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Even Celebrities Get Ticketed for Riding the Wrong Way in the Big Apple

As all law-abiding cyclists know, one must ride with, not against the traffic, even if you are Alec Baldwin. The actor was arrested for the violation, plus a few additional things, like not having ID, that made matters worse.
May 16, 2014, 6am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"What elevated a simple traffic summons to handcuffs was Mr. Baldwin’s lack of identification and his reaction, which the police termed disorderly," writes J. David Goodman about the unfortunate incident on Tuesday, May 13 that began with Baldwin "riding his bicycle the wrong way on Fifth Avenue near 16th Street."

Goodman writes that "(c)ountless bicyclists ride the wrong way every day in New York; few end up in handcuffs for it. The police said Mr. Baldwin became belligerent with the officers, who soon placed him in handcuffs and charged him with disorderly conduct."

As for having identification, technically it is not a requirement, though there are ramifications for not carrying it. "(A) police officer can demand it when writing a summons. If none is provided, the person receiving the summons can be taken to the station house until his identity is established."

Presumably the ticket was another example of "NYPD Writing More Traffic Tickets" for the purpose of enforcing Mayor Bill De Blasio’s Vision Zero plan. As for Baldwin's setting back the bike advocacy movement in the Big Apple by "suggest(ing) the worst stereotypes of city bicyclists, for most people who were interviewed, it was about Mr. Baldwin." Caroline Samponaro, director of bicycle advocacy at Transportation Alternatives, agreed.

“I think that the whole thing is more a reflection on him than on biking and the state of biking,” she said.

No word on whether Baldwin sought to avoid payment for the traffic infraction by attending a biker's' education class.

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Published on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in The New York Times
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