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The joyride is over for Bay Ridge motorcyclists who park on the sidewalk as cops vowed this week to crack down on the illegal but — until recently — rarely enforced offense.
Ridge Boulevard resident Charles Ball learned that the hard way last weekend, when he found two $115 tickets stuck to his crotch rocket parked on sidewalk near Ovington Avenue.
Ball recognizes that parking on the sidewalk is illegal, but he claimed that it’s a longtime practice among motorcyclists — one that’s gone unnoticed for good reason.
“I’ve been parking in the same place since June, 2009, and have never received a ticket until now,” Ball said. “But no motorcyclist wants to park on the sidewalk. We park there because we can’t afford a garage.”
Plus, cars won’t clip motorcycles on the sidewalk — a main complaint among Bay Ridge bikers — and thieves can’t steal them as easily as they can when they are not chained to a tree or a light pole, he said.
But Ball’s complaints are falling on deaf ears, according to neighborhood cops who are indeed revving up their efforts to get bikes and scooters off the sidewalks. Officers told us that they got an earful of gripes about the boom in bikes at a recent community meeting, which prompted the crackdown.
“Not only is it illegal to park on the sidewalk, it’s a quality of life issue,” said Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez, commanding officer of the 68th Precinct. “[Bikers] are chaining them to fences, guard rails, light poles, and they’re driving on the sidewalk too. We have a lot of elderly and kids in the neighborhood, and our pride is in keeping them safe.”
Motorcyclists admit that up until this point Bay Ridge has been good to them, and they’ve tried to reciprocate.
“It’s a friendly environment — I even try to park where my neighbors won’t hear me in the morning,” said Mack Eltantawi, another Ridge rider. “But if I park it in the street and someone knocks into it with a car, I’m not that rich to go to a dealer.”
But at the end of the day, the law has the law on its side.
“If people keep parking there, we’ll keep summonsing them,” Rodriguez said.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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