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Unarmed Black Man Killed In Choke Hold, Racial Tensions Mount, Police Prioritize…Bicycle Crackdown? Tips Included

Racial tensions seem to be reaching a fever pitch in the US, set off by a series of killings of unarmed black males by the police. IMG_0180.GIF22 year old John Crawford was shot dead in a Beavercreak, Ohio Walmart (August 5th, 2014) for apparently failing to put down a toy gun he was purchasing for his son.

(August 9th, 2014) 18 year old Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri. Police claim the teenage was banishing a weapon although eye-witnesses on the scene say Mr. Brown was killed with his hands in the air and was complying with the officers that shot him. IMG_0181.JPGOnly making things worse, were five days of violence that followed by militarized riot gear cops shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators who took to the streets to protest a long history of racial motivated harassment.

Both incidents and a similar killing of 25 year old, Ezell Ford in Los Angeles come in the shadow of a fourth homicide right here in NYC.

43 year old Staten Island resident Eric Garner, a father of six children who pleaded with officers that he couldn’t breathe during a choke hold–Not to mention a whole team of EMS workers who stood by and did nothing…all captured on video in broad daylight.

This is the first case of an unarmed black man being killed in NYC within mayor DeBlasio’s watch which definitely has local citizens concerned about how it will be handled, especially with such a long history of similar killings during past administrations all ending in officer acquittals.

Race is definitely a factor in these killings but doesn’t seemed to be addressed by the NYPD or other police forces, who would much rather discuss a few bad apple officers or debate whether the victims were “resisting arrest.” Within this politically charged climate…the police have scrutinized over their priorities and come up with: Operation Safe Cycle? A rather Orwellian term to crack down on bad biking behavior. I’m sure this will ease the family of Eric Garner on Staten Island awaiting a proper investigation.

That’s right, it was announced that for two weeks in August (until 8/26) police will be using their time wisely, looking for bikes riding the wrong way on the certain random parts of the streets.
Continue reading Unarmed Black Man Killed In Choke Hold, Racial Tensions Mount, Police Prioritize…Bicycle Crackdown? Tips Included

Instead of Harassment one Precinct looks for Input on Street Safety

Could be a sign of a new era for street safety. It looks like instead of spending the winter harassing cyclists and ticketing them for running red lights in Central Park (no sign that tactic is officially over) the NYPD may actually be trying to reach out, or at least one precinct is.

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New Administration, New Critical Mass?

This Friday, 1/31/14 is Critical Mass around the world. Same time, Same place…New Administration.

Union Square North-6:45pm With the end of the Bloomburg/Kelly Regime and the start of the DiBlasio/Brattan “Obamafication”, we celebrate the settling of 2004 RNC mass arrests to the tune of 18 million dollars. We embrace DeBlasio’s #VisionZero with a [...]

Is it OK to Kill Cyclists? How About Pedistrians? People Continue to Die and We’re Left Asking Why?

Since the publishing of the “Is it Ok to Kill Cyclists?” op-ed in the Sunday NY times (11/9/13) by Daniel Duane, there has been a number of responses as the article has made the rounds through bicycle blogs and other related publications.

The main point of Duane’s piece, although not entirely clear (at least not to this blogger) was to illustrate how drivers rarely face criminal charges after hitting and killing cyclists, even when the motorist is at fault. The opinion gave some vague examples but didn’t do a good job of finding details about why motorists aren’t prosecuted or if cyclist fatalities are even investigated.

In fairness to the author, Daniel Duane did appear on a radio program to clarify his position and continue to champion the cause that drivers seem to be getting away with murder.

Here and Now on WBUR.org
Does The Law Go Too Easy On Drivers Who Kill Cyclists?

There was also a well done NPR piece over the weekend that brought up a discussion about whether the bikes should be treated like cars in regards to current traffic laws and how cities are designed, especially with the rise in the popularity of bike sharing programs.

WNYC-Gabfest, aired November 15th, 2013

The Pedaling Revolution Edition -Episode #65

On this week’s episode of Gabfest Radio, Political Gabfest panelists Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss what happens if healthcare.gov doesn’t work by Nov. 30, and whether bikes should be treated like cars.

