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Beep, activists to police: Quit blaming cyclists in fatal crashes!

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Police must stop blaming cyclists for their own demise after deadly collisions with the drivers, bike advocates and pols demanded in the wake of two fatal Brooklyn crashes last month.

Authorities pointed the finger at a dead bike rider in Clinton Hill on April 15 and another in Park Slope on April 20, only to later change their tune after further investigations, and one former cop says the department must learn to bite its tongue until it has the full story.

“We should not assume that the cyclist was always the person responsible for a crash or had accepted the risk simply by climbing on a bicycle,” said Borough President Adams, a former police captain, at a memorial for both riders last weekend. “There must be a blue wall of silence until the investigation is completed and we know the facts.”

Several Slopers grilled police at a 78th Precinct Community Council meeting on April 26, claiming a local officer told them neighborhood cyclist James Gregg was spotted trying to hold on to the side of an 18-wheeler tractor trailer before it ran over and killed him on April 20, according to those present.

The precinct’s captain responded that it was up to the Highway Patrol to investigate fatal crashes, and asked for the name of the offending officer, though no one was able to give it, according to council president Wayne Bailey.

The unit’s Collision Investigation Squad is in charge of the investigations, a rep for New York’s Finest said, though local precincts typically look into them in the immediate aftermath.

The department’s public information office also issues a media release shortly after fatal crashes with details based on the early inquiries, and critics say they often erroneously blame bike riders.

“There’s a repeated pattern of blaming innocent people for their own deaths,” said Windsor Terrace resident Paul Steely White, who is the director of pro-bike group Transportation Alternatives.

The department sent out a release hours after Gregg’s death saying he “collided into [the] rear tire of the tractor trailer,” but did not mention that the truck driver was on a residential street and not an approved truck route at the time.

Two hours later, a New York Times reporter quoted a spokesman as telling him that the large truck created a “wind force” that sucked up Gregg and his bike — then the following day that Gregg had fallen to the ground for “unknown reasons” and the big rig then ran over him.

And the day after that, Gothamist quoted a spokesman saying investigators believe Gregg fell while trying to overtake the truck in a narrow passage alongside parked cars.

The incident came just days after a police release stated that Crown Heights cyclist Lauren Davis was riding the wrong way on a one-way street in Clinton Hill when the driver of a car ran over her while turning onto the street on April 15.

Officials eventually revised the report after a witness came forward to say that Davis was in fact riding with traffic, but news outlets — including this one — had already run reports on the reckless cycling and Steely White says the damage is done.

“It really perpetuates a cycle of road crime where reckless drivers are given a pass and the people who they happen to mow down are acceptable collateral damage,” he said.

The District Attorney’s office is now looking into pressing charges against the driver who mowed down Davis.

Police have issued the truck driver who ran over Gregg with five summonses for driving off route and maintenance violations. A spokeswoman said the investigation is still ongoing.

The 78th Precinct refused to comment, and the 88th Precinct, which covers Clinton Hill, did not return requests for comment.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 3:24 pm, May 4, 2016
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Reasonable discourse

Bkmanhatman from Nubrucklyn says:
I honestly believe that these cops are in contempt of the people in the areas they serve.
They should just stay back in Long Island, Westchester, and Rockland or what ever sh*thole suburb they come from.
May 4, 2016, 7:33 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
De Blasio hasn't been able to rein in the cops, so I hope Eric Adams can when he's mayor.
May 4, 2016, 9:31 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
It's perhaps time for the DA to start bringing criminal charges against NYPD officers who file false formal reports or random media leaks following incidents. I agree that once the false narrative is out, it sticks.

And the driver who killed Ms. Davis should absolutely be in jail right now. She violated right of way and and lied in a police report. How is this still be "investigated"?
May 4, 2016, 9:47 am
blame Bloomberger from NYC says:
The "Bloom and Doomer" is the guilty party for putting in the bike lanes in the first place and putting all these people in harms way.

It was simply his trick to jam more people into an already overpopulated city so that the government could benefit with more income and sales tax while not having to provide more/costly additional infrastructure to support them; and on the private side - his own arena, to have more residential/commercial development to further exploit the public/victims.

