Is Biking on the Sidewalk Worse than Running Over Kids in a Car? The NYPD Seems to Think So.

Is the system still stacked against non-motorists?

It seems the NYPD may have their priorities muddled up when it comes to issuing penalties for motor violations.  Two separate traffic incidents which both involved driving on a sidewalk have resulted in two majorly disproportionate penalties, raising questions of how the NYPD categorize the seriousness of motor injuries.

A 19-year-old paparazzo cyclist was riding his bicycle on a sidewalk yesterday outside a Manhattan hotel when he struck an actress, NBCreported. Luckily the woman was not injured, only shaken up.

The cyclist on the other hand was no so lucky – he was issued three summonses for riding a bicycle on a sidewalk; reckless driving and riding without a helmet, which is not illegal in the state of New York.

That same day, a driver of an SUV also from New York jumped the curb and drove on a sidewalk in Queens, crashing into and injuring five children. The motorist, however, walked away without a single summons or penalty.

According to, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley said the incident was merely an accident:  “He hit the gas instead of the brake” [...] “This had everything to do with being an accident.”

Maybe the fact that the actress was Nicole Kidman has something to do with the discrepancies in punishment. On the other hand, one of the kids has a broken leg from the collision with the SUV. Another fractured multiple vertebraes. In New York City, the number one threat to children is motorists.

So, maybe the NYPD might want to reconsider it's motor violation policies.

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Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.