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Bike psych! Transportation Alternatives’ Paul Steely White: NYPD must treat traffic crimes as seriously as rape

Brooklyn Paper
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Brooklyn Paper Radio

The head of a pro-bike, anti-car advocacy group called on the NYPD to start enforcing the law to save bicyclists’ lives on the latest edition of Brooklyn Paper Radio.

Paul Steely White, the chief of Transportation Alternatives — who apparently was calling from a cellphone from inside a deep cave or in an unused subway tunnel — wondered if police officers are even interested in giving out moving violations when there is so much other crime going on in the city.

“We need the NYPD to start treating traffic crimes as seriously as rape or murder and other types of violent crime,” he told hosts Gersh Kuntzman and Vince DiMiceli. “Many cops view it as not real police work.”

Steely White pointed out that some officers are proud of the work they do battling reckless driving, because they are saving lives, but not enough police resources are being used to fight the problem.

“It’s going to be a combination the NYPD getting serious about traffic safety and prioritizing their limited resources according to the data,” he said. “Lets not focus so much on tinted windows and more on egregious reckless driving that is going completely unchecked.”

Steely White also called on the state to allow the city to install more traffic-calming red-light cameras.

The boys were also joined rookie reporter Caroline Spivack, who talked about her Pulitzer-worthy story on the Schnitzel Haus Dounald Trump photo fiasco, which featured the shows first real phone call from a listener.

Finally, an attempt to get Gersh’s dad on the phone to talk him out of voting for Donald Trump failed measurably, ending with Gersh and Vince leaving a message at the sound of the beep.

All in all, it was another great show that you can listen to right now.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Warren Pease from The Hood says:
April Fool!
Aug. 12, 2016, 9:49 am
AMH from Harlem says:
Most days there are cars barreling around corners at high speed in full view of an NYPD traffic agent who does nothing. I have to run across the street. Not a sign of a civilized city.
Aug. 12, 2016, 10:09 am
Lifer from NYC says:
NYC streets have always been fast-paced and chaotic, it's part of our culture. Like, it's a shock or something?

If Mr. White disapproves, he's welcome to move back to the midwestern town he came from.
Aug. 12, 2016, 11:10 am
Elias from Upper West Side says:
You mean "reckless driving", there are all too many wrecks!
Aug. 12, 2016, 11:14 am
Vince DiMiceli (Brooklyn Paper) says:
Thanks, Elias
Aug. 12, 2016, 11:27 am
Albert says:
They are reckless drivers but also reckless bicyclists .live in Williamsburg 57 years never had a problem with bicyclist until the bike lanes.
Aug. 12, 2016, 11:33 am
Ralfff from Staten Island says:
@Lifer
I always drive a car with fraudulent Florida plates. You don't like, it, go back to Iowa!

I always block the box when driving! You don't like it, go back to Kansas!

I always accelerate wildly towards red lights! Get with the program! This ain't Chicago, hick!

I, when stuck in traffic, celebrate my indigenous New York culture by honking nonstop at cars that can't move! Bada-bing, bada-boom, amirite, you Hoosier slob? You don't like permanent hearing loss inflicted by any idiot who passes a road test on his third try? Well how about you do a little New York custom, only in enn-wye-see, called "driving your own car". What, you rubes walk everywhere? This ain't the farm!

[hits pedestrian on sidewalk with car while license is suspended, killing her] "Ayy-ah, hows about you show some freaking respect, ah? I'm WALKIN' HEAH!- heh, I love saying that! Oh, hi, officer! Yeah, it was an accident. Wait, a ticket!? $300??? Fuggedaboutit!"
Aug. 12, 2016, 12:31 pm
Charlene says:
Mr P S White has studied the playbooks of the great fascists. First take over the language: Redefine car accidents as "crashes," the word "crash" carrying "intent." Thus drivers want to hit bikes, cars being their weapon of choice. Bikers are always innocent, even when they cause an accident by going the wrong way on a street, riding on the sidewalk, going through a red light, turning without a signal. The circumstances don't matter to Paul Steely White and his fanatical Transportation Alternatives army. The car is always guilty, the bike is always innocent. Car drivers are murderers, so why not rapists, too? Fascists know to introduce sex into their politics. Mr White and his crowd also teach hatred of the police. They do everything they can to bash the NYPD, including charging them with lying when they file a report of a biker having caused the "crash." The biker crowd try to force the police to rewrite those reports. The truth hurts and they're not about truth, they're about their own totalitarian world where everyone has to ride a bike. Any cars still left will be thrown in jail. For murder, rape, pederasty, kidnapping, grand larceny, you name it. As Mr. White says, murder might as well be rape. Mr White and Transportation Alternatives don't sweat the details. That's not what fascists do.
Aug. 12, 2016, 12:57 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
Great points by Mr. White. Traffic violence is a serious issue on par with gun violence in this city.

