Sections

He’s arrested for riding on sidewalk!

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Is this Clinton Hill biker an unrepentant menace or a cautious father protecting his child from maniac drivers?

Well, on the mean streets of Brooklyn, he’s both.

Steven Walcott spent a night in jail last Friday after an officer ticketed him for cycling on the sidewalk near the corner of Classon and Greene avenues — and then discovered that the two-wheeling dad had an outstanding warrant for the same offense dating back several years.

“I told the officer I have to ride on the sidewalk because people drive like animals in the streets. They’re going to kill me or my son,” Walcott told The Brooklyn Paper.

At the time of his arrest, Walcott was alone on his bike and en route to pick up his son from school.

According to his account, Walcott spent several hours at the 88th Precinct stationhouse before spending the night in the infamous Tombs.

Walcott said a judge dismissed both citations against him as long as he doesn’t run afoul of the law in the next 60 days.

He said he would do just that.

“I’m not going to stop,” the recalcitrant cyclist said. “What am I supposed to do? Duel it out with those maniacs and the trucks?”

His experience puts him in the crosshairs in the battle for the control of the city’s streets and sidewalks. It’s common to see scofflaws like Walcott pedaling illegally on sidewalks with children strapped into kid seats.

Even though the first ticket did not discourage him from biking on walkways. Walcott could have spared himself the ordeal of a night in the slammer by simply paying the fine, an option that didn’t appeal to him either.

“I know you’re supposed to go to court, but you get scheduled for a whole day. I didn’t have the time,” he groused.

“Besides, people shouldn’t get summonses for this.”

Updated 5:12 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reasonable discourse

Peter from Manhattan says:
Driving on the sidewalk and running over children....no problem!

Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk? "Yer goin' downtown buddy!"
May 7, 2009, 10:06 am
barney from midwood says:
Take the car and your son to the park and ride there. What about the poor person you may run over as they are walking down the street or out a store entrance ? You do not belong on the sidewalk.
May 7, 2009, 10:46 am
Phoebe from Fort Greene. says:
"I'm superior, I'm a cyclist". Riding on sidewalks, riding the wrong way on one way streets, Running red lights, clogging up sidewalks with chained cycles. Give them all tickets, the city needs the revenue.
May 7, 2009, 10:56 am
Howard from Brooklyn says:
This brings attention to the simple fact that it is not safe to ride a bike on many streets that do not have sidewalks. No one should be in danger and riding their bike (a much more healthy and environmentally-responsible method of travel than cars), and yet this city penalizes cyclists in favor of motorists. While riding on the sidewalk is not ideal (and I doubt that Steven Walcott is running over children), I applaud his stand on this position and his sacrifice to make the streets safer for all.

Might I point out to Barney that most New Yorkers do not own cars, which by the way, kill 1 person every 36 hours in New York City and injure thousands. And in parks, city laws give priority to pedestrians. And during rush hours, cars are zooming around Prospect Park (a study showed that nearly all traffic was speeding at 40 mph, over the posted 25 mph) endangering pedestrians and cyclists who are forced into a narrow lane.

The bottom line is that with bike riding up 70% over the past year, we need to make it safer for cyclists around the city.
May 7, 2009, 11 am
teegee from sunset park says:
oh my goodness. this guy is a danger to every pedestrian and little children (whose parents may allow them to play on the sidewalk alone). this man's audacity is that HIS safety & convenience comes above the needs of everyone else. move to the suburbs (or should that be "move back to the suburbs where you came from". in a congested city, we need rules to protect each other. i think i've made my case in a mature manner, but i still need to release anger with "man you are such an idiot"....lol
May 7, 2009, 11:18 am
walter mondale from p heights says:
Just get off the sidewalk! You have a bike and most drivers do not run into bikers if you stop at lights and avoid the middle of the road unless it's required. As a daily rider through Manhattan and Brooklyn, and long time rider, I can affirm that the streets are plenty safe for everyone following the rules above(and no Access-A-Ride buses are around).

If you're in such a rush that you can't abide by them, maybe you should assess your goals in life as possibly think about walking instead of a bike or a car. The side walk is for 'walking', the road is for wheeled vehicles.

PS, show up and pay the fine. It's $20 and 30 minutes of your life compared to the 8 to 10 hours away from your son.
May 7, 2009, 11:20 am
Josh from Cobble Hill says:
The anti-cyclist sentiment is ridiculous. How many pedestrians and cyclists are killed every year by cars and trucks? (Hint: hundreds.) How many are killed by cyclists? (Hint: almost none.) Your frustration is understandable but it's misdirected.

