By Amy Zimmer
DNAinfo News Editor
MANHATTAN — Following complaints from bike advocates about a ticket blitz hitting cyclists in Central Park — with more than 230 summonses issued so far this year — three City Council members are taking up their cause.
Ydanis Rodriguez, Gale Brewer and Vincent Gentile will introduce legislation on Wednesday to change Central Park's traffic lights into flashing yellow lights during the park's car-free hours. The change would allow cyclists to proceed through intersections with caution, rather than waiting for the light to change to green before proceeding.
Advocates are looking for solutions to keep the park a place for cyclists to exercise amid its yearly 35 million visitors — a mix of dog walkers, pedestrians, rollerbladers and others — who currently battle one another over space on the asphalt.
The Department of Transportation has voiced disapproval for the blinking-yellow light proposal, citing public safety concerns for crossing pedestrians.
Cyclists praised the proposal, citing a recent ticket crackdown by the NYPD that they say unfairly targets bike riders while ignoring lawbreaking behavior by motorists.
Witnesses reportedly saw police with radar guns targeting cyclists on the west side of the park at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Gothamist reported.
There were two black unmarked police cars and approximately six police officers in the roadway, blocking off more than a full lane of traffic, according to bike advocate Guido Gabriele III.
"I saw a few cyclists get pulled over for running red lights directly in front of the officers," he said in an email. "It's clear that these people had no idea that they were supposed to stop at the lights — otherwise, why break the law in front of a police officer?"
Gabriele has collected more than 1,500 signatures on a petition for a blinking yellow light proposal.
Dave Jordan of the Century Road Club Association told Gothamist that roughly seven cyclists received speeding tickets for biking over 15 mph.
According to the Central Park Conservancy's website, the maximum speed for cyclists is 25 mph.