And all the while, he looks like the hero. A wolf in sheep's clothing.
May 4, 2016, 11:01 am
Community Member from 78th Precinct says:
Wayne Bailey is deeply confused. He thinks his job is to be a mouthpiece for the local precinct rather than to represent community concerns to the precinct. He needs to go.
May 4, 2016, 11:12 am
Resident from Park Slope says:
Wayne isn't the problem. The CO is. He needs to tell his officers to shut up and not talk to anyone until an investigation is complete. Even then, leave it to the public affairs guys to talk to the press.

COs also need to tell officers to get out of their cars and walk and bike around the neighborhoods they patrol. How can they see what people on foot and on bikes experience when their butts are in car seats all the time, not to mention how many of them cruise around staring at their iPhones.

We need better police!
May 4, 2016, 11:53 am
Resident from Park Slope says:
blame Bloomberger, both of these recent tragedies happened on streets without bike lanes. Had there been dedicated space for cyclists, perhaps these two people would be alive.
May 4, 2016, 11:56 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
@ "blame Bloomberger"

1) Increasing development in a city with a housing shortage is a no-brainer thus more high rises and residential development.

2) Increasing safe transportation options in same is a no-brainer increasing transit and biking options

3) What does your statement about Mayor Bloomberg have to do with the NYPD filing false claims in reports and the media? If you actually read the article and discussion you might have more relevant input.
May 4, 2016, 12:31 pm
TOM from Sunset Park says:
On Saturday afternoon I passed the scene of a bike/minivan collision at 5th Avenue near 42nd Street next to Sunset Park(ambulance, cop cars, down bike, backed-up traffic). There are "Sharrows" there though you can barely see the lines now.

I thought upon seeing the type of bike that a child was involved. I asked a cop what became of the kid. She responded by saying it had been an adult on the bike and he had struck the minivan from behind.

We probably will never see any report of this incident and that is wrong. I believe that we will not learn how effective Vision Zero or other safety measures are unless there is detailed profiles of each and every fatality, serious injury or collision with only property damage collected, studied and all shared with the public. Anything less is conjecture.
May 4, 2016, 12:54 pm
Ken from Greenpoint says:
most of the bikers are second class citizens and need some help...
May 4, 2016, 2:25 pm
Law and Disorder from Brooklyn says:
You can not put 10 pounds in a 5 pound bag.
Those of you who condemn the police try living without them.Law and Order is almost non existing.
The cyclists and the auto's do not obey stop signs and traffic lights. Both are to blame. Thank a Liberal.
May 4, 2016, 3:01 pm
Tyler from pps says:
You've gotta love the inane comments like the last one from "Law and Order" that always appear on articles like this.

"Try living without the police, then you'll see their abuse, corruption, and shoddy work ain't that bad."

This is akin to saying water tainted with lead is just fine because you'll die *immediately* if you don't drink anything.
May 4, 2016, 3:35 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I hate to break this to some of you, but when cyclists aren't following the traffic laws, they are placing themselves into harm's way. As a matter of fact, anyone who is placing themselves into harm's way is responsible for what happens to them regardless of whether it was a motorist, pedestrian, or even cyclists. For the record, I am against reckless drivers, but I'm also against rogue cyclists as well and the fact that they have the tendency to treat traffic lights and signs as decorations does make them more of a threat to pedestrians than do motor vehicles due to that. Unfortunately, Paul Steely White, the head of Transportation Alternatives, hardly ever mentions such as a group and recent guest column in the Daily News on enforcing rules for Vision Zero is no exception to that, which makes him have a possible anti-car bias. Of course, nobody has even bothered to disprove my claim, so it will uphold until then. Then again, Streetsblog, a know website for bicycle advocacy, doesn't seem to address such issues on bicycle safety either while always blaming motor vehicles for just about everything, which almost makes me want to equate their ideas to that of the Electronic Intifada when talking about the Israel-Palestine conflict in which Israel always get blamed no matter what while a blind eye gets turned to the actions of Hamas. Overall, cyclists really do have to start taking responsibility as well plus they need to stop acting like victims to the rules. Doing this is what makes them enemies in the first place. In reality, I have nothing against those that want to ride bicycles, just those who happen to behave in such a way with them. To quote Confucius, "Respect is something one must earn, not demand."
May 4, 2016, 4:24 pm
Steve from Park Slope says:
Tal,

You do understand this article is entirely about false narrative in the media right? Or did you just submit your vomit of a rant without actually reading the article?

