NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Should a ticket you get while riding a bike translate into points on your driver’s license?
One Manhattan man says absolutely not, but that’s the punishment he is facing.
The loop at Central Park is a popular destination for walkers, joggers and bikers. Last month, one avid cyclist was ticketed by police for failing to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk there.
The Manhattan resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, insisted that he is innocent, but said he was shocked to learn that if he’s found guilty, his punishment could include a $130 fine and three points on his driver’s license.
“So I guess when it got put into the DMV system, all that happens is that they associate license with a violation. A violation is one that typically has 3 points associated with it and so that’s what it shows up with on my record,” the cyclist told CBS 2′s Elise Finch.
His story first appeared on the Gothamist website and has prompted a lot of discussion.
“I don’t think it’s fair at all,” Queens resident Daniel Mateo said.
“They can fine you. I agree with that because if you’re going to put somebody’s life in danger, there should be a penalty for that, but it shouldn’t carry over to your license,” Brooklyn resident Daniel Aragon said.
“That’s not fair because people who commit the crimes and don’t drive — what happens to them?” said Lorna Weiner.
Technically, they can be arrested.
Attorney and cycling enthusiast Steve Vaccaro said bike violations in New York state are never supposed to result in penalties on a driver’s license. It happens because some law enforcement officers don’t fully understand bike rules.
“I think what we have here is a case where someone just didn’t know the rule. We’ve actually had to go and pursue an appeal to the appellate board of the Department of Motor Vehicles in Albany to get them to reverse the points,” said Vaccaro, who is with the Law Office of Rankin & Taylor.
The cyclist with the bike case currently pending pleaded not guilty and will have his day in traffic court this November.
Bike advocates said the summons form police officers fill out was created for cars, not bikes, so it’s easy to make mistakes that get continued when entered into DMV computers.
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