New York City is treating wayward cyclists the same way a driver who’s racked up one too many DUIs might be: It’s sending them to class to review the basic rules of the road. The New York Times reports:
This spring, the Midtown Community Court began sentencing cyclists who had been issued tickets for certain offenses in and around Midtown Manhattan to a class to learn about bicycles and traffic.
Think remedial driver’s education — for bike riders.
In theory, it’s a reasonable idea: Bikers aren’t required to get a license the way that drivers are, and if they’ve been behaving irresponsibly, well, maybe they don’t know the laws. But a judge also admitted to the Times that it might be the laws’ fault, too: “There are a lot of laws and not always clarity about abiding the law,” she said.
Right — like that the time cops ticketed a New York City cyclist for leaving the bike lane in order to avoid a truck parked in a bike lane. The most common offense among the 30 cyclists who’ve had to go to biker’s ed was riding on the sidewalk — which, who hasn’t?
“It was literally three seconds,” Steve Galiczynski said of his short sidewalk ride to his parking spot on the Upper West Side, witnessed by a police officer. He said he had already spent a day cleaning up trash in Times Square. “This whole thing is nuts. It’s like I’m in a Russian novel — a crazy Russian novel.”
Safety’s important, of course, but it’s not just cyclists that need education about bike laws, it’s the entire city.