With all the positive moves in NYC for cycling I really don’t have a lot of time to focus on the negative, especially when its the same ol victim blaming game. Then Hunter college sociology students came out with this study to monitor the behavior of cyclists in the City. Oh great. It isn’t hard enough to take environmental matters into your own hands and brave the hyper aggressive streets of NYC or just plain ride your bike. Nope. Some brain surgeons over at Hunter decided to take a tiny cross section of the cycling community and realize what most people in this town are already keenly aware of. Cyclists don’t stop at red lights and don’t wear helmets. GASP? WHAT? That’s preposterous? I suppose your going to tell me next that pedestrians never jaywalk either and drivers never disobey parking laws? Well the pecking order from walkers to drivers, can have a field day and now refer to this study to backup their hatred for cyclists in NYC and instead of trying to figure out the benefits of cycling, they can rest assured and feel safety in the wonderful passive blame game. Pity we don’t spend more time trying to do research studies on the health benefits and sociological attributes of having cleaner air, less car traffic and a healthier society. I guess Hunter college doesn’t have a Public Health department. Maybe they should put that time and energy into figuring out what to do about the Governor’s tuition hike plan, and why New Yorkers aren’t going to be able to afford to go to school…let alone how they are going to get there by bike.
I would like to give a personal thank you to William Milczarski, professor of urban planning, at Hunter College, who concocted this rather useless observation study. Now we cyclists can spend further wasted time trying to do positive PR and justify why we ride in NYC (and you should too) to %*#holes like this guy from the fair and balanced NYPOST.
Wow, what a shocking suprise, just a few days after last week’s study came out…the NY Post had an editorial. Weird.
Kyle Smith had this editorial. This is what I am talking about. Studies come out, which Kyle refers to to justify his hatred for cyclists, because he got knocked down on the Westside Highway bike path. Well Kyle, that’s unfortunate. But aren’t you a bit over reacting with an editorial with the headline: “DANGEROUS BIKE RIDERS RUN WILD WITH IMPUNITY IN NYC!” hmmmm. Yes people, another thing FOX news wants you to be afraid of like that sadistic swine flu that’s going around killing millions of New Yorkers…ok actually just two so far. Well Kyle, you live in NYC and Kurtis Blow said it best…”These are the breaks.” Maybe you were equally pissed off when 56 year old Doctor Carl Nacht was killed on the west side highway by a Tow Truck…or when 22 year old Eric Ng was killed by a drunk driver on the same “safe” bike path that you enjoy running on. Funny I didn’t see any angry 2 page editorials from the NY Post saying, “DANGEROUS DRIVERS KILL CYCLISTS TWICE ON BIKE PATH.” I’m sure you were very traumatized by that “bike rider gone wild,” and I’m glad you get to play the victim blame game. I mean, I’m sure that Eric and Dr. Carl deserved to die on their bikes…after all, they weren’t wearing helmets.
Kyle’s editorial was quite funny however because he introduced us to new categories of cyclists:
* Messengers of Mayhem. These are young, aggressively fit men, often clad in futuristic outfits complete with face-obscuring visors that make them look like Boba Fett. They’re professional bike messengers who primarily operate in Midtown during business hours. They won’t stop or even slow down for red lights or for pedestrian-heavy intersections, so to warn you they’re coming they’ve developed terrifying bird call-like whistles that make them the pterodactyls in the prehistoric fight for survival that is life in Manhattan. When you hear the whistle, though, you don’t know if you’re supposed to stop or keep going on a predictable trajectory. Cops watch them barrel through red lights while discussing the relative merits of French roast vs. house blend.
(Yeah, those lazy cops…they should be body checking cyclists)
* Szechuan Psychos. Working for tips and of questionable immigration status, they serve in the mechanized infantry of General Tso’s army. Rusted rides and dumpling physiques generally prevent these wonton warriors from building up much speed – but they prowl residential neighborhoods at night. You’ll never see the one that gets you. Nor will you be able to sue him for all he’s worth, unless you don’t mind being paid in moo shu pork.
* Lance-a-Louts. You can tell by their high-performance bikes, their high-performance yellow-spandex racing jerseys, the high-performance dorkiness of their wee caps with precious little upturned visors: These weekenders think they’re l’il Lance Armstrongs as they pedal furiously down your street on the way to the park.
Corey the Courier answered back with this great comment and some categories of his own for pedestrians:
“I will not deny the presence of the three types of scofflaw cyclists. Nor will I try to refute the study of some random urologist, eager to emasculate male cyclists by his findings from a severely limited population sample.
I cannot condemn the wish for a more civilized use of the roadway by cyclists. I am thankful for the work of organizations like Transportation Alternatives who diligently work with the government to implement greener ways for the 8.3 million residents of the city to go to and fro.
But there are two sides to every coin…
Jaywalking pedestrians who get hit are usually unaware of their surroundings. Their presence in heavy numbers prevents the reasonable flow of motorists and cyclists from continuing onward to their destinations. I’ll describe three types of jaywalkers who, by their inappropriate place in the roadway, are usually the first victims to your triumvirate of mechanical menace:
The Dorothy’s: Just like the Wizard of Oz they abide in the green of the bike lane or the red of the bus lane despite a perfectly acceptable sidewalk nearby.
The Prairie Dogs: These are the people who spontaneously appear from behind parked vehicles into the path of oncoming traffic. They wander out mindlessly, then jump back when they see man-and-metal barreling toward them.
The Topeka Kansas High School Marching Band: These are the worst and make life hell for anyone with a desire to reach their destination in a timely fashion. These are the ones who see Prairie Dogs, Dorothys or just basic jaywalkers, following them into the street without a single glance to check for danger. The light could be red, traffic may be careening toward them, but they eagerly join other members of the band creating a mini parade. They stifle traffic flow and create road rage.
If jaywalking in New York became illegal or equally scorned public behavior as the kamikaze cyclists, maybe the police could actually catch these derelicts that trouble you so.
Messenger of Mayhem Member”