The current NYPD ticketing blitz of cyclists in Central Park has essentially taken away our right to recreationally cycle in the park.
Being made to stop for red lights in an empty park, no matter the hour or traffic density, is irrational, eliminating the park for recreational cycling.
New York Cycle Club advocates safe and responsible cycling. We urge Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD to find a solution that allows safe recreational cyclists to use Central Park without harassment or fear of ticketing when the park is closed to car traffic.
We write today to express our serious concerns regarding the current NYPD enforcement policy of traffic laws in Central Park as they apply to cyclists. We request a more rational and effective strategy for encouraging safe recreation on the loop drive.
For cyclists in New York City, Central Park is a vital recreational resource.
NYPD’s current approach to the enforcement of traffic laws in Central Park, with tickets given to cyclists no matter the hour or density of traffic, effectively eliminates the park as a destination for recreational cycling and undermines the goal of encouraging safe recreation on the loop drive.
If the goal of NYPD’s efforts in Central Park is to positively impact park user behavior, then it is logical to target the most dangerous offenses by all park users. To that end, we agree that outreach and targeted education at the most dangerous and crowded locations in the loop makes sense. Our organizations have long-standing educational programs for members that strongly reinforce the kind of intense focus we place on cycling safety.
However, massively ticketing Central Park cyclists during car-free hours does little to increase park safety. What it will do is make cyclists feel unjustly harassed, unfairly singled out and, ultimately, discourage safe recreational riding in the park.
If encouraging safety is the objective, let us work together to educate every park user to embrace civility and the rules as they apply to everyone – walkers, runners, and cyclists alike.
We urge you to amend the current approach being taken in implementing this crackdown. We hope that you will agree to meet with us to find a solution that encourages the safe recreational use of the park for everyone.
New York Cycle Club