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Crackdown will save lives

for The Brooklyn Paper
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When people ask me why I’m for the NYPD’s new bicycle safety enforcement initiative that’s poised to start, I have a very straightforward answer for them: It’s going to save lives, period.

As president of the 84th Precinct Community Council, I talk to cops all the time. Just the other day I was asked to come over to the station house on Gold Street to address the 20 new cops we’ve received. I told these young officers flat out that they shouldn’t be shy about giving out tickets, because sanctioning people with tickets will ultimately save someone’s life.

I’m not anti-bike, but I follow police statistics: About 90 percent of the bicyclists killed in this city died, in part, because they were not following the rules of the road. Obviously, these deaths were tragedies and they never should have happened. But in many of these cases the bicyclists were violating the rules in some way. They were either on roads without bike lanes, going through a red light or riding the wrong way down the street. The “ghost bikes” you see in the different neighborhoods that honor these fallen bicyclists only tell half the story.

When a cop pulls a car over and gives a motorist a ticket for driving while holding his cellphone to his ear, the cop’s not being petty or cruel. He or she probably saved that person’s life because the driver won’t be so fast to talk on a cellphone the next time he or she gets behind the wheel.

The same thing pertains to bicyclists. A neighbor of mine once complained to me that he got a ticket for riding his bicycle on the sidewalk on his own block. All I could tell him was, “I don’t think you’re going to do that again.”

And it was true, he had already taken the lesson to heart — he walked his bike down the street to complain to me about the ticket!

Every single day, I drive to Borough Hall and every single day I see both motorists and bicyclists breaking one rule or another.

Often I see a bicyclist with three toddlers sitting on the back of his bike. Now, when the light is red, he waits at the crosswalk, but as soon as he feels that he’s not going to get squashed, he zips into the street — with three little babies in tow! If that’s not playing with fire, I don’t know what is.

But I bet if he got a ticket, he would think twice about jumping the light again. That’s because in the end, proper enforcement saves lives, no matter if you’re a bicyclist, a motorist or a pedestrian.

Leslie Lewis is president of the 84th Precinct Community Council.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is not illegal to cycle on a road without a bike lane, but we made a conscious decision not to alter Lewis’s opinion piece.

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Reader Feedback

Resident from of PPW says:
Very good article. Its time the bicycle "terrorists" follow the law. Just because you are riding on two wheels doesn't mean that you don't have to follow the law.
Jan. 14, 2011, 8:38 am
eveostay from prospect heights says:
This 2000 study found that "Driver misconduct was thus the principal cause
in 57% of [fatal bicycle crashes] and a contributory factor in 78%.

http://www.rightofway.org/research/cyclists.pdf

What is your source for the 90% figure you cite?
Jan. 14, 2011, 9:32 am
M to the I from Brooklyn says:
It is not illegal nor a violation to ride a bicycle on a street without a bicycle lane. On streets without a bicycle lane, a cyclist has the right and should take an entire lane of traffic for riding so that they are outside of the "door zone" of parked cars and can more safely avoid illegally double parked cars and trucks.
Jan. 14, 2011, 9:47 am
Mike says:
This is a blatant LIE:

"But in many of these cases the bicyclists were violating the rules in some way. They were either on roads without bike lanes"

It is NOT illegal, and NEVER has been, to ride on a street without a bike lane. Leslie Lewis is twisting that study to say the OPPOSITE of what it actually says. With "facts" like these, it's clear she's an ideologue who simply hates bikes.
Jan. 14, 2011, 9:53 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Okay, great. It's not even required to ride in bike lanes on streets that do have them and now someone on the community police committee is writing opinion pieces based on ignorance!

(See http://www.bicycledefensefund.org/bikelaw.html for NYC laws pertaining to bicycles)
Jan. 14, 2011, 9:54 am
gary from Park Slope says:
I question the 90% figure and would simply note that the dead bicyclists never had a chance to tell their 1/2 of the story. I have seen other studies that claim excessive speed as a fault of the cyclist in numerous cases, which is patently absurd-it is almost impossible to speed on a bicycle.
Also note that there is absolutely nothing illegal about a bicyclist riding on a street without a bike lane.
Drive carefully. Lives depend on it.
Jan. 14, 2011, 10 am
Mike says:
The study in question actually states that 42% of killed bicyclists were the only factors in deaths. The 90% figure seems to be pulled completely out of Lewis's rear. Not to mention the ridiculous claim that it's illegal to ride on a street without a bike lane.