I'm not sure why tinted windows are used as an example useless policing, thouh -- they contribute greatly to the anti-social culture of the streets (eye contact is important) and make it harder for police to stop drivers who are driving dangerously, because they can't see if the driver might have a weapon.
Aug. 12, 2016, 1:02 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
Don't worry Charlene, it was all just an accident.
Aug. 12, 2016, 1:03 pm
this guys nuts from Brooklyn says:
Firstly, the punishment must always fit the crime and not what emotional idiots like this nutty guy wants them to be. The nerve of him saying it's equivalent to rape - I'm sure woman's rights activists would like to get him down in that tunnel to teach him a lesson or two.

Perhaps more important is to point out how cyclists are far more reckless and hostile than motorists.

Until bikes become licensed in NYC, they shouldn't get any consideration in what is now one sided enforcement against motorist. If we all must live by the rules of the road, accountability must be for all, that is except for horses as they increase civility and traffic calming rather than decrease it as cyclists do.
Aug. 12, 2016, 1:08 pm
Brooklyn Native from Bay Ridge says:
1. Why is the logo for this a drawing of a black woman when the host is a white man?

2. This headline is so misleading, he compares it to other violent crime and lists off some examples. The headline makes it seem like he said "car crashes and light running cars are the same as rape."

3. If you kill somebody with your car by accident it should be investigated the same as if you killed somebody with a knife by accident. If you main somebody with your car it should be investigated the same as if you maimed somebody with your fists.

4. Comparing cyclists behaving badly to cars behaving badly is nonsense. The whole reason they changed the speed limits in school zones is because of the amount of damage you can cause by changing your speed. This means the law recognizes a difference in outcome of a crash as a priority. With that in mind, cyclists cannot possibly cause as much damage as cars due to weight and speed limitations.

5. It's cool if you hate cyclists for whatever reason, but if everybody who rode their bike took the train or a car instead, this city would be choked up with more overcrowding. Getting killed by a car and having the driver face no legal consequences should not be an expected part of living in NYC.
Aug. 12, 2016, 4:11 pm
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
It's amazing how many sociopaths feel it is "ok" to just run down people with their cars. Some of you in this thread are just sad pathetic human beings.

Do some of you understand that thousands of people die a year in traffic violence?

Mothers/Husbands
Sons/Daughters,
Real People

And the point that is being made here is drivers who murder (through reckless behavior) get off in most cases without penalty.

If shootings or stabbings took the same amount of lives per year as reckless driving in NYC then people would be protesting in the streets every day calling for reform of the NYPD.

Just some thoughts.
Aug. 12, 2016, 4:32 pm
John Baxter from Pennsylvania says:
Reading Charlene's comments does my heart good. The problem with Mr. White's remarks is that Transportation Alternatives is a political, special-interest group, and they always sound like it. A bike ridden dangerously can kill just like a car because the result of a crazy bike move can be an excessive move by a startled driver. Enforcement needs to be equal for both sides. Further, just as many pedestrian and bike injuries and deaths are caused by stupid moves on the part of the victim as by dumb driving mistakes, so stop assuming that just because the car is heavier, the driver is always at fault. And then there's the fact that TA people first of all forget that most drivers are not out of order most of the time, and second that speed is not the way they should lead off every discussion. Most crashes result from other primary causes. The discussion needs to be about infrastructure improvement and public awareness and education, not a damned blame game! Let's take the political excess out of the discussion, starting with left-wing groups like Transportation alternatives!
Aug. 12, 2016, 5:31 pm
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
So John (From Pennsylvania)

You came here to a Brooklyn newspaper to comment that our city should legalize murder by car?

