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Cops to crack down on bikers

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Officers at the 112th Precinct will start ticketing the neighborhood’s bikers who break the rules of the road, saying in many cases it is for their own good.

Lt. John Gavan addressed residents at a community council meeting Jan. 19, saying the increased enforcement, through ticketing and public outreach, is part of a citywide effort to stop bad cycling practices.

Many residents have complained about near accidents with delivery drivers from restaurants along Queens Boulevard and Austin Street, but Gavan said the rules apply to anyone on two wheels.

“It’s going to address delivery people,” he said. “But we’re not going to just pick on one type of person. If you’re riding a bike and get a ticket, don’t get mad.”

The stepped-up enforcement will be a benefit to everyone in the neighborhood, according to Heidi Chain, president of the 112th Precinct Community Council.

“It should make it safer for everybody, but also for the bicyclists themselves because a lot of times people get hurt, injured or, God forbid, killed.”

A man riding a motorcycle, although much faster than a bicycle, was killed in Rego Park Jan. 10, according to police.

Chain said there are numerous problem areas, especially around Queens Boulevard, but bicycles with electric motors attached to them have also been causing problems both for pedestrians and the motorists.

“Queens Boulevard has been a problem area with the motorized bicycles,” she said. “They don’t obey the traffic laws.”

And according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, the electric scooters are not even legal.

Chain said cyclists ride against traffic, cruise on the sidewalks and run stop signs and red lights.

But the bikes, whether motorized or not, are required to follow traffic laws, Chain said.

The list of possible offenses includes improper riding, too many riders, failure to obey the traffic rules, no signal devices, driving the wrong way, failure to yield to a pedestrian crossing at the crosswalk and riding on the sidewalk, according to Chain.

But aside from tickets, officers will be handing out another slip of paper.

They will be going to restaurants that employ delivery drivers informing owners, managers and drivers about correct cycling practices and the consequences of breaking them, according to Chain. The idea is to get as much information out to the neighborhood as possible before the ticketing begins.

“Ideally, the more people know that they’re going to be doing the enforcement, the less enforcement they’ll have to do,” Chain said. “People’s behavior can change.”

And if it does not, the NYPD always has more direct measures.

In the nearby 109th Precinct, officers said they would confiscate electric-powered bicycles by patrolling the neighborhood on several unannounced dates and throwing them into the back of a large truck.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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