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Spills and Kills, but no Vision Zero. A round up January events on street safety and traffic violence.

I was taking a bit of a hibernation here in 2014, dodging the “Artic Vortex(s)” and bad road conditions. This had nothing to do with my recent crash. On Monday (1/20/14) I went out for drinks to congratulate my pal Jonathan Beck who you may remember from his bad bike crash in 2010. He has long since been rebuilt with bionics and has replicated a new cycling maniac of the future–a baby girl. Congratulations to him and wife Britt Reichborn-Kjennerud on daughter, 8.5lb Bucklin Solvei Beck, entering planet Earth, 1/4/14. They’ve got Norwegian roots which explains the names and they’ll be using the middle one (Solvei). Speaking of Bucklin…A front basket that I personally improperly installed on one of my bikes dug into my front wheel on the ride home from drinking with Beck. This caused me to do a endo over the front handlebars in a NY minute and land right on my big nose. Luckily the helmet I insist on wearing helped my injuries to be mostly contained to my face. A very nice Park Slope resident, witnessed my face plant and was very helpful in convincing me not to walk to the nearest hospital (Methodist) but rather to take the ambulance he had phoned in. This was a much better decision then trying to walk 10 blocks with a scarf trying to stop the bleeding. The doctors in the ER were helpful, but it did take 6 hours to get a CAT-scan, Motrin and two stitches…but expect NYC ER’s to be overloaded because of all the hospital closings.

So I haven’t updated the blog in a while in my face healing time, it seems like I should put something up on here, seeing as 2014 is my 10th year of writing this thing.

The bike community here in NYC is eagerly waiting to see what will happen with the new progressive Mayor Bill DeBlasio and his recently appointed administration, primarily the police commissioner William Bratton and new Department of Transportation commish, Polly Trottenberg.

We’re definitely off to a rough start with 18 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities since Mayor DeBlasio was sworn in at the start of 2014.
Here is a brief timeline of some of what’s been going on.

The End of 2013:
Once again, Time’s Up did New Year’s Eve right with a mobile dance party bike ride and after party in Central Park at the Belvedere Castle. If you ever get a chance to experience this event, it’s a great way to ring in the New Year. You get to ride past all the stuck people in Time’s Square waiting for Ryan Seacrest to drop the ball. I mean, it’s freezing, but your movin. Here is a quick video:

——-
janette_sadik_khan(photo by Brad Aaron)
Our bike friendly former D.O.T. commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan is out and jumping on board with outgoing Mayor of the rich side of the two cities, Michael Bloomberg’s team. He’s launching a consulting firm called Bloomberg Associates which will tell other cities how to have the largest wealth desperately and not to drink too much soda. Hopelly Janette will get them to ride more bicycles and cars not to see them as road obstacles.

More about the future of Bloomberg Associates from the NY Times.

Incoming D.O.T. commissioner is Polly Trottenberg:
sb_polly_trottenberg-585x450 (photo by: sheepsheadbites.com

A federal transportation policy maker with credentials include working with New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the 1998 federal transportation bill and for Senator Chuck Schumer.

Here is more about her from Ben Fried with Streetsblog.org

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January 2nd, 2014

Mayor DeBlasio is sworn in and transportation commissioner, Polly Trottenberg meets with parents who were on hand to keep the mayor on task about his promise of working towards Vision Zero. They are also victims of recent traffic violence and lost loved ones to reckless drivers. Vision Zero, is a goal adopted by NYC and brought forward by the new mayor to work towards having zero traffic fatalities of pedestrians and cyclists. Although that number may be impossible to obtain, the idea is to treat every traffic violent death as equally significant and even one death is too many. It is also a goal of a city, to work towards making efforts to make these fatalities avoidable through infrastructure, awareness and cracking down on motor vehicle violations. This seems especially important when for the last three years, around this time, the NYPD has chosen to crack down on bad cycling behavior and making no efforts to curb speeding cars and other moving violations that end up killing people, unlike bikes not stopping for lights in Central Park.

The Commissioner wasn’t aware of this particular demonstration on inauguration day, but the site of it caught her attention and she made time to find out what the people holding the vision zero signs had to say:

Trottenberg Meets Parents of Traffic Violence Victims at Inauguration. by Stephen Miller.

Incoming Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, right, speaks with Amy Cohen, whose 12-year-old son was killed by a driver on Prospect Park West. Photo: Stephen Miller

Mayor DeBlasio introduces the new police commissioner William Bratton at a press conference. Bratton a former NYC police commissioner in NYC (1994-96) has been in Los Angeles, vehemently cracking down on jaw walkers of those few citizens that actually aren’t driving in a car.

Here is a video from Bratton’s press conference:

Continue reading Spills and Kills, but no Vision Zero. A round up January events on street safety and traffic violence.

Is It Ok To Kill Articles That Get It All Wrong About Cyclists?

Quite often I get these emails and texts from people alerting me of an article I should read about cycling. Often it’s from a credited publication like the NY Times so naturally it peaks my interest. Turns out, 9-10 times the op-ed or discussion is about some out-of-touch person who really doesn’t like biking and probably shouldn’t even be writing an article that does nothing for the activity but rather makes cycling hating drivers feel justified for their road rage or cycling enthusiasts defend themselves for their choice of transportation. As one of the laters I often feel obligated to chime in since the article itself is getting attention and it’s my job to help defend cycling. Luckily most of the time the arguments are weak, so my job is made easy. It’s also quite baffling how these people are given the word space, especially with the current state of publishing in the digital age.

I’m actually quite hungry for honest debate about whether cycling is a legitimate form of transportation but instead I get this:
20131113-131407.jpg
The latest comes from some guy named Daniel Duane from San Francisco who was fortunate to have his opinions published in the New York Times on Sunday.

Is It Ok To Kill Cyclists?
Right away, Duane illustrates my point about being a hater with a description of himself: “SAN FRANCISCO — EVERYBODY who knows me knows that I love cycling and that I’m also completely freaked out by it.”

Ah, that’s funny cause I know a lot of writers on the subject of cycling and somehow, I’ve never heard of you…must be a West Coast thing. Next he says:

Duane: “I got into the sport for middle-aged reasons: fat; creaky knees; the delusional vanity of tight shorts. Registering for a triathlon, I took my first ride in decades.”

I’m not sure a triathlon is the best place to start cycling…seems a bit extreme, how about just going to get a delicious burrito in the Mission or a leisurely cruise across the Golden Gate bridge.

Duane: “Wind in my hair, smile on my face, I decided instantly that I would bike everywhere like all those beautiful hipster kids on fixies. Within minutes, however, I watched an S.U.V. hit another cyclist, and then I got my own front wheel stuck in a streetcar track, sending me to the pavement.”

Yeah it’s called learning how to operate a vehicle, just like when you stalled in traffic on one of those hills trying to learn how to drive a stick shift. Oh the embarrassment.

The rest of this op-Ed goes on to point out how easy it is for cyclists to get killed by automobiles with little or no criminality attributed to the driver. Now being killed by a car for learning how to love cycling is a very hard lesson to swallow.

I don’t want to belabor over the East Coast vs West Coast thing, but really. One of my Co-Author of the book we did as a travel guide for biking in NYC, (bikenycthebook) Marci Blackman would often talk about biking in San Francisco where she lived for a long time. She would say she felt way more safe in NYC and that in SF the drivers have much more space to speed and how cyclists are treated much more as just being in the way. After all, just cause it’s up North and the birthplace of free lovin hippies, it’s still car culture America, California.

Continue reading Is It Ok To Kill Articles That Get It All Wrong About Cyclists?