While I don't normally handle bike tickets, this one I couldn’t
wait to handle. Here is why….
Our client, a NYC bike messenger, was hit by a truck on Hudson Street in
Manhattan. (Full disclosure, we are also representing him for injuries
sustained in the crash).
Did the responding officer issue a summons to the truck driver who crushed
the cyclist’s foot? Nope, while lying in the ambulance the lovely
officer handed our client a summons for failure to utilize an available
bike lane. Here is why I got the ticket dismissed.
1.) In New York, an officer must actually witness the violation occur in
order to issue a summons.
2.) In NYC, you can leave a bike lane in order to prepare to make a turn
at an approaching street.
The Statute is as follows: Section 4-12 of the City Rules Regarding the
use of Bike Lanes:
(2) Bicycle riders to use bicycle lanes. Whenever a usable path or lane
for bicycles has been provided, bicycle riders shall use such path or
lane, only except under any of the following situations:
a. When preparing for a turn at an intersection or into a private road
b. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including but not limited
to, fixed or moving objects, motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, pushcarts,
animals, surface hazards) that make it unsafe to continue within such
bicycle path or lane.
Last month I appeared at the NYC Traffic Violations Court with my client
in lower Manhattan. It was now my chance to call this cop out on this B.S.
Out of the box she conceded that she did not witnesses the crash but responded
at least 10 minutes after it occurred. She didn’t know if the truck
or bike were moved before her arrival at the scene.
She wasn’t aware of any witnesses to the crash and the cyclist made
no admissions to her as to whether or not he was in the bike lane when
struck. Although she testified the crash occurred mid-block, when I showed
her the police report she prepared in relation to the crash, she conceded
the crash occurred at the actual intersection and not mid-block.
The approaching intersection where the cyclist intended to turn was a one
way street for which the cyclist would need to leave the bike lane in
order to enter. She agreed that the NYC Admin. Code allows a cyclist to
leave the bike lane in order to make a turn. She never asked the cyclists
if it was his intention to turn at the intersection.
After a 10 minute cross-examination of the officer the Administration Law
Judge dismissed the ticket entirely.
I wished the officer a happy New Year and my client and I left the Court
House feeling justice has been served.