Monday, December 5, 2011

Prospect Park - toeing the line and avoiding tickets.

The Prospect Park Peloton listserv has been actively discussing safety issues and recent enforcement strategies in Prospect Park.  Long and short: if you ride in Prospect Park, obey the vehicular road rules.  Among other things, that means stopping for red lights, and yielding to pedestrians ALWAYS.

Brooklyn Cyclist Daniel Wiener posted this note.  If you ride in the park, you're well advised to read and respect it.  And yield to pedestrians.

2a. Park Enforcement - What I've learned Posted by: "Daniel P Wiener" Fri Dec 2, 2011 9:13 am (PST)
I have had a conversation with an old and good friend of mine who is very high up in the parks hierarchy and here's what he told me about the current situation in PP. . What's happening in PP is almost identical to what happened in Central Park four years ago. At that time, there were some bike/pedestrian accidents around 79th Street and the West Side as cyclists got a lot of speed coming down the long descent from the North. . The issue in PP, if you haven't been paying attention, is near the base of the hill on the South end, where there is a playground on the right-hand side of the road-hence the orange barrels as an attempt slow people down and make them more aware. . The Parks Dept. says that two bike/pedestrian accidents is the trigger. That, and of course, being sued by one of the women who was hit. A couple of other things. Much as you and I will argue this until we are blue in the face, bikes are considered vehicles and we are subject to vehicular laws even if cars and other vehicles are prevented from being in the park. We are vehicles. So, the speed limit in the park is 25 mph. Go faster than that, and you can get a ticket. Vehicle laws also say that the vehicle must ALWAYS yield to pedestrians. Even if the pedestrian is wearing headphones, walking forward while looking backward, darting out from behind a trash barrel or tree, playing touch football in the road, whatever-WE MUST YIELD. As vehicles we will NEVER be in the right. To that end, the enforcement is going to be very harsh on all crosswalks. It will be up to the individual police whether they issue summonses for going through the red lights, but the red lights will remain "a tool" (as my friend said) that they can use if they want to crack down. The summonses we/you will see will most likely be "failure to yield" and "running a red light" summonses. What does this mean? Essentially, if you are riding and there is ANYONE in a crosswalk, even if you are in the right lane and they are all the way over the in the left lane, you can and will be summonsed for "failure to yield." Read this sentence again. The crosswalks are the flash points-period! In particular, the police are going to be very, very observant of those wearing full racing kits-the more they match, the more you will stand out. I might behoove everyone to buy a couple pair of black tights, black jackets, or whatever, so that you blend in. Wanna wear your kits? Fine. But just know that you are going to be a moving target. Ultimately, according to my buddy, the PD and Parks are going to be looking for this to go away. No more close calls, no more yelling "get the f. out of the way!," no more speeds over 25 mph, and hopefully, no more bike/pedestrian clashes. For those of you old enough to remember Hill Street Blues, the opening scene of the police roll call always ended with Sergeant Phil Esterhuas telling his guys "Hey, let's be careful out there." For you nostalgia types . DPW

The rules for pedestrians was posted from "begawk1" (who?).  This is worth knowing, but realize that peds rule the roost on NYC streets. 4-04 PEDESTRIANS (a) Pedestrians subject to traffic rules, except as otherwise provided herein. Pedestrians shall be subject to traffic control signals and pedestrian control signals as provided in ??4-03 (a) and 4-03(b) of these rules and to the lawful orders and directions of any law enforcement officer, but at all other places pedestrians shall be accorded the privileges and shall be subject to the restrictions stated in this section. (b) Right of way in crosswalks. (1) Operators to yield to pedestrians in crosswalk. When traffic control signals or pedestrian control signals are not in place or not in operation, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is in the path of the vehicle or is approaching so closely thereto as to be in danger. (2) Pedestrians shall not cross in front of oncoming vehicles. Notwithstanding the provisions of (1) of this subdivision (b), no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the operator to yield. (3) Vehicles stopped for pedestrians. Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the operator of any other vehicle approaching from the rear in the same or adjacent lanes shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle. (c) Restrictions on crossings. (1) No pedestrian shall enter or cross a roadway at any point where signs, fences, barriers, or other devices are erected to prohibit or restrict such crossing or entry. (2) No pedestrian shall cross any roadway at an intersection except within a crosswalk. (3) No pedestrian shall cross a roadway except at a crosswalk on any block in which traffic control signals are in operation at both intersections bordering the block. (d) Operators to exercise due care. Notwithstanding other provisions of these rules, the operator of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian. (e) Hitch-hiking and soliciting prohibited.

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Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2011 Robert Matson

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