I wear many hats (not helmets) as a semi-professional bike blogger and world-tolerated authority on nothing in particular, one of which is the editor-in-chief, curator, and chef de cuisine of the Daily Bike Forecast:
Which, as I mentioned yesterday, received a nice little mention in what our toddler-in-chief calls the "Failing New York Times." Anyway, some of the Times's failing commenters left the typical comments we've all come to expect from any mention of bikes in the mainstream press, and while it would be indecorous of me to reply to them in that august venue I'm inclined to reply to them here on my own blog where I have free reign to go "full douche."
Here are the comments first, with my replies below:
NYC Taxpayer: Even if were true there are well over 4 million people in Brooklyn and Manhattan, many of whom pay taxes (with certain exceptions such as Donald Trump), so seems pretty fair to me. If one were as big a dipshit as you one could also argue that with a population of under 500,000 maintaining any sort of roads for Staten Islanders is also a waste. But I wouldn't do that, since people who couldn't get it together to move all the way to Jersey deserve infrastructure too.
Thanks for singlehandedly bankrolling the city with your massive tax outlay though.
Peggy: And I would add: Stop driving cars on the sidewalks. Stay off paths in the Parks that are off-limits to cars -- for very good reasons: toddlers and the physically impaired, and dogs, like people, out for a walk.
Drivers who drive like maniacs, who drive on the sidewalks, who drive through red lights, who turn the corner (even on a green light) without looking at the cross walk, who drive on off-limits paths in the parks -- are a menace. And here's to the drivers who don't do those things -- but I would say your less-lawful fellow drivers are giving you all a bad name.
Also, shut up, Peggy.
Oh, there was also a supportive one:
It certainly is for me.
It's amazing to consider how many people wake up early in the morning, perform their daily ablutions, pull up a comfy chair, and proceed to write the dumbest shit you've ever read.
Then again, I suppose that's what I do as a blogger.
Holy crap, I just blew my own mind.
Speaking of comments, I was dismayed to read this one on yesterday's post:
Aussie Arsehole said...
FYI, For the past week there has been a bicycle race across Australia, 5500kms from Perth to Sydney. And today - a fucking Australian motorist killed Mike Hall. A man who was an inspiration to many, a man who had ridden 10,000s of kms in endurance races around the world. And he dies on a fucking Australian road. A country with a well earned reputation as the worst place in the world to ride a bicycle. Will the fucking Australian police send his estate a few fucking $500 traffic fines - I'm sure they can find something - they do whenever I ride in that god forsaken country.
RIP Mike Hall.
Here's more about Mike Hall:
Hall was a towering figure in the world of ultracycling, not just for his riding, but also for the events he organised – this year sees the fifth edition of the Transcontinental Race, which he founded in 2013 – and the inspiration and encouragement he gave to others.
He won the TransAm Race twice and the Tour Divide, and holds the records for completing both events in the shortest time. In 2012, he won the World Cycle Race in 91 days, 18 hours, faster than the then Guinness World Record for circumnavigating the globe by bicycle.
And about the Indian Pacific Wheel Race:
Which has now been cancelled.
And with the weekend coming we might as well keep it morbid and move on to the driver who killed five cyclists in Kalamazoo, who will now stand trial for second-degree murder:
A Kalamazoo County Circuit judge has denied Charles Pickett Jr.’s motion to reverse an earlier ruling that allowed the murder charges.
The judge also denied Pickett’s efforts to suppress statements he made to police about the crash.
He should have committed his crime in New York City, because if he had he'd now be free on $15,000 bail:
According to the Post, Pelaez told police that his car had been stolen and that he wasn't driving the car during the hit-and-run. However, detectives saw Palaez driving his BMW on August 10, and also had cell phone records that showed he was near the scene of the fatal collision when it happened. The paper reported that Nin's relatives were upset that a judge set Palaez's bail at $15,000 (though the News reported the number at $25,000). "It’s ridiculous . . . It’s outrageous," Nin's uncle Alcides Urena told the paper.
So let's see:
--He "allegedly" (ahem) killed somebody with his car;
--He fled the scene;
--He lied to the police.
Nah, doesn't seem like a flight risk to me.
But Patrick George of Jalopnik is right, cyclists really should have more of a sense of humor about this sort of thing.
That's not to say the police and the justice system won't come down hard on you in the name of #VisionZero, it's just that for that to happen you need to be riding a bike:
It was then that McLeish informed them that he had been following them for blocks and had seen them run four red lights. He returned to his car to finish up the paperwork, and that's when reality set in.
"At that point we realized that we'd gotten ticketed for four different red lights," Frey said. "We were kind of stunned."
As the couple would learn shortly, not only were they getting four tickets for running red lights, but because of rules meant to apply to drivers who commit repeat offenses within the course of 18 months, the fines would increase for each successive one. The first red light was to cost them $150 each. The second: $350. The last two: $900.
Many years ago I got dinged for rolling through two red lights at a pair of "T" intersections, and if I remember correctly it was "these ones," as we used to say:
It was a hell of a fine, and my boss at the time berated me when I told him I needed to go out to traffic court on Coney Island, though ultimately he allowed it. (I was fortunate enough to have the kind of job where missing a day didn't also mean missing a day's pay.) Alas, I didn't get anywhere with the judge, and ultimately had to fork over the money.
There's a naive part of me that thinks, instead of applying the same penalties to cyclists and drivers, there's probably a way to discourage cyclists from running red lights and to even penalize them for it in proportion to the danger this behavior actually represents. (Which really isn't very much.) But of course this would involve moving past the American approach to "equality" (fucking everybody equally hard no matter how big or how small) and treating different people and different situations in a way that actually makes sense.
In other words it'll never happen.