Press "Enter" to skip to content

Opinion: Against the anti-bike backlash; Car-centric system drives bad cyclist behavior

BY BILL WEINBERG | Two all-too-telling recent incidents.

On the afternoon of Aug. 31, I was biking down the Bowery, and as I passed Broome Street, I saw an elderly man lying in the road, with a small group of passersby gathered around him. A Chinese gentleman, probably in his 70s — with his hands on his heart, crying in pain, a look of shock and disbelief on his face. He had evidently been struck by a car, breaking one of his legs. The driver stayed on the scene, and I was told that an ambulance was on the way.

I retrieved the old man’s glasses, which were thrown several yards away, placed them beside his head, and rode on.

I don’t know what became of the old man, and as far as I know the horrifying incident never received any media coverage. Just another example of the daily terror of the private automobile that we all accept as “normal.”

The next day, I was about to hop on my bike for my daily errands around the Lower East Side, and one of the tires was flat. To my infuriation, the offending object proved to be a tack. I assume some anti-bicycle vigilante was putting tacks in the bike lanes. This had happened to me once before, with staples sprinkled on the Manhattan Bridge catwalk.

Such vigilantism has actually won some media coverage, with CBS-NY in January 2019 reporting of a “backlash against bicycles” after shards of glass were found sprinkled on Greenwich Village bike lanes.

What is driving this backlash was poignantly crystalized by the killing of Chelsea resident, finance entrepreneur and Singaporean immigrant Gavin Lee, 44, by a hit-and-run bicyclist while crossing Eighth Avenue on Aug. 11.

As a bicyclist, the first thing I must say about this is shame, shame, shame on the bicyclist in this case, who was emulating the very worst behavior of motorists. I appeal to him to come forward and face the consequences of his actions.

And if he turns out to have been a delivery worker, there should also be legal consequences for the employer or app pressuring the cyclist to put speed ahead of safety — a question that has received little consideration in this age of instant online gratification.

But the exploitation of Lee’s death by anti-bicycle Internet partisans has been unseemly. The selectivity of their outrage betrays its utter hypocrisy.

Gavin Lee was the first New Yorker killed by a bicyclist since 2019. More than 255 people were killed by motorists in the city last year. An average of 230 people have been killed by motorists each year since 2013, the year before Mayor Bill de Blasio initiated his “Vision Zero” plan to eliminate traffic deaths entirely.

Despite this dismal record, Vision Zero is not as utopian as it seems. Zero annual traffic fatalities has already been achieved over the past years by some European cities, including Oslo and Helsinki. Obviously, these are much smaller cities than New York. But there is a cultural factor at work here, as well.

The quotidian terror of the automobile on the streets of New York did, briefly, get a human face after the June 2019 death of Robyn Hightman, a 20-year-old bicycle messenger who was run down by a truck on Sixth Avenue. Her death, among three slayings of bicyclists within a one-week period, sparked protests that summer — including a “die-in” by bike messengers in Washington Square Park.

But, overwhelmingly, the near-daily casualties of automotive terror on our streets rate but a brief nod of attention from the media, and then their names go forever down the Memory Hole.

Here are a few examples just from the past months:

On Aug. 14, Be Tran, 74, a DoorDash delivery driver and provider for an extended family of Vietnamese immigrants, was killed by a hit-and-run motorist in Ridgewood, Queens.

On July 27, Carling Mott, 28, a production manager for Nickelodeon, was killed by a truck while riding to work on a Citi Bike on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. No charges were brought against the truck driver.

On July 3, Christian Catalan, 21-year-old delivery worker, was killed by a hit-and-run driver in the Bronx.

On June 25, Lynn Christopher, a 67-year-old grandmother, was killed while crossing a street with her 8-year-old grandson in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant. The grandson was critically injured. The motorist, who was arrested, had apparently been attempting to flee a traffic stop.

On May 6, Karina Larino, 38, a mother and M.T.A. stock worker, was killed by an SUV while crossing an intersection in Astoria, Queens. The driver was charged for failure to yield.

On May 5, Eric Salitsky, 35, an idealistic architect who had designed multifaith worship spaces with the firm ESKW/Architects, was struck by a garbage truck while riding his bicycle in Borough Park, Brooklyn. The truck driver fled the scene.

And on May 2, 21-year-old N.Y.U. student Raife Milligan was killed by an apparently drunk driver while crossing Houston Street in the East Village. The motorist was charged with driving under the influence.

