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New York City Cyclists Getting Nearly $1 Million for Wrongful Arrests

Cyclists being arrested during a critical mass bike ride in New York City

Cyclists get mistreated, illegally ticketed, and poorly protected on roads all over the U.S. Why people don’t realize that cyclists save them time (while a biker may block your way for a short time, he or she does so much less than an automobile), make the roads safer, and help keep the air cleaner is a mystery to me. But with more cyclists on the road and more bicycle advocacy, this can change. Recent news from New York City is that some wrongfully arrested cyclists are getting nearly $1 million in compensation. While they shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place, of course, it is good that they are getting some compensation at least.

New York City agreed to pay $965,000 to 83 cyclists who claimed they were wrongfully arrested during Critical Mass group rides dating from September 2004 to January 2006.

The civil rights lawsuit was ignited in 2007 by 83 cyclists arrested in Critical Mass rides over the 17 month period. According to Barbara Ross, press contact for the city’s long-time cycling advocacy and environmental group Times Up! there were more than 83 arrested but some chose not to be in the lawsuit for various reasons.

While some see this as a clear win for the cyclists, others think going to court would have been better on the whole.

“This settlement is a victory for a wide-range of cyclists who realize the potential for a safer, more bicycle-friendly city and keep on riding in the face of years of unjustified harassment and arrests by the NYPD,” Bill DiPaola, director of cycling and environmental advocacy Time’s Up! said.

“I believe it was a fair amount for most of the plaintiffs, not all,” said Barbara Ross, Times Up!’s press contact. “But the best outcome would have been going to court and exposing all the dangerous, costly, unconstitutional tactics by the NYPD during that time period which continue to this day.”

At least, like many others across the country, these cyclists are being compensated for their wrongful arrests.

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Photo Credit: artescienza via flickr (CC license)