NYC cyclist fined for not using bike lane uses slapstick humour to prove his point (+ video)

NYPD officer (wrongly) insists cyclists must always stick to bike lane; here's why they shouldn't

by Simon_MacMichael   June 9, 2011  

NYC Bike Lane still Casey Neistat on YouTube.jpg

It’s fair to say that 'LOL' is among the more overused TLAs – sorry, three letter acronyms – thrown about on the internet. But a video posted to YouTube by a New York City cyclist fined for not riding in the bike lane does provide some truly ‘laughing out loud’ moments as he uses slapstick humour to reinforce the point he made to the NYPD officer ticketing him that the bike lane isn’t always the safest place to be.

Not that the officer was having any of it – he went ahead and issued the summons, telling the cyclist, Casey Neistat, that he faced a fine of anywhere between $10 and $130, despite the rider pointing out that the driver of a nearby vehicle parked in a bus lane wasn’t being given similar treatment.

As it turned out, he was fined $50 despite the minor detail that not riding in a bike lane isn’t actually against the law in the first place. Casey seemed to accept his fate with good humour while being ticketed, with the police officer adopting an ‘I’m just doing my job’ style of approach while telling him he always needed to use the bike lane. But you can see why there's often tension between New York’s finest and the city’s cyclists.

It’s after the ticket is issued that the real fun starts, however, with Casey putting himself in a variety of situations where he comes off his bike after encountering obstacles on the bike lane. We wouldn’t be surprised if he suffered a bit of road rash while making his point, not to mention coming uncomfortably close to whacking his head on the odd bit of street furniture.


 

23 user comments

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Nice that the policeman couldn't even be bothered to get out of his car and was presumably blocking the bike lane as he ticketed the guy.

I hate the perception that if there is provision it's illegal to do other than use it, particularly with the rubbish lanes we have. I note Julie Burchill was harping on again about it today and how Brighton is awash with excellent bike lanes but people ride on the pavement. Now I deplore riding on the pavement but living not far from Brighton I can confirm that some of the provision is interesting to say the least. Sad also that she writes for the Independent which has been on our side and quite vocal recently.

Shut up legs

slow-cyclo's picture

posted by slow-cyclo [74 posts]
9th June 2011 - 9:14

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Very funny at the same time as making a good point.

Not quite sure what to make of what looks like a machete hanging below the press pass in the video clip... (Left hand side of the frame in the close-up shot of the radio whilst Casey's speaking on the radio.) Perhaps a backup option to get his point across if this video doesn't do it..?

posted by Celeste08 [37 posts]
9th June 2011 - 9:37

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Having had one ticket myself in London, fined £30, I personally would not stop again and cooperate with the police. If they are in a patrol car, it's unlikely that they would be able to catch you even if they gave chase.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
9th June 2011 - 9:53

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Nice stunts - really, I'm amazed at the number of tumbles he takes, apparently willingly.

I hope he has someone to re-true his front wheel too.

@slow-cyclo. Of all the things that cyclists have to worry about, a Julie Birchill column in the Indy is pretty low down on the list.

Is it about a bicycle ?

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posted by abudhabiChris [450 posts]
9th June 2011 - 9:58

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Agreed Chris but it's sad that a paper which has an editorial line which backs cyclists doesn't encourage it's columnists to engage with cyclists. Mind you I guess that's what happens if it truly is "independent" Big Grin

Shut up legs

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posted by slow-cyclo [74 posts]
9th June 2011 - 12:01

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On a related but slightly skewed thread I think I'm about ready to give up on worrying/arguing for cycling with the media and great u washed. This last Tuesday saw the Halfords Tour Series hit the mean (dirty) street of Hanley Stoke on Trent. I went straight from work so that I could watch the ladies race at 17:30. I almost went home. The abuse the crossing marshalls were getting was horrendous and as for people's ability to work out the best way to cross the road in the short amounts of time available between riders passing was baffling.

In the end why bother? From now on I shall ride my bikes when and how I like. "We're never going to win the battle of the bike". I'm not going to get wound up by people being anti-bike (or at least rise to their out pourings).

And relax! Crying

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posted by bikeandy61 [349 posts]
9th June 2011 - 12:14

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londonplayer wrote:
Having had one ticket myself in London, fined £30, I personally would not stop again and cooperate with the police. If they are in a patrol car, it's unlikely that they would be able to catch you even if they gave chase.

Yep. With you on that one. Wonder if a police bicycle chase would make 'Police Camera Action'?

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posted by timlennon [225 posts]
9th June 2011 - 12:35

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Tim, based on my previous experience of being fined for jumping a zebra crossing (long story, I usually always stop for pedestrians), a Met Police officer was shouting at me as if I had just committed murder. He accepted my excuse but then gave me a ticket in any case.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
9th June 2011 - 12:51

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londonplayer wrote:
Having had one ticket myself in London, fined £30, I personally would not stop again and cooperate with the police. If they are in a patrol car, it's unlikely that they would be able to catch you even if they gave chase.

