Queens cyclists are riding out of court scot-free because of ticket-writing errors
Cops are routinely using the wrong administrative code on citations issued to bikers who ride on the sidewalk, and the tickets are being tossed by the court, sources said.
Judge Cesar Quinones said he has no choice but to throw the tickets out, because the portion of the citation that requires the infraction code is either left blank or filled in with a “B” — an administrative code subdivision that falls under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Control Board, not the city court system.
The correct city administrative code is 19-176 (c).
On a recent day in court, Quinones told a bike offender who came in about a ticket, “I have to dismiss this. These charges are not returnable.”
“Don’t ride your bike on the sidewalk,” said Quinones — who issued the same stern warning to other defendants who had the technically defective summons.
There were 25,000 tickets issued citywide last year for sidewalk bike riding, which carries penalties up of to $100, according to city records. Overall, more than 110,000 summons last year were deemed defective or dismissed for insufficient information.
There are 41 authorized agencies that wrote over 510,000 summons in the city last year. Riding a bike on a sidewalk was the third most-written, according to the figures. (The most-written offense, open container, accounted for 120,000 of the total citations.)
New York City raked in nearly $9 million in summons fine payments last year, according to a 2012 NYC Criminal Court report. Queens contributed $1.2 million of the total.
Defective tickets go to a review board.“Ninety percent of the bike summonses that come through the review board are thrown out,” a source said. “The city is probably losing thousands of dollars a year because of an incorrect code. A spokeswoman for the Environmental Control Board said it received a total of 32 tickets related to the administrative codes covering bike riding and referred questions about enforcement activities to the NYPD and Department of Transportation.
The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.