New York Proposes Offering Money to People Who Report Bike-Lane Violations

New York City council members are considering a new proposal that would pay civilians for reporting bike-lane violations to the Department of Transportation.

A bike lane on Sixth Avenue in New York City
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Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A bike lane on Sixth Avenue in New York City

New York City council members are considering a new proposal that would compensate civilians for reporting bike-lane violations.

Bloombergreports the Department of Transportation is reviewing the bill, which would pay individuals who submit evidence of a parking violation 25% of a proposed $175 ticket.

Lincoln Restler, a city council member, says that the New York City Police Department, which has been responsible for monitoring the aforementioned infractions, haven’t been handing out enough tickets.

“I feel the safety risks every day that are associated with illegal parking,” Restler said. “It’s even more problematic for the parent pushing a stroller or a person in a wheelchair who can’t get by on the sidewalk because of illegally parked cars. That’s why we are creating, in this legislation, a new structure to bring real accountability.”

The bill would create a new violation and civil penalty for hazardous obstruction by a vehicle of a bicycle lane, bus lane when bus lane restrictions are in effect, sidewalk, crosswalk, or fire hydrant when such vehicle is located within a radial distance of 1,320 feet of a school building, entrance, or exit.

Such violations would be returnable to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). The proposed legislation would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to create a civilian reporting program where civilians are able to submit complaints and supporting evidence for alleged violations to DOT. 

Sarah Kaufman, interim executive director of the New York University Rudin Center for Transportation, told Bloomberg that giving civilians the power to hold their peers accountable could lead to equity issues.

“Wealthier residents tend to call in more and report issues,” Kaufman explained. “In every city that has a 311 system it tends to be whiter, wealthier residents who are calling.”

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