The Bike Threat

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To the Editor:

Bunny Abraham says, “[N]ot only should bikers…have some type of lighting so that they can be seen in the dark…but I also feel they should be licensed as motorcycles so they can be identified” (letter, May 21).

Actually, there is already a law that all  bikers must have both a working front light and front and back reflectors when riding at night. Although bikes cannot be licensed “as motorcycles” (since they are not motorized and are not required to be parked on the street), and although it is highly unlikely that civilian bikers will ever be licensed, there are plans afoot to license delivery bikes.

Ms. Abraham continues, “I received a letter from the Deputy Inspector [of the 20th Precinct] stating that…in 2008, 240 summonses were handed out to those riding on sidewalks.” Actually, the actual number of bike summonses written in 2008 was 667 (fully 50 percent more than Ms. Abraham states).

She adds, “I only wish the police were around every time it happens to me and to the elderly woman I know who recovered from a concussion because of an unlawful biker.”

Although Ms. Abraham’s lament is understandable, the question is simply one of resources. And the available resources that any particular precinct  does have must deal with both “serious” crimes (robberies, burglaries, etc.) and quality of life crimes (bike issues, noise, graffiti, etc.). As an aside, the 20th Precinct is actually particularly keen on the bike issue because our precinct had the very first fatality of a pedestrian hit by a biker riding on the sidewalk—and that is a constant reminder of the reality of the issue for our precinct.

The 20th Precinct is doing whatever it can with its available resources to deal with bike issues and goes the extra mile whenever it can. But it is unrealistic to expect that, even with  increased enforcement, the problem is going to be solved to the complete satisfaction of Ms. Abraham or anyone else who rightly expresses this particular concern.


Upper West Side
The writer is vice president of the 20th Precinct Community Council.

Letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity.

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