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/episrv/episrv-bike-report.pdf
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:06 am
DG from UWS says:
"They were either on roads without bike lanes" - that is not a rule. Stop spreading misinformation.
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:21 am
Liz from WT says:
I regularly see a guy who rides his bike with his toddler on the handlebars!!

and no helmets on either of them as they zip through traffic like nobody's business!
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:44 am
eveostay from p hts says:
I regularly see people driving motor vehicles with children in them. Even though motor vehicle crashes are the largest cause of accidental death for children!!!!!!!!!
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:49 am
Andrew from Williamsburg says:
If it's a traffic violation for cyclists to ride on streets without bike lanes, then we should have a lane on every street.
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:01 am
Tom Rorb from Red Hook says:
"But in many of these cases the bicyclists were violating the rules in some way. They were either on roads without bike lanes" WHAT????!

Once again a moron is loose writing opinions in the Brooklyn Paper. Since when is it illegal to ride on a road without a bike lane? Except for highways, cyclists have the legal right to any road in NYC.

It is sad when we allow people to write articles like this un-fact-checked. And even sadder when we have people who make up rules trying to set policy for cyclists.
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:06 am
AlexB from Astoria says:
I'm fine with cops ticketing bicyclists, so long as they focus on infractions. Drivers would be annoyed if they were ticketed for occasionally drifting into bike lanes or bus only lanes. Bikers have a right to be annoyed if they do things that affect no one, such as taking a right turn on red with no drivers or pedestrians in the intersection.

Please, ticket the deliverymen going the wrong way down one way streets and the crazy messengers weaving in and out of traffic and zipping through red lights in crowded intersections.
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:10 am
Tom Rorb from Red Hook says:
Also: the writer states that every day they drive to Borough Hall they see cyclists breaking the rules....

Well I see drivers do that at nearly every stoplight I come to: stopping in the crosswalk, making illegal right turns on red, going thru red lights (one or two per intersection on my commute), not yielding to pedestrians....cops also shouldn't be shy about writing tickets to motorists.
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:10 am
AlexB from Astoria says:
And why anyone would drive to Borough Hall is beyond me. There is a bus or train from every neighborhood in Brooklyn to Borough Hall. Not to mention, driving in that area is crazy. No wonder this guy doesn't understand how the rules apply to bicyclists.
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:14 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
Public records indicate one Leslie Lewis within the confines of the 84th Precinct, who lives less than one mile from Borough Hall, and two-and-a-half blocks from the Bergen Street F station. Barring mobility issues, that seems like a silly trip to make by car. And that 90% figure is just absurd.
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:34 am
Resident 'from of' BK from Prospect Heights says:
Yes, Resident From Of PPW, cyclists are exactly like terrorists. Very thoughtful, well considered, and not at all inflammatory contribution to an honest discussion of cycling rules.
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:37 am
baruch herzfeld from Williamsburg says:
Firstly, you are ignorant. You are the precinct community council and you claim that it's illegal for bicyclists to bike on roads without a bike lane. That's flat out wrong. You can't just make it up laws because it jives with your myopic, anti-bicyclist world view.
Secondly, you give anecdotal evidence, that more tickets are needed, based on the fact that a mother with a child in tow, ran a red light. To me that proves the exact opposite evidence. If a mother ran a red light carrying a baby, there is no greater evidence that most of the traffic laws in the city are car-centric and should not apply to bicyclists.
Ms. Leslie Lewis, You sound angry and jealous that bicycling is more efficient and fun than whatever mode of transportation you use. You should be ashamed of yourself for encouraging improper use of police resources.
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:53 am
anon from Boerum Hill says:
Leslie, you probably should consider the safety of others and avoid getting behind the wheel of a car, especially for a 5 block trip. I know having that placard that allows for free parking makes it tempting, but there are a lot of pedestrians out there who might be better off without someone with very poor vision driving. So Leslie, if you're reading this; please stop driving everyday, and either walk or take the bus, like everyone else.

