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Cyclist wearing headphones, running red lights fined $1,555

A Brooklyn man is bemoaning his fate, despite admitting going through three red lights while wearing headphones and riding his bicycle. Should he be?

Red light, schmed light? Windsor Adams/Flickr (with permission)

It's hard to love all the world's cyclists.

It isn't so much that they're sometimes sanctimonious about the environment. It's that too many bathe in the self-righteousness of the Ferrari driver, so much so that stop signs and red lights don't exist in their exalted firmament, especially when they're wearing headphones.

My tears go on sit-down strike, therefore, at the plight of 24-year-old Daniel Greer.

Greer confessed to riding through three red lights in Brooklyn, his headphones firmly in his ears.

He was stopped by police and given four tickets. However, he is now weeping to the New York Daily News that the money demanded by the authorities far exceeds his minor excesses.

"I know what I did was wrong and I understand that's the penalty, I just think it's astronomical," he told the Daily News.

You see, he only expected a fine of, oh, somewhere between $700 and $900. But the police decided that the more red lights he went through, the more he became a repeat offender. So the fines escalated.

He could have fought this logic, but reportedly had to go out of town and, well, just pleaded guilty. Now he seems to be pleading gouging.

Some would say that there isn't any difference between a cyclist wearing headphones and a car driver blaring music to shake the sidewalk.

However, responsible cyclists tell me that there is nothing more demeaning to the activity than wearing headphones.

"Why would you do that? Part of the whole experience is about soaking in your surroundings. And it's obviously dangerous," my engineer friend George -- a very serious cyclist -- told me.

Moreover, professional cyclist Neil Bezdek wrote on that headphones "present an obvious safety risk," even though he felt "the jury's still out" on the issue.

The Daily News said that pro-cycling lobbyists were upset at what they deemed "double-dipping." One, Steve Vaccaro, declared that it isn't as if Greer did "a lot of very different and distinct things wrong."

Some might imagine that this would be the equivalent of "knock down one old lady, knock down five. What's the diff?"