Summer is just around the corner and New Yorkers are ready to pack the streets and parks after more than two years of confinement and severe health restrictions; however, incurring certain offenses will not only cost you a reprimand from the police, but also several hundred dollars.
Many New Yorkers are unaware that actions as simple as feeding fluffy squirrels or cute ducks in a park could lead to a civil penalty of up to $50, according to Parks Department regulations.
Here we detail the most common, but often unknown, mistakes that could ruin your summer fun.
WALKING WITH DOGS, THESE ARE THE RULES
New York City Health Code §161.03 imposes a fine of $200 to $400 on pet owners who allow their animal to disturb public or private premises used in common by the public, or in any area of a building adjoining a public place.
Similarly, §161.05 imposes a fine of $200 to $400 for allowing a pet to roam off-leash in a public place, open field, or unfenced area adjoining a public place.
The same goes for those who don’t pick up their dog feces from sidewalks. New York State Public Health Law §1310 imposes a fine of $250; however, that provision does not apply to a guide dog accompanying a visually impaired person.
BEWARE, ELECTRIC SCOOTER AND BICYCLE RIDERS
Touring the city in one of these means of transport sounds good, but there are rules. In April 2020, the City Council voted to legalize electric bicycles and electric scooters.
They can be used on city streets as long as they don’t violate legalization criteria, which prohibit electric bikes from exceeding 25 miles per hour. Prior to the passage of this bill, cities had the power to regulate electric bicycles and electric scooters for local use instead of the state. Not only do these new regulations allow New Yorkers to travel more efficiently again, but they can also allow people to have peace of mind knowing they won’t be ticketed for using electric bikes and scooters.
THE DIFFERENT CLASSES OF ELECTRIC BIKES ARE DESCRIBED BELOW:
- Class One: Pedal-assist electric bicycles that reach a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. These bikes are legal in the city.
- Class Two: Throttle-driven electric bikes that reach a top speed of 20 miles per hour.
- Class Three: Throttle-driven electric bikes that reach a top speed of 25 miles per hour. These bikes are allowed in cities with a population of one million people or more.
And here comes the least fun part. Fines for violating electric bike legalization criteria range from $250 to $500, but are mostly focused on reckless drivers who threaten the safety of pedestrians and other drivers.
Open here for more details.
VISIT TO THE PARK? THERE IS A WHOLE LIST OF PENALTIES
Nothing like visiting the park to relax and be in contact with nature, but any violation of the Parks Department regulations carries a civil penalty.
Furthermore, unless otherwise provided, the violation of the rules shall also constitute a crime (classified as a “violation” under the Criminal Law), which may be punished in a separate court proceeding with imprisonment for up to one day, or a fine of not more than $200.
THESE ARE SOME SANCTIONS, TAKE NOTE!
- Unauthorized presence in the park when it is closed to the public, fine of $50 to $75.
- Cutting or destroying a tree, fine of $1,000 to $1,125.
- Walking on/allowing an animal or child to walk on newly seeded grass, $50-$75 fine.
- Unauthorized use of metal detector, $50 to $75 fine.
- Littering or illegal use of park dumpster, $50-$75 fine.
- Storing/leaving personal belongings unattended, $50-$75 fine.
- Possession of glass container, $50 to $75 fine.
- Unauthorized feeding of animals, fine of $50 to $75.
- Disorderly Behavior: Climbing statues or works of art in a way that could damage them, $200-$300 fine.
- Fare evasion, $50 to $75 fine.
- Reckless Behavior – Operation of a bicycle, motor vehicle, etc., which endangers the safety of another person or property, $500 to $750 fine.
- Operating a sound reproducing device without the required permit, $140 to $210 fine.
Here you will find the complete list of violations and penalties.
DO YOU WANT TO REFRESH? THINK TWICE BEFORE OPENING A HYDRANT
The Fire Department of New York (FDNY, for its acronym in English) warns that opening a hydrant without authorization drastically alters the flow and pressure of water in the sector, which can interrupt service.
The agency indicates that this poses a risk to the lives and property of New Yorkers in the event of a fire.
According to the FDNY, a fire hydrant without a sprinkler cap wastes a thousand gallons of water per minute. In one hour, the water wasted is similar to the amount used by a family of four in one year.
“Open fire hydrants can reduce firefighters’ ability to fight a fire,” says the FDNY’s summer fire safety guide.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) warns that it is illegal to open a fire hydrant without a sprinkler cap, which carries fines of up to $1,000 and up to 30 days in jail.
The DEP reports that children can also be at serious risk, as the powerful force of an open fire hydrant without a sprinkler cap can knock a child to the ground, causing lacerations and injuries.
Fire hydrants can only be legally opened if they are equipped with a city-approved sprinkler cap, which is supplied by local fire departments or by calling 311.
Sprinkler caps may be obtained free of charge by an adult 18 years of age or older.
Officials asked New Yorkers to think about the dire implications of opening a fire hydrant without authorization, which often happens during heat waves.
Open here for more details.
THERE IS A TIMETABLE FOR MUSIC AND FOR SILENCE
Are you feeling festive? Are you planning a meeting with friends? Well, there’s a schedule for that. In accordance with local law, quiet hours in New York City are from 10 pm to 7 am There may be fines for those who violate these laws. However, any New York resident will tell you that the city is always alive and, above all, always full of sounds. Some may argue that there really are no quiet hours in the city that never sleeps.
Depending on the offense, fines can range from $75 for causing or allowing unreasonable noise (between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.) to more than $1,000 for being a repeat offender for “noise from sound device exceeding permissible levels.”
Learn about the regulations here.