New York State CRACKDOWN On Unlicensed Motorcycle Operators
BY JOHN MARZULLI and ERNIE NASPRETTO
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
The NYPD has been aggressively cracking down on motorcycle riders who lack proper licensing - handing out thousands of summonses and confiscating more than 350 of the vehicles, the Daily News has learned.
"There have been 16 motorcycle fatalities this year; 12 were unlicensed operators," Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said.
Cops initiated the crackdown in a bid to try to stop the mounting death toll, Browne said, pointing out that the 16 motorcycle accident deaths already this year represent a 100% increase over the same time last year.
In all of last year, 33 motorcycle operators were killed in accidents on city streets.
Highway patrol cops had issued more than 5,900 summonses to motorcycle operators for a variety of infractions as of June 3. The summonses were issued for safety violations, speeding, unlicensed operation, unregistered and uninsured motorcycles.
Cops also have confiscated more than 360 motorcycles, the vast majority within the past four weeks, records show.
The unlicensed motorcycle riders killed this year include an off-duty NYPD cop, Foster Burton, 23, who was killed April 23 when he struck a parked car on Zerega Ave. in the Bronx.
"I believe my son had a [motorcycle] permit and rode for about a year and a half. He never drank and was very responsible. I don't understand how this happened," said Burton's mother, Leslie Buie.
Cops are returning confiscated motorcycles only when a rider who has received a summons shows up at the local precinct stationhouse with a licensed rider or a tow truck.
Unregistered or uninsured motorcycles are not being returned to their owners until proof of valid registration and insurance is presented, police said.
Riders who fail to get to the stationhouses quickly enough will have to trek to the NYPD auto pound in Whitestone, Queens, to retrieve their bikes.
"Having a driver's license does not give someone the right to ride a motorcycle," said NYPD Sgt. Richard Angeletti of the Highway Patrol Accident Investigation Squad, adding "a motorcycle license is a totally different license requiring the passing of a written test and road test."