I'm really disappointed in this article. This explains to me why the 84th has never really gotten tough on double parkers or cars parked in the bike lanes on Adams street, or the constant stream of speeders on Atlantic Avenue and Adams street. If you're so worried about the bikers you see out of your car windshield, why would you care about all the cars raising mayhem on the streets.
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:53 am
someone from nyc says:
The reason that someone drives to borough hall? Probably because that person, as the (unelected) president of the community precinct council probably has an illegal police parking permit which she probably uses to park in the bike lane.
Jan. 14, 2011, Noon
Steve from Park Slope says:
Why not drive a couple miles to downtown Brooklyn where there's no where to park, when you've got an illegal placard the police gave you because you're the President of the Precinct Council, that lets you park with impunity on the sidewalk, in crosswalks and in front of fire hydrants. That's what Leslie Lewis is all about.
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:43 pm
Steve from Park Slope says:
"They were either on roads without bike lanes..."

Worth repeating: this info is false and never should have made it into the paper. Cyclists can ride on any road, with or without a bike lane. If Lewis would like to add more bike lanes to city streets, then great.

Shame on the editors of the BP for letting this go to press, online or off.

268 people were killed by cars last year, half of them pedestrians. Thousands more injured. Car accidents are THE leading cause of death of children -- and that's including kids inside cars. Yet Lewis is worried about the strawman of someone with three babies on his bike. Yes, I'm sure that's a huge menace to our streets!

Cyclists kill, on average, less than one person per year. Everyone should obey the law, whether on two wheels or four, but have some perspective and some intellectual honesty.

Shame on all of us for having people like this in positions of power.
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:49 pm
Thomas from Park Slope says:
EDITOR’S NOTE: It is not illegal to cycle on a road without a bike lane, but we made a conscious decision not to alter Lewis’s opinion piece.

You should alter it!!!!! people are gonna start repeating this like it's fact. You should at least put your note right after the comment. Some editing!!!!
Jan. 14, 2011, 1:08 pm
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
Mr. Lewis:

It's customary when writing on op-ed piece like this to respond to the questions raised by the controversies you provoke. Mr. Shepherd, speaking on the other side of this debate, already has. So rather than let others spout their anger about what you know or don't know, or your transportation choices, perhaps you can answer these questions:

- Exactly what police statistic says that 90 percent of the bicyclists killed in this city died, in part, because they were not following the rules of the road?

- Can you site the source, and how was that determined?

- You say that one of the "rules" these cyclists were violating was riding "on roads without bike lanes." Is that just your mistake, or does everyone in the 84th Precinct believe it's illegal to ride on streets without bike lanes?

I'd think your credibility rests on addressing these questions honestly.
Jan. 14, 2011, 1:22 pm
eveostay from p hts says:
Actually, it's stupendous that the editors did not remove that erroneous bit of information, since it completely wrecks Mr. Lewis's credibility on the subject.
Jan. 14, 2011, 2:05 pm
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
eveostay: maybe that was the point.

Mr. Lewis - care to address?
Jan. 14, 2011, 2:23 pm
J from Brooklyn says:
Leslie Lewis's day job appears to be "Criminal Justice Liaison" for Marty Markowitz. Does it surprise anyone that he is (1) anti-bike and (2) misinformed? This also explains his ability to park at Borough Hall.
Jan. 14, 2011, 2:51 pm
Steve F from Park Slope says:
Nearly all of the news articles and even most of the guides to traffic operations have been far too brief – from poorly summarized at best, and at worst – Bumper-Sticker – Sound-Bites.

The Brooklyn Paper last Friday has a sidebar box: “They See You Rollin” with “The Laws” or at least what the average reader would think are the bike laws. For bike lanes the only information provided is "Cyclists must use a bike lane (when one is provided).”

The Paper ignores the two paragraphs of “34 RCNY § 4-12(p) Bicycles.” that are qualifiers of the law and explain when and how cyclists may be expected to ride out side the bike lane. They are repeated here:

34 RCNY § 4-12(p) Bicycles
(1) Bicycle riders to use bicycle lanes. Whenever a usable path or lane for bicycles has been provided, bicycle riders shall use such path or lane only except under any of the following situations:

(i) When preparing for a turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

(ii) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, pushcarts, animals, surface hazards) that make it unsafe to continue within such bicycle path or lane.

(2) Driving on or across bicycle lanes prohibited. No person shall drive a vehicle on or across a designated bicycle lane, except when it is reasonable and necessary:

(i) to enter or leave a driveway; or
(ii) to enter or leave a legal curbside parking space; or
(iii) to cross an intersection; or
(iv) to make a turn within an intersection; or
(v) to comply with the direction of any law enforcement officer or other person authorized to enforce this rule; or
(vi) to avoid an obstacle which leaves fewer than ten feet available for the free movement of vehicular traffic.
Notwithstanding any other rule, no person shall drive a vehicle on or across a designated bicycle lane in such manner as to interfere with the safety and passage of persons operating bicycles thereon.