And I'm not sure how taking his son to the park and riding there will get him to and from school.
May 7, 2009, 11:29 am
William Harris from Boerum Hill says:
Sidewalk bicycling, done respectfully, ought to be permitted for seniors and persons conveying children. Enforcement of the existing law is so uneven as to be nearly laughable. With white hair I use the sidewalks often in downtown Brooklyn and have never been stopped by police. If I were young and black the results would be different. A lot of street traffic is perilous to unsteady bikers, even as expanding bike lanes improve safety. Where bike lanes do not exist, the law should permit less agile bikers to use sidewalks. After all, the objective is safety--for bikers as well as motorists. [The author is a member of CB2 transportation committee].
May 7, 2009, 11:33 am
Cat from Williamsburg says:
After having two friends be killed on their bikes in New York City in the past 3 years I understand both sides of the argument. I still ride my bike in Brooklyn but would never ride on the sidewalk as I have been sideswiped by bikers while walking. It would be great if the city was way more bike friendly but the reality is that at this point in time, it's not and having said that I find it irresponsible to ride a bike with your child on the streets. I get making a stand and putting your beliefs at the forefront but when a child is involved I don't think it's right.
May 7, 2009, 12:02 pm
Mongo from Bed-Stuy says:
White Guy gets arrested for a quality of life offense and this is news? Don't do the crime if you can't do the time, Waldo!
May 7, 2009, 12:08 pm
freddy from slope says:
hmm...

scofflaw gets nailed second time while there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

for the same thing.

seems like the judge did him a favor that he ddnt appreciate fully.

get off the sidewalk. kid or no kid.
May 7, 2009, 12:38 pm
Josh from Brooklyn says:
When you're on the sidewalk, walk the bike or get ticketed. Period. End of story.
May 7, 2009, 1:17 pm
carlosnyc2009 from parkslope says:
this happened to me with my baby on board.
i took the ticket and paid it.
it wont stop me from riding on the sidewalk, my precious cargo is more important.

the cops should be arresting those idiots who dont stay on the sidewak and push their baby strollers into traffic at a red light instead of waiting for the walk signal.

the other day i was pulled over for riding on the sidewalk, the cop asked if i had ID, i lied and said no, he stated that if he wanted to be a "male anatomy" he could arrest me. I told him im a born and raised ny'ker and at 40 years old its not exactly scary or inconveient.
so give me ticket, arrest me, or leave me alone. i told him if it wasnt raining i would have just laughed at him and dared him to chase me, he choose to leave me alone. i offered to show him how easily i could hop on his hood and ride off, did a little stunt jump, endo and stood on the cross bar at the red light, mounted the seat and then sped off waving goodbye saying thank you for your generousity....
May 7, 2009, 1:27 pm
Barny from midwood says:
In response to your comment on my comment Howard I would just like to remind you that most people do not ride their cars on the sidewalk.
May 7, 2009, 2:17 pm
Chris from Williamsburg says:
The same thing happened to me! But I was in Queens.

Just pay the fine next time - the city wins, everytime.
May 7, 2009, 4 pm
lawman from Bed Sty says:
Thsi is why we have laws follow them and you wont spend teh night in jail.
May 7, 2009, 4:33 pm
David from Manhattan says:
Let's leave the whole bike/car/ped wars aside for a second:

It is RIDICULOUS that someone spent a night in jail for biking on the sidewalk with a toddler in a toddler seat. Never mind what biking may mean to you, good or bad. A night in jail for this is RIDICULOUS.
May 8, 2009, 12:18 pm
Jerry from Heights says:
William Harris from Boerum Hill says: "Sidewalk bicycling, done respectfully, ought to be permitted for seniors and persons conveying children. Enforcement of the existing law is so uneven as to be nearly laughable. With white hair I use the sidewalks often in downtown Brooklyn and have never been stopped by police. If I were young and black the results would be different. A lot of street traffic is perilous to unsteady bikers, even as expanding bike lanes improve safety. Where bike lanes do not exist, the law should permit less agile bikers to use sidewalks."

Those comments are confusing, to say the least.

"No bikes on sidewalks" should be enforced -- all over, all ages/groups, PERIOD. (And yes, I'm a cyclist.)
Cops shouldn't have to decide who's riding "respectfully," or whether streets are too "perilous," or bikers are too "unsteady" to deal with traffic, or are "less agile" AND lack a bike lane.
If someone's "unsteady" and "less agile," do we really want them biking among sidewalk pedestrians? And blanketly allowing seniors/parents to bike on sidewalks also is dubious: I've seen some pretty bad bike behavior by seniors and kid-carriers.

