You’d be hard-pressed to find an urban cyclist who hasn’t run a red light on a deserted street, pedaled the wrong way down a one-way street, or sailed past stop signs once in a while.
These are, of course, ticket-worthy offenses, but is it possible for police to take them too far?
One Brooklyn cyclist claims he was hit with a $1,555 ticket for running three red lights in a row. It’s not why he was ticketed that has us stumped, but how.
The cyclist, who asked the Gothamist to keep his name anonymous, says the officer admitted to following him the entire time before deciding to pull him over after the third light.
In total, he was charged $190 for the first light, $375 for the second, and $940 for the third. The headphones cost him another $50.
Sure, he was guilty, but we can’t imagine a driver being followed for that long while a cop tallied up his traffic violations.
“This kind of following almost never happens with motorists,” attorney Steve Vaccaro told the Gothamist. “But happens surprisingly often with cyclists.”
The Grist’s Sarah Laskow was even surprised.
“The enmity between cyclists and cops in New York has been well documented, but this encounter doesn’t sound as contentious as it could have been,” she writes. “Still, $1,555 is way, way more than drivers end up paying for, say, driving really, really fast on streets where children live.”
The takeaway? Think twice before pleading guilty to duplicative traffic violations, like this cyclist did. Chances are you can convince a judge to drop the dupes if you protest the ticket face-to-face.