Note that "sub-paragraph ii" states that conditions include “but are not limited to…” those listed here. This is an open ended essay question.

The NYC bike lane law was deliberately written in 1978 to keep cars out, not to keep bikes in!

Probably the one item we should have explicitly included when we wrote the law in 1978 was the Door Zone. There should have been mention of staying outside of the doorswing of parked cars – which means riding about 5 feet out from the cars. It appears that quite a few drivers see cyclists riding outside of the door zone and accuse them of riding “in the middle of the road.”

Unfortunately, most of the NYPD and far too many of the Traffic Court judges/hearing officers have not read past the first sentence of 34 RCNY § 4-12(p).

Even the Transportation Alternatives pamphlet “Biking Rules” has truncated the discussion of bike lanes so much (p. 11) that the power of the exceptions will be overlooked. TA’s mention of car doors is on page 14, and is not linked to bike lanes. The NYC DOT web pamphlet - http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/dot_bikesmart_brochure.pdf - includes a strong mention and graphic of staying out of the door zones, but even DOT does not combine this message with how to place ones self along a bike lane.

Essentially every section of the state and city bicycle traffic laws involve much more than the single sound bite tag line that is commonly presented. This is failing to educate both cyclists and motorists.

What makes this a fatal flaw is the Zero Tolerance approach being taken by self proclaimed bicycle traffic safety proponents. Missionaries here to "Save Us, from ourselves."

The synonym for "Zero Tolerance" is "Maximum Intolerance."

Failing to read the entire text of the relevant traffic law, or assuming that they know the law from the Bumper Sticker in the news article, these “experts” are decrying cyclists behavior that is, in fact, perfectly legal.

As I said above – this is an open ended essay question, and does not have a true/false binary answer. Sorry, life is not quite that simple.

Set the intersection traffic signal issue aside for a moment, the most serious thing about cyclists on the roadway is that they sometimes force drivers to change lanes or slow down because “the cyclist is riding in the middle of the road.” That really gets drivers angry and/or scared. This is the basis for demanding that cyclists get off the road. Unfortunately, most of the time, a cyclist is taking the middle of the outer lane because to be any closer to the parked cars is unsafe. Cyclists are riding out in the middle lanes because there are double parked cars; because cars are preparing to turn, so the cyclist swings wide to avoid being hooked; or because the cyclist it preparing to make a turn in the blocks ahead. All of these issues and more are fully justified in the complete traffic law. But you would never know that from reading the one line: “Bicyclists must use the bike lane!”

And Red Lights, outside NYC, with Right Turn On Red, red traffic signals no longer mean stop and wait for drivers. In fact, for turns, they don’t mean stop at all anymore, just slow down and force your car in. It’s a messy system.

Enforcement is useless without first knowing the law and second, having appropriate education to go along with it. Actually, good education is more important than the enforcement. It’s the education that will get cyclists and drivers to share the road, when they understand what compliance with the traffic law really entails.

So let’s start with the education of the NY City Police Department – top to bottom. The lead of this this article is how the NYPD 84th Pct is has no knowledge of traffic law. No, the police do not know traffic law. They repeatedly write tickets for the wrong regulations; cite state law when city law applies; or just fabricate the entire incident. (I had a ticket dismissed on appeal for this, yet the cop was not sanctioned for perjury. They never are.)

The cops don’t need you,
and man, they expect the same.
B. Dylan.
Jan. 14, 2011, 2:56 pm
Tom Rorb from Red Hook says:
You know I have had it with this so called local paper. If you are going to print stuff like this with falsehoods and only correct it with an EDITOR'S NOTE, then you need to place that EDITOR'S NOTE right after the incorrect statement.

For example: "I looked out the window and saw a cat barking." (EDITOR'S NOTE: cats do not bark)

I think Brooklyn Paper has had so many incorrect statements printed in its pages over the years about cycling (I remember one last year where you printed it was illegal to not wear a helmet if you are a cyclist) that it should do an actual article on what is legal and not for bike riding. That way your readers are no longer confused.
Jan. 14, 2011, 3:08 pm
Doug from Park Slope says:
"About 90 percent of the bicyclists killed in this city died, in part, because they were not following the rules of the road."