If you carve out enough exceptions, either (a) EVERYONE will be able to ride on the sidewalk (and good luck with that!), or (b) enforcement will become even MORE subjective and arbitrary, increasing the odds that only younger/minority bikers will be ticketed, since they're less likely to nitpick the law, protest, and get media coverage.
May 8, 2009, 2:37 pm
MG from Gowanus says:
I agree with Jerry. As both a cyclist and a pedestrian, it's safer for all parties involved if bikes stay on the street. Children learning to ride bikes are a different story, and I believe the law supports that (under the age of 12). The child was not even on the bike when the man was arrested. It's not safe and it's against the law. If the goal is to make NY a more bike-friendly city, cyclists need to commit to following traffic rules. Perhaps it should be enforced more frequently to clear up lingering confusion.

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/biketips.shtml
May 8, 2009, 4:25 pm
mikevargas from gowanus says:

dont do the crime if you cant do the time...
riding a bicycle a few miles in nyc is risking your life. to get from point A t point B usually requires going against traffic, smetimes getting on the sidewalk, rarey stopping for red lights or yeilding to stop signs. why because people drive like crazy arrogant idiots. placement of a bike lane does not garantee any safety. as an experiment place a bike lane on the FDR and the BQE, ride it and realize how crazy and unsafe it really is, ride a regular localstreet bike lane and realize how crazy and unsafe it realy is..its amazing how people think that a painted line offers protection. painted lines are just considered 'guides' by crazy motorists, thats why theres been an uptick on cops just sitting on lane markers on the fdr, bqe and battery tunnels watching for drivers who cross the duoble line or ignore the ---> only markers.
as for the dad mentioned in this article i think he only got what he deserved why didnt he answer the ticket or summons resulting in a warrant for arrest, he was not arrested for bike riding, he was ticketed for bike riding and a name search came up with a warrant. tough luck. enforcement is arbitrary just like drug laws, thousands of weed arrests, but thousands more 'criminals' are untouched because cops generally dont place park slope brownstoners or wall street bankers palms to he wall just for walking down the street.
May 9, 2009, 2:06 pm
maruishi from p.heights says:
Riding on the sidewalk is against the law for a reason. Sidewalks are limited in space and already have to accommodate pedestrians, strollers, running/playing children, that adding bicycles to the mix is dangerous. I'm an avid bicyclist who has also gotten a ticket for riding on a sidewalk (I rode through the projects that intersect Warren street) and I swallowed my pride and biked to the courthouse in Red Hook to pay my fine (I ended up not having to pay a thing because of some kind of legal mistake).

If Steven doesn't feel safe biking on the streets of Brooklyn, which in my opinion are relatively safe in comparison to other areas, with his child, than maybe he shouldn't be biking. Or maybe he should bike on the street to get his child and then walk his child and bike back home.

Also, I'm hoping Steven and his child aren't wearing helmets because the photo is just that, a photo opp. Everyone should wear a helmet when biking, especially those who don't feel safe biking on streets.
May 9, 2009, 3:33 pm
ellery from south brooklyn says:
“I’m not going to stop,” the recalcitrant cyclist said. “What am I supposed to do? Duel it out with those maniacs and the trucks?”

You're supposed to bike in the street or move to a place with a (safe) bike lane, or to a no-traffic suburb.

Too bad he doesn't like it. I don't "like" a lot of laws, but as a grownup, I know it'd be screaming hell if everyone ignored them or finagled some exemption.
May 9, 2009, 3:45 pm
Paula from Bayside, Queens says:
Although I understand both sides, I have to say that as a hard of hearing person, riding on the sidewalk is many times way safer than the street. Car drivers do no respect bikers and many times they are very distracted on their cell phones. I can not hear a car coming behind me, I am only aware of them until they are next to me. It's very nerve racking, so that is why I sometimes prefer the sidewalk (at a much lower speed, of course).
May 20, 2009, 11:49 pm
aj from bensonhust says:
for all you idiots who wrote on here are stupid. i am 27 years old and i will not ride my bike on the street. i dont care what laws are there. i want to live not die. to many people drink and drive and innocent people because of that . thats also another reason i wont ride my bike on the street. i saw a guy ridding his bike get hit by a car cause the drive was on the cell phone. if you people think that a person should rid his bike with thier kid in the back and take a risk of getting hit by drunk driver or non-drunk driver are idiots and put your self in the shoes of some who lost someone to car hiting them on a bike and killing them.
May 22, 2009, 10:02 pm
Marilyn from Throgs Neck, Bx,NY says:
I agree with Mr. Walcott people should not get summonses for riding on the side walk. If I ride my bike to Orchard beach riding on bruckner blvd (local), not only are the cars and trucks a threat the CITY BUS is the biggest threat. When riding to the far right and the bus is behind me trying to get to the bus stop that's scarry. The bus is right on top of me. And it gets worst when the bus is stopped at a bus stop and the driver can not see me riding down the street and pulls out right in front of me. Anyone can have a heart attack riding a bike in NYC and it's boroughs. Where the mayor when it comes to bike riders safety. Oh, I forgot his running for mayor again. 4 More years of promissing what he promised the first 8 years he was in office and did not get to do.
May 23, 2009, 10:31 am
Johnny from Park Slope says:
Just today, July 4th 2009, I saw a dad with his kid on a bike on the sidewalk nearly hit another dad.