For your information
There are advocacy groups working to bring attention to this issue because thousands of New York pedestrians and cyclists die each year due to reckless driving.

As I stated previously if there was any other violent crime issue at this scale people would be screaming for reform of the NYPD. But because it's cars it gets ignored by the police.

But yes you are correct in stating this should not a blame game. It shouldn't be nor do I think it is. There are many productive DOT meetings where infrastructure and safety improvements are discussed with members of all modes.

However that said it might sounds like it is to uninformed outsiders because the reality is most deadly crashes happen with the victim in the right-of-way.
Aug. 12, 2016, 5:44 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Once again, Paul Steely White shows his selective outrage on motorists. At the same time, he turns a blind eye to rogue cyclists, who have been known to flout the traffic laws much more. The only reason why he will never talk about them is because they are his brothers and he can't go up against them. Then again, I have always found it an irony for such people like him to always demand for enforcement of the rules on motorists while crying foul whenever it gets places on cyclists, which shows the double standards. On a side note, I can almost equate what White is saying about motorists to what much of the UN always says about Israel when it comes to fending off Hamas, who is an actual terrorist organization, in knowing how biased his statements are. However, if anyone can prove that he or anyone else on TA has called out the rogue cyclists and other bike zealots for flouting the law, I will invert that analogy, otherwise it will be forever upheld.
Aug. 12, 2016, 6:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Since we're talking about others who can flout the law, I might as well put this letter from today's Daily News here as well.

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/aug-12-stop-and-frisk-politics-article-1.2747802

Playing with their lives

Brookyn: Every day I see pedestrians crossing the street against the light, not paying attention and oblivious to the world around them because they are plugged into outer space with that stupid box in their hands. The other day by Kings Plaza, I witnessed a young girl almost being hit by a car because she just walked out into the street. Is this what the world has become? A bunch of mindless idiots who can’t put the phone in their pocket or purse when they are out in the street? Pay attention, fellow drivers, because these future victims aren’t paying attention to us! Christopher Burner
Aug. 12, 2016, 6:43 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Tal. You just committed copyright infringement.
Aug. 12, 2016, 6:59 pm
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
Tal,

You get your facts from individual anecdotes on the Daily News and compare bikers to Hamas.

Yet you wonder why no one takes you seriously????
Aug. 12, 2016, 7:31 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
It's shame that you bike zealots along with White only know how to dish criticism on others, but you can't seem to take it, which may explain why some of you resort to personal attacks and to why some can't take you guys seriously.
Aug. 12, 2016, 8:06 pm
Adam from Ridgewood says:
Tal, do you know how to ride a bike?
Aug. 13, 2016, 9:44 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Adam, my issue isn't about bicycles and those who like to ride them, it's about how some tend to feel that having one places them above all others. For the record, I don't condone the actions done by reckless drivers as the bike zealots tend to profile me as. However, what they do isn't an excuse for rogue cyclists and even jaywalkers in that matter to flout the laws either. More importantly, I do find it an irony that White only wants enforcement on motorists, but almost none on any other groups or they will cry foul to that. Another irony is that I find that claiming that police should treat us motorists to rapists and murders is downright insulting, but that's bike zealots for you. What many of the bike zealots tend to forget is that a good number of the accidents do get caused when they are the ones flouting the laws, but they feel that they are the ones with the bicycles, so whatever they do, they can just get away with it in the claim that they were the ones getting hurt despite the fact that they placed themselves into harm's way by flouting the laws. That almost reminds me of how Hamas always believes that they can kill Israeli civilians and they will be praised for doing so, because they know they have a good number of supporters. I betcha if I was ask White about what he thought about the cyclist who hit a motorist with a chain, he will most likely say that they motorist had what was coming to him and even try to justify it just like all the other bike zealots who pretty much did especially over on Streetsblog, Transportation Alternatives, and other websites that have such groups there. Overall, I will believe what Paul Steely White has to say about traffic issues with motor vehicles as much as I will believe Omar Barghouti, who is the founder of the BDS, about Israel with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Aug. 13, 2016, 4:05 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Brooklyn Native, here is where I think you are wrong by your statements.

1. For that you have to talk to whoever made that logo, though I find this irrelevant to the discussion.

2. How about you and your bike zealot friends try telling us what White really meant when he made the analogy, and remember that he goes on record for saying that?