Lewis is inappropriately citing a stat about helmet use. From Paul Steely White at TA: "It comes from a city bike safety report that found over 90% of fatally struck bikers were not wearing helmets."

A few things about this.

1. The stat is not relevant to what he says. You can follow all the rules of the road and still die. Jasmine Herron, killed on Atlantic Avenue in September, was riding with traffic when she was doored by an unlicensed driver. Jasmine was knocked off her bike and killed by a bus. She was wearing a helmet, but no helmet would have helped her survive such a major accident.

2. There is no mandatory helmet law in NYC, so anyone not wearing a helmet is not "not following the rules of the road." We can debate the value of wearing or not wearing a helmet, but not the legality of going without one, since there is no legal requirement for adults to do so.

3. Major studies have shown that in car/bike accidents and deaths, driver inattention is responsibile 78% of the time.

3. Lewis' statement, therefore, amounts to blaming the victim.

The fact that something is an "Opinion" or "Perspective" piece does not absolve it from needing to be fact checked. That the Brooklyn Paper allowed this opinion piece to be put online without doing a cursory Google search for the real facts, especially Lewis' claim about bike lanes, is troubling. These laws are not mysteries; every one of them is available online. Putting a disclosure up after the fact, and only when it was brought to your attention by readers, is irresponsible.
Jan. 14, 2011, 3:48 pm
Jacob from Brooklyn says:
What does this say about our society, if we have zero tolerance for bikers and the tiny fraction of accidents they cause each year, yet we continue to tolerate hundreds of deaths each year from car crashes. Speeding is the NUMBER 1 cause of death in auto accidents. Where is the Zero tolerance for speeding.

Mr Lewis claims he isn't anti-bike. If not, where is the zero tolerance for cars double parking in bike lanes. Where is the zero tolerance for driver honking and intimidating bikers. Where is the zero tolerance for cars passing too close. If he ever biked, he'd know these things occur on a daily basis.

Finally, if he is truly serious about bike safety, he'd know that the presence of bike lanes dramatically reduces the likelihood of accidents or death. Therefore, he'd be in favor of more bike lanes and better bike lanes, like the one on Prospect Park West, which his boss so vehemently opposes.

Your piece makes it quite clear, Mr. Lewis. You just hate bikes.
Jan. 14, 2011, 4:32 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I tend to find it an irony with some of you cyclists. Whenever there is a call for high enforcement against us drivers, you claim it must be done, but when it comes to cyclists, you cry foul on that. I thought that following the the rules of the road is very important, but I guess to you guys, the ruled don't apply to you. That attitude is the reason for the crackdown. BTW, there is an article on the NY Post calling for cyclists to agree to have stickers that will be ID tags, which I support a lot, because it's about time for that.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/sticking_it_to_bikers_QkNdSzrRAbj6rrmCtW4zoM
Jan. 14, 2011, 5:35 pm
Not Tal Barzilai from Unpleasantville, NY says:
I tend to find it an irony with some of you drivers. Whenever there is a call for high enforcement against us cyclists, you claim it must be done, but when it comes to drivers, you cry foul on that. I thought that following the the rules of the road is very important, but I guess to you guys, the ruled don't apply to you.
Jan. 14, 2011, 6:49 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Whoever you really are, go back to Mark Gorton or Paul White, and tell them that you failed, plus using an impersonation stating the reverse is a real low even for you.
Jan. 14, 2011, 7:23 pm
Lewis Derkins from CommuterOutrageville says:
I tend to find it an irony that some low-IQ motorhead crank from Pleasantville, NY is even bothering to form opinions about issues related to transportation and traffic enforcement in Kings County.
Jan. 14, 2011, 8:51 pm
Marty Barfowitz from An Outer Borough. says:
Gersh: You're hitting new lows, my man. But congratulations on racking up the pageviews with this drivel.
Jan. 14, 2011, 8:52 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Marty, Gersh didn't write this,Leslie Lewis did, but he has his opinions just like you do.

