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Bikers should park free: Pols

Photo by Rebecca Henely
By Rebecca Henely

The motorcyclists who parked their Harley-Davidsons in front of Queens Borough Hall last Thursday said they want to obey the law, but are not sure how.

While standing parking meters that take quarters offer a secure place for motorcycles to park, riders say there is no place for them to secure a Muni-Meter parking receipt where it will not potentially be blown away or stolen.

Motorcycle enthusiasts City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and state Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights) have thus proposed legislation exempting motorcycle riders from paying Muni-Meters.

More than a dozen motorcycle riders, both men and women, came out to support the legislation.

“We are not the Sons of Anarchy, we are the sons and daughters of New York City,” Vallone said, referencing the TV show. “This is about fairness for motorcycle riders when they park.”

DenDekker said his inspiration for the legislation came when he received a $65 ticket the previous week for failing to display a Muni-Meter receipt on his motorcycle.

“I’ll be honest. I did not buy one,” DenDekker said. “I did not buy it because I don’t have any place to put it.”

A spokesman for the city Department of Transportation said it does not comment on proposed legislation until it comes to a hearing. The DOT’s website, however, recommends motorcyclists use clear plastic holders that they can attach to their bikes with a lock. The department said these holders can be found in what it called specialty stores.

DenDekker criticized this description as being too vague. He suggested the state Department of Motor Vehicles give these to motorcyclists when they register every year.

“We need more direction. We need more information,” DenDekker said. “The city needs to work with us. Not against us.”

John Sessa, director of the New York City Harley Owners Group and a resident of College Point, said he believed that exempting motorcycles from having to use the Muni-Meter would be a good way to promote a form of travel he characterized as environmentally friendly. He said his car gets 15 miles to the gallon, but his motorcycle gets 40 miles to the gallon.

“It will save gasoline. It will save energy,” Sessa said.

In response to the question of whether car drivers would think it unfair for motorcyclists to be exempt from paying for parking while cars would need receipts, Vallone said he understood.

“But right now it’s not fair that motorcycles are ticketed when there’s no way for them to obey the law,” he said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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