To explain it to you in a way you will definitely not understand

1) You are reading these false narrative reports from your troll cave in Pleasantville and thus you don't understand the situation on the ground in Brooklyn and probably should shut up about it.

2) In both these cases lives were taken through the reckless actions of others and you have taken it as an opportunity to rant about "anti-car bias" and the "cyclists are terrorists".

3) Productive conversation here would include ways to improve safety on the streets and accountability from the NYPD and media, not comparisons to the Israel - Palestine conflict.

In words your input is completely insane.
May 4, 2016, 5:38 pm
HONEY Pooter from Williamsburg says:
Don't blame them, don't blame me, don't blame someone else - who do you blame, "activists"?!?
May 4, 2016, 6:23 pm
Mom from Clinton Hill says:
How long will the ghost bike stay up?
May 4, 2016, 9:35 pm
Frank from Furter says:
first we should be entitled to a complete and accurate report on incidents like this. But even with the tremendous increase in bike ridership the total number of traffic deaths in NYC are at all time lows see http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-pedestrian-traffic-deaths-hit-record-nyc-article-1.2060325, drivers should be held accountable. and bikers aren't declaring war on pedestrians either. but they should stop for them...
May 4, 2016, 10:17 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
There would be more response from the police if the bikers were insured. Then the bikers have an advocate - their insurance company.
May 5, 2016, 8:16 am
Mike from Slope says:
We need laws like in the Netherlands -- if a car collides with a pedestrian or a cyclist, it's the driver's fault pretty much no matter what. The penalty for the driver is severe -- loss of license, possible loss of vehicle, jail time, and a large fine. With that sort of threat hanging over them, drivers would go much more slowly and much more carefully through our neighborhoods. Lives would be saved.
May 5, 2016, 9:40 am
Tom from Lower East Side says:
Good job, Boro President Adams for taking the side of the vast majority of ordinary New Yorkers who walk and bike. The biggest daily threat to most New Yorkers is getting mowed down by a reckless driver while legally crossing the street. NYPD doesn't care and doesn't even consider this a real crime. They are part of the problem with the reflexive blaming of vulnerable street users.
May 5, 2016, 11:04 am
Robert from Boerum Hill says:
Paul Steely White and Transportation Alternatives are waging war against the NYPD and cars. TA is a PAC, heavily subsidized with tax dollars. TA is waging a war on cars everywhere. TA is waging the war on cars with a war on language, typical tool of fascists. TA refers to traffic as "traffic violence," to traffic accidents as "car crashes," to car,drivers as "reckless, aggressive," to trucks as "barreling along," etc. The posts above are a good sampling of the language appropriation of propaganda, the bigotry toward cars, the sense of entitlement and superiority bikers have toward the non-biker world. They are a bitter and single-minded bunch whose goal is to drive cars off the streets entirely. They don't want to share the road, they want it all to themselves. They want to jail every car driver they can, along with every cop. (See adove.). Their religion is biking and everyone who isn't in their religion is an infidel who should be eliminated by one means or other. The woman biking the wrong way on Classon? She had no obligation to obey the traffic law? One way for cars, any way for bikes. The TA vigilantes now want the poor driver put in jail. The TA is now trying to handcuff the NYPD. I agree the NYOD should keep silent on biker accidents because God forbid the biker is held to obey the traffic laws. Make no mistake, this is a holy war of true fanatics. They're progressives like the Mayor. In other words, they lie, cheat and steal because their ends justify their means.
May 5, 2016, 11:55 am
Robert from Boerum Hill says:
Paul Steely White and Transportation Alternatives are waging war against the NYPD and cars. TA is a PAC, heavily subsidized with tax dollars. TA is waging a war on cars everywhere. TA is waging the war on cars with a war on language, typical tool of fascists. TA refers to traffic as "traffic violence," to traffic accidents as "car crashes," to car,drivers as "reckless, aggressive," to trucks as "barreling along," etc. The posts above are a good sampling of the language appropriation of propaganda, the bigotry toward cars, the sense of entitlement and superiority bikers have toward the non-biker world. They are a bitter and single-minded bunch whose goal is to drive cars off the streets entirely. They don't want to share the road, they want it all to themselves. They want to jail every car driver they can, along with every cop. (See adove.). Their religion is biking and everyone who isn't in their religion is an infidel who should be eliminated by one means or other. The woman biking the wrong way on Classon? She had no obligation to obey the traffic law? One way for cars, any way for bikes. The TA vigilantes now want the poor driver put in jail. The TA is now trying to handcuff the NYPD. I agree the NYOD should keep silent on biker accidents because God forbid the biker is held to obey the traffic laws. Make no mistake, this is a holy war of true fanatics. They're progressives like the Mayor. In other words, they lie, cheat and steal because their ends justify their means. Check out the story above this one. A biker beats up a driver. That's okay.
May 5, 2016, 12:03 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
The "evidence" that the Biker was riding the wrong way on Classon is probably wrong. While I wasn't there I have heard from 2 sources that she was riding the correct way. The police I have heard have changed the initial report. No one suggests that it is ok for a biker to beat up anyone. The biker is described as a psycho and belongs either in jail or a state hospital.
May 5, 2016, 1:55 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
The "evidence" that the Biker was riding the wrong way on Classon is probably wrong. While I wasn't there I have heard from 2 sources that she was riding the correct way. The police I have heard have changed the initial report. No one suggests that it is ok for a biker to beat up anyone. The biker is described as a psycho and belongs either in jail or a state hospital.
May 5, 2016, 1:58 pm
Rob from NY says:
Amen!
May 5, 2016, 1:58 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
I'm all for it Mike - provided the bike riders are as disciplined like the bikers who stay in lane, stop for lights, and don't race thru the streets. Until then, keep dreaming.
May 5, 2016, 1:58 pm
Paul from Downtown Brooklyn says:
@ Robert from Boerum Hill

