July 9th, 2019: So Much For Safe Passage...

Warm and sunny out there today:

Tuesday Weather

Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 83. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming light and variable.

Tuesday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 71. South wind around 6 mph.

Sunrise 5:33am

Sunset 8:29pm

This evening at 6:30 Transportation Alternatives will stage a mass die-in in Washington Square Park:

Starting tomorrow there will be full night closures of the Ninth Street Bridge in Brooklyn:

And yesterday morning, for a short while anyway, the Hudson River Greenway detour was no more:

West Side Greenway

At first I assumed a fed-up cyclist had hurled the barriers in an act of defiance, but then I realized it was raining and NYC Parks probably moved it so the wouldn't have to get out of their cars.

Speaking of feeling fed-up, how's the NYPD's Bicycle Safe Passage Plan going?

Well, it's entered the inevitable "sitting in a van while blasting propaganda from a loudspeaker phase:"

Meanwhile, local media coverage has entered the inevitable let's-blame-the-victims phase, with Brian Lehrer giving way too much time to "Hank in Fort Lee," a former bike racer and self-hating bicyclist who thinks cyclist behavior is "atrocious:"

It's easy to laugh an arrogant former bike racer who thinks he's better at riding bikes than everyone else because he used to pay USA Cycling for a license.  However, keep in mind that after financial analyst Matthew Shefler called in to the Brian Lehrer Show to complain about ebikes, the mayor launched an ebike crackdown based entirely on his anecdotes.  Therefore, this can only mean that the Mayor will soon appoint "Hank in Fort Lee" as New York City's first Bike Mayor.

Still, when it comes to disparaging cyclists, Hank's got nothing on CBS New York:

CBS2 urban affairs analyst Mark Peters says a driver crackdown is important, but not enough.

“We also need a system for cracking down on dangerous behavior by bicycle riders,” Peters explained.

“Insist on putting license plates on bicycles which would then allow the police or pedestrians or anyone else to track unsafe behavior,” the former chief of the city’s Department of Investigation added.

“If there’s a plate on the back on the bicycle you can call 911.”

Call 911 to report a license plate?  "Urban affairs analyst" Mark Peters is either completely delusional, or else he's being incredibly subversive--and it could be the latter since, given his former job, he surely knows better than anybody how useless it is to report a licence plate to the NYPD.

As for CBS New York, they clearly don't realize it's possible to ticket a bicyclist even without a licence plate:

Mayor de Blasio is not a fan of putting license plates on bikes. A spokesman for the mayor claimed there’s no data to indicate that forcing people to register bikes would make the streets safer.

There is probably just as little data on how bikers would be motivated to change their irresponsible behavior after receiving a pricey ticket from the NYPD.

What?  A cyclist receiving a pricey ticket from the NYPD?!?  It'll never happen.

But while de Blasio is against bicycle license plates, he's eerily comfortable with the NYPD running bicyclists off the road with their vehicles:

Asked about the incident at an unrelated press conference on Monday, the mayor said that while he had not seen videos of the incident, the officer's actions seemed justified. "There has to be respect for when a law enforcement officer says you’re doing something illegal, you need to stop, and if the individual ignores that it’s a different dynamic," the mayor said.

Police Commissioner James O'Neill added that using force against cyclists who commit traffic infractions was not necessarily prohibited by the NYPD, and that "it's up to the individual officer to make that decision."

In other words, so far the biggest policy change to arise from the Bicycle Safe Passage Plan is that it's now officially city policy to ram cyclists.

Finally, amNY tells the story of Ernest Askew, who depended on his bicycle to get to mental health appointments in a neighborhood lacking in bike infrastructure:

So, the bike then, the pedal-assist variety he was riding on Sutter Avenue on the evening of June 27, when a driver in a white Hyundai fatally struck him. Charges were not filed, but the incident was one of 15 cyclist fatalities so far this year. There were 10 recorded all of last year. 

“That was his main mode of transportation,” says Melvin.

It’s what he used to get to medical appointments off bike-unfriendly Linden Boulevard at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, where he went for sessions to deal with mental health issues, his brother says. Those issues also sometimes made it hard to take buses or the subway, where he didn't always like being around lots of strangers. 

If only the policymakers worried as much about people like Ernest Askew as they do about all those people supposedly driving into Manhattan for doctors' appointments...