Nor are we safe from automotive terror while on the sidewalks or even in the parks — as demonstrated by the Aug. 16 incident in which an allegedly drunken motorist actually drove through Tompkins Square before crashing into a fence.

But all this is accepted as “normal,” the inevitable cost of transportation. For anti-bike partisans, it is only the rare case of a pedestrian casualty of a reckless bicyclist that merits opprobrium.

Reckless bicycling is a problem, and one that we bicyclists need to take responsibility for. But it also needs to be seen in context: domination of the streets by toxin-belching death machines that force bicyclists into a Darwinian struggle.

An analogy can be drawn to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, held by Russian forces and repeatedly coming under bombardment. The Russians and Ukrainians have blamed each other for the shelling. Kyiv charges Russia with using the facility as a shield from which to fire missiles at Ukrainian-held areas. If this is the case, then even if the Ukrainians have shelled the facility, the blame ultimately lies with the Russians.

Now, bicyclists in New York are not faced with any moral dilemma such as that of Ukrainians under enemy shelling from a nuclear plant. And contrary to the French saying that “to understand all is to forgive all,” context does not let anyone off the hook for their actions. I repeat my call for the killer of Gavin Lee to surrender.

But this doesn’t alter the fact that bad bicyclist behavior is rooted in a system designed to accommodate the automobile, and an atmosphere in which reckless motorists overwhelmingly have impunity. Nor does it alter the reality that bicyclists are an oppressed and stigmatized class in New York City.

And this is all the more perverse given that bicyclists ultimately represent a big part of the solution to our urban and global dystopias. The quote attributed to H. G. Wells — “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race” — holds even greater truth a century and a quarter later, as we face devastating destabilization of the planet’s climate.

The efforts to accommodate bicyclists put in place by city Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan during the Bloomberg administration (following years of activist pressure), and since expanded upon, are only problematic inasmuch as they don’t go nearly far enough. For instance, bicycle lanes seem to have conditioned some motorists to view cyclists outside the lanes as fair game for roadkill — even on streets that don’t have bike lanes.

A dramatic and thorough reworking of the city’s entire transportation infrastructure to ultimately phase out cars altogether and make bicycle traffic the norm — this is what is urgently mandated.

In a rational city, the streets would be filled with bicycles — as they were in China before its capitalist conversion a generation ago. The dedicated lanes would be for the few cars that would remain necessary, such as emergency vehicles, and for public transportation, whether buses or trolleys. And these few cars, ideally, would be electric — not burning fossil fuels. In such a system, buses and ambulances would move far more freely and rapidly, rather than being mired in gridlock.

And getting there begins with expanding the space dedicated to bicyclists. Far from giving up an inch of our hard-won space, we intend to fight for more. Much more.

Traffic fatalities in the United States, which dramatically dropped during the pandemic lockdown two years ago, have since soared to a 20-year high of 46,000 last year, reversing a downward trend since the 1970s. The current zeitgeist of recklessness certainly isn’t confined to bicyclists. Turning this around begins with dethroning the cult of the private automobile.

In New York City and on planet Earth, bicyclists represent the future — if there is one. And you intransigent bike-haters and motor-heads, who are petitioning against bike lanes, and resorting to dangerous vigilantism…as the Sex Pistols once sang: No future for you.

It’s just a question of whether you’re going drag down the rest of us with you. We bicyclists intend to fight you for all we’re worth — by demanding our right to public space in defiance of your normalized terror.

See you in the streets.

Weinberg blogs at


  1. steve stollman steve stollman October 19, 2022

    A hundred years ago, GM and Standard Oil formed over 400 secret holding companies, in order to destroy our trolley, interurban rail and rail freight systems, essential to our economies and societies. They and their industries are Feudal Lords and have rendered us into contemporary serfs, at the mercy of their well-disguised tricks. They dispense their treats in toxic capsules. They turn every day into a real-world Halloween “celebration.”

    • evi evi October 26, 2022

      Are you the same Steve Stollman interviewed in the Automat documentary?
      Fascinating story.