Later today, I was nearly hit by a guy on a bike on the sidewalk.

What can we do to get the bikes off the sidewalk?
July 4, 2009, 8:10 pm
Johnny from Park Slope says:
To aj from bensonhust: then don't ride a bike.
July 4, 2009, 8:12 pm
News man says:
Actually, bicycles are totally illegal throughout New York City. Mere posession of a bicycle is punishable by up to 6 months in jail, and bicycle riding is prohibited everywhere; on the street, on the sidewalk, and in the alley.
July 30, 2009, 11:14 pm
Jillian Engel from Clinton Hill says:
There are tons of bike lanes throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan that are much safer to ride on than just winging it on a parkway. I think riding a bike with your baby on board - on the street OR on the sidewalk - is totally irresponsible. There's no way that baby won't get hurt if there's an accident. Can't you think of another SAFER way to have fun with your children?
Aug. 3, 2009, 3:36 pm
larry from brooklyn says:
a cop pulled me over for riding a bike on the side walk i was thinkin why is he askin me to stop do i look like a criminal till he said to me don't i know i'm not supposed to be ridin on the side walk i said no i'm only here on vacation i'm sorry he ask for my id hand it to him he gave me a summon to come to court in january and am supposed to live in december to my country but it seems to me i will have to come back in january to pay b4 i get arrested thats ridiculous can somebody tell me how can i pay that ticket b4 i live cause i don't think i'll be able to come back in january just for a court case
Nov. 18, 2009, Noon
Greg from st.pete says:
really come on i got stopped for the same thing never got ticketed but really i sidewalk is for walkers and bicycles its common sense why would i ride something on a road where cars are going 30mph plus makes no sense the law should be changed and really its for the safety of walkers huh u make no sense all u do is say hey excuse me and they move over so u can go around dee dee dee
May 21, 2010, 5:55 pm
N. from Sunset Park says:

