Police

Cops Seize Bikes and Arrest 1 Teen Over Traffic Violations and Bike Licenses

It's yet another example of the effects of having to enforce dumb laws.

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Police in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, arrested one teen and seized bicycles from a group of friends in a scuffle over traffic violations and a failure to register their bikes with the state, according to a viral video. It's yet another example of the effects of overcriminalization, which increases interactions between civilians and police with little benefit to actual public safety.

"I told you guys you're supposed to have licenses," one officer says in the clip as the cops attempt to get the boys to surrender their bikes. "The sergeant warned you about your bikes, so you guys are warned. I gave you a warning."

One teen gives in. "Drop the bike or you're gonna get arrested too," says another cop in the background, addressing the other boys who are slower to dismount.

In a longer video posted to YouTube, the boys are repeatedly promised that they won't lose their bikes. The teen who first complied is then arrested, and all of their bicycles are taken by the cops.

"You know that we told you guys to stay on the sidewalk," the cop says in a video exchange with one of the teens who filmed their conversation when he returned to get his bike. "You guys knew that you were going against traffic. It is for your safety. You think I want to be here taking bikes away? Like, this is so asinine. Like, we have so much better stuff to do with our time."

She is correct on most counts. It is asinine, and the Perth Amboy Police Department definitely has better stuff to do with their time.

But she didn't stop there: "Is your bike registered with us? I don't have to give it back to you," she notes, harking back to the licensing scuffle referenced during the first confrontation. "You have the receipt to prove that that bike is your bike? I don't have to give it back to you."

They did, in fact, give the bikes back. But not before taking the opportunity to flex some state power over trivial matters like minor traffic infractions and bike registrations.

New Jersey does not require residents to register their bikes. Perth Amboy does, however. According to local law, a bicycle must be registered for any purpose, whether you're renting it out or it's your personal vehicle.

"No person shall ride, operate or propel a bicycle upon any street or other public highway in the city without first obtaining and having secured and attached to such bicycle a proper license tag as hereinafter provided," the statute reads.

"We live way in Edison, cuz," says the arrested teen as he is handcuffed and placed in a police cruiser. "We live way in Edison."

In theory, such a rule exists to help you if your bike is stolen. In this case, though, it became yet another tool in the police department's arsenal to wield power over a group of teens.

Such interactions further degrade trust in law enforcement, who, as the cop in the video admits, should be off doing more important things. (At least six officers were on the scene to address the traffic infractions and bike licenses.) These types of interactions can—and do—sometimes turn deadly. A woman called the police after observing that Ramon Lopez, a Phoenix man, was loitering, "jumping around," and wearing "ripped pants" in a parking lot. He was chased by police, pinned on searing hot asphalt, and later died.

As a rule, victimless crimes should be of little interest to the state. For whatever the government chooses to zero in on, they must feel comfortable using deadly force. Is a minor traffic violation or a bike registration really worth it?

NEXT: Arizona Governor Bans Municipal ‘Vaccination Passport’ Mandates

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  1. >>In theory, such a rule exists to help you if your bike is stolen.

    lol. also, New Jersey

    1. Perth Amboy is a lovely town if you speak Spanish and enjoy fistfights with bums.

      1. we call that Dallas now.

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    2. Then why do I have to register my motorcycle?
      It’s just a bicycle with bigger tires (and way better brakes)…

    3. It’s the government working to protect you. Next up is proof of vaccination against rabies. While there are as yet few fabricated indications bikes can carry rabies, there definitely are teeth on those sprockets. Only one child has ever survived rabies, and if a ban on bad biting bikes saves only one child’s life, that alone is worth all the initiation of armed deadly force in the world–just to collect the necessary taxes and hire First Responders™ like Derek Chauvin to enforce the rule of law.

      1. Ha! Or, how about you’re not allowed to ride your bike until everyone in the country gets a tetanus shot, you know because everyone is in danger of potentially getting stabbed by your rusty bike. Until then, biking shows you don’t care about your fellow man and that you should be arrested.

