Midtown Manhattan, NY Patch)
A 72-year-old man was killed Monday while riding his bike on Eighth Avenue. Cops responded by ticketing cyclists in the area.
By Brendan Krisel, Patch National Staff | Feb 7, 2019 6:38 pm ET | Updated Feb 8, 2019 11:32 am ET
MIDTOWN MANHATTAN, NY — In the days following a hit-and-run that left a 72-year-old cyclist dead in Midtown, police haven’t caught the driver behind the wheel of the truck the struck and killed the man. Instead, cops have been busy ticketing cyclists in the area.
Officers from the NYPD’s Midtown North precinct have set up stings on intersections in Midtown and Hell’s Kitchen to drive up enforcement on bike infractions. Police were spotted ticketing in West 45th Street and Eighth Avenue on Wednesday, two days after cyclist Joseph Chaim was killed there, and again on West 46th Street and Ninth Avenue on Thursday.
Chana Widawski, a Hell’s Kitchen resident who works as an organizer with the Families For Safe Streets, said she saw a police officer shove a man off his bicycle Thursday afternoon.
“As soon as I made my way up the street I saw the officer literally push this gentleman off his bicycle. He shoved the gentleman to make him fall off his bicycle,” Widawski told Patch.
Widawski, who posted a video of the aftermath of the shove on Twitter, said that police ticketed people at the intersection for failing to use a bike lane. A biker herself, Widawski said the Ninth Avenue bike lane is often “almost always full of people and further up on Ninth Avenue it’s in a terrible state of disrepair.”
Widawski said she wasn’t “surprised” to see police officers ticketing cyclists days after one was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run, but that she considers it an “outrageous” waste of limited police resources.
The advocacy group Transportation Alternatives is planning a Friday afternoon rally to protest the bike crackdown, a spokesman for the group said. The rally will be held at 4 p.m. at the Midtown North precinct house on West 56th Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues.
A request for comment sent to the NYPD was not immediately returned. This article will be updated if Patch hears back.
Another cyclist took to Twitter Wednesday to say he was ticketed for failing to wear a helmet, which is not a violation unless a cyclist is younger than 14 years old.
“Because of a recent fatal accident, Officer Gutwein (no joke) just gave me a $50 fine. They had to look up the way to fill out the form b/c they NEVER issue these tickets normally,” the cyclist said on Twitter.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson responded to the cyclist on Twitter and asked to see a photo of the ticket. The speaker later said on Twitter: “I have asked the NYPD and the cyclist involved for the facts on what happened here, but if true, this is not how we should be protecting pedestrians and cyclists.”
Joseph Chaim, 72,was riding his bike through the intersection of West 45th Street and Eight Avenue around 6 a.m. Monday when he was hit by a truck attempting a left turn, police said. The vehicle left the scene of the collision, police said.
EMS rushed Chaim to Bellevue Hospital where he was pronounced dead, an NYPD spokesman said.
There have been 20 traffic injuries at the intersection of West 45th Street and Eighth avenue in the past five years, according to city vision zero data. Monday morning’s collision is the first fatality at the intersection since 2009, according to the data.