Imposter, I know you are not Lewis Derkins, so quit disquising your name coward, and you are probably also some cyberstalker.
Jan. 14, 2011, 9:15 pm
JAY from Psloe says:
look you knuckleheads, he CLEARLY meant by this was reasons that cyclists died, NOT that they died because they were not following the law. Sheesh, talk about inventing controversy when there is none, tempest in a teapot. Having said that, Go get em police, paper em over with tickets....
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:15 pm
J.J. Hunsecker from Kensington says:
Funny - JAY from Pslope must have one heckuva unit!
Jan. 15, 2011, 11:27 am
Opus the Poet from Texas says:
The outrageous part is in the driver example given in the article, the driver with the cell phone getting a ticket, the people most at risk from this behavior are not the ones in the car (or the one in the car for an SOV) but people unprotected by tons of steel and multiple airbags, who are walking or riding bicycles in the near proximity of the gabbing and oblivious driver.
Jan. 15, 2011, 6:51 pm
Tom Rorb from Red Hook says:
Mr. Lewis might have had a point about not being anti-bike, IF he had his facts straight.

The 90% figure is totally outrageous and a downright lie.

Saying that bikes cannot be on a road without a bike lane - another lie.

SO it is obvious the guy IS anti-bike. Otherwise he would have penned a thoughtful, useful and honest perspective piece. This is nothing but hate speech.
Jan. 16, 2011, 12:52 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Does everyone who believes that cyclists should follow the rules or be ticketed for failure to coprehend have to be anti-bike? I can say the same thing about you guys being anti-car for what you are saying. The crackdown on bicycles is most likely from residents who have a problem with crossing the streets knowing that cyclists such as yourself hardly ever follow the law. As for helmets, while it may not be mandatory for adult cyclists to wear them, it would be could idea should you fall down, because it will protect your head. Seriously, what's worse here? Would you rather have messy hair or a cracked skull? You can always carry a comb to brush back your hair. BTW, it's recquired for those riding motorcyles to wear helmets all the time when riding, so don't try acting like victims to the rule there.
Jan. 16, 2011, 4:56 pm
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
Tal, you're the one who's quickest to pin labels on everyone who disagrees with you and you never actually listen to what anyone else has to say. No biker posting here is against the police enforcing traffic laws against cyclists doing stupid, dangerous things.

REPEAT: No biker posting here is against the police enforcing traffic laws against cyclists doing stupid, dangerous things. Did that penetrate your thick skull? GOOD.

One more thing, if it isn't too complex for you: cyclists don't want the NYPD wasting taxpayer resources on a ticket blitz designed to shut up a couple of politicians and loudmothed citizens -- especially at a time when cars are getting away with maiming and killing people.

That's the only resistance, plain and simple. As for your venal yet lame-brained vision of licensing and registering cyclists, the reaction of The Star-Ledger's Brian Donohue gave me the only laugh of the week:

http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/01/14/a-video-message-about-bike-licensing-from-new-jersey/

If you're so gung-ho on this idea, perhaps you can hoist a few with the worldly 24-year-old City Councilman Ulrich and plot and scheme together.
Jan. 16, 2011, 9:57 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Peter, I was asking a simple question, so there was no reason to get so defensive on it. All I was asking about is why you and probably many on Streetsblog call anyone who feels that cylclist should follow the laws anti-bike. It's so interesting how you call the report biased, when I can pull something off of Streetsblog, and say that they are biased against cars, though I wouldn't be surprised if I was right, because Streetsblog does have a history of giving misinformation on cars that were debunked on other websites. You guys over there refer to anyone who disagrees with you over there as trolls when that is considered a personal attack.
Jan. 17, 2011, 9:25 pm
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
Tal, the question you asked isn't simple, just self-serving. Of course the answer is no, but you're not interested in that, only that everyone agrees with YOUR idea of following the law. You prove it by going on to yet another diatribe about Streetsblog's "history of giving misinformation," which is both false and irrelevant, as if Streetsblog's writers and commenters speak for everyone who uses a bicycle in NYC.

What utter ——! I've simply concluded that you're incapable of debating this in any form other than "us versus them," think that every biker thinks the same way, and resort to using fake straw man like blaming the "radical" Streetsblog or TA, or, when that fails, trying to equate NYC bikers with Hamas.

