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NYC Cyclist Deaths: NYPD Cracks Down On Drivers, Expert Says Real Problem Is Reckless Bike Riders, Proposes License Plates For Bikes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD is launching a bicycle safety program, cracking down on drivers in response to a surge in cyclist deaths.

Some say it's not enough however, because the real problem is a failure to crack down on the city's growing bike bedlam.

Driving in a bike lane costs about $138 plus two points on your license. Drivers regularly pay the price; getting pulled over and ticketed.

"We write cars that park in the bike lanes as well as driving in the bike lane," Sgt. Patrick Wilkens of the 19th Precinct said.

"Disobeying the pavement markings and failing to yield to bicyclists when making turns."

But as the cops on this crackdown against cars saw with their own eyes, street safety is not just about bad drivers – it's about careless bike riders too.

With officers standing right there watching, CBS2 cameras caught riders blowing through red lights…

bike red light
A biker goes through a red light right in front of NYPD officers. (Credit: CBS2)

Going the wrong way down streets…

bike wrong way
A biker is caught going the wrong way in a New York City bike lane. (Credit: CBS2)

One cyclists was so distracted by his cell phone that he went through a red light and nearly got hit by a car door.

bike texting
A biker goes through a red light while texting and is nearly hit by a car door. (Credit: CBS2)

Fifteen cyclists have been killed so far this year; more than the 10 killed in all of 2018.

CBS2 urban affairs analyst Mark Peters says a driver crackdown is important, but not enough.

"We also need a system for cracking down on dangerous behavior by bicycle riders," Peters explained.

"Insist on putting license plates on bicycles which would then allow the police or pedestrians or anyone else to track unsafe behavior," the former chief of the city's Department of Investigation added.

"If there's a plate on the back on the bicycle you can call 911."

With all the red light and speed cameras in the city. Bike riders could be ticketed even if a cop isn't there t pull them over.

"If you put plates on the back of bicycles that gives you a way to force safe behavior."

"They're a little too crazy, go too fast, they don't look for you getting out of a cab, I've almost been hit," New Yorker Tammy Parks told CBS2.

"I think that's a great idea I love it," she added when asked about Peters' idea.

"Good idea… my car has a license plate," Steve Thomas said.

"Good idea, we get tickets for parking so why can't they get tickets for bikes?" Queens driver Brian Wade added.

Mayor de Blasio is not a fan of putting license plates on bikes. A spokesman for the mayor claimed there's no data to indicate that forcing people to register bikes would make the streets safer.

There is probably just as little data on how bikers would be motivated to change their irresponsible behavior after receiving a pricey ticket from the NYPD.

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