06 July 2011

New York City Skirt Police

This is the story of Jasmijn Rijcken, a Dutch woman in NYC to promote Vanmoof bicycles, who alleges she was stopped and harassed by a NYC police officer for wearing a skirt while biking. Apparently this can be dangerous and distracting to motorists.

This story has been picked up by, reported on, and blogged about by many so far and I won't attempt to repeat it. Take a look at these links for the background:
  • The Gothamist was one of the first to pick up the story
  • Across the pond in London, the Guardian also picked up the story
  • Further afar, our Danish friends at Cycle Chic reported on the story and explored a bit of the gendered history of cycling
  • Some suggested it was all a marketing hoax, so Streegsblog investigated and decided that it was likely legit
This isn't the first time the NYPD has sought to ticket a cyclist for perfectly legal behaviour. Not too long ago I blogged about a cyclist in NYC who was ticketed for not riding in a bike lane. He made a great video about it. 

In response to this madness, protest rides were organized. They've been dubbed 'Skirts on Bikes' rides.

Photo: Andrew Schwartz for New York Press


Check out the Village Voice and the Gothamist for more on the protest rides.

So, what gives with hating on women (and cyclists) these days? In Toronto this past year a police officer made some comments to a group of students at York University that women should dress less slutty in order not to be raped. This, of course, spawned a worldwide reaction that led to the now famous Slut Walks.

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