The fine wasn't cycle-lane related?

posted by Mat Brett [1585 posts]
9th June 2011 - 12:55

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Mat, just waiting for that one.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
9th June 2011 - 13:19

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ha ha brilliant!

posted by Karbon Kev [611 posts]
9th June 2011 - 15:54

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Last year I was knocked off while in a lane in the busy metropolis know as Torbay, a car decided to pull across without checking, nothing new there then I hear you say! Needless to say its all now in the hands of the solicitors (how else am I meant to pay £7,500 quids worth of dentists bills?). So anyway, I keep well away from those stupid lanes now, much to the annoyance of the car drivers, who seem to get quite vocal about the fact I'm not in them.

Alex

posted by a1exhall [3 posts]
10th June 2011 - 16:21

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Cycle lanes are s*it in the UK, not that they are that much better in NYC but at least the tarmac is flat and void (mostly) of pot holes. Having spent some time in Manhattan the main offender as the video outlines, is people just sticking stuff in the way. It pains me to say it, but I think only until cyclists are asked to pay some kind of road tax will it change, it's basically a best endeavors type situation at the moment, and although i don't agree with it, paying to use pot holed and uneven roads constantly obstructed by other traffic is not an option, thus leaving us with what we have now.

I never cycle in cycle lanes, just because they are too narrow in most cases, too pot holed and they stop randomly at any given point. They aren't thought out or upheld in anyway. Cycle lanes mixed with pedestrian traffic is better maintained but is just a visit to A&E waiting to happen.

I'd be interested to know if cycle lanes are governed by the same highways agency that maintain the roads, and by designating it a cycle zone does that then relinquish any maintenance agreements from the hands of the highways agency. It would make sense, as they always seems to be pot holed, huge uneven dips and rife with unfinished tarmac. Ride on the road, a safe distance from the kerb on flat ride-able tarmac a safe distance from the door zone, and that's all you can do

The simple fact that NYC has seen rise in bikes has then seen police tactics change, gathering as much city money as they can from the new kids on the block

Cervelo S1, Zipp 404, SRAM Rival/Force, Rotor crankset and Vittoria.

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posted by stuartpeck1 [98 posts]
11th June 2011 - 9:46

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stuartpeck1 wrote:
I'd be interested to know if cycle lanes are governed by the same highways agency that maintain the roads, and by designating it a cycle zone does that then relinquish any maintenance agreements from the hands of the highways agency. It would make sense, as they always seems to be pot holed, huge uneven dips and rife with unfinished tarmac. Ride on the road, a safe distance from the kerb on flat ride-able tarmac a safe distance from the door zone, and that's all you can do

No, designating it a cycle zone does not change which highway authority (highways agency or local council) is responsible for maintaining it. Many local council transport plans even say they will prioritise repairs to cycle lanes. As far as I know, government does not hold them to account for failing to do so and local citizens cannot hold them to account for it, except at an election where such things get lost in the great mish-mash of issues.

It's quite tempting to explore resurfacing roads ourselves, but I expect the highway authority would want tons of paperwork and fees and/or claim the public was damaging "the public highway" by repairing it!

posted by a.jumper [603 posts]
11th June 2011 - 12:04

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In the UK, as I understand it, if it's a solid white line between the cycle lane and the rest of the road, you must use it; if it's dashed, then it's optional.
But since they're normally full of gravel, glass, bits of wing mirrors, gratings, holes, etc. I don't use them anyway. In fact I can't remember ever seeing one with a solid white line...

posted by nivagh [51 posts]
11th June 2011 - 16:09

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No no no no. If it's a solid white line between the cycle lane and the rest of the road, cars MUST NOT use it; if it's dashed, then it's optional. Cyclists don't have to use any of them, especially the crap ones. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/DG_070308 for drivers (rule 140, note the bold type) and http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/DG_069837 for cyclists (rule 63, note the lack of bold type).

posted by a.jumper [603 posts]
12th June 2011 - 12:08

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londonplayer wrote:
I personally would not stop again and cooperate with the police. If they are in a patrol car, it's unlikely that they would be able to catch you even if they gave chase.

I know a guy sent to jail for the very reason of not stopping his bike for a police.

Big old American cops might not have the endurance but all the coffee and doughnuts gives them short bursts of speed. (I suppose steroids might also have something to do with it).

So, whilst making his evasions, my buddy rode past this foot patrolman who ran up and rugby tackled him.

Once on the asphalt, he was flipped like a fish onto his stomach and then stood on. He still had his helmet on and he got chicken necked by the chin strap. He had a bad rope burn and sore muscles for days afterwards. Lucky they didn't break his neck, dudes were so amped up.

He was carted away for resisting arrest, (and ignoring the stop sign) and wound up in the general population of the local city jail for the night.

posted by Viro Indovina [74 posts]
13th June 2011 - 11:53

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a.jumper wrote:
No no no no. If it's a solid white line between the cycle lane and the rest of the road, cars MUST NOT use it; if it's dashed, then it's optional.

So folks, don't ride in dashed cycle lanes as you may find yourself run over by motorists who have the option to kill you or not. Optional !? They're a foot and a half wide at best, you'd have to be driving pretty close to the edge to be in one.

