Letter Sent to Councilmember
Provenzano about Bike Lanes
I read an article about the Hering and Yates Avenues bicycle lanes in a recent
Bronx Times-Reporter and was disturbed by the anti-bike lane sentiment, part of
which the paper attributed to you (whether correct or not). I am one of your
constituents and I made use of these lanes (Hering and Yates Avenues) on a
number of occasions this past summer when my dad was dying of West Nile Virus at
Einstein Hospital. I feel so much safer using these lanes than on parallel
Williamsbridge Road, where drivers illegally double park and make U-turns. I am
sure you are aware of the difficult parking situation near this hospital. Some
students and employees could (and do) bicycle to the hospital using these lanes
instead of driving. People who live on these streets must realize that they are
not private roads for their exclusive use. We all need to give consideration to
each other, including people who ride bikes for convenience, health and energy
Editor’s Note: As we
went to press, the Bronx Times-Reporter reported that, at the behest of
Councilmember Provezano, City Hall told the City DOT to remove the bike lanes on
Hering and Yates.
It’s No “Accident”
It would help a lot if the media, notably the “good, gray, New York Times,”
stopped describing deadly motor vehicle accidents as “runaway car hits 5
pedestrians” or “the car jumped the curb to injure X pedestrians.” Motor
vehicles are NOT sentient beings; they are pieces of heavy machinery that are
operated by persons, most of them alert and responsible, but some of them
totally concerned with getting their vehicle from one places to another as fast
as possible, damn the consequences.
Editor’s Note: We agree.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration refers to motor
vehicle collisions as “crashes,” not “accidents.” So should the media.
Fearing for my Life
I work as a bicycle messenger in Manhattan. I have daily run-ins with taxi
drivers and other motorists that usually result in a shouting match, with me
starting the shouting because I fear for my life when a car has violated my
space. Of course I could get another occupation, but I don’t know what that
would be. I feel fortunate to have a job at all. Do you have any literature that
would explain how to ride more safely in the city or better yet, how to deal
with motorized vehicles that give no respect to bicycles? Thank you for your
efforts to make our city safer.
Editor’s Note: Improving
the safety of the cycling and walking environment through driver education and
enforcement is a large part of T.A.’s work. We maintain an extensive “Cycling
Resources” section on our Web site at
that includes tips on how to ride safely and react to obnoxious drivers. You
will be glad to learn that, in response to our request, the Taxi and Limousine
Commission added questions about safe driving around bicyclists to their
mandatory driver’s test. T.A. has also worked with the New York Police
Department to stage “Give Respect/Get Respect” events during which we give out
mock tickets to drivers breaking the law.
Mayoral Support of Car Alarm
Why doesn’t Mayor Bloomberg support the bill to ban car alarms? It doesn’t make
sense. Car alarms are a huge quality of life issue and banning them will only
make the city a more bearable place to live. So why not support the bill??
Editor’s Note: Good
question. Please write to Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker, Gifford
Miller at City Hall, New York, NY 10007 and make the same points.
Plagued by Pot Holes in
I cycle from the Upper West
Side to the end of Long Island. The pot holes between 114th Street and Main
Street in Flushing, Queens are very severe and for much of the road there are no
lights at all. I called 311 to report the problems on this section of the
streets and they assured me that the problems would be fixed within ten days.
Three weeks later, the pot holes and broken lights were still there. The area is
seriously dangerous. Please let me know what can be done to bring this to the
attention of the city. Thank you!
Editor’s Note: Send a
letter with your 311 complaint number and the date of your call to Mayor
Bloomberg at City Hall, New York, NY 10007 and ask for his help.
Preventing Killer Drivers
It is good that the New York Daily News is putting some pressure on lawmakers to
address the flaws in existing laws about drivers who run over pedestrians or
cyclists and get away with little or no punishment. I think that driving schools
must emphasize the need for drivers to be mindful of cyclists. They need to
learn that cyclists have rights on the roadway just as motorists do. Perhaps
another way to accommodate cyclists is place a ban on the “Right on Red” rule.
Motorists won’t try to squeeze around cyclists who are going straight and
waiting for the green light.
Editor’s Note: We agree
that there needs to be more and better driver education. New York lags in the
quantity of required driver education. On the other hand, you will be happy to
learn that New York City is one of the few places in the country where right
turns on red are banned.
Why doesn’t Mayor Bloomberg
support the bill to ban car alarms? It doesn’t make sense. Car alarms are a huge
quality of life issue and banning them will only make the city a more bearable
place to live.
The Word on the Streets
Transportation Alternatives Magazine for being nominated for Utne Magazine’s
2003 Independent Press Award in the local/regional coverage category.
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