It's not defensive. I simply don't like you, and won't waste another moment of life being aggravated over your willful anger and ignorance. Oh, and by the way, your spelling is awful.
Jan. 18, 2011, 2:35 am
stephan from prospect park south says:
As an environmentally concerned citizen, I see that death by car, not by bicycle, is real. The argument that they are different is not frivolous.The automobile sui generis and its reckless use have far worse consequences no matter what your predilection or formulations.
I didn't renew my driver's licence 14 years ago in order to reduce my carbon footprint. I know how tough it is to give up that driving priviledge once a teenager gets it, and I know the psychological and physical obsessions with defending its use (like the second amendment wrt guns).
There is no rational comparison between bicycles and cars; the difference is approximately 2000 pounds, momentum, breaking and accelerating speeds, turning stability, reaction time, road conditions, awareness, laws for driving that are almost impossible for cyclists to obey as well as carbon emissions which dump billions of pounds of carbon into the atmosphere yearly. One wouldn't know that without taking cycling as seriously as driving.. Laws for cyclists need to be different. And they will be.... when oil becomes too expensive, when cycling is no longer considered a recreational weightloss program, and when city planning takes sustainability seriously. But I'm afraid those laws will not favour driving as has always been the case.

Did you know that when there's a collision between a bike and a car in Amsterdam, the driver of the car is, without dispute and under the law, at fault.?
Jan. 18, 2011, 2:47 am
MiKing from Gowanus says:
Regardless of what you think about cycling and enforcement, I am concerned that Mr. Lewis is president of the 84th Precinct Community Council. At the least, I would like a president who does not misquote statistics and laws. When is his term up?
Jan. 18, 2011, 3:15 pm
MiKing from Gowanus says:
Regardless of what you think about cycling and enforcement, I am concerned that Mr. Lewis is president of the 84th Precinct Community Council. At the least, I would like a president who does not misquote statistics and laws. When is his term up?
Jan. 18, 2011, 3:15 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Peter, everywhere else is much more open minded and not close minded as Streetsblog is. On so many other websites I have seen such as Queens Crap, Gothamnist, and even Brownstoner, they to agree with me that cyclists should follow the laws and be recquired to have licenses and registration. I say that Streetsblog is close minded because recently they have denied postings from someone who tends to disagree with the rest, but on anywhere else, all sides are welcomed. If you like to only hear your side then go back to Streetsblog where your friends are. On a side note, you really do need to chill and take some decaff especially with the times you are commenting here.
Jan. 18, 2011, 5:50 pm
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
Tal - I realize that you can't multi-task, but this is Brooklyn Paper, not Streetsblog. There are plenty of angry, irrational nuts who post there. Why don't you?
Jan. 19, 2011, 9:43 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Peter, I look at Streetsblog, and they constantly attack those who tend to disagree compared to other websites where the other side was never attacked. Maybe you should go back there where you belong. Another reason why I don't trust Mark Gorton, is because he goes on record for illegal downloads that even Limewire executives are against him. Getting back to crackdowns, this isn't something new, it goes all the way back to the 70's when the Koch administration agreed to it after a number of complaints of concerned residents, so this isn't something new.
Jan. 19, 2011, 7:28 pm
Mike says:
Oh, the irony:

Tal, in the other thread:
"I don't tell you where to comment, so stop saying that towards me"

Tal, in this thread:
"Maybe you should go back [to Streetsblog] where you belong."

Consistency: not his strong suit.
Jan. 19, 2011, 10:14 pm
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
You're right Mike, but I've done enough to increase the hate and want to make MLK proud. Peace out. Ohm.
Jan. 20, 2011, 8:42 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The idea of cracking down on bicycles is not something new. This actually goes all the way back to the 1970's under the Ed Koch administration. At first he gave cyclists the benefit of the doubt, but after they started acting like the rules didn't apply to them, he started backpeddaling on it. BTW, that was after the concerns of residents who have been witnesses to that. The same thing is the case today, and even Scott Stringer, the Manhattan Borough President, is having second thoughts on cyclists after hearing so many complaints from concerned residents.
Jan. 21, 2011, 6:30 pm
Peter from Brooklyn Heights says:
For anyone who has been to an 84th Precinct Community Council Meeting, this is nothing new.

Any time anyone brings up a question about bike lanes, or safety, someone else quickly says, "What about those d*mn cyclists, and their rock & roll music."

Leslie then gives his false equivalence sermon. Listening to him, you'd think there were dozens of motorists (and pedestrians) being killed by cyclists every day. As to those cyclists who 'sadly' are killed, well, they essentially brought it on themselves.

Meanwhile, the 84th Precinct captain sits there, as mute as the Sphinx.
Jan. 21, 2011, 8:56 pm

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