  2. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 19, 2022

    Indoctrination versus advertising? Same difference. Our culture’s rite of passage is getting a driver’s license. Saturation propaganda on TV and in movies portrays cars as symbols of freedom, autonomy and masculinity. (In fact, we spend much “driving” time stuck in gridlock, revealing cars as an OBSTACLE to freedom and autonomy.) The very shape of the cities (since the Robert Moses era) centers the automobile, so we are conditioned from birth to view bicyclists as upstarts and usurpers — instead of recognizing cycling as the start of a DE-ESCALATION in the institutionalized carnage. And, as pointed out, the media coverage of the carnage is so perfunctory as to inherently normalize it. Can you imagine the outrage if 230 New Yorkers were killed in terrorist attacks in a single year? The Pentagon would be bombing some hapless country to rubble in retaliation. Even the language used is jaundiced — a car runs down a human being and it is called a “crash” (sic)! The more appropriate onomatopoeia would be “squash.” Reckless manslaughter on the roads is called an “accident” rather than “vehicular assault.” And the perpetrator usually isn’t even charged, “Vision Zero” notwithstanding. A driver’s license is a de facto license to kill. Yes, it is a totalizing system of indoctrination. And the fact that the indoctrinated cannot even see it is testimony to how effective it is.

    • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz October 29, 2022

      Weinberg’s extremist commentary makes zero sense, especially his downright silly sentence that a “driver’s license is a de facto license to kill.” A driver ‘s license is also a way to drive an auto legally to school, to faraway jobs, to grocery stores, to hospitals in emergencies. It’s also a way for drivers of personal vehicles to escape raging wildfires in states like California where residents in remote areas would rather not wait for public transport or expect bicycles to drive them and their families away from walls of flame. It’s hard to believe that a reputable newspaper would print the idiocy of a fanatical biker.

  3. steve stollman steve stollman October 19, 2022

    I think indoctrination was the wrong term when it is really just the usual advertising and political corruption that determine people’s attitudes, along with protecting their private privileges. How many car ads are there on TV vs. bike ads? How many oil industry pieces of false information and soothing scenes of good-old American life do you need to absorb before you begin to agree with them?

    When my shop was the HQ of bicycle messengers being attacked by daily newspaper tabloid editorials 25 years ago, the term “kamikaze” bikes was born there, mostly as a cover for the racist sentiments behind the antipathy toward these hard-working individuals, while limousine liberals did their thing. The Post and News were pandering to their nativist readers and were unsympathetic at the core. The mostly young immigrants in this profession are the last of those not covered by the prohibitions against piecework, one of the original demands of the labor movement more than 100 years ago.

    You want your food hot, but expect bikers to bring it to you at a leisurely pace? Before faxes and the Internet, corporations depended upon messengers to keep them running. When Kock tried to ban them, he was informed by his business supporters that they could not function without these services. Instant delivery of everything, not just food, is putting real pressure on those doing this job to perform, and the fault lies in the extravagant expectations of consumers and lack of concern over the working conditions of those less fortunate.

    Read Lewis Mumford on the conditions we have created in cities and how they are subservient to economic demands. He attacked the automobile’s role in making our spaces virtually unlivable.

  4. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 18, 2022

    That you can say I tried to “justify” reckless bicycle behavior indicates (yet again) that you did not read my piece. If you all want to me engage you, you have to argue in good faith, not set up transparent strawmen. Adios.

  5. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz October 18, 2022

    More sophistry from Weinberg. Who exactly is doing this so-called “indoctrination?” What does the “indoctrination” claim? Nobody rational is saying that the annual death toll from automobiles accidents somehow “normalizes” such tragedies. Meanwhile, ordinary New Yorkers are often more afraid of bicyclists suddenly appearing on sidewalks behind them than they are of SUVs that they can at least see. Weinberg tries to justify kamikaze-style bicyclists by suggesting that big, bad, belching private autos make them do it. What b.s. He’s attacked me with his sack of linguistic garbage and I expect him to to do it again.

    • miriamnyc miriamnyc October 18, 2022

      As the “indoctrinated” person, I thank you.

    • LES3025 LES3025 October 18, 2022

      Violence caused by automobiles is routinely normalized. You highlighted it and even did it yourself in your comment. If ordinary New Yorkers are more afraid of bicyclists than cars when cars kill 100+ times more people, that is normalization. When you refer to “kamikaze-style bicyclists” and are dismissive of “big, bad, belching private autos,” that’s normalization.

      Going beyond your comment, if you look at the volume of coverage of bike-related incidents versus car-related incidents in this newspaper, that’s normalization. If you compare the degree of anti-bike vitriol Bill’s article generated against the small level of engagement that articles about car violence get (e.g., with two comments), that’s normalization.

      It happens all the time.