3. Nobody is saying that investigations should be done when these occur, but that still doesn't give cyclists and/or pedestrians reasons to flout the law, which should be investigated as well should that have been done.

4. Just like your previous claim, it doesn't give cyclists a reason to flout the laws themselves and there times when a cyclist can actually injure someone when they flout the laws or even kill someone in the process every now and then, which has been found to be true.

5. Please find evidence that those of us who have asked for cyclists to actually follow the traffic laws actually hate them, because such a claim has been found to be false numerous times, though I can prove where your group does have an anti-car bias from websites such as Streetsblog where the comments and posts speak for themselves.
Aug. 13, 2016, 4:45 pm
Antonio from Prospect Jeights says:
Dave from Boerum Hill, you are a classic Transportation Alternatives fascist abusing language to spread hatred against the infidel, who is everyone who doesn't ride a bike. Anyone who drives a truck for a living ir a bus or commutes via car is engaging in "traffic violence." Charlene is right, you, Mr White, TA are waging a propaganda war. In such a war, language is the first prisoner.
Aug. 14, 2016, 1:44 am
old time brooklyn from slope says:
Tal is correct as usual.

When confronted with facts and reasoning the pedalphiles just scream and hurl insults
Aug. 14, 2016, 9:16 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I meant to say shouldn't rather than should for the third statement, which I didn't realize until now, but my statement still holds despite that.
Aug. 14, 2016, 3:48 pm
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
Definition of

Facts: a thing that is indisputably the case (so no you guys don't have that)

Reasoning: the action of thinking about something in a logical, sensible way. (nope)

Insults: speak to or treat with disrespect or scornful abuse. (yeah possibly right on this one)

Facism: an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization. (you all are bloody insane)

Now some truths.

Tal Barzilai: dumba-s troll who gets his news from internet comment boards and probably have never left his parent's basement.

Old Time Brooklyn from slope: out-of-touch old crank and probable racist who yells at kids to get off his lawn.

Antonio from Prospect (Jeights)*: morbidly obese local resident who is upset that he can't walk or bike anywhere without losing his breath.

*Your typo not mine.

Thanks for dropping in to spread your crazy gentlemen
Aug. 15, 2016, 8:56 am
Mike from Slope says:
Any driver who ever goes over 25 mph is a danger. If you ever drive faster than that in the city, you are a criminal, and you could kill somebody.

For those who say that bikes are just as dangerous, I'd like to interrupt your stupidity with facts:

230 people were killed by cars in NYC last year, with more than 10,000 others seriously injured, and that was a good year.

Cyclists kill less than one person per year on average (going back to 2000).

Which group is more dangerous?
Aug. 15, 2016, 9:31 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Mike:

Speeding is not a criminal offense in New York. It's a civil offense, considered an infraction with the possibility of jail time.

How many cyclists have killed themselves because of dangerous riding habits?

By statistics we discussed elsewhere on this site, 51% of accidents are driver fault, 49% are cyclist/pedestrian fault. With standard margins of error, neither is demonstrably more dangerous in any given situation. People are killed or injured almost equally by fault on both sides.
Aug. 15, 2016, 10:04 am
Old time brooklyn from Slope says:
As per my previous comment dave makes my case
Btw - i do not have a lawn as i am in a rent stableised apartmen (3rd generation)
My lawn is at my weekend place upstate
Aug. 15, 2016, 10:23 am
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
LOL

Of course the old crank has a subsidized apartment to go along with the free parking.

Now in regards to your "case" you stated "When confronted with facts and reasoning the pedalphiles just scream and hurl insults"

I responded with definitions of some the words because you clearly do not know what they mean.

Facts - you have provided none other than you are a bitter angry old man. Please by all means cite facts.

Reasoning - you again have provided no reason other than reason for me to believe you are a bitter angry old man.

Insults - absolutely, for that you are right on the money.

