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Judge Rules Against Cyclists

The New York Times: Judge Rules Against Cyclists

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

A federal judge in Manhattan on Tuesday ruled that the City of New York did not violate the constitutional rights of cyclists by requiring them to file for parade permits when they rode in groups of 50 or more. The ruling is a blow to organizers of the Critical Mass bike protests in Manhattan.

The judge, Lewis A. Kaplan of the Southern District of New York, said that he was sympathetic to the plaintiffs’ concerns and acknowledged their inconvenience. However, Judge Kaplan said the parade regulations and their enforcement by the New York Police Department did not violate the Constitution.

In 2007, the Five Boroughs Bike Club filed a lawsuit after the Police Department changed its rules, saying it would ticket or arrest a group of 50 cyclists or more who did not have a parade permit.

The Five Boroughs Bike Club said that they looked into applying for permits but said the process “was a bureaucratic nightmare.”

During the Republican National Convention in 2004, more than 100 cyclists were arrested for disorderly conduct after a group of about 5,000 cyclists rode past Madison Square Garden, protesting President Bush.

After the courts said the rules were too vague, the Police Department then sought to change rules, arguing that smaller groups of cyclists were safer and disrupted less traffic.