Seek a psychiatrist for help. You've completely lost touch with reality.

@Sid from Boerum Hill

The evidence you believe is "wrong" is from people who were actually on the scene rather than you. Either the driver or the police lied in the report thus this discussion.
May 5, 2016, 4 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Thank you Robert for understanding the true nature of Transportation Alternatives just like I do. Every time I read what Paul Steely White has to say, he is always vilifying motorists for just about everything. I will still never forget his recent column on the Daily News that blames motorists all the way while not even mentioning cyclists flouting the laws once. Then again, what am I supposed to expect from someone who has an anti-car bias? Another thing is that the bike zealots need to understand that two wrongs don't make a right, plus flouting the laws themselves while riding a bicycle while saying that motorists must follow every letter of the law does place them in a double standard. It sort of reminds me of a parent telling their child not to smoke, but then they catch them smoking themselves and try to wonder why they are telling their children not to smoke when they are doing it in the claim that it was bad for their health. Getting to the truth of the matter, you have no moral legitimacy if you don't practice what you preach. For the record, I do follow the rules a lot when I drove, so nobody can say that I don't have the moral legitimacy to my claims, plus I even call out reckless drivers a lot. However, I hardly ever hear any responsible cyclists ever calling out the rogue and scofflaw cyclists. My guess is that they don't want their fellow cyclist groups to feel that they aren't with them and/or part of the system. BTW, there is a call for cyclists to follow the rules, and it is a serious issue not just in the streets, but also in parks as well where they are known to always ride as if they are in the Tour de France, which makes them a threat to pedestrians. Overall, this isn't about hating bicycles, it's about how some tend to act with them.
May 5, 2016, 4:47 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Thank you Robert for understanding the true nature of Transportation Alternatives just like I do. Every time I read what Paul Steely White has to say, he is always vilifying motorists for just about everything. I will still never forget his recent column on the Daily News that blames motorists all the way while not even mentioning cyclists flouting the laws once. Then again, what am I supposed to expect from someone who has an anti-car bias? Another thing is that the bike zealots need to understand that two wrongs don't make a right, plus flouting the laws themselves while riding a bicycle while saying that motorists must follow every letter of the law does place them in a double standard. It sort of reminds me of a parent telling their child not to smoke, but then they catch them smoking themselves and try to wonder why they are telling their children not to smoke when they are doing it in the claim that it was bad for their health. Getting to the truth of the matter, you have no moral legitimacy if you don't practice what you preach. For the record, I do follow the rules a lot when I drove, so nobody can say that I don't have the moral legitimacy to my claims, plus I even call out reckless drivers a lot. However, I hardly ever hear any responsible cyclists ever calling out the rogue and scofflaw cyclists. My guess is that they don't want their fellow cyclist groups to feel that they aren't with them and/or part of the system. BTW, there is a call for cyclists to follow the rules, and it is a serious issue not just in the streets, but also in parks as well where they are known to always ride as if they are in the Tour de France, which makes them a threat to pedestrians. Overall, this isn't about hating bicycles, it's about how some tend to act with them.
May 5, 2016, 4:47 pm
Sanity from New York says:
Tal/Robert,

