A couple weeks ago, Julianne Cuba stopped to take a picture of three NYC officers ticketing a cyclist for not having a bell on their bike. Then they gave her a ticket for also not having a bell on her bike. At least three other people got tickets that day for the same offence. A few days later, just blocks away, NYPD was ticketing people again for missing bells.
This is a tactic NYPD used last April to stop a bike ride that was announced on social media but did not have a formal permit. About fifty armed officers were there waiting to give out tickets for missing bells. Some bikes were also confiscated. When asked to comment, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “We need cyclists to obey the law.”
With the emphasis on legality instead of safety, it makes sense why they’d rather ticket people instead of, say, giving out bells to help bikers communicate on the road. It’s also relevant to note that 29 cyclists were killed in 2019 in NYC alone, and only one of those cases didn’t involve a car.