Perhaps the reason why you get insulted rather than receive productive debate is you don't understand the meaning of "facts and reasoning". People are by all means allowed to disagree on issues however you cannot have your own facts and reality.
Aug. 15, 2016, 10:57 am
Old time brooklyn from Slope says:
Parking is free as a bird
My kid will be 21. Soon and her name is going on the lease 4th generation

Hey you are susidizing me even more than you know lol - wife is eligable to collect a very generous pension from the city not to mention our social security, senior discounts, emplyee discounts, etc
I keep rhe second car at my country place
Ph ueah the tutoring side business is pretty much all cash so gor an old bastard i am doing pretty eell
Now you go toodle along

Mazel tov
Aug. 15, 2016, 11:30 am
Old time brooklyn from Slope says:
Damn typos
Hate texting pn my phone
Amazing how judgmental some are here
Very telling indeed
Aug. 15, 2016, 11:44 am
Mike from Slope says:
Sean, your made up stats don't matter. Even if it was the pedestrian/cyclists fault in half the cases (which it isn't), cars should still go very slowly and carefully through the streets. Personally, I believe the speed limit in any residential neighborhood should be 10 mph, and parking should be a permit paid for annually that only locals can have. Anything that reduces the speed and use of cars will dramatically improve life and safety in the city.
Aug. 15, 2016, 11:54 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Mike,

I didn't make them up. They were derived from a lengthy discussion, and verified by Paul, from your side of the debate.

As for the rest, that sort of car-hating nonsense will get you nowhere. Though I agree that non-New York vehicles should not be permitted to park on the street (except at meters during meter hours).
Aug. 15, 2016, 12:32 pm
lucy from Brooklyn says:
Always keep in mind that TA is a registered New York Lobby organization and Steely White is a paid lobbyists. His mission is to use talking points, and language manipulation to make his point and to influence electeds and DOT.

Comparing the intent of a rapist or a murderer to a car that accidentally injures anyone is a crafted talking point and as absurd as saying the cigarettes don't cause cancer. Nobody gets in their car and says let me seek out a person on a bike to kill. Accidents are just that and they happen all over the world in many different ways. They are unplanned events. Safe streets are the responsibility of everyone, not one part of the population. Why not a campaign to pedestrians to not cross the street while looking at their cell phone? Why not a campaign for bike riders to not go through red lights usually while speeding? Why not a campaign to report all accidents caused by bike riders? Right now there is no reporting mechanism so we have no idea how many bike accidents there are, other than the stories we hear of people hit by bikes, which are numerous?

As for the issue of cars parking free on the street, why do bikes get to have bike racks all over the streets and sidewalks and park for free all day long and have the City pay to install the bike racks? Are they lobbying to have meters installed on commercial streets for the bike racks which is where most bike racks exist? Cars have to put money in meters on commercial streets, paying for themselves. Drivers have many fees and taxes that they pay, contributing to government including the salaries of those police members who should spend more time on traffic enforcement than preventing murders and rapes, according to TA.

And I guess bikers don't want any goods and service to enter New York City by trucks. They don't need food or other goods including all those Amazon Prime deliveries and Fresh Direct deliveries. All the trucks should be constantly ticketed so they stop making deliveries to an island of close to 10 million people.

Try education. Nobody likes a fanatic who can't see past their own cause.
Aug. 15, 2016, 12:33 pm
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
Lucy, I agree on your point of education. However it needs to go all directions. Allow me to try to educate from another perspective.

1) Your point about "intent to kill" vs "accident" is correct in that almost all car crashes do not include premeditation. However I dispute the word "accident" when or if there is clear negligence which includes speeding, ROW violations, failure to exercise due care, or similar infractions.

Language is important and even though murder by car is in no way "intentional" it is not always "accidental" as well. That is the gap that many are trying to bridge. There is a general acceptance of car crashes as being part of the urban reality which I dispute as us as a society being lazy.

2) Safe streets are everyone's responsibility. Yes of course and no one is blaming all motorists for all crashes. However the reality is cars sit at the top of accountability for the three modes of transportation discussed.

The reason being

Jaywalking Pedestrian: Can only hurt themselves
Cyclist violating a traffic rule: Has potential to hurt themselves or a pedestrian.
Driver of a car violating a traffic rule: Has potential to severely injure or kill cyclists of pedestrians.

That is why when focus is discussed it tends to flow toward driver enforcement rather than the other modes. The simple fact is there is that much more potential to harm.

3) The myth of the cyclist and pedestrian scofflaw.

