The offending party was a grey skirt, accented with what appeared to be a crinoline tutu frill.
The woman wearing said skirt was cycling when a cop with the NYPD allegedly deemed her guilty of “distracting the cars.” Her leggy appearance, he explained, was “very disturbing.”
That’s the story according to Jasmijn Rijcken, a 31-year-old bicycle-company general manager who was in town for the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show.
Ms. Rijcken assumed the officer was joking until he demanded her ID and threatened to ticket; he backed off when Ms. Rijcken explained that she was Dutch and unaware of any dress code.
“I was standing there next to my bike, looking at my map, and then this police guy stops and starts telling me about my skirt,” Streetsblog quoted Ms. Rijcken saying.
“At first I thought he was making a joke or maybe even a compliment, but then I found out he was serious because he got really mad.”
The officer told Ms. Rijcken that she should cycle in pants, which she changed into when she reached her hotel.
“The next day I was really careful not to wear a skirt,” Ms. Rijcken told the Village Voice, which reported that the officer ignored the fact that she wasn’t wearing a helmet.
Ms. Rijcken said she felt ashamed about the May 3 incident, only posting her story to Facebook recently. (Her Facebook profile shows her sitting on a bike in stilettos, purple tights and a red skirt.)
While the NYPD has denied the story (Ms. Rijcken didn’t take down the officer’s name or badge number), the incident is flaring tempers online, with some musing that it has the all makings of the next SlutWalk.
Joanna Virello, who organized the New Amsterdam Bike Show, said she is planning a bike ride in skirts to support the woman, according to the New York Daily News.
“Women are people, people in bodies, bodies that need to get from place to place, in public,” Audrey Ference wrote for The L Magazine.
“If an accidental panty flash makes it so you can’t drive a vehicle, or if a scantily clad woman makes it so you can’t not rape her, you are the problem,” she continued.
“Is there anything more infantilizing than the assumption that men are so very unable to control themselves that women’s bodies have to be criminalized? … Guys, you are the ones who should be insulted here. Just another reason why feminism is for dudes, too.”
And what about that other double standard?
"Dudes bike around in ... Lycra year-round. I’ve never heard of a cop stopping a guy-biker for distracting drivers with his meaty thighs," Carmel Lobello writes in Death + Taxes magazine.
Women, do you cycle in skirts? Drivers, do skirts distract you when you're behind the wheel?