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.