Got a Cycling Question for DOT? Ask Josh Benson.

Getting in on the Bike Month action, City Room has DOT bike program coordinator Josh Benson answering reader questions this week.

As of this writing, over 100 comments have come in since the thread opened yesterday afternoon. While many concern the usual stuff — cars encroaching into bike lanes, problems finding secure parking, etc. — some are more esoteric. One reader suggests a city tax credit for bike commuters, while another wants city-issued baseball bats to keep drivers in line. "Ed" wonders if Benson is BikeSnob, and "BikerGrl2008" cuts to the chase with comment #1:

There’s a spot open on my bicycle built for two. Will you join me?

That you, Julia?

Photo: City Room

  • Moser

    Bike Snob appears to commuter further uptown than Worth Street.

  • brooklyn and i

    it is time to make a new law

    1)that a bike hwo is passing red-light should be ticket

    2)a bike living a seen of a accident like crashing in walking people kids property damage
    should be like a hit and run the same as a car

    3)a bike passing red-light form a school bus should be ticket as a car

    4) the new york stae and city dot should keep a record and track from all bike lanes bike accident on living a seen of a accident like crashing in walking people kids property damage

    5)the city should register all bikes riding on city streets like all motor vehicles to have a record of anybody who was involved of a accident and property damage

  • MrManhattan

    I propose a law requiring spellchecking

  • MrManhattan, I hate it when people try to discredit other people’s arguments based on spelling or grammar. Here’s a better rebuttal:

    This morning on my block a small girl was hit by an SUV. The SUV was going very slow, but the girl still had a broken foot. I helped the family call 911 and get an ambulance and an accident report.

    If the same woman had ridden over the girl’s foot on a bike, it would be hurt but not broken.

    I propose a law requiring “brooklyn and i” to get a fucking sense of proportion.

  • fdr

    Looks like most of the comments on the Times blogs are complaints that the city isn’t doing enough. I hope Josh has a lot of time to answer all of them.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    brooklyn and i,

    All those laws already exist except for your proposed #5. Bikes have never been considered anywhere near as dangerous as cars hence the lack of any registration or licensing.

    As a cyclists I will say that other cyclists who recklessly and flagrantly break the law anger me more than SUV drivers who do. I think that anyone smart enough to ride a bike should be able to operate a vehicle better than the Neanderthal behind the wheel of an SUV.

  • brooklyn and i

    time is up for the dot to put up enforcement and to enforce bicycle laws
    get a Spacial unit for it

  • brooklyn and i

    Section 375 (24-a). It shall be unlawful to operate upon any public highway in this state a motor vehicle, limited use automobile, limited use motorcycle or bicycle while the operator is wearing more than one earphone attached to a radio, tape player or other audio device

  • brooklyn and i

    Section 1235. Carrying articles. No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle, or article which prevents the driver from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars

  • Vroomfondel

    Angus, I didn’t see any arguments in post #2. Besides, a post like that shows massive disrespect for the audience; time that you don’t spend composing your message is time that your readers will have to spend trying to make sense of it. That’s why “brooklyn and i” richly deserves MrManhattan’s scorn.

    “brooklyn and I”, I agree with most of your second post (#7), especially your complaint regarding lack of enforcement, but the main problem is that (a) the rules of the road have not been written with bikers and pedestrians in mind, and (b) drivers literally get away with murder. I wouldn’t mind if the police started enforcing the rules of the road against bikers as long as they keep drivers from double-parking in my bike lane and cutting me off at intersections.

    Given the current state of affairs, however, I believe that bikers have to take certain liberties in the interest of self-preservation. Here’s an example: Not too long ago I was waiting at a traffic light when a bus pulled up next to me, uncomfortably close, and then gave a right turn signal. I figured that there was a good chance that the bus would cut me off when the light turned green, and so I crossed the intersection against the light. There was no other traffic at the time.

    This move was clearly illegal, but at the same time I feel that it was the best thing I could do. Waiting for the bus to turn or trying to assert my right of way would have been suicidal. I suppose I could have moved back or escaped to the sidewalk, but that would have been giving in to the bullies.

    As long as lights are timed to move cars and drivers only believe in the law of the jungle, I have no choice but to treat the rules of the road as hints. That said, though, I make a point of not inconveniencing or endangering anyone (including myself), and I’m always happy to stop for pedestrians, even when I have the right of way.

  • MrManhattan


    I’m usually with you about letting the occasional spelling, grammer (and sometimes logic) error pass. I’ll put up with one, two, even a few in a long post.

    However, post #2 was a wholesale slaughter of the written English language.

    But since we’re on the subject, we also need a law limiting the cut and paste of irrelevant legal code (How many people in NYC have a tractor anyway?)

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    MrManhattan and Vroomfondel, in terms of language, I think it’s generally only polite to accept a certain amount of the burden of communication. Some people are not native English speakers and others have disabilities. I’m not saying that either of those is the case “brooklyn and i,” but I don’t think that “bad grammar” should be held against anyone.

    I do agree with you about the long cut-and-pastes, though. That’s just inconsiderate.

  • Vroomfondel

    Angus and MrManhattan, I think we’re basically in agreement here. Of course I wouldn’t dismiss a well-reasoned argument on account of the occasional grammatical problem, but there’s a slight difference between accepting a certain amount of the burden of communication and putting up with a hopeless mess like #2 (must . . . resist . . . obvious . . . pun). Anyway, the joke’s on us because we’ve been feeding the troll…


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