Yes, there are cases albeit relatively rare of pedestrians failing to exercise care and killing themselves. The anecdote of the scofflaw pedestrian jaywalking to their deaths though is a myth, one because compared to the amount of jaywalking in the city deaths and rare and two most people aren't trying to commit suicide.

Couple points about cyclists

First some level of cyclist law breaking is because streets and traffic laws are designed for cars. Some cyclists openly break the law to protect themselves. This includes moving before traffic and running red lights.

Second point. You are correct there is not reliable data about cyclist on pedestrian crashes. However if there were deaths it would be reported and it is not at this point.

Finally there are simply just some jerks who happen to bike. There are a-sholes everywhere however just the same way we don't say "kill all drivers" because there is a minority of a-sholes we shouldn't say the same for cyclists.

So net summary: pedestrian and cyclist scofflaws - good straw man counter argument but not the core issue at all

4) The drivers pay taxes and no one else does argument

With all due respect this argument is stupid. Everyone in NYC pays income taxes, everyone who owns property pays property taxes, everyone who owns a business pays taxes, etc etc.

Registration fees, parking fees and the like cover a small fraction of capital costs related to cars. The rest are subsidized by taxes, the rest in this case is about 60% the hard costs of driving. Car owners choose to drive they choose to pay the fees. Cyclist choose to bike they choose to pay the fees.

Subsidies to transit and subsidies to driving are exactly the same (about 60%). Subsidies to biking are minuscule compared to either and about where they should be consisting current ridership.

So net summary: all modes receive subsidy from our shared tax dollars.

5) Also again with all due respect the truck argument is stupid. No one is suggesting removing trucks from the city.

Hopefully this clears some things up for you.
Aug. 15, 2016, 1:53 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
"Jaywalking Pedestrian: Can only hurt themselves"

Nonsense. A pedestrian who steps into traffic can hurt a driver, if throw into the windshield, or if airbags or seatbelts fail. A pedestrian pushing a baby carriage can hurt the child.

"Cyclist violating a traffic rule: Has potential to hurt themselves or a pedestrian."

Same nonsense as above. A bicyclist can hurt a driver in the same way a pedestrian can. Not to mention, again, injury or death to an infant in a child seat on a bike.

Both of these also include the real danger of traumatic psychological injury to a blameless driver who happens to hit an at-fault pedestrian or cyclist.
Aug. 15, 2016, 2:34 pm
Mike from Slope says:
Sean, you're ignoring the stats. Cars kill people. Bikes don't. People walking don't. People driving cars irresponsibly do. All the time. Greatly reducing the speed and the volume of cars in the city will save lives, reduce injuries, and lower pollution and asthma rates. It would probably help with obesity too. I know that people who can afford cars like to act like overprivileged jerks, but they enjoy a lifestyle that is detrimental to the lives of the vast majority of us in Brooklyn who do not own cars.

Imagine a city where cars were slow and rare. Where exhaust fumes and honking were not a part of the experience of walking down a street. Sure, we need a few trucks for deliveries and the disabled need drivers to get around. But, for the rest of us, there are better ways.
Aug. 15, 2016, 3:01 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
That's a particularly biased read of the stats. Again, you ignore the high percentage of cyclists who fail to ride safely - against traffic, running signals, etc. When those bikers get hit, it's not the car that kills them, and the cyclist is not the victim. The driver is the victim. Until bike people start taking responsibility for their own wrongful actions, the cause is misguided.

For many other people, there are better ways to get around, sure. But there are plenty of valid reasons to own and use a car in NYC that don't fall under the categories of deliveries and disabled drivers. For one, plenty of parents in the outer boroughs need a car to get their kids to and from appointments, classes, events, that occur in places where mass-transit isn't direct. As a former coach, using my minivan to transport half a dozen players and equipment to ballfields that are nowhere near mass-transit was a valid and productive (and always safe) use of my vehicle. So, don't generalize about what is better or more appropriate for others. You are speaking anecdotally.
Aug. 15, 2016, 3:08 pm
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
Sean, your anecdotes here aren't wrong - they are valid. However they are also extremely rare which is why they are being dismissed as distractions from the main point.

