without a summons. Now, if I would have been on my track bike, I would have had no ground to argue but luckily, on my road bike, I had some wiggle room.

So the reason I’m telling you this is to emphasize the importance of knowing your rights and laws as a cyclist in NYC. I’ve conveniently made these laws into a 2-page PDF, which you can print out at 50% and stuff into your bag in case this happens to you. Just download that and put it somewhere safe. If you ever get pulled over and the cop happens to be a respectful human being, show him the laws in a polite way and you might get off too.

  • http://dudesandpizza.blogspot.com Kevin

    Anyone know how to contact this guy? I’d love to donate some money for him to get a new bike, at the very least. What a crappy situation.

  • b. taylor

    I feel for Rodney Seymour. That does SUCK! I’m not surprised, but it’s still disappointing. Sounds like “payback” for that 98K CM verdict that came down against the City of New York. Vazquez or one of the other riders certainly could afford to lend a helping hand to Rodney. BTW – re: carry cycling laws with me, the thought never occurred to me. I also had no idea about s1236 “working breaks” Thanks for putting this together.

  • lian

    wtf man, the worst part is, it’s more trouble to even pursue further inquiry or arbitration. Goddamit

  • Gordon

    DAMN! That’s fucked up. Is he going to sue the city (or whatever the official term is)?

  • drawler

    that’s a damn good idea having the cycling laws printed out and on hand… thanks!

  • Edward Scoble

    Is NYC notoriously known for their police? or does the police in NYC somehow got a lots more ‘exposure’ and thereforth appear worse than they are?

    genuine question, last thing I want to do is to claim NYC police being pathetic when I’ve only been there for a week.

  • Santiago Belmont

    wow, Nyc makes it more difficult each and every day for us… i think its time to build a kick back break wheelset.

  • brucey

    You should add this to the cycle printout


    It’s the ‘dooring’ law in nyc.

  • tpearl

    That’s awesome prolly, nice work on the PDFs. What a handy reference if you get pinched. Make some of those for us Dallas kids!

  • Lowell
  • Amanda

    This story reminds me of a CL posting of a person who got their ride stolen while calling the cops concerning a hit-and-run: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/bik/1672695528.html

    I really hope this guy gets his bike back, if nothing else. Glad to hear the truck driver didn’t just run off.

    And ticketed for not having a bell on your bike?! That’s just ridiculous.

  • ben

    For North and South Carolina Residents:

    There’s a site called http://www.mybikelaw.com that refers to two bicycle advocates working in these states.

    Peter Wilborn of Charleston, SC is a stalwart advocate for our kind here. He printed up little pamphlets that were wallet card sized foldouts with every South Carolina bike related law and made sure all area bike shops had them. It’s handy, because as these articles mentioned, the officers rarely if ever have knowledge of these laws.

    Unfortunately, even being “in the right” sometimes puts you at odds with the police, the other person(s) involved in a wreck, or the bystanders.. People are willing to argue whether or not a cyclist should be in the road or not while a man is writhing and bleeding on the ground. Scary times for America as it comes to grips with it’s newest burgeoning force, bicycle commuters.

  • twowords

    What would Tyler Durden do?

    I have to believe that more and more people are at least sick and tired of being policed over the stupidest shit. What are you going to do about it? Why recognize a law that is substantially encroaching upon personal freedoms? If you are the by the books type of person do your thing. If that shit happened to me I would take it to the streets. The only person looking out for you is you, if NYPD or any PD for that matter has nothing better to do than fuck with people on bikes I say give them something to deal with to keep them busy.

  • Matt K

    I was wondering what resources there are available to find the laws regarding bicycles on a local level. I really love the idea of having them on hand. The city police here in Ann Arbor have been trying to crack down lately, but most of them are ignorant of the actual laws on the books.

  • Jon

    Prolly, Big Ups for presenting a solid respectful way for cyclists in NYC to work with the PD. Any idiot can yell and scream. Presenting a helpful, and “prolly” effective, method takes a lot more thought and effort. Bummer for Rodney though.

  • charles

    dude, here in Sacramento they give out no breaks tickets like candy on Halloween. i feel for you guys with the no bell or reflectors thing. its a sign of the times when police are finding small infractions to make quota to keep the police afloat.. you’d think they have more important things to do than target cyclists.

  • Avi

    I know this is a few months late but…

    I live in Orlando, FL and I got hit by a truck and I was the one who got the ticket. The statements were taken when I wasn’t on the scene mind you (I was taken to the hospital on an ambulance).

    At the end of all this I was stuck with a suspended drivers’ licence (I don’t own a car), a ticket, a destroyed bicycle and a $3000 medical bill.

    As a broke college student, it was too expensive for me to take the ticket to court even though everybody (including the employees at the local DMV) said that the ticket wasn’t supposed to be for me.

    And just to verify, I ride a single-speed with a brake and had bike lights. I didn’t have my helmet on at that time.

    but that’s past now. I’m back on the road with a new bike and a new helmet(!!!!) and I’m not going back to driving anytime soon (I used to own a car).