Bloomberg’s confession on the policing of bikes (and cars, and pedestrian)

The Citi bike, and Robert Steel. (Dana Rubinstein)
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During his regular Friday morning radio show, Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent a lot of time talking about his bike-share program, which is set to roll out this spring, nearly a year behind schedule.

"Let me first show you something," said the mayor, to his co-host John Gambling on WOR 710. "You're gonna eat your heart out. On my keychain, a gold Citi Bike key. This actually will work."

(Cyclists who buy annual Citi Bike memberships will get keys, while more intermittent users will punch in codes.)

"It is just gonna be unbelievable," the mayor went on. "And the people that don't like it are gonna become converts, just like [the smoking ban]." 

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"George from Manhattan" called in toward the end of the program.

"I want to talk about the lack of enforcement against the bicycle violators that is going on in the city," he said. "They're very dangerous, and you want to increase the number of bikes in the city by perhaps several thousand. Right now they're a menace to pedestrians …"

The mayor cut George off.

"Oh, it's going to be increased by tens of thousands," he said. "Every city that's done this, George, it is phenomenally popular."

And then the mayor said, "We don't enforce the bicycle laws as much as we should, you're right there. But we don't enforce the automobile traffic laws or the pedestrian laws as well as we should. The police have a lot of things to do. They focus on the most serious things and when have time, do these others. ... But it's the wave of the future, George."

The lack of automobile enforcement has been a hot topic amongst cycling advocates for a while now.