There's cycle lane on one of the roads into Dursley, it's quite a busy road and the cycle lane just vanishes into the pavement after about 100 metres, causing you to have to merge into traffic. What a waste of time, the paperwork, the contractors, the disruption to the people using the road, all for something that appears for less than 30 seconds of bike riding. Proof that most cycle lanes are a marketing 'gesture' from the government and not a proven, safe means of getting around.

Cervelo S1, Zipp 404, SRAM Rival/Force, Rotor crankset and Vittoria.

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posted by stuartpeck1 [98 posts]
13th June 2011 - 15:34

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stuartpeck1 wrote:
Cycle lanes are s*it in the UK, not that they are that much better in NYC but at least the tarmac is flat and void (mostly) of pot holes. Having spent some time in Manhattan the main offender as the video outlines, is people just sticking stuff in the way. It pains me to say it, but I think only until cyclists are asked to pay some kind of road tax will it change, it's basically a best endeavors type situation at the moment, and although i don't agree with it, paying to use pot holed and uneven roads constantly obstructed by other traffic is not an option, thus leaving us with what we have now.

I never cycle in cycle lanes, just because they are too narrow in most cases, too pot holed and they stop randomly at any given point. They aren't thought out or upheld in anyway. Cycle lanes mixed with pedestrian traffic is better maintained but is just a visit to A&E waiting to happen.

I'd be interested to know if cycle lanes are governed by the same highways agency that maintain the roads, and by designating it a cycle zone does that then relinquish any maintenance agreements from the hands of the highways agency. It would make sense, as they always seems to be pot holed, huge uneven dips and rife with unfinished tarmac. Ride on the road, a safe distance from the kerb on flat ride-able tarmac a safe distance from the door zone, and that's all you can do

The simple fact that NYC has seen rise in bikes has then seen police tactics change, gathering as much city money as they can from the new kids on the block

Bit puzzled why cyclists should even have to consider paying road tax when motorists don't pay it either.

whizz kid

posted by whizzkid [62 posts]
15th June 2011 - 9:40

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whizzkid wrote:

Bit puzzled why cyclists should even have to consider paying road tax when motorists don't pay it either.

That's a rather general sweeping statement is it not? Much the same why cyclists get tarred with "You're *all* lycra louts" which clearly isn't true either.

The majority of motorists pay, i drive and i pay road tax as i'm sure a lot of other people here do. My point was just to suggest that by putting both motorists and cyclists on an equal playing field would hopefully mean a similar service on the roads and motorists giving cyclists more respect as an equal road user

Cervelo S1, Zipp 404, SRAM Rival/Force, Rotor crankset and Vittoria.

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posted by stuartpeck1 [98 posts]
15th June 2011 - 11:21

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stuartpeck1 wrote:
So folks, don't ride in dashed cycle lanes as you may find yourself run over by motorists who have the option to kill you or not. Optional !? They're a foot and a half wide at best, you'd have to be driving pretty close to the edge to be in one.

I meant it's optional if it's empty! You're never meant to drive into any other road users, although some people seem to forget that...

I agree about the general poor state of cycle lanes. 1.5m general width is unusually wide, instead of the minimum. Ending by sweeping into a high kerb or simply vanishing across a junction is sadly common.

posted by a.jumper [603 posts]
15th June 2011 - 12:39

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stuartpeck1 wrote:
whizzkid wrote:

Bit puzzled why cyclists should even have to consider paying road tax when motorists don't pay it either.

That's a rather general sweeping statement is it not?

The majority of motorists pay, i drive and i pay road tax as i'm sure a lot of other people here do.

No, no you don't.

Nerd You pay vehicle excise duty, the level of charge is based on your vehicle's emissions of CO2.

Band A vehicles (with emissions of less than 100g/km) don't pay VED either.

Also IIRC vehicle registration run by the DVLA is meant to be revenue neutral, ie the cost to keep a database & send out discs is meant to match the revenue received.

Thinking So adding all the bikes & their owners to the database, dishing out a little disc for free, would increase the costs of running the DVLA dramatically, which would have to be recouped from charging the drivers that pay VED more.

That's not really a sure fire way of cyclists gaining respect for 'paying their way'

posted by tarquin_foxglove [50 posts]
15th June 2011 - 12:41

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tarquin_foxglove wrote:

That's not really a sure fire way of cyclists gaining respect for 'paying their way'

My point was to suggest that 'a tax', revenue from said 'tax' would be plowed back into things like cycle lanes, better car/cycle integration. Maybe setting up some kind of awareness scheme for motorists/cyclists.

As far as car tax bands go, this is true when talking about cars post 2001, which isn't very many years of car building compared with the amount of cars on the road. Prior to this is was just based on engine size, and everyone paid it, or not as the case may be. To the laymen and to white van man abusing you out of his window, it's just road tax. Plain Face

Cervelo S1, Zipp 404, SRAM Rival/Force, Rotor crankset and Vittoria.

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posted by stuartpeck1 [98 posts]
16th June 2011 - 20:28

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