There’s a school of thought in the livable streets movement that it’s important to not give any oxygen to car owners who are gasping for air to fuel their fight against safe roadways and better use of public space.
But when these people buy a full-page the print edition of the Village Sun, well, they’ve paid for their own megaphone, so it’s our job to throw a blanket on their fact-free screeching.
Of course, we do occupy a tiny piece of common ground with this new group, Coalition Against Rogue Riding (or CARR — um, really?): we all want safe streets. And, yes, people who ride bicycles or mopeds on the sidewalk are rogues who (despite what the pro-car, pro-law-and-order crowd believes) are frequently punished for that behavior.
But beyond our mutual mission statement in support of safe streets, we don’t have much in common with the folks in CARR, whose supposed support for safe streets quickly dissolves on examination:
- The first point in the CARR Manifesto argues that there was “no environmental impact study” for Vision Zero. We’d like to point out, of course, that there was “no environmental impact study” conducted when American automakers reconfigured transportation from smoke-free vehicles to internal combustion engines, then got the government to build an extensive network of highways, which led to massive suburbanization (which led to more driving and less investment in transit). Any “environmental impact study” of Vision Zero would be overwhelmingly supportive of the effort to reduce road deaths through slower vehicle speeds, more cycling and more transit. In fact, a 2006 Swedish study confirms that:
- Billions in savings from the reduction in fatalities and injuries.
- Unquantified savings amount from greenhouse gas reductions.
- Unquantified savings from reduced congestion brought about as a result of modal transfer and increases in walking, cycling and public transport
- Unquantified savings from reductions in obesity
- Unquantified social benefits to the elderly from higher levels of physical activity, mobility, social interaction and independence.
- The second point in the CARR manifesto calls for more enforcement by the NYPD, something we have also called for — albeit against drivers, who cause virtually all of the injuries and deaths on New York City streets. But we also know the limitations of stepped-up enforcement, especially against cyclists, given the NYPD’s history of racially biased policing.
- Another point in the CARR manifesto calls for more statistics for “bike accidents.” Such statistics exist — and the DOT publishes them every year on this page. Here’s what the data showed last year (2022 numbers are not available yet):
- 270 pedestrians and 51 bicyclists were injured by bicyclists; two pedestrians died.
- For comparison, 7,204 pedestrians and 4,618 bicyclists were injured by car and truck drivers; 137 died.
Here’s what that asymmetrical warfare looks like, by the way:
this happened on 3 avenue and 96 street at about 6:10 p.m. you have to be alert in the streets pic.twitter.com/ZW5nN3d1OM
— gustavo ajche (@AjcheGustavo) January 3, 2023
But we’re happy for the ad sales team at the Village Sun.
In other news from the slowest Jan. 2 on record:
- Speaking of the Village Sun, the paper ran a mostly reasonable op-ed about the need for another public hearing on open restaurants, but the op-ed veered into shaky ground when it called for a full public referendum on the program. A hearing and a vote by our elected officials will suffice.
- A moped rider was killed by a car driver in Queens, though details are scant. (NYDN)
- Tesla sales have slowed down. (NY Times)
- Why is there so much doom and gloom about the hybrid work future? Certainly New York can turn Midtown’s lemon into citywide lemonade? (Gothamist)
- So the mayor and the cops are always complaining about fare evasion — yet the NYPD gave the Proud Boys free rides on the subway after the right-wing extremists tried to disrupt Drag Story Hour (NYDN). State Sen. Jessica Ramos had a good take:
Just spoke to the precinct.
They said they had to escort the Proud Boys bc the were picking fights w people on the street like vendors as well as reporters.
Still, this wouldn't look so hypocritical if NYPD would stop arresting people of color over a $2.75 fare. https://t.co/uVJcQ3LWuK
— Jessica Ramos (@jessicaramos) January 2, 2023