NY Times OP-Ed on bike lanes
Published November 5th, 2006.
This really boggles my mind. Our we so powerless and clueless about what to do with curbing the behavior of our motor vehicles that KILL a lot more people than a bicycle could ever hope to imagine, that we have to find fault in the ONE cyclist related pedestrian death? I realize that the car is king in America as we drift off into our carbon emitting ecological suicide, powerless on how to stop it and content with watching a few animated films about penguins when we think of global warming. Let's say we lived in a world where on a scale of collisions, bikes killed one person a year and somehow that out weighed cars. Wouldn't that be a huge victory? I find it hard to believe that a bike could kill a pedestrian, but lets say its true. I mean, I have never heard about a cycling related death and it seems in this political climate where Bikes are so feared...the police would loudly promote any such incident and scream it through their mouthpiece, the NYPOST.
Now lets talk about the automobile...Cars kill. People talk on their cell phones and everyday this LAW is violated...I know, because I ride my bike just about every day into the city. Motor vehicles that kill pedestrians and cyclists are never investigated to find out what was the cause of the death, including a prominent doctor who was killed on the West Side highway, in a bike path.
My point is that we need to begin to curb are car culture addiction not only because they kill people but because our gluttony is killing the very planet we live on.
So I agree with this op-ed when Samuel Schwartz stops trying to blame the cyclist and starts talking about solutions.
"Now what do we do in 2006?
First, we need to establish a clear hierarchy for the use of city streets. Pedestrians come first; we started out as a walking city and it will be our greatest strength going forward. This means bikers must yield to pedestrians, even errant ones. Biking is a superb form of transport we should encourage. Drivers must yield to bike riders, even errant ones."
-My opinion: And use of the cell phone should be enforced or the law shouldisappearar. Car related deaths to bicycles should be investigated and people should get the sense that something is being done about this.
Second, we must enforce the rules. Police officers should write summonses specifically for "failure to yield" by bike riders (and car drivers). When you ask the Police Department to write summonses generally, they'll do just that, produce lots of summonses, including many for minor infractions like not having a reflector. In fact, the Police Department has so far written 40,000 summonses to bike riders in 2006; no one I've spoken to has noticed better behavior. Instead, let's focus on what really matters, making sure bicyclists respect the right of way of pedestrians and crack down on bike riders who don't.
-That would be great but the police are far to busy criminalizing our civil liberties and coming up with parade rules.
Third, let's advance the network of bike lanes citywide. I'd even re-introduce physically separate bike lanes. This program needs to be communicated in a mass campaign explaining rules of the road and each group's responsibility. For example, drivers need to know they are forbidden to enter a bike lane to turn; bikers need to know that they must not block crosswalks; pedestrians must learn they can't use bike lanes as sidewalks.
-yeah cause they tried in the 80's under Koch, but it was just to hard and after a couple of minutes of trying...they gave up.
Finally, we need to recognize that our economic and physical well-being are advanced when more people are able to enjoy our streets. Car traffic must be reduced and more room made for pedestrians and bike lanes. London and Stockholm understand this that's why they introduced congestion pricing and sharply reduced car traffic.
Our time has come."
It would also help if we had a mayor that is so obsessed with public health that he has created a sucessful smoking ban and wants to do similar action with trans-fats, could see the bicycle as a huge assest to our cities public health. He has done little to enforce infustructure for bicycles. I fear this is because its not nearly as important as making NYC into a giant shopping mall for corporations.