The radio program used Duane’s piece as an example that it’s NOT, OK to kill cyclists while citing the opposite side of the coin, People who apparently think it’s perfectly fine (to kill cyclists) and uses the old argument that we deserve it because of our blatant violation of traffic laws. (laws designed for motor vehicles) Case in point, Christopher Caldwell from the Weekly Standard.

Drivers Get Rolled
Bicyclists are making unreasonable claims to the road—and winning
November 18th, 2013

Cyclists like the ones in New Hampshire, whose reckless riding and self-righteousness have earned rolled eyes nationwide and the nickname of “Lycra louts” in England, have tested the public’s willingness for compromise. As bicyclists become an ever more powerful lobby, ever more confident in the good they are doing for the environment and public health, they are discovering—to their sincere surprise—that they are provoking mistrust and even hostility among the public.

Read more: here.

Mostly this op-ed is an excuse to continue the defensive gross generalization of cyclists being mostly rich middle age liberals who are not blue collar enough. Caldwell venomously spews:

“They are, to judge from their blogs, more aggrieved by delivery trucks parked in bike lanes than drivers are by delivery trucks parked in car lanes. This may be because proportionately fewer of them have ever met a person who drives a delivery truck.”

He does make a few points that roadways are outdated and don’t include the physical space for bicycles. Also, there are some valid points that biking is healthy for both people and the planet, but most cyclists are just too self righteous and think they own the roadways so therefore it’s Ok to run a few over.

Somehow it seems that if you choose to ride a bicycle as a form of transportation, you’re somehow expected to act like cars and be their equal, but if your hit by one, then your treated like less than equal. In an attempt to reclaim a sense of humanity, that actual lives have been lost, letters to the editor of the NY Times evoke similarities to pedestrians.

In direct response to the Daniel Duane piece…
From the Opinion pages of the NY TIMES

Caution: Danger in the Traffic Lanes
By: David Berman
November 10th, 2013

No, it is not O.K. to kill cyclists with impunity, but neither is it O.K. to kill pedestrians, which happens a couple of hundred times a year in New York City. The problem is not a cultural predisposition against bicyclists; it is that nobody obeys traffic laws anymore, and that’s at least partly because nobody is enforcing them.

Read more opinions: here.

The Duane piece hit especially hard in NYC due the fact that there have been a number of pedestrians killed in the last month, many of which are children 12 and under.

Continue reading Is it OK to Kill Cyclists? How About Pedistrians? People Continue to Die and We’re Left Asking Why?

Ride the Banksys

Did you miss the Banksy craze of the British graffiti artist that turned NYC into his own gallery for the month of October? The anonymous artist was able to drive trucks around town with fake animals in it… Plop down animatronic grim reapers in Noho and place a repainted work of art in Housing [...]

Banksy? Start Spreading the News

UK street artist Banksy has had quite a run in his October residency in NYC. Carbon polluting to send a message about eating animals…I guess.

and fairly accurate complaint of New York rising to the level of mediocre in it’s generic design of new Freedom Tower, while slowly destroying the real culture of [...]

Double Whammy-Young Cyclist of Color Meets NYPD’s Policy of Stop-and-Frisk & hatred of biking.

The NYPD’s policy of stop-and-frisk has been at the forefront of this year’s mayoral race with many potential voters wondering where candidates stand on this issue. At the heart of the debate are serious concerns about racial profiling and illegal search and seizers which tend to overwhelming target young people of color. Many people [...]

Wake Up Wednesdays with Bike Talk-WBAI 99.5 FM

WBAI 99.5fm now has a new segment as part of it’s “Wake Up Call” morning program called: Bike Talk.

Wednesdays at 7:45am

Here is a bit about the program:

‘Bike Talk’ – a new 15 minute segment on Wake Up Call every Wednesday throughout the summer.

It will bring you news on all [...]

NYPD first tried to charge the five boro, now it wants to protect it…from hydrating.

photo by: Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News

Remember a few weeks back the New York police department wanted to change the status of the 5 boro bike tour to a non-charitable event? The rationale was basically for the police to charge Bike New York, who runs this hugely popular group ride, close to a [...]

NYPD decides to charge the five borough bike tour a 1 million dollar fee.

Every year I look at 30,000+ cyclists attending the five borough bike tour and wonder, “where are you people the other 364 days a year, biking in NYC?” Understandably, this event provides riders with a safe envivornment as well as the appeal of seeing all five boroughs and using infrastructure normally reserved for the [...]