Today’s Headlines

  • Cuomo and Christie Toll/Fare Hike Routine Isn’t Fooling Anyone (News)
  • PA Toll Hike Plan Feeds Staten Island’s Exceptional Sense of Victimhood (Fox5)
  • Mark-Viverito Welcomes Commitment to Bring Protected Bike Lanes to East Harlem (DNAinfo)
  • “Errant Vehicle,” a.k.a. an SUV Driver, Kills Three Seniors Out for a Walk in Albany (AP)
  • When Drivers See the Mileage Fees Steadily Climb, Behavior Changes Fast (NYT)
  • Markowitz Aide Carlo Scissura Will Oversee Task Force to Improve Fourth Ave (Post)
  • Congestion Pricing Is Near the Top of Tom Acitelli’s MTA Wishlist (Observer)
  • What’s With All the Anti-Bike Road Rage? (Brooklyn Spoke)
  • Park Advocate Geoffrey Croft Wants More Summer Streets Outside Manhattan (PIX)
  • Five Ideas to Expand and Improve Summer Streets From Cap’n Transit

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • If only these cars could be controlled somehow.  I’m thinking some kind circular device…you know….for steering.  Crazy. 

    It’s bizzare that every driver’s claim of a stuck gas pedal gets treated as a fact.  When someone on a bike gets hurt, their claims are always treated skeptically by the media and police.  Part of this is simple ignorance.  I doubt that many reporters have sufficient experience riding a bicycle in city traffic to asses whether a cyclist’s behavior was reasonable or even legal. 

    The Times even mentions the Toyota gas pedal recall which was widely criticized because investigations revealed that many of the incidents were the result of driver error rather than faulty equipment. 

    http://www.caranddriver.com/news/car/10q1/toyota_recall_scandal_media_circus_and_stupid_drivers-editorial

  • > What’s With All the Anti-Bike Road Rage?

    I’ve been witnessing, and experiencing, some serious Anti-Pedestrian Road Rage from motorists. Seriously! Drivers driving at people in a crosswalk who have a walk signal, honking and screaming and threatening to beat them up for talking back, “get out of the fucking street,” etc, it’s really pretty brazen and the kind of thing that can only happen in a place that has zero enforcement of traffic rules for protecting pedestrians.

  • We assign more responsibility to the owners of large dogs than we do to the operators of large vehicles.

  • krstrois

    It’s possible that I notice this more now because I have my little boy with me but I feel like cars now come to a stop in the middle of a crosswalk as a rule, rather than as an aggressive exception, and that when I first moved to NYC a dozen years ago this was not as bad. I just assume they are going to drive through us at this point even when we have the crossing light. And certainly they rarely yield unless we are already in the middle of an intersection.  

    This is a problem born not just of aggression but of bad design — the blind spots created by double parking are a huge problem. With cars double-parked to the end of streets with stop signs it’s necessary for a driver to inch into the crosswalk slowly toward the stop-sign to see if a car is coming into the intersection. Of course, most drivers don’t bother to inch forward, they lurch forward, stopping only when they see a car coming, who cares about a pedestrian, right? If I saw a cop stop a driver for failure to yield to a pedestrian I would probably drop dead from the shock. 

  • Eric McClure

    If only we licensed drivers of motor vehicles, we could put an end to these terrible incidents. Oh, wait…

  • Josh

    Her foot “apparently interfered with the gas pedal”.  What a joke.  

  • fj

    Moving Planet Sep 24, 2011; 350.org Watch the Video
    http://act.350.org/signup/moving_planet/?akid=1184.34589.sJqwZK&rd=1&t=2

  • Pete

    I’m seeing more aggressive behavior these days as well.  Extra douchebag points for the smiling, 40something guy in his Audi yesterday, who *twice* decided to buzz past me with inches to spare at 40+mph, and then try to run me off the road on the section of Allen where the bike lane is under construction.

  • JamesR

    I had a guy in a pickup truck buzz me at 40mph, wide open throttle, about 1 foot away a couple of days ago. Scared the total crap out of me. My (admittedly anecdotal) take is that it’s more than just the bike lanes and media feeding frenzy… the terrible economy and $4/gallon gas has made drivers increasingly irate, and we are convenient targets as the ‘other’ on the road. The social mores that encourage civil public behavior are fraying more and more and this is just one of *many* manifestations of it.

  • car free nation

    I don’t know… I don’t blame the gas or the media.

    I think it’s the heat. Driving in NYC is incredibly frustrating – you never get anywhere, people are cutting you off, the lights keep making you stop – and I notice that the cars most likely to be driven by jerks have open windows, suggesting that they don’t have air conditioning. So they’re hot, under flight-or-fight mental pressure with no physical outlet, and therefore angry, and they see a calm, collected, happy person on a bike.   Also, the faster they go, the more wind goes through their window.

  • Joe R.

    Perfect timing of the angry driver article.  After having nothing but pleasant, or at least neutral, interactions with motorists this year, I finally encountered a jerk tonight.  I guess the honeymoon had to end some time.  It was relatively pleasant tonight compared to the way it’s been most of the summer, so I ended up riding all the way out to Glen Cove Road, 24.4 miles in all.  Coming back into the city on NY25 (Jamaica Avenue), some jerk in an SUV turns left right in front of me at the Clearview Expressway.  It was so sudden and unexpected, I ended up swerving right in front of him.  He comes almost to a complete stop, than starts yelling obscenities as he accelerates away.  I managed to give him my best “Italian salute” as I was riding away, and he saw it.  Started screaming some more.  Now if I was being a jerk, or violating his right-of-way, I would have figured I had it coming to me, would have done nothing in response.  But he violated MY right-of-way, nearly caused a colllsion, and to top it all off, acted like the injured party.  I almost wish he would have hit me.  At the speeds involved I’d have come out of it with only superficial injuries but it would have been fun seeing the driver trying to talk his way out of it.  I even have the swerve nicely shown in my GPS log, right at 11:06 PM.  It was obvious I was through traffic from the GPS log, and therefore couldn’t have been considered at fault.  There is no traffic signal at that intersection, so police couldn’t make up some BS about me running a red.  In short, if anything happened, I had ironclad proof I did nothing wrong.  I highly recommend everyone ride with a GPS and/or a video camera (that’s next on my list).

    This annoys me all the more because no matter what else I’ve done on a bicycle, I’ve made it a point to never intentionally violate someone else’s right-of-way.  If I have the red, I wait for any motorists or pedestrians with the right-of-way to go before I even think of proceeding.  If I’m turning left, I wait until through traffic is clear.  I even go out of my way to avoid coming close to jaywalkers or stray cats.  33 years of riding, I’ve yet to hit either a moving vehicle or a pedestrian (I was doored a few times, unfortunately).  I might say what is it about driving that turns some people into sociopaths, but more correctly, what is it about SUVs that does this?  Nearly every single time I’ve encountered an asswipe behind the wheel, the vehicle was an SUV.  On the flip side, the motorists most willing to share the road are invariable either heavy trucks or city buses.  I actually feel really safe right behind a city bus, knowing everyone else it going to give it (and me) a wide berth.

    Oh, and it’s been YEARS since I felt the urge to give someone the finger.  It’s not something I do on a whim.  Most times I just let stuff like this go, figuring it’s not worth it, but this moron really pissed me off.

    Finally, why the heck is there STILL so much traffic even at 11 PM?  I ride late to avoid nonsense like this, but it seems I need to go out later and later.  Soon I’ll be riding at 3 AM.

  • Joe R.

    I just looked at the GPS log in more detail to confirm what happened.  I did in fact see the SUV waiting to turn from about half a block down.  I had been doing 19 mph, but my speed dropped to 16 mph by the time I reached the intersection.  I remember deciding to coast down as I assumed the SUV was ready to start turning.  I didn’t have to do this legally, but honestly I prefer to let turning vehicles turn before I get there so they can’t hit me.  As such, I sometimes reduce my speed a bit, even wave them through.  For whatever reason the SUV waited until I was almost on top of him to start turning.  Since he didn’t start turning before I got there, I assumed his intention was to let me pass.  I think any reasonable person would assume this.  And it’s not like I was going slow.  At 16 mph I would have been clear of him had he waited another second.  In fact, when I saw him still waiting, I was all ready to “give it the gas” so as to get out of his way faster (another courtesy I typically extend to motorists).  And then all of a sudden he practically turns right into me.  For what?  Intimidation?  Or did he just not see me?  (I have a very bright headlight so I don’t see how that’s possible).  A simple “I’m sorry” on his part would have made everything OK by me, but unfortunately he chose to be a jerk.

  • Joe R.

    Here’s the relevant portion of the GPS log.  I highlighted the data points where I swerved around him.

  • Driver

    ” I assumed his intention was to let me pass.  I think any reasonable person would assume this.”
    Joe, this is a reasonable assumption, but I think a safer assumption would be that this person was distracted by something in the vehicle and had no clue what was going on around him.  I see this so often and it is disturbing. 
    Careful with that Italian salute, some people are just prone to senseless violence, and you never know who is carrying what. 
    I’m glad you are OK. 

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