  6. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 18, 2022

    Lincoln, you edited my piece, and did a fine job—did you really fail to understand it? I am by no means making a “relative” argument, as if bicyclist recklessness should be ignored because it is “relatively” no big deal. I am pointing out the double standard, which can indeed ONLY be explained by indoctrination: 230 annual deaths by automobile are NORMALIZED. And I am pointing out (again!) that the CONTEXT for bad bicyclist behavior is domination of the streets by toxin-belching death machines. The question of ebikes and mopeds is addressed elsewhere in this thread by Jason Goodrow, and in this story…

  7. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 17, 2022

    I acknowledged that “bikes are a problem” for pedestrians. I could not possibly have been more clear and explicit in acknowledging that. But you bike-haters keep repeating it as if I hadn’t acknowledged it at all. And ignore my central point: that the ROOT problem (note emphasis) is domination of the streets by toxin-belching death machines. I don’t know what it is going to take to break through this indoctrination.

    • Lincoln Anderson Lincoln Anderson Post author | October 17, 2022

      Bill, if I may, it’s not about “indoctrination.” People are talking about their visceral fear, their real fear. That’s not something that they have been brainwashed with, that’s the reality that they are living. It’s actually a…fact that they are afraid, not because of some vague notion, but because of what they are EXPERIENCING. You keep making it a “relative” argument of cars are worse. Of course it’s worse if you get hit by a fast-moving or even a slow-moving car. But people don’t want to be hit by bikes either, and there are a lot more of them out there now, going every which way and many of them are electric-powered. I’m a bike rider and I love the bike lanes and the bike infrastructure because it makes cycling so much safer. But try to listen to what these folks are saying. You have one argument: Cars are worse, they are toxic, belching machines, etc. No one is denying that. But people are saying they are afraid of cyclists — not all cyclists, but the ones who disregard the rules and, as a result, public safety.

      • miriamnyc miriamnyc October 18, 2022

        Thanks for acknowledging that my thoughts are based on real experiences and not by some indoctrination by unseen forces who he leaves unnamed. Yet he still has to have the last word, insisting that I don’t have a mind of my own and my near misses with arrogant bikers only bother me because of this indoctrination. Next time I guess I should just thank the cyclist instead for not being in a car.

  8. miriamnyc miriamnyc October 17, 2022

    Just because one thing, namely, cars are a bigger problems than bikes, does not mean that bikes are not also a problem in this city, particularly for pedestrians. I have come within mere inches of being hit by cyclists, who are often arrogant and swear at anyone who may call them out on their behavior. I live near two main bike lanes, and the cyclists often don’t stop at the red lights at intersections, go uptown in the downtown lanes or vice versa, or choose not to use the bike lanes at all, or ride on the sidewalks. Now pedestrians such as me have to contest with electric bikes and vehicles, too. NYC is one of the world’s great walking cities but the unruly, dangerous bicyclists, along with reckless drivers, are taking away the pleasure and safety of walking here.

  9. JG JG October 15, 2022

    There needs to be a distinction drawn between the classic pedal-powered bicycle and the two-wheeled electric motorcycles and scooters. The electric bikes and scooters have become a real danger to “old-style” bicyclists and pedestrians. Their top speeds are far too high and the effortless acceleration encourages casually dangerous road behavior. Any vehicle not pedal-powered needs a visible license plate at all times. Forcing them from the bicycle lanes into traffic is probably not a possibility near term. Pedestrian plazas, like the proposed Avenue B plaza (which I wholeheartedly support), need speed bumps for the electrified delivery workers and racing Citi Bikers. Sensible street design can passively discourage bicycles from pedestrian areas, which is already being done in Midtown.

    Bicycles are the future of cities but we have to start getting it right.

  10. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 14, 2022

    “full financial disclosure”? I am a struggling freelance journalist, podcaster and tour guide, who barely squeaks by to make the nut each month. I get no money from MoRUS, but a modest cut of the proceeds from my fun and informative neighborhood walking tour. I have 44 Patreon supporters, which brings in a whopping $82 per weekly podcast, and I need dental work that is going to completely wipe me out. You want to help out? Become number 45.

  11. John Penley John Penley October 14, 2022

    Bill , to be fair . uses MORUS for his tour business and takes his tour there as I was told by someone who was at MORUS when Bill showed up and MORUS is funded by Corporate and NYC politicians so he should let people know that he benefits from tax and corporate money because a big part of his tour involves MORUS. MORUS is also connected to a bike Not For Profit Times Up so since Bill will not disclose these connections I did. Since he writes articles and endlessly comments on his own articles full financial disclosure would be in order.