    4. Just another reason for the C average high school student who could not do any other job except become a bully with a badge to harrass someone. This is just another reason I lost all respect for the police forces years ago.

  2. Well, this is New Jersey, which raised protection rackets to an art.
    Paying to register your bike helps it from being stolen. These kids didn’t register, and their bikes were almost stolen.

    Move along, nothing to see here.

  3. Trial run for gun registration.

    1. It’s New Jersey. Between the FID card and pistol purchase permits, they’re already set up for it.

      1. Don’t forget about the new EFID cards and everything moving online to make it “easier”….for whom.

  4. Sorry Bobby, but the longer clip does not show that this is “yet another example of the effects of having to enforce dumb laws.” It does appear that the manner of bike riding was a legitimate road safety issue. If the kids had been warned, not solely about licenses but the manner of riding, which the kids address/concede early on in the video, then this seems just fine. I wouldn’t want to see such enforcement as a first response, but after warnings it reminds me, not too subtlely, of the greatest cop ever Sheriff Andrew Jackson “Andy” Taylor and “Opie and the Spoiled Kid”
    youtube com watch?v=oSTdHClwwSg

    1. bingo.

      It’s odd that they tell them to ride their bikes on the sidewalk. Some places ban that! lol

      1. Cyclists are vehicles, not pedestrians and should follow normal traffic conventions. People riding bikes against traffic or on sidewalks is kind of a pet peeve of mine.

        1. They’re kids on bikes. Who gives a shit if they are obeying traffic laws. You’re still going to blame the driver of the car and ruin their lives if the kid on the bike gets hit.

          Let kids play, you fucking bike Nazi.

          1. I think I detect some sarcasm there, but I’ll answer anyway.

            I don’t want cops handing out tickets to kids riding against traffic, but they should at least be taught that that is how it is supposed to work. And that if you do get killed by a car, not only are you dead, but the person who hit you has to live with it for the rest of his life.
            If it’s a quiet road with few pedestrians, they should be able to play and have fun, who cares?

        2. I was hoping to see a douche in spandex with a Critical Mass tee-shirt. So I was disappointed.

      2. After a few cold ones I often drive on the sidewalk. And some times the road.

      3. And some places prefer it, with the expectation that the bicyclists won’t be a-holes, and that they are children, and that they will be safer there.

        Sorta sucks to have to go knock on someone’s door and tell the parents that their child is on a slab down to the morgue….

      4. Under NYS Vehicle & Traffic law cyclists are prohibited from riding on the sidewalk. Riders are required to stay to the right side of the roadway and obey all of the same traffic laws (speed, signs, yield, turn signal, etc)

  5. Take away all the licensing crap and they were still salmoning. Why not just ticket them for that and leave it? The police are frosting a cake with horseshit.

    1. I was salmoning on Saturday. A nice sockeye filet seasoned with black pepper and roasted fennel seed.

  6. “The sergeant warned you about your bikes, so you guys are warned. I gave you a warning.”

    If only they had read the NJ Bike Manual, which (I kid you not) is 54 pages long.

    1. “You know that we told you guys to stay on the sidewalk,” the cop says in a video exchange with one of the teens who filmed their conversation when he returned to get his bike.

      The police should probably do so as well:

      Don’t Ride on Sidewalks
      Sidewalks are for pedestrians. Although riding a bicycle on a sidewalk is not prohibited by statute, some municipalities have passed ordinances prohibiting bicycle traffic on certain sidewalks. This prohibition is usually posted. Riding on sidewalks can cause conflicts with pedestrians and,because it places bicyclists in situations where motorists do not expect them, it can lead to crashes. Except for very young cyclists under parental supervision (and not crossing intersections) sidewalks are not for bicycling.

      1. Some of these suburbs have never seen a pedestrian.

    2. I’ve read these so called bike manuals. The people who wrote them have never been on a bike. If you followed all those rules you would be death.

  7. “You have the receipt to prove that that bike is your bike? I don’t have to give it back to you.”

    I refer you to the 4th AmendBLAMBLAMBLAM STOP RESISTING BLAMBLAM BLAM….

