Just when I thought I’d seen it all, the NYPD managed to surprise me once again. If you would like to ride your bike in Central Park, but were unsure what the speed limit is, you can easily find it on the Official Central Park website where it clearly states, “Cyclists are required to obey all traffic laws, such as traffic signals, stop signs, and a maximum speed limit of 25 mph,” which is the same speed limit for cars in the park.
Recently the NYPD has been doing a great job of inventing their own laws concerning bicycles (never mind that whole bit about how they “enforce the law, and don’t make it”): last month it was riding a bike without a helmet tickets (not illegal by the way). Yesterday they set up a speed trap and radar gun at the bottom of a hill to ticket cyclists going in excess of 15 mph. But wait — how can that be if the legal speed limit is 25mph? But the law is the law! Well, not really, when it comes to cops.
“One rider Cyclist Greg Lowdermilk, a disabled Iraq war veteran who works for FEMA, told the Gothamist he got hit with a $140 speeding ticket. “The speed limit is actually 25 mph, and I got a ticket for going 25 in a 25,”
There seems to be some confusion about what the speed limit really is, as you can see in the sign on the right. If a person is cruising past this sign at any speed, it is not easy to quickly see that 15mph is the maximum speed allowed. I couldn’t at find it at first either.
So which is it — 15 or 25 mph? According to Councilperson Brewer, Captain Wishnia informed Mr. Blonsky that there will be no more ticketing in Central Park for speeding, due to the fact that the speed limit for bicycles is indeed 25mph.
Amazingly, the NYPD paid a visit to the home of David Regen, one of a dozen who received a ticket. “They said, ‘We’re here because we’re withdrawing your ticket because we feel you were treated unfairly.'” However, it appears the ticket wasn’t withdrawn with regard to speed. It was because the NYPD wrote the wrong tickets.
While the tickets were issued for violating the limit in the park, all but one of the 10 citations ordered the defendants to appear in traffic court, Inspector Royster said. The tickets should have been answerable in Criminal Court, because it was a violation of parks department regulations, she said.
With all the crime in NYC, it is truly amazing that these officers really have nothing better to do that stand in Central Park ticketing (and indeed harassing) people riding their bikes appropriately and legally. Although, I suppose it is possible that I’m wrong, and in fact, NYC Mayor Bloomberg successfully eliminated all crime in the Big Apple, and this really is the best use of all these extra officers’ time, who would otherwise be standing around with nothing to do.