  12. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 14, 2022

    See? There you go, yet again. I didn’t accuse you of “spreading lies,” which you go so far as to put in quotation marks. I used the word “falsehoods,” being strictly objective. I do not know if you were consciously spreading lies, or just being sloppy. But whichever it is, you’re doing it again. I’d stop digging if I were you. The hole is deep enough already.

    • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz October 16, 2022

      I don’t think your allegations about my spreading “falsehoods” (lies in some dictionary definitions) about you in a 2017 article could withstand scrutiny by a jury.

      • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 17, 2022

        You should be glad I’m not the litigious type, so we don’t have to find out. It is all rather objective. A falsehood is a false statement. A lie is a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive. According to the, um, dictionary. You just can’t stop digging, can you?

        • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz October 17, 2022

          Wrong again. I will not respond to any more of your comments and false statements that you have been spreading about me and an article I wrote 5 years ago. I’m too busy flushing my toilet.

          • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 17, 2022

            That’s empty talk, and a virtual admission that I am NOT wrong. But your silence would certainly be most welcome.

  13. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz October 14, 2022

    You have every right to criticize my coverage of a 2017 event. But you do not have a right in to attack me with your unsubstantiated accusation that I engaged in “spreading lies” about you in print. I will not comment further on your false and malicious allegation. You are truly beneath contempt.

  14. Patricia Patricia October 14, 2022

    I’ve been an avid walker in this city for the past 50 years and recently my favorite daily exercise has become more of a heart-stopping nightmare than a pleasure because bicycles come silently come out of ‘nowhere’ and barely miss hitting me. Close calls are my daily experience and the experience of many of my friends and acquaintances. Drop the arguing, listen to personal experiences.

    • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 14, 2022

      Who do you perceive is failing to listen to personal experiences? I took great pains in my piece to acknowledge bad bicyclist behavior, and to stress that bicyclists must take responsibility for it. But it is simply a matter of math and physics that cars are exponentially more dangerous, and the LACK of outrage over the HUNDREDS of annual deaths by motorists in this city is indicative of deep indoctrination. I’m sorry.

  15. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz October 13, 2022

    Why don’t you try being truthful for a change of pace? But then you’re so full of b.s.—“bovine excrement” as one of your critics on this thread put it–that there’s no point in reading any more of your screeds.

    • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 14, 2022

      “Why don’t you try being truthful for a change of pace?” You cannot point to any untruths I have perpetrated. Not one. I documented four of yours at the above link. Cast the beam from thine own eye.

  16. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz October 12, 2022

    Bill Weinberg, exactly what “falsehoods” do you claim I’ve spread about you in print? That’s not something I do.

  17. Steve Stollman Steve Stollman Post author | September 30, 2022

    What is wrong with cars is their scale. They weigh tons of pounds when tens will suffice. The damage to our lives can be seen best by looking east toward Ukraine and listening to the nuclear threats being flung around, all on account of fueling automobiles. We were deluded by the manufacturing and mining segments of our society and their evil designs. You cannot fire a gun and be certain that it might not strike an innocent party. A gun is a dangerous instrument. So is a car. It doesn’t take a bad person to cause a bad act when the tool being used is inherently dangerous. Bikes do not contribute to the onrushing climate catastrophe and cars and oil are some of its major causes. Do you want to ban sex because it sometimes causes unwanted pregnancies or bikes because some of its users are idiots? A car is a coercive device by its very nature and scale. It monopolizes space and encourages laziness. Bikes encourage healthy exercise and responsible use of resources. Cars are giant, mobile, poison-manufacturing devices, unsuitable in crowded urban spaces, even if logical in spread-out rural areas. Their outsized influence on the media and politicians gives them a status that they don’t deserve. If you are their willing victim, you only have yourself to blame.

  18. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 27, 2022

    OK, then we are political enemies and I will fight you to the bitter end. (Even if we agree about evil Amazon.)

    • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz October 2, 2022

      OMG, Weinberg, you are truly a hysterical gatherer of people for your political enemies list, and you do so without offering any research on progress re congestion caused by vehicles. Cars have been banned or reduced in major cities, mainly in Europe, and you may recall that they were banned in Central Park during de Blasio’s admin. While you seem to be a rigid anti-auto autocrat, I’m confident that you may live to see smaller cars running on electricity and allowing people like me to enjoy the freedom of the road on four wheelers.

      • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 6, 2022

        You are again only demonstrating that you DIDN’T READ the piece you are commenting on. Repeating what I actually WROTE as if you are telling me something new (e.g. about European cities) is deeply insulting. As for “autocrat”…. Sorry, words have meanings. I have no ability to impose my will on anyone. The domination of the city’s streets and infrastructure by the automobile is the form of autocracy. And I am a dissident…. the opposite of an autocrat.

        • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz October 8, 2022

          Your Nixonian enemies’ list, which includes this writer, suggests that you are more a reactionary than a dissident.

          • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 10, 2022

            If you hadn’t spread falsehoods about me in print, you wouldn’t be my enemy.

  19. le le September 27, 2022

    I don’t drive and have no particular love of cars –- but have a very different opinion than yours.

    Of course, no one should be harming bicyclists.
    But that said, as a pedestrian, I completely abhor NYC bicyclists and feel completely endangered by bicyclists (+ skateboarders, razor scooters, ebikes, mopeds).
    Actually the proliferation of bicycles has wrecked Manhattan as a great walkable place.

    Though I am careful, I have been hit twice by bicyclists; and, on a near-daily basis, encounter near hits by bicyclists. (Just today nearly hit by someone looking at her phone.)
    But I have never been hit by a car.

    In no particular order:

    Yes, vehicles are inherently more dangerous but most NYC drivers obey traffic rules.

    Most NYC bicyclists completely ignore rules.

    Older people hit by bicycles often face permanent injuries, but this is not reflected in the data. (For example, an elderly person who breaks a hip and dies a few months later is counted as a “natural” death.)

    In NYC most vehicle-caused fatalities are the result of drugs/alcohol and/or unlicensed drivers and/or individuals using vehicles in connection with criminal activity. (Example — media just updated on tragic May homicide of two young people in the Bronx –- suspects got away in a car. Amazing they did not crash that car.)

    Most vehicle-caused fatalities are not due to “regular” drivers acting carelessly (though, yes, some are).

    High-rise/luxury/commercial overdevelopment + Uber + e-commerce are the key generators of vehicles in Manhattan. (Want to reduce vehicles? Tear down the high-rises and stop ordering Amazon).

    (And assuming that someone will bring up the Netherlands…in Amsterdam — small city with low-rise buildings and old, small streets — bicyclists do have the right of way and consequently it is tough for pedestrians.)

    If it was up to me, I’d ban bicycles in NYC and force able-bodied people to walk/bus/subway 🙂

    • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz September 30, 2022

      What is your alternative to the “death machines” you generally and melodramatically call cars in Manhattan? Would you eliminate NYPD squad cars? Would fire trucks be replaced by bicycles carrying “The Bravest?” Should yellow cabs (and hearses) be crushed into the dustbin of history?

      • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 1, 2022

        Your questions only indicate that you DIDN’T READ the piece. I made clear what the alternative is, and that emergency vehicles would actually move FAR FASTER through streets not gridlocked with private automobiles. Please READ before baiting me further. Thank you.

        • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz October 1, 2022

          Oh my, so sorry to have misunderstood your less histrionic pronouncements. But I see no way that you’re going to eliminate or greatly reduce “private automobiles” in the streets of NYC or anywhere else since they offer a freedom of movement that bicycles can never replicate. I’m a proud former owner of an MG Midget, a small vehicle that got me out of a riot zone in South Central Los Angeles many years ago and I wish it were still here to get me out of congested NYC.

          • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg October 2, 2022

            OK, so you have acquiesced in the dystopia and ultimate extinction of the human race. Cars are a HINDRANCE to freedom of movement! Only total indoctrination can blind you to the obvious like this. Complain about “congested NYC ” while glorifying the device that is CAUSING THE CONGESTION! This is why we are political enemies.

  20. Penny Mintz Penny Mintz September 26, 2022

    I whole-heartedly agree with everything you have said, Bill. I would love to speak with you personally about meeting with my Progressive Action chapter here in lower Manhattan. Perhaps Lincoln Anderson can put us in touch.

  21. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 26, 2022

    I actually HAVE been hit by a bicycle—thrown to the ground by a messenger who was going the wrong way when I was walking across First Ave. But I don’t let this unpleasant incident color my judgment. Cars ARE death machines. On multiple levels.

    • LES3025 LES3025 September 26, 2022

      Similar experience for me this summer. A biker coming off the Manhattan Bridge blew through the crosswalk at Chrystie and Hester (a terribly designed bike/pedestrian intersection) when pedestrians had the light and hit the woman next to me. The biker got up and got aggressive and I had to step in. Bad experience, but everyone walked away fine. When cars do that (and they do), people die. Seems pretty clear where anyone interested in street safety should focus.

    • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz September 27, 2022

      Words matter. Your calling all cars death machines smacks of histrionic, political sloganeering. Ralph Nader’s long-ago book title “Unsafe at Any Speed” was at least more precise and memorable.

      • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 27, 2022

        255 dead in NYC last year. 46,000 nationwide. Carbon spewed into the atmosphere daily causing a climate disaster already resulting in mass destruction from Puerto Rico to Pakistan. Millions dead in wars for oil over the past generation from Iraq to Sudan. Genocide of indigenous peoples whose lands are destroyed as the crude is pumped out of the ground from the Amazon to Nigeria. Communities destroyed by superhighways from the Bronx to Detroit. Biodiversity exterminated for parking lots worldwide. How much more evidence do you want? None are so blind as those who will not see. Yes, death machines. Perhaps not all quite equally — SUVs certainly worse than old-school VW bugs. But yes — all cars are death machines.

        • Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz September 27, 2022

          Gosh, Weinberg, what do you call trucks? Airplanes? Motorcycles? And what do you call that often deadly species known as humans spewing deadly diseases and often brandishing knives and guns? For starters.

          • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 27, 2022

            I’ll tell you what I call that line of questioning. Whataboutery and sophism. But obviously I was including trucks.

          • September 28, 2022

            You forgot Nuclear Weapons and Wikipedia for promoting Nazis and the KKK.

  22. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz September 26, 2022

    No, Weinberg, people generally form their individual opinions based on personal experiences. No bicyclists have hit me yet, but there have been close calls because I often can’t see them racing near me at intersections or riding behind me on sidewalks. SUVs and trucks are obviously more visible and of course more dangerous. One 16-wheeler crushed a female bicyclist to death because this particular trucker apparently didn’t see her in his rear-view mirror. The most tragic incident I covered happened about 10 years ago when an NYU student skateboarding southbound to the campus from Union Square swerved to avoid a bicyclist wrongly going northbound and fell to his death beneath the wheels of a truck. There’s a memorial still standing for him. NYC streets are dreadfully hazardous and I would like to see cars eliminated in the city; but I think your calling them “death machines” and comparing traffic carnage to the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine is, ah, overblown.

    • Bard Bard October 25, 2022

      Actually more bicyclists have been killed by cars in NYC than Zaporizhzhia radiation fallout in Ukraine, so Bill’s example is not so overblown as one might initially think. So far, anyway.

  23. JackDog JackDog September 26, 2022

    There is NO SAFETY without a responsible bike (2-wheeled) culture. This has been fanatically avoided by Transportation Alternatives and enabled by the mayors. The NYPD has been undermined. Public safety shredded. Mental health diminished. Far from being good for the environment Vision 0 infrastructure has contributed to world-class congestion. There was never an environmental impact study done. Hubris and communion from on high said that TA & Sadik-Khan knew best. Charles Komanoff, sophisht in chief of TA, has done a 180 on his opposition to nuclear energy. It’s clear that his wet dream of driving the motor vehicle from the island is a colossal catastrophe.
    Time for another mea culpa and an application of rationality.

    • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 26, 2022

      Anyone lecturing us about “rationality” in defense of the Earth-destroying hegemony of the automobile and anti-human infrastructure built around it can be readily dismissed.

  24. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 26, 2022

    “Bovine excrement”? Sure, if you are paying no attention to what I WROTE.

    “It’s a cultural thing.” Yes, I said EXACTLY THAT!

    “That doesn’t make it O.K. for bicycle riders to be reckless.” Yes, I said EXACTLY THAT!

    “All because he got a flat tire.” I invoke the names of Be Tran, Carling Mott, Christian Catalan, Lynn Christopher, Karina Larino, Eric Salitsky, Raife Milligan… recount the daily ongoing daily terror of the automobile in NYC… and you say it’s “All because he got a flat tire.”

    This makes me wonder why I bother to write anything at all. Nobody is capable of reading anymore. Everyone goes into an article with their minds already made up. Pointless.

  25. Stephen DiLauro Stephen DiLauro September 26, 2022

    What a load of bovine excrement. I agree cars are dangerous to bicyclists and pedestrians. However, as pointed out, bicyclists are also dangerous to pedestrians.
    I’m in Dublin, Ireland. This is a walking city. There are quite a number of bicyclists. They share the streets with cats, too.
    I see bicyclists here stop for pedestrians crossing the street all the time. I haven’t EVER seen that in Manhattan.
    It’s a cultural thing.
    Yes, cars kill and maim. That doesn’t make it O.K. for bicycle riders to be reckless and ignore traffic laws. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
    The writer ends his convoluted argument — ignoring the e-bike question — with a belligerent, threatening tone. All because he got a flat tire.
    Lose the macho and obey the law.

