An activist group posted signs at four Brooklyn traffic stops permitting bicyclists to “proceed on red,” according to reports.
The Transformation Department, an anonymous group whose mission is to support safer streets for all New Yorkers, took responsibility for the signs that advised cyclists to ignore red lights and ride on, Gothamist reported.
Many cyclists mistook the signs as legitimate, obeying the instructions and cruising ahead.
The Transformation Department zip-tied the plastic signs at four T-intersections along Flushing Avenue in Fort Greene—Vanderbilt Avenue, Claremont Avenue, Carlton Avenue, and N. Oxford Street. As a spokesperson of the group told Gothamist, the intersections had “little, if any pedestrian traffic and no cross vehicular traffic.”
In addition, the intersections were specifically chosen, as they are popular areas where the NYPD tickets cyclists for running red lights.
The Transformation Department believes that riding through red lights as if they were yield signs—especially with no pedestrians present—is not unsafe. In fact, they argue, it’s a “common-sense practice” that’s legal in some other cities (including the entire state of Idaho).
Instead, the Transformation Department suggests that the NYPD ticket motorists who block the bike lane. Or, the group would prefer that the police “direct its resources to priority corridors where enforcement might actually make a difference in terms of pedestrian and cyclist safety,” Gothamist reported.
In previous efforts to improve safety, the group placed traffic cones with sunflowers along the Chrystie Street bike lane in 2015—an effort they raised $3,472 for on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe.
Also in 2015, a councilman proposed a bill to allow bikes to cruise through red lights as if they were yield signs. It did not pass.
Now, instead of waiting for legislation to pass at the state capitol, the Transformation Department decided that their violation of traffic laws could at least start a conversation about “common-sense” street rules for cyclists.
The city has since taken down their signs.