Any debate on traffic safety usually includes hysterical beliefs such as a "war on cars" and/or "scofflaw pedestrians and cyclists kill themselves"

War on cars - is a distraction tactic which gets people of a certain inherent belief to get hysterical and act with emotion. The fact is there is no "war on cars". Some people drive, some people don't. It's each individual's personal decision on which mode they take, that is not being disputed. So let's punt wars on cars as entirely irrelevant.

Scofflaw Pedestrians and cyclists - is what we call a straw man. It's a distraction designed to move things away from traffic safety discussions. That's not to say this is a zero issue, it's a real thing but simply put the scope of the issue is a fraction of the primary problem which is reckless drivers running down people who have ROW AND the NYPD not doing a damm thing about it.

Use of the phrases "bike people" or "car people" - with all due respect there is no such thing as either.

Now solutions may include traffic calming, enforcement, and new mode options but the frank reality is until enough people agree there is an issue it is hard to solve same issue.

That is the point I am making here and it is a data based point based on reality. Not an emotional point based on individual experiences/anecdotes.
Aug. 15, 2016, 3:55 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Dave,

Take a look at Mike's post. He's the one who claims that there are better ways than cars. And he's right for a particular segment of the population, but he's wrong for many other people. So, yes, I would say, when faced with statements like his, "war on cars" (not my phrase) may be valid as descriptive of his cause.

I ride a bike regularly, but I think anyone who uses it as their primary mode of transportation in this city is a fool simply because it's so dangerous. But, you don't see me telling people you can't ride a bike to work because I don't need/want to. That's what people like Mike are saying: "I get along fine without a car, so you can too, regardless of whether your needs are the same as mine."

Scofflaw pedestrians and cyclists are not a straw man (unless you want to dismiss 49% of the problem as something to be swept under the rug). The issue is anyone (driver, ped or cyclist) who puts themselves or others at risk. There's no point in addressing only half of the problem. TA, the bike lobby, or whatever name you want to put on it, has to start being honest about the responsibility that is held by their constituency. And it's not an insignificant percentage.
Aug. 15, 2016, 4:13 pm
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
Sean,

Saying there are "better ways than cars" universally is premature. For that I'll just say couldn't care less what mode people use for now and I can't blame those who have no other options.

However a driving culture shouldn't take precedent in walking/cycling parts of the city. That is at least part of the gap and argument here and there is no debating today that in parts of the city the car is not a fit. (i.e Manhattan)

Now one point you make that is important is you choose not to bike because it is dangerous.

What if it was safe?

Well than more people would bike!

That is a key point because:
-Today the city prioritizes one mode (driving)
-Another mode is the "most popular" (pedestrian)
-And a 3rd probably gets talked about the most (cycling)

Goal should be relative balance of safety and accessibility to those 3 modes. That is what I want to see happen in the city.

Most of the problem can be solved with (1) traffic calming engineering (2) enforcement and automatic enforcement of driving laws (3) separation of modes (i.e protected bike lanes and pedestrian plazas).

Slow traffic, calmer traffic and less traffic is the net result. If that all exists and scofflaw pedestrians and cyclists still cause a "problem" then fine go ahead and ticket those things into compliance.

This is all a cultural change that is why it doesn't seem logical but I believe it works. Plus evidence and studies of "beta" implementations mostly in Manhattan indicate it works.
Aug. 15, 2016, 5:11 pm
Old time beooklyn from Slope says:
Geez you guys have way too much time on your hands
Aug. 15, 2016, 5:54 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I hate to break this to some of you bike zealots, but I feel that sometimes you guys do look for excuses to justify your own behavior while condemning others. First of all, I'm NOT for reckless driving in any way and form, and I do call them out constantly. However, it's very easy to blame the motorists when you are just looking at the effects of what occurred and zooming in on just those. When you start looking at the causes, you might start seeing something such as the cyclist and/or pedestrian that got hit wasn't following the traffic laws and by that are placing themselves into harm's way, which now proves that the motorist may not even be solely responsible for their actions. More importantly, when was the last time White had ever called out rogue cyclists and jaywalkers for what they do? The answer is most likely never as his group is made to go after motorists only hence the anti-car bias. As for statistics, they only tell the effects, but never the causes, which is how some groups such as TA can make it sound as if they right through such manipulations. That almost reminds me of all the anti-Israel groups who use the claim that statistically the Israel Defense Force kills a lot more civilians than Hamas ever does therefore are the real terrorists, and that's just by using the effects, but when using the causes, it's found out that Hamas did attack first by launching rockets and using either suicide bombings, random stabbings, and even launching rockets not to mention using their own people as human shields and placing their bases in densely populated areas, which is clearly placing them into harm's way. For those who didn't get this, it's about those who tend to use the effects over the causes to make their points and why that always doesn't state everything.
Aug. 15, 2016, 5:54 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
I get what you are saying, Dave, and you've come a long way in toning down the rhetoric, which I appreciate. I, however, believe that you can address both sides of the issue at the same time. In fact, if TA and the bike lobby did get behind accepting some of the responsibility, I'd bet you'd get more support from drivers. I make my living as a professional negotiator, and I've found that extremes never work out. There is always a middle-ground that benefits more people than either extreme. This is one such area. Work with drivers to alleviate their concerns about the large number of dangerous cyclists and mostly clueless pedestrians, and you'll have more people on your side, for more effective lobbying.
Aug. 15, 2016, 9:11 pm
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
Sean,