  8. “Based on FBI crime data, Perth Amboy is not one of the safest communities in America. Relative to New Jersey, Perth Amboy has a crime rate that is higher than 75% of the state’s cities and towns of all sizes.”

    Yes, the police definitely have “better things to do” there.

    1. Better? Sure. Easier? Probably not.

      1. Don’t forget the broken windows theory. Which worked…

  9. At least six officers were on the scene to address the traffic infractions and bike licenses.

    To be fair, only half of them are overweight.

  10. “No person shall ride, operate or propel a bicycle upon any street or other public highway in the city without first obtaining and having secured and attached to such bicycle a proper license tag as hereinafter provided,” the statute reads.

    I’m sure the statute then goes on to state that any such perambulators require a footman to precede the bicycler and halloo the approach of his contrivance as a warning in such a manner so as not to spook the horses of other travelers.

  11. You think I want to be here taking bikes away? Like, this is so asinine. Like, we have so much better stuff to do with our time.

    Revealed preferences, as opposed to stated preferences, would seem to suggest that you do not in fact have better stuff to do with your time.

  12. Does anyone miss Jersey Shore? Doo wop.

    1. I miss the Jersey chicks sometimes but it was the 80s they weren’t all JWOW’d out they were still hawt

      1. Big hair and fake tits were popular here in the 70’s, too.

        1. was high school for me so big hair natural tits and lip gloss. lots of lip gloss.

  13. fking new jersey. where you can’t even pump your own gas.

    i don’t miss snooki, but i do miss the sopranos

    1. Tony et al are still there. Unscripted now though.

    2. I know people in New Jersey and Oregon that actually try to rationalize this.

      1. The only gas stations that seem to care about the rule are on the Turnpike and Parkway rest stops. The attendant will often thank you for saving him the effort, provided you’re using credit and don’t fumble with the gear.

  14. At what point do you have to have a license to breath? And then once we get to that point, what about a license to stop breathing? Heinlein was right, the two types of people are those who want to control everything, and those who just want be left alone.

  15. This is what happens when you elect Democrats. It’s amazing that so many folks want government like this.

  16. No arrests, no beatings, no bikes taken and no shooting. A good outcome? Hardly. The next time the kids see the cops there will be some shooting. And the kids will be outgunned. That is a bad outcome.

    1. So a good outcome might be when the kids outgun the cops looter politicians hire to shoot kids?

  17. Imagine living in a place that demands a license for a bicycle.

  18. Busted on Bicycle Day. Ain’t that a bitch.
    Speaking of bitches, I’d huff a bike seat ridden by Cardi B on a hot day.

    1. That was how she robbed people. She never “rigged” their drink, she just smothered them with fish sauce and went through their pockets. The poor bastards woke up smelling like a Cook at Red Lobster.

  19. I remember Palo Alto having a law requiring a license purchased annually for every bike. I never bothered. They only enforced it if you were black and left EPA.

  20. They wanted them to ride on the side walk? SMFH.

  21. A bicycle license? What kind of bureaucratic nonsense is this? This is a thing in New Jersey? Cops are bored and eager enough to enforce this bullshit?

  22. Now: But not before taking the opportunity to flex some state power over trivial matters like minor traffic infractions and bike registrations.
    Before Christians made Rome fascist: De minimis non curat lex.

  23. Sure the government forces people to purchase a bicycle licenses so it helps the people if their bike is stolen. The logic is so flawed it’s laughable, of course this is government so it is expected unfortunately.

  24. Someone get these kids a pamphlet on libertarianism.

  25. Don’t blame the cops for this one, they weren’t there because they wanted to be there.
    Likely a constituent complained to the Mayor or a councilman who contacted the Chief who passed it along to the head of Patrol who advised the Shift Commander who told the patrol officers to “do something about that gang of bike riders”.
    Blame the city council for enacting this asinine law and the local resident who insisted that “something needs to be done about” groups of teens disturbing the neighborhood.

  26. I suspect the bikes are just an excuse.
    The real crime here is no ‘cloth face coverings’.

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