July 1, 2015 By Christian Murray
The 108th Precinct has been targeting law-breaking bicyclists.
The precinct–which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City—issued 352 bicycle summonses over the past 28 days, compared to just three for the same period a year ago.
The summonses were for a range of offences—such as going through red lights, riding against traffic and failure to adhere to a multitude of road rules.
Captain John Travaglia, the commanding officer of the 108 precinct, said that 560 bicycle summonses have been issued in the precinct year to date, up from 75 for the same six-month period last year. He said the number also included wayward bicycle delivery people.
Travaglia said the clamp down is partly the result of adhering to Vision Zero, a concept that aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero.
He said that the precinct has yet to have any traffic fatalities so far this year and that this push is to help minimize deaths.
“We have all witnessed it,” Travaglia said. “Some bicyclists are like dare devils; they go through red lights fast and yet they don’t know what is coming.”
He said that he has been targeting bicyclists just like motorist to reduce injuries and fatalities.
However, Travaglia recognized that there are two sides to the problem. “Many bicyclists just try and do their thing and there are cars that impede on their bicycle lanes.”
Travaglia said that the enforcement has been taking place throughout the command and particularly at accident prone locations where both bicycles and motorists are ticketed. These include stretches of Queens Blvd., Roosevelt Avenue, Broadway, Van Dam Street and Vernon blvd.
The bicycle advocacy group Transportation Alternatives warned its members on a June 22 Facebook post that the NYPD was cracking down on cyclists in Long Island City.
“While it is great that the NYPD is enforcing VisionZero it is very disappointing that after years and years of lax enforcement over drivers of motor vehicles, who have been responsible for virtually all of the deaths and serious injuries of pedestrians and cyclists, the NYPD is focusing valuable resources on a group that is disproportionately the victims of reckless driving.”
However, Travaglia said that 500 summonses are not that many given the number of bicycles that are now on the road. He said that he plans to maintain the level of enforcement just like with vehicles.
Meanwhile, the number of reported crimes has dropped considerably in the precinct year to date—down nearly 24 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
Crime has fallen across the board, with the number of reported burglaries down nearly 28 percent compared to a year ago. The number of reported robberies and grand larcencies are both, respectively, down about 35 percent. The only significant increase has been the in number of reported rapes, up from 6 at this time last year to 10 in 2015.
In terms of crime overall, “We are having a fantastic year,” Travaglia said. “This is a great trend.”