  26. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 26, 2022

    Why do you think cyclists do not stop for red lights, weave in and out of traffic, bike the wrong way on the bike lanes, bike on the sidewalks, etc? Domination of the streets by toxin-belching death machines that force bicyclists into a Darwinian struggle. Are you paying attention?

    • Jan Jan September 27, 2022

      So what are you saying? The devil makes you do it? If you really feel like you’re in a Darwinian struggle, maybe biking is not for you because pedestrians don’t really feel like being dragged into that struggle. In major cities with a long history of biking, there is a recognition that cyclists have a responsibility to follow the traffic rules. Anyone who finds that too difficult should go back to public transportation or walking. Trying to use the tragic death of Gavin Lee to frame your argument demonstrates not only a lack of respect, but an absence of compassion.

      • LES3025 LES3025 September 27, 2022

        Not speaking for Bill, but I would say you get the cycling culture you design for. We force cyclists into a system with rules designed for cars and in which cars freely break the rules. Cars speed, blow red lights, park on sidewalks and block crosswalks with impunity. Why should we be surprised that some cyclists act similarly when put in that system and asked to follow those same rules?

        The inadequate infrastructure also makes it so a rational cyclist might make decisions putting them in conflict with pedestrians. It’s understandable that people will bike on the sidewalk when there isn’t a safe bike lane. It’s understandable that people will bike the wrong way when the next bike lane going their direction is many blocks away. It’s understandable that they will weave in and out of traffic when the traffic freely weaves in and out of and across bike lanes. The solution to this is to improve the bike infrastructure, so cyclists are no longer incentivized to do these things.

        We should also implement pro-pedestrian design interventions (road diets, pedestrian islands, curb and sidewalk extensions, etc.) to limit the ability of both cars and bikes to create conflicts with pedestrians.

        • Jan Jan September 27, 2022

          If inadequate infrastructure makes a rational cyclist feel unsafe, then the only rational decision would be to not ride a bike. Pedestrians’ safe harbor on the sidewalk is not an alternative bike path, no matter the state of car traffic. On downtown 2nd Ave, there’s a protected bike lane with traffic lights installed just for bikes. Cars do not weave in and out of these bike lanes and the next bike lane going in the other direction is one block away. And yet bikes are everywhere — on the sidewalk, all over the traffic lanes, going through the red lights, and going the wrong way in the one-way bike lane. This does not result from any design flaw, but from a “culture” the cyclists themselves have encouraged.

          • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 29, 2022

            We’re here, we’re riding bicycles, get used to it.

            Any conversation has to START there.

            This demand that bicyclists have got to disappear, not the irrational infrastructure, is a pure manifestation of the Death Culture.

    • JS JS September 26, 2022

      The bike lanes may have made streets safer for bikers but definitely NOT for pedestrians. Cyclists do not stop for red lights, weave in and out of traffic, bike the wrong way on the bike lanes, bike on the sidewalks, etc. These entitled cyclists are an anathema to pedestrians.

      • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 26, 2022

        And you entitled pedestrians who walk right into the bike lane midblock while looking at your damn smartphones instead of where you are going are anathema to bicyclists. Cast the beam from thine own eye.

      • LES3025 LES3025 September 26, 2022

        Do you actually think making bike infrastructure worse would make bikers behave better? Or do you just want to punish them with increased risk of death for what you perceive as entitlement?

  27. SLA SLA September 26, 2022

    Hi there,
    Third-generation New Yorker here. I don’t know how to drive. I walk, take bus and subway. Have been back in the office since August 2021, taking the subway.

    NYC bicyclists endanger pedestrians. Bicyclists routinely go through red lights, go the wrong way, weave around pedestrians, ignore bicycle lanes, curse at pedestrians, etc. I feel sorry for exploited delivery workers — it is the “regular” bicyclists who are so egregious. Actually Citi Bikers are the worst.

    My partner and kids have been hit by bicyclists, my friend on Citi Bike hit by another Citi Biker. Many other such incidents.

    BTW, since Bloomberg started building the bicycle infrastructure, M.T.A. bus service has been reduced. Also worth noting that in NYC, bicyclists are former mass transit users, not former vehicle users. So in NYC bicycling doesn’t decrease vehicles.

Leave a Reply

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.