Jun 042014

New Orleans Police Department Third District Commander Gary Marchese recommends officers be more aggressive about bicycle stops (Flickr/Britt Reints).

Police should be more aggressive about stopping people on bicycles for traffic infractions, Third District Commander Gary Marchese told officers at a meeting in his district Tuesday.

Marchese brought the issue to attention after noting that bicycle stops were down for the district, adding that several crimes had been solved by officers who stopped people on bicycles committing regular traffic infractions.

“Basically, bikes have to follow the rule of the road like a car. They have to stop at a red light. They can’t go against one-way. They can’t ride on the sidewalk,” Marchese said. “Especially in the areas where we’re having problems. You see guys coming and going, there’s nothing wrong with stopping them if they’re committing a violation.”

The Third District covers parts of Mid-City, Gentilly and Lakeview.

Marchese added that officers could get lucky about who they stop.

“If it’s somebody we need to deal with, we deal with them,” Marchese said.

Bicycles have played a role in late-night crimes in New Orleans in the past, including rapes and armed robberies, according to reports by Robert Morris of Uptown Messenger.

One reason criminals use them is that they allow the suspect to approach a victim quickly and vanish afterward, but are often more difficult than vehicles to identify later, New Orleans Police Department Capt. Darryl Albert told residents back in 2010, according to one article in Uptown Messenger.

Officers should continue to treat vehicle stops the same way — by being “aggressive,” Marchese added, saying that more crimes could be solved with the proactive approach.

“Late at night, if people are doing illegal things, make the stop and investigate them,” he said.




  14 Responses to “Third District police officers encouraged to make more bicycle stops”

  1. Horrible idea. We need to be encouraging bicycle use!

  2. Does this mean that they’re going to be doing more to stop bicycle theft, which is currently running rampant in this city? Bikes of all kinds, from $100-$2500, are being stolen in mass everyday. Less than half of those go unreported, as we all know that the police are horrible at doing anything about it. I have my bikes registered with the NOPD, but it does me no good because no one knows how to access the database. These are serious problems.

  3. We need to be encouraging responsible bicycle use. I dodge bicyclists every day who refuse to follow traffic rules. I don’t want an idiot’s blood on my hands because they won’t bother to go the right way down a one way.

  4. I think it is horrible that an officer would waste a second with a person on a bicycle when there are so many serious crimes in this city. Harassing cyclist does nothing to make this a safer city or a place that a tourist would yearn to visit.

  5. I agree. Bicyclists do not follow any rules. I have been broadsided in my car by a bike running a stop sign late at night and have had many near misses coming home at night. My car has been hit by a bike parked in front of my house and side mirror broke off. This has been happening for years. I have been sending Emails to the police often. NOW they are beginning to do something!! They really are not.

  6. How about getting more aggressive with some of the car drivers in this city who run reds, turn without signaling, speed, and talk on the phone and otherwise make the road unsafe for everyone else?

  7. Is this a recent event are is this a repeat of the article from August 2012?

  8. I commute to work and run errands on bike daily. It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that stopping cyclists for traffic violations would discourage people from riding bikes. Traffic cameras haven’t stopped people from driving.
    Proper bicycle traffic enforcement is long overdue. Stopping a cyclist for going against traffic or failing to stop at a red light isn’t “harassment” because when you’re breaking the law, you’re BREAKING THE LAW. Cyclists who disobey traffic laws give the rest of us who bike responsibly a bad name and we are just as much responsible for sharing the road respectfully as any motorist.
    Furthermore, serious crimes are perpetrated by people on bikes. Read the police blotters if you don’t think so. Stopping people on bikes who are blatantly disregarding the law will result in arrests through the collection of warrants and perhaps even result in the recovery of stolen bicycles. Whether you’re a cyclist, a motorist or the victim of bicycle theft, this is good news unless you’re also a criminal.

    • I agree, Timothy. This is a good way to catch some of the people creating the crime that is increasing in our area. A lot of times the perps are just trying to make a getaway. If the cops are cognizant of people illegally travelling they may catch someone with true criminal intent.
      Also, this is a city where the amount of bicyclists has increased greatly. Many bicyclists decry the vehicle traffic in this city yet many blow through red lights, do not ride with the traffic, do not wear helmets or have lights on their bikes or drive drunk. As a driver and a bicyclist I feel the only way you have a right to complain is if you are following the rules. If you are not following the rules you should be stopped and warned. If warned and continue to do it, then a ticket should be issued.

  9. Pretty sure racial profiling will still always trump cyclist profiling, but this is not good for encouraging people of color to ride bikes in 3rd district.

    you know, 5th district already seems to do this. Never seen a white person on a bike stopped around there. Only young black men, actually. Those would be interesting stats to see.

    As for cycle quotas leading to increased arrests of proper suspects, that probably has to do with the fact that cops never leave their cars.

    Assuming that criminals walk and bike as much as the normal population, that means cops are ignoring criminals on foot and on bikes. Cops should get out of their cars, at least in proportion to how our population moves.

    Lastly, the cycle laws are bad and have changed a lot, and people are confused. I still get old men on bikes yelling at me to ride against traffic, even though the law is ride with traffic.

    Traffic laws are not written for anyone but the convenience of car drivers, so it s no surprise that the laws don t make sense and many people break them as a result.

    The road construction policies have only recently changed away from this chauvinist attitude that everyone needs to drive a car. So, It is regularly physically impossible to ride a bike from a to b in new orleans and not be breaking some traffic law. Laws need to be updated and people educated (610 stompers ads are great!)

  10. […] Dan Ring on Third District police officers encouraged to make more bicycle stops […]

  11. Isn’t anybody going to mention the relative threat to public safety posed by drivers of 4000 pound vehicles vs people on 40-pound bikes going barely over walking speed? if we’re talking about traffic safety, there is no contest. Not one man-hour should be wasted on a cyclist who only poses a threat to herself, no matter how stupid she is, as opposed to the person behind the wheel of 2 tons of steel who is busy texting, eating, applying makeup, etc, while speeding everywhere she goes.

    now if the point is for cops to use a crystal ball to cite cyclists who roll through a stop sign at 4 mph right before they commit a violent crime, that’s a different conversation, and one that treads on some very uncomfortable gray areas. but be my guest in explaining how that’s supposed to work in reality while staying within constitutional bounds.

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