Did either of you actually read or understand the content of the article you are commenting on? Perhaps give it another shot.
May 5, 2016, 5:41 pm
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
TA, and their supporters, do not want all drivers thrown in jail, just beaten with bike locks until the selfish, polluting, monsters are dead. Just look at the comments in the other thread for proof.
May 5, 2016, 6:13 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
hey Paul, the fact that a driver might lie after killing someone is sort of an oxymoron. That the police officer might repeat it is just that the pd was mistaken not lieing. I wasn't there and don't know for sure but I have been told that the pd report has been revised and that the DA is considering charges. I don't know if there will be.
I am not admitted to practice law in the Netherlands but the formulation under Dutch Civil law for torts is almost exactly the same as here. https://www.amsadvocaten.com/practice-areas/law-of-obligations-and-contract-law/tort/
essentially its duty owed which is breached will result in liability for damages. Given that its normal for bike riders to follow the rules in Holland, I assume that the presumption is the auto driver was at fault.
May 5, 2016, 8:43 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
This definitively says the report was amended to indicate that the bike on Classon was going in the right direction.

http://www.streetsblog.org/2016/04/26/nypd-admits-it-wrongly-accused-lauren-davis-of-biking-against-traffic/

yes its streetsblog but the report says the report was amended
May 5, 2016, 11:35 pm
Paul from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Sid,

Point 1: is that the driver should not be trusted to give an accurate report following the crash.

You don't ask the criminal whether they committed the crime. And yes the driver is a "criminal" per NYC law.

Point 2: In the 6th Avenue crash the police were leaking information to the press and bystanders before any investigation.

So yes net summary I'm with you it is not necessarily "lying" but rather shoddy lazy police work.
May 6, 2016, 9:22 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Unlike some here, I tend to look at the causes of what occurred rather than the effects, and in some of them, it has been proven that the cyclist did place themselves into harm's way by flouting the laws. Nobody is saying that they deserved to be hit, but it doesn't justify them from flouting the traffic laws. Had they followed them, they probably would have avoided a good number of accidents. I feel that the reason why the bike zealots are against having licensing, registration, and insurance is because they can be easily tracked especially when fleeing a scene when they used to get away with that. BTW, the call for having cyclists obey the traffic laws is actually a big number, not a small number as some try to be dismissive on that. Once again, if you really want safe streets, then you must have ALL groups follow the traffic laws, not just one only. On a side note, it looks like famous film actor Woody Allen doesn't want any new bike lanes in the UES in the claim that there is enough traffic from the hospitals and schools that are there according to the NY Post.
May 6, 2016, 4:01 pm
Sanity from New York says:
Tal,

Woody Allen is a child molester who married his daughter. Go ahead and appoint him as your saint.

