NEW YORK -- They arrived on bicycles, their preferred mode of transportation, dozens of cyclists, and their supporters – and staged a protest Friday evening in front of the NYPD’s Midtown North precinct station house.
A demand for the department to stop the alleged targeting of men and women of color, and immigrants who primarily ride a bike not for leisure – but for a living – as messengers and food delivery workers.
“These are the victims. they don’t cause the carnage on our streets," said Marco Conner of Transportation Alternatives. "And instead of helping, our mayor, Bill de Blasio initiated a crackdown against them. these are hard working, low wage, immigrant workers."
Just yesterday, cyclist advocates affiliated with the non-profit Transportation Alternatives shot these cell phone photos of what they claim was the aggressive takedown, by NYPD officers, of a cyclist at the northwest corner of West 46th Street and 9th Avenue.
To be clear, the cyclist was not riding in the bike lane when he was stopped.
“They were pulling over only people of color specifically what I saw," Eyewitness Enid Farber. "If they didn’t have an ID, they confiscated their bikes. It was really not random, because I saw many caucasian people riding by."
The NYPD tells PIX11, “The Midtown North Precinct was addressing community and safety concerns in the vicinity of West 46 Street and 9th Avenue. The individual was stopped and advised of his violations, and released without summonses.”
Cyclist safety is indeed never far from the headlines.
Two months ago, a hit-and-run truck driver struck and killed a Bangladeshi immigrant and restaurant deliveryman, in the country for only a month, as he biked home from work.
And earlier this week, a 72-year old cyclist was struck and killed at the corner of West 45th street and 8th Avenue - just a couple of blocks away from Midtown North.