The Low Road

Urban cycling 4


Part IV: Rallying Point

Streever’s unfortunate encounter with New Haven’s finest left a bitter taste, but members of the local cycling community used the incident as a rallying point. It didn’t hurt their cause when an account of the incident appeared in the New Haven Register on June 6, 2006.

The cyclists brought the incident up during a regular “Mayor’s Night In” meeting with Mayor John DeStefano, who describes himself as a “proponent” of cycling. Less than a week earlier, he had proudly announced the designation of new bike routes and the installation of 20 new bike racks in the city in preparation for national Bike to Work Day.

DeStefano and Police chief Francisco Ortiz Jr. made few promises at the meeting, particularly regarding specific issues the cyclists raised. At one point, Ortiz reportedly told the cyclists, “You need to manage your expectations.”

However, it’s clear that the discussion also marked something of a turning point in the relationship between the cyclists and the city. Within a month, local cyclists were allowed to give a presentation to city police officers at their “morning lineup.” Later, with the department’s consent, they produced a short video on cycling safety to be shown to officers during training.

It is unclear whether the police officer involved in the incident was disciplined.

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