NYPD Hard on Bikers?

From everything we can tell, the NYPD officially does NOT like motorcycles… Around this time last year, the NYPD initiated a crackdown towing hundreds of motorcycles for things such as improper licensing (not having a Motorcycle license) to loud pipes.  In their defense there’s no reason NOT to have your paperwork with you, and no reason not to be licensed… The way the department sees it – they’re saving lives by towing bikes…  But at the same time I think the strictness with which the law is enforced on motorcycles a bit unfair.  I’ve been pulled over in a car without my license, I was ticketed but not towed (I had to send in a photocopy of my license) – under normal circumstances I think that’s reasonable.  I’d hate to be towed simply because I forgot my registration in my other jacket when a simple radio check can verify my license and registration…

The NYPD has even gone so far as to violate a federal law which mandates that single motorcycle riders must be allowed in HOV lanes (the official NYPD policy is even motorcycles must have two up in order to rider HOV). So if you feel like the cops are giving you dirty looks – they probably are… That’s the official stance. However individual police officers vary – most of them are good and reasonable, just trying to do their job and help keep people safe. I’ve had police officers on scooters come up to me at a light and offer to race (in friendly jest).

Nevertheless what the official stance means for citybikers is: (1) Make sure you have your papers with you! Your license, registration, up to date insurance card… You are legally allowed to carry a photocopy of your registration card – however not all police officers seem to know this – so I try to keep the original with me in a plastic bag under the seat or in my riding jacket.

(2) Make sure your bike’s inspection sticker is up to date. They don’t have to tow you for something like this – and they could let you off with a warning – but they probably won’t. Go get it inspected. All you need are working lights, turn signals and at least one mirror to pass inspection…

(3) Check your pipes (or at least keep the revs down while you’re in the city). This one might be a problem for some of us. Technically it’s illegal to have aftermarket pipes that are louder than your stock pipes… The police don’t usually ticket you for having loud pipes, but they can. And last year in Greenwich Village they set up checkpoints and actually towed motorcycles with loud pipes! Lucky for us, many aftermarket mufflers are still quiet enough not to be noticed – but if you have straight pipes or D&Ds or an old muffler in need of repacking, now might be a good time to get it looked at…

If you do get busted for one of these – and the police want to tow your bike – see if they will let you tow your bike home. Getting towed home (and paying $150) is way better than having your bike sent to the impound and paying that amount… Better yet, be smart and have your license and paperwork in order… Ride safe!

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4 responses to “NYPD Hard on Bikers?

  1. I commute from Forest Hills, Queens to downtown Manhattan every day, and it seems like NYPD was initiating a crackdown during the week of June 9th – 13th. I was pulled over twice (on the LIE and the BQE) for no infraction – they just wanted check ALL paperwork and inspection stickers. The highway patrolman was just flagging down all bikers that passed by during heavy rush-hour. He explained that there were too many fatalities. There was also a tow truck standing by, and three bikers before me already had their bikes/scooters confiscated and loaded onto the rig. Ever since that week, I’ve been much more cautious about splitting lanes!!

  2. Pingback: NYPD Hard on Bikers « Motorbike Stuff

  3. I just got home riding on the bronx river parkway in a massive thunderstorm. On my block , these rookies pull me and my friend over because we were riding with our faceshields up on our full helmets. We got tickets for not having goggles!

  4. Hey motogirl, that stinks! I know people who’ve gotten pulled over for that, but they were let go with warnings (which is reasonable)… How much was the ticket?

    By the way – visit us at our new URL: http://www.citybikerblog.com

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