This individual presumably makes an informed decision to commute on a bike, whether with his child or not. That informed decision should take into consideration that riding a bike on the sidewalk is not only illegal, but dangerous for pedestrians.
In my neighborhood, I encounter half a dozen people each day riding on the sidewalk, not just going half a block to get on the street or to their house. While jogging once I trailed a guy for two miles. Recently after telling someone they were breaking the law he deliberately ran into me on 3rd ave. and really hurt my leg. For the most part, the police don't really address the issue. Even if you point out it out as it happens.
I have a young child and I have a bike, but I would never expect that that would entitle me to ride my bike on the sidewalk with him in child's seat. Rather, I avoid taking my son on a bike.
The sense of entitlement among people who knowingly flout the law and put other people in danger because they're worried about their own safety is really astonishing.
I would also like to point out that most people I see riding on sidewalks, for their own safety, are NOT wearing helmets and are listening ipods. Oh, and often they're doing it while riding alongside a legitimate bike lane. It's infuriating.
Glad you feel safe, because I don't.
June 23, 2010, 10:07 am
Nacho from Brooklyn says:
You are all a bunch of haters, I'm a cyclist and this city is packed with monkeys on wheels...
Cars, trucks and Bikers as well!!!
They guy is right and would do the same if I got to carry my soon with me to school everyday.
I consider two factors here; one no matter where u bike if u use common sense and caution. On my daily trip to work I invade the sidewalk for one block everyday of the week, is necessary to keep going with out getting killed but I do slow down my speed, to even less than a person walking because I care and understand that I'm out of place.
The reason why this happen is the second factor, now we have miles of brand "new" Bike paths, but this is all ——e because what so called Bike paths are just white lines on roads were cars were transiting for ever before, so they are not a real limit at all, they get invaded all the time forcing bikes to expose to traffic or jump on the sidewalk, some parts of the grid are not well designed so force u to either get off it or use them wrongly. European cities like Barcelona the bike paths are elevated in some parts even higher than sidewalks are, so cars don't run over bikes and pedestrians don't walk over it either. The point is also that NY bike paths are legacy of Bloomberg's time to get reelected for 3rd time so they did put a lot of effort to build it up quickly. Some of the parts are really amazing but I think that some parts of that grid are imposed to the city's old urban planning in a cheap way by just painting lines on the road so they are just an illusion of a bike path which ends up creating all this problems.
I might also say there are many idiots on bikes as well, not using lights, listening to music or racing... Maybe certain kind of bikes should require a permission or license because I see idiots everyday that pass next to me ridding at easy 30/40 mph down the bridge, if something goes wrong they could hit anyone biker on not.
Nov. 20, 2010, 8:14 pm
joe from bensonhurst says:
i think truthfully its ok to ride on the side walk as long as its done slowly to walking pace speed when people around or jogging pace speed when no one in site . On the other hand if he rides the streets he can get hit by a car over all its better on a side walk . The cops tell people to ride on the streets but then they can get hit by a car . He rides with his son especially .
Feb. 4, 2011, 2:05 pm
cathy from brooklyn says:
i find it a little unfair because for a person to ride on the streets is like asking for the person to be hit when he least expected it. face it, drivers talk on the phone all the time and talk to other ppl in the car while turning their heads away and not paying attention at all. i almost got it once because the driver was talking to his friend next to him in the passenger side, and i was WALKING and crossing the street when it was my turn. the idiot made a turn while he was TALKING with his head looking the OTHER way and didn't even signal the turn. the car touched the back of my legs. i noticed it and had to pick up my pace BEFORE i get killed, cuz, honestly, is he going to admit it? don't think so, i'll be the one who's at fault
when i ride on the sidewalk, i make sure i go slow because you never know who's goign to pop out. when theirs ppl, children, dogs, around, i slow down and go thorugh with my feet off the pedal and on the ground instead, no one complained i should watch where i'm going, because i am WATCHING, i'm more concern about hurting him than they are
and ppl riding bikes in the street, if there is an accident, that guy is jsut going to fly out of there. the driver is protected by steal on all four sides, he's not goign to get hurt, the cyclist however, is most likely going to die from that impact, if not seriously injured. cyclist have the disadvantage if riding in the streets. it's not worth risking you life over. i rather not ride the bike at all. there are laws protecting the ppl on the sidewalks, but why is there no way to protect the cyclist from the cars and trucks? so the cyclist have to get off the sidewalks becasue ppl are walking there? does the cars and trucks have to leave if there are bikes in the road?
i've seen some ppl riding in the MIDDLE of the street and blocking traffic, is that right? it's not wrong for him to want to ride slowly, but it's wrong for him to block traffic? and does he get a ticket? not the six ppl i saw riding in the street, blocking the whole street and causing cars to be slowed down.
and kids playing in the streets? kids shoudn't be playing in the streets in the first place. what if his ball rolls out into the street? or he runs out? he'll get hit by a car. kdis shoudl play in yards, parks, in the house, in school or in playgrounds, NOT IN THE STREETS!!!
Aug. 19, 2011, 9:41 pm
adam from navy yard says:
So I just received a ticket for riding my bicycle on the sidewalk on nassau and gold. There were cars in the street and there was noone on the sidewalk. I was going slow and leisurely. The officer pulled me over at the corner and I had no idea that this was illegal. I can totally understand if there are people on the sidewalk and there was noone driving. Though this is not the case and now I have to deal with this. This law needs to be based on situations not for someone who is clearly not being a nuisance or causing issues for pedestrians. As for this gentleman who spend the night in jail for his so called infraction... officers... get freaking real, this is a joke, I refuse to pay my ticket and am going to fight this because its a joke truely.
Dec. 22, 2011, 2:37 pm
Glenn from Williamsburg says:
A commenter above pointed out, correctly, how dangerous bikes on sidewalks truly are... A friend left my apartment building, and while barely out the front door, was slammed to the ground by a delivery man on his bicycle. He was arrested, and during questioning, protested that the streets were too dangerous and that he was afraid of being hit by a car. Mind you, in my part of Williamsburg, we do have bike lanes. And yet, my friend spent a full week in the hospital, and could not work for a month due to injuries to her legs. So while one understands the the bicycling man of this article fears for the safety of his child, he has choices of transportation when picking up his son. Or, he has the choice of riding his bike, with his son, on the street, where the bike belongs. On another note, a Fort Greene friend is now the proud owner of a dog with three legs, as one leg was removed by a bicyclist speeding down the sidewalks of DeKalb Ave (occurred 2-yrs ago). And as for anyone who claims they were not aware that riding a bike on the sidewalk is illegal, well, I truly question the gene pool from which you sprung.
Feb. 23, 2012, 7:31 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: