New York Post Bike Bile: Deliberate Lies or Pure Ineptitude?

It’s getting to the point — probably well past the point, actually — where the non-stop cyclist hate spewing from the New York Post has attained a level of self-parody. So free of fact and full of bald-faced vitriol is the paper’s latest editorial, praising Ray Kelly’s NYPD for a marked increase in cyclist summonses, that it’s tempting to dismiss it as unworthy of thoughtful response.

Last night a service member was killed on the West Side Highway by a driver who won't face any charges. Good thing police are ramping up bike enforcement. Image: ABC via ##http://gothamist.com/2011/05/26/fleet_week_marine_killed_crossing_t.php##Gothamist##

Basically, the editorialists at the Post believe that everyone on a bike in New York City is an outlaw who has at one time or another endangered the life of a pedestrian. No surprise there. But things get hairy when they aim to support their position with what seems to be an attempt at empirical fact:

Even Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan’s ubiquitous bike lanes haven’t made the streets any safer.

Whether the Post is ignorant of safety gains brought about by bike lanes, or simply chooses to pretend they don’t exist, this is unadulterated crap. Here are a few actual facts to the contrary:

  • Since the installation of the protected bike lane on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan, injuries to pedestrians are down by 29 percent.
  • The protected bike lane on Grand Street has reduced pedestrian injuries by 21 percent.
  • A 2008 traffic-calming project on Skillman Ave. and 43rd Ave. in Queens, including bike lanes on both streets, resulted in a “65% reduction in the number of crashes involving injuries to pedestrians on the corridor,” according to city data.
  • On First and Second Avenues in Manhattan, injuries to all users are down 8.3 percent following the installation of bike lanes.
  • A city study released last summer found that citywide, controlling for other factors, serious crashes on streets with bike lanes were 40 percent less deadly than on other streets.

It could be that the Post is inept at the whole pedestrian safety thing because the paper is so new at it. After years of blaming the victim and doing its damnedest to tear down street designs that have saved lives, it will take a while to turn the ship around.

Unfortunately, the Post has plenty of material to work from. As Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson pointed out on Twitter, over the last five years 766 city pedestrians have been killed by drivers, along with 98 cyclists, while three pedestrians died from collisions with cyclists. Now that the Post editorial board has taken up the cause of street safety, we await a commensurate response. That’d be one motorist-bashing editorial a day for the next two-plus years. And counting.

  • Jiminy

    Gee, maybe injuries are down because, since they put in the traffic lanes on 8th and 9th avenue downtown, traffic congestion makes it impossible for cars to move. Of course, that’s what you lunatics hope for, to make getting around by car in New York as difficult as possible so you can all ride your bikes, while the mayor wants to force the average person off the road they can be freed up for those, like himself, who only travel by limo.

    Have any of you looked at the air quality down there, since your dream came to fruition?

    Oh, and I am not a NY Post reader. I am a lifelong Lib who thinks that you people are nuts. and making an already difficult place to get around even more difficult. Except, of course, if you are one of the crazy bike riders.

    Look around. Here in NYC, they’ve cut back on buses and subways, and all you guys worry about are your ridiculous bike lanes, which have increased congestion and air pollution in every area they are installed.

  • “which have increased congestion and air pollution in every area they are installed”

    Air pollutants are actually down in the area around Times Square, which closed off a lot more than one lane of traffic.

    The travel times on Prospect Park West remained flat after a lane was removed and replaced with a two-way bike lane. In other words, it’s no more congested with two lanes than it was with three.

    Next argument, please. Stop living in a fantasy world full of anecdotal evidence and give us some facts. They gave you some in this article. Counter them with some real, actual data of your own that might actually suggest there are real tradeoffs involved. Then and only then can we engage in a real debate about this.

  • “which have increased congestion and air pollution in every area they are installed”

    Air pollutants are actually down in the area around Times Square, which closed off a lot more than one lane of traffic.

    The travel times on Prospect Park West remained flat after a lane was removed and replaced with a two-way bike lane. In other words, it’s no more congested with two lanes than it was with three.

    Next argument, please. Stop living in a fantasy world full of anecdotal evidence and give us some facts. They gave you some in this article. Counter them with some real, actual data of your own that might actually suggest there are real tradeoffs involved. Then and only then can we engage in a real debate about this.

  • “which have increased congestion and air pollution in every area they are installed”

    Air pollutants are actually down in the area around Times Square, which closed off a lot more than one lane of traffic.

    The travel times on Prospect Park West remained flat after a lane was removed and replaced with a two-way bike lane. In other words, it’s no more congested with two lanes than it was with three.

    Next argument, please. Stop living in a fantasy world full of anecdotal evidence and give us some facts. They gave you some in this article. Counter them with some real, actual data of your own that might actually suggest there are real tradeoffs involved. Then and only then can we engage in a real debate about this.

  • Anonymous

    To other SB readers: Don’t feed the blog trolls. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flaming_(Internet)#.22Flame_wars.22

    To Jiminy,

    Thanks for sharing your opinion!

  • Ian Dutton

    The Post’s misguided and wrongheaded ranting is not just factually incorrect or ineptly reported. It is libelous for its gross negligence and it is inhibiting commonsense safety design goals. The NY Post is not only responsible for cheerleading quality-of-life diminishing policy, they are flatly responsible for some portion of the deaths and maimings that are part of New Yorker’s everyday experience with our own streets.

    And they seem to be proud of it. Friends don’t let friends read the Post.

  • Real New Yorker

    Jiminy:

    I’m so tired of you troglodytes.

    “The average person” in NYC doesn’t own or use a car.

    Real New Yorkers have no problem with bikes, bike lanes and pedestrian safety projects. Real New Yorkers want more of this.

    Secede to Nassau County, New Jersey or Crapville, Ohio if you want to live in your automobile. Let the rest of us have one place in the entire United States that’s a real city.

  • Joe R.

    Thanks for stating the truth.  The New York Post is doing the journalistic equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater.  When you read of the the reader’s comments about carrying sticks to “deal with bikes”, it’s pretty obvious this is the crowd they’re egging on.  Sadly, it’ll likely take a cyclist killed by one of these lunatics, or perhaps by police misinterpreting signs while ticketing a cyclint, before they stop..
    One thnig I have yet to understand is why the vehemeny bike hatred?  It’s not like cyclists are any less (or more) law-abiding than any other group.  And it’s certainly not because there’s a huge body count at the hands (pedals?) of reckless cyclists.  Some here have said “cyclist” is the new black.  I tend to agree.  Some people just need a scapegoat to make themselves feel better about their own worthless existence.  For now, cyclists are that scapegoat because they’re an easy to pick on minority.  Hopefully this nonsense will soon pass.

  • Thanks Natty. I’m going to respond to all trolls from now on with “obvious troll is obvious.” What a waste of my personal happiness when I respond to these idiots who post and run.

  • christine

    Come on people, it the POST!!!!!! a tabloid! they are in the business of spewing controversial stuff no matter how wrong.. In fact I am surprised we have not yet seen a cover showing a bicycling mother giving birth to a bicycle!!! 
    Let’s not make these people more important than they are . We need to concentrate on turning CBS, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.. 

  • Donnie Jeffcoat

    Please don’t achieve a level of self-parody of your own by fighting fire with fire. You can’t reason with the NY Post, so stop acknowledging their opinions every single time they are printed– you might just get a heart attack.

    Besides, it’s up to DOT to make the final call on street designs, so you’re better off pressing them for more complete streets. Otherwise, they might just succumb to this kind of nonsense.

  • Donnie Jeffcoat

    Please don’t achieve a level of self-parody of your own by fighting fire with fire. You can’t reason with the NY Post, so stop acknowledging their opinions every single time they are printed– you might just get a heart attack.

    Besides, it’s up to DOT to make the final call on street designs, so you’re better off pressing them for more complete streets. Otherwise, they might just succumb to this kind of nonsense.

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