And as for the rest of your post - may I suggest f-ck off?
May 6, 2016, 4:12 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Sanity, can I please ask what is your beef with this? I don't call for you to be censored, so quit doing that to me. Also, what's with the cursing? Saying such really makes me want to question your age. Nevertheless, the truth will get out there about cyclists who have the tendency to always act as if they are holier than thou and must be stopped, and I won't let any bike zealots such as yourself try to silence me on that. Seriously, why is your group so much against having cyclists following the traffic laws while demanding that every motorist must follow every letter of them? I just tend to find that a double standard. Then again, your group just knows how to dish criticism, but for some reason, you don't know how to take it. On a side note, you really need to chill and cut the cursing and swearing.
May 6, 2016, 5:44 pm
Sanity from New York says:
Once again, did you read the article?

If not go f-ck off.
May 6, 2016, 7:51 pm
Sanity from New York says:
Once again, did you read the article?

If not go f-ck off.
May 6, 2016, 7:51 pm
Sanity from New York says:
Once again, did you read the article?

If not go f-ck off.
May 6, 2016, 7:51 pm
Sanity from New York says:
Once again, did you read the article?

If not go f-ck off.
May 6, 2016, 7:52 pm
Sanity from New York says:
Once again, did you read the article?

If not go f-ck off.
May 6, 2016, 7:52 pm
Sanity from New York says:
It's because you don't know how to read a-shole. Like I said earlier f-ck off.
May 6, 2016, 7:55 pm
Sanity from New York says:
It's because you don't know how to read a-shole. Like I said earlier f-ck off.
May 6, 2016, 7:55 pm
Sanity from New York says:
It's because you don't know how to read a-shole. Like I said earlier f-ck off.
May 6, 2016, 7:55 pm
Sanity from New York says:
It's because you don't know how to read a-shole. Like I said earlier f-ck off.
May 6, 2016, 7:55 pm
Sanity from New York says:
It's because you don't know how to read a-shole. Like I said earlier f-ck off.
May 6, 2016, 7:56 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
Notwithstanding Woody Allen the bike lane was approved on the UES.
May 6, 2016, 9:37 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
Notwithstanding Woody Allen the bike lane was approved on the UES.
May 6, 2016, 9:37 pm
sid from boerum hill says:
http://nypost.com/2016/05/05/woody-allen-doesnt-want-you-biking-near-his-house/

sorry for the dups
May 6, 2016, 10:54 pm
Stephen from road bike says:
No one benefits when speculation based on zero facts come out of the NYPD, it shows Zero Vision.
May 7, 2016, 2:03 am
Stephen from road bike says:
No one benefits when speculation based on zero facts come out of the NYPD, it shows Zero Vision.
May 7, 2016, 2:04 am
Stephen from road bike says:
No one benefits when speculation based on zero facts come out of the NYPD, it shows Zero Vision.
May 7, 2016, 2:04 am
Stephen from road bike says:
No one benefits when speculation based on zero facts come out of the NYPD, it shows Zero Vision.
May 7, 2016, 2:04 am
Stephen from road bike says:
No one benefits when speculation based on zero facts come out of the NYPD, it shows Zero Vision.
May 7, 2016, 2:04 am
Stephen from road bike says:
No one benefits when speculation based on zero facts come out of the NYPD, it shows Zero Vision.
May 7, 2016, 2:04 am
Stephen from road bike says:
No one benefits when speculation based on zero facts come out of the NYPD, it shows Zero Vision.
May 7, 2016, 2:04 am
Stephen from road bike says:
No one benefits when speculation based on zero facts come out of the NYPD, it shows Zero Vision.
May 7, 2016, 2:04 am
stephen from road bike says:
No one benefits when speculation based on zero facts come out of the NYPD, it shows Zero Vision.
May 7, 2016, 2:06 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, I think you should change to Insanity, because I feel that it describes you better especially with all that profanity. For the record, I have read the article, and there are parts that I disagree with what Eric Adams had to say. I'm not always blaming cyclists for every crash, just the ones that occur when cyclists are known for placing themselves into harm's way just by flouting traffic laws. Some of those accidents and crashes that they get into could have been easily had they just followed the traffic laws. Now that I have answered your questions, I now expect you to answer mine in return unless you and your group of bike zealots are hiding something.
May 7, 2016, 5:52 pm

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