The NYPD has been justifiably criticized for their massive cycling crackdown this yearâ€”there's been a record-breaking number of summonses given out to cyclists as part of "Operation Safe Cycle", including tickets for such non-violations as riding a bike with a tote bag on the handlebars and not wearing a helmet. But a cop threatening to ticket a woman for riding while wearing a skirt? Even for the NYPD, that's just too absurd to be real...except according to one woman, it wasn't.
Jasmijn Rijcken, the general manager of the VANMOOF bicycle company in Amsterdam, told Streetsblog that an officer approached her on April 30 in SoHo, and berated her for wearing a skirt while cycling. â€œI was standing there next to my bike, looking at my map, and then this police guy stops and starts telling me about my skirt. At first I thought he was making a joke or maybe even a compliment, but then I found out he was serious because he got really mad," Rijcken told them.
She says the officer told her that her skirt was dangerous because she could distract drivers and potentially cause them to crash, and he threatened to ticket her for that. In case you weren't positive: it is decidedly not illegal to wear a skirt while cycling. You won't even find that "violation" under the NYPD's questionable "cheat sheet" for cyclist rulesâ€”riding while sexy does not yet constitute a violation.
Rijcken, who was only in town for the New Amsterdam Bike Show, says the officer was terrified of the potentially blinding power of her uncovered female flesh: â€œThat was the bottom line, that I was very dangerous. I think every woman, even when walking in a skirt, would be dangerous then.â€ The officer went so far as to take her ID, and only backed off when he saw she was Dutch, while she explained that it's common for women to bike in skirts in Amsterdam.
â€œIf youâ€™re by yourself in a different country and a police guy comes really angrily at you, you get scared,â€ she said. The officer let her go, but recommended that she should change into pants. Maybe the NYPD has just started taking policing advice from certain modest Rabbis in Hasidic south Williamsburg.