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Spike in Tickets to Cyclists on UWS Leads to Drop in Injuries, Police Say

By Emily Frost | September 17, 2015 12:23pm | Updated on September 17, 2015 4:52pm
 An officer pulls over a cyclist in Central Park. Tickets for cyclists in the 24th Precinct went way up last month, police said.
An officer pulls over a cyclist in Central Park. Tickets for cyclists in the 24th Precinct went way up last month, police said.
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DNAinfo/Emily Frost

UPPER WEST SIDE — Police increased the number of tickets they handed out to cyclists by 160 percent last month compared to the same time last year, leading to a drop in injured riders, the NYPD said. 

In August, officers from the 24th Precinct handed out 135 summonses to cyclists for violating bicycle laws — such as running red lights, cycling the wrong way and riding on a sidewalk — up from 52 citations during the same period last year, police said. 

That vigilance is paying off, with 12 injuries from collisions involving a bike or a car last month, compared to 20 during the same period last year, according to the precinct.

When bicyclists run red lights, they could get seriously injured and are putting themselves in "unnecessary harm," said 24th Precinct Capt. Marlon Larin at a meeting Wednesday. 

"I don’t think bicyclists should be able to [run] a red light. A car’s going to win," he said. 

Last month, for example, a cyclist was badly injured running a red light on Riverside Drive and West 95th Street, he said. 

The precinct gets a high volume of calls from residents complaining about cyclists who aren't adhering to the rules of the road, Larin added. 

"We also have to take heed to the complaints we get," he said.

Bike advocate Ken Coughlin, who attended the meeting, urged police not to target cyclists indiscriminately and noted that violations by motorists are more likely to result in serious injuries or death. 

"Every ticket written for a cyclist is a ticket not written for a more dangerous violation... I would urge you to enforce against the truly dangerous violations," he said at the meeting.

Earlier this year, DNAinfo New York found that a police officer in the 20th Precinct, Officer Joshua Vincek, handed out the highest number of cyclist tickets in the city over the past three years. 

Vincek was later given an award by top NYPD officials for his work. 

While some hailed him as a "hero," not everyone agreed that his targeting of cyclists was beneficial to overall street safety.

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