Your point is taken and yes I do appreciate you debating the actual issues here. I know these boards on Brooklyn Paper get packed with trolls which severely degenerates the tone of conversation.

DOT meetings are open to the public as our CB and TA meetings borough and city wide. All are good forums to provide input from all angles of the traffic safety debate.
Aug. 15, 2016, 9:24 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Thank you, Dave. I appreciate your input on the matter, too. Sadly, I have other community matters on my plate at the moment (particularly illegal home conversions) to devote much time to the traffic issues, though that issue is of great importance to me, as I have two teens in my home who are now drivers and cyclists. In any event, may cooler heads prevail.
Aug. 15, 2016, 10:32 pm
Bob from East New York says:
Hey, Dave and Sean, why don't you two snuggle up together? Your mutual attraction is so undeniable.
Aug. 15, 2016, 11:37 pm
samir kabir from downtown says:
You are kidding, right? Was White in a deep cave or subway tunnel? Is this article a joke? Cyclists are the worst traffick offenders, ever. Running red lights, going the wrong way on streets, riding on sidewalks, putting pedestrians in peril, the list goes on and on. The NYPD should crack down on the law-breaking cyclists, and issue them more traffic tickets. Cyclist cry and protest for bike lanes, yet they refuse to follow traffic laws. Manifest destiny.
Aug. 16, 2016, 6:05 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
I appreciate the thought, Bob, but I'm constrained by my marriage vows, which I take very seriously. The only person with whom I snuggle, or who rides with me on a bicycle-built-for-two, is my wife. :)
Aug. 16, 2016, 9:57 am
Charles from Bushwick says:
Mike is the classic model of an elitist (totalitarin). When he says imagine a coty where cars are slow and rare and there's no honking or other biker-displeading traffic sounds, he's describing a place where everyone looks like he does, bet he's white and well dotuated in life. What Mike wants is a NYC airbrushed of people of color who eat junk food, drive cars and are too loud. What Mike wants is to emasculate NYC ibto the white suburb he grew up in. What Mike hates is NYC.
Aug. 16, 2016, 3:22 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
My main problem with White and TA is their anti-car bias and he doesn't go around hiding it either. In many of his statements, he always condemns motorists for breaking the laws and wants huge enforcement on them, but at the same time, he turns a blind eye to cyclists that flout the laws despite how big of an issue that one is. The truth is that there are pedestrians who fear bicycles a lot more than motor vehicles and that's mainly due to the fact that they flout the laws a lot, and it's not just in the streets, but also in the parks as well. No matter how many times the bike zealots on places such as Streetsblog tries to downplay such behavior, they can't seem to hide altogether. Unfortunately, they have to understand that not everybody can ride a bicycle the way they can or even at all, and just like the WNBA, the car culture isn't going away in the near future no matter how much they despise it. More importantly, they need to stop thinking that this is like George Orwell's Animal Farms where they are the special animals that are exempt from all the laws when the rest of the animals had to be subject to them constantly. Overall, until cyclists actually start following the traffic laws on a normal basis, they have no rights to tell others what to do hence the double standard. In other words, start practicing what you preach otherwise you have no moral legitimacy to your claims.
Aug. 16, 2016, 5:15 pm

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