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Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Cyclists Lose Permitting Challenge in NYC

(CN) - In a blow to the world's Critical Mass bike protests, a Manhattan federal judge has ruled that New York City didn't violate bicyclists' constitutional rights by requiring them to get parade permits before riding through the city in groups of 50 or more.

U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan said the parade regulations, which require cyclists riding en masse to get a permit and stick to a certain course, might be undesirable, but they're not unconstitutional.

"The most that can be said is that the predetermined route requirement inconveniences certain cyclists and perhaps makes group rides of 50 or more less attractive or enjoyable to them than they otherwise would be," Kaplan wrote. "It does not impose a direct or substantial or significant burden on cyclists' right to engage in expressive association."

The Five Boroughs Bike Club sued in 2007 after the New York Police Department vowed to ticket or arrest cyclists in groups of 50 or more without a permit. The cycling group called the process of obtaining a permit to ride a bureaucratic nightmare that stymied their right to spontaneously gather.

Critical Mass is a biking event held on the last Friday of every month in about 300 cities around the world.

More than 100 cyclists were arrested for disorderly conduct after a group of about 5,000 rode past Madison Square Garden to protest former President Bush during the 2004 Republican National Convention.

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