Today’s Headlines

  • Paterson Calls Republican Senators in Renewed Push for Ravitch Plan (News)
  • Can Bloomberg Win Senate GOP Support for MTA Rescue? (NYT)
  • Latest MTA Plan from Senate Dems: Fund Transit With Soda Tax (Post)
  • Fare Hike Four Ringleader Carl Kruger: Don’t Call Me a Villain (NY1)
  • Driver Jumps Curb, Kills Pedestrian on Cross Bay Blvd (News)
  • Deliveryman Killed in Hit-and-Run on Jamaica Ave (News)
  • Tension Between Sidewalks and Street Trees (NYT)
  • Bike Snob Ponders the Increasing Bike-Friendliness of NYC
  • Study: Bike Helmet Laws Do More Harm Than Good (M-Bike via
  • Annals of Parking Permits: How Bruce Ratner Got His (AYR)
  • Larry Littlefield

    All they have to do to make “everyone” happy is eliminate capital reinvestment and allow the system to slowly decline, while not imposing tolls, keeping fares down, taxing someone else, and putting off the reckoning.

    Here is a great quote from The Daily Reckoning from 2005 that has just been called to my attention:

    “It’s unbelievable. I grew up in a time when you wanted to save so that your children would have a better life than you had. Now, in all the Anglo-Saxon economies, people don’t seem to want to help the next generation, they want to cheat it, by leaving a legacy of worn-out capital…and debt. I tell you the whole thing is a monumental fraud.”

    Some of it already exposed, some of it not yet. What the state legislature wants is to keep the “not yet” going as long as possible.

  • Hey Carl Kruger: Villain! Villain! Villain! Villain! Villain! Villain! Villain!

  • Re: Bike Helmet Laws Do More Harm Than Good.

    Ok, using that logic we shouldn’t enforce building codes on gyms. So what if there’s a chance a gym will collapse and kill all of its occupants? If we force gyms to adhere to strict building codes they’ll pass that cost along to the consumer and some people will stop going to the gym and think about how much those heart attacks will cost!

    I’m always a fan of looking at the big picture and taking into account all unintended externalities that most people miss, but it is possible to have too large a scale when analyzing policy. The goal of helmet laws is to protect cyclists, and it definitely succeeds at that.

    Besides, if someone wants to stop cycling because of a helmet law, they’re probably more reckless and are doing other cyclists a favor by getting off the road.

  • “Fund Transit With Soda Tax”

    That is so unbelievably stupid, it doesn’t even merit a response.

  • “The goal of helmet laws is to protect cyclists, and it definitely succeeds at that.”
    Statistics don’t support this statement (see Mikael’s data on for more details.) Dedicated infrastructure and higher percentages of people using bikes for their primary transport are what make the streets safer. Helmets are used as an excuse by reckless motorists (or their lawyers) for killing people on bikes, regardless of the actual cause of death. When you get hit by a truck going 50mph, your internal injuries aren’t going to be prevented by a helmet.
    I wear one, but that’s my choice. Give me some safe streets, and it’s going in the donation bin.

  • I definitely didn’t say anything about bike infrastructure. Or that people would still be hurt by cars travelling at unsafe speeds. Or anything about cars for that matter. All I said was that all things being equal, people actively cycling would be safer as a group if there were a helmet law then if there weren’t a helmet law.

    I did just use logic to come up with my statement, and will have to check out copenhagenize later to see if the stats say otherwise. But I think it makes sense that if a helmet law increases the percentage of cyclists wearing helmets, and each cyclist is safer wearing a helmet, then cyclists as a group would be safer with a helmet law.

    I fully agree that dedicated infrastructure matters even more. I’d feel way safter biking without a helmet in Amsterdam than I would biking with a helmet in midtown.

    But, do you really think that Amsterdam or New York WOULDN’T be safer for cyclists with more people wearing helmets?

  • @aliostuni

    I was proven wrong! I think I saw the article you were referring to here and yea, I could see how if the number of cyclists were to go down that would have an adverse effect on the cyclists in a safety by numbers sort of way.

  • John Deere

    People can (and do) crash their bikes, and sustain head injuries on facilities that are regarded as the safest of all: the physically separated bike path. I know of one such fatality in Brooklyn a few years ago.

    There are too many people on streetsblog and the like who look at “better facilities” as the *only* answer one need think about with respect to bike safety. Safety is as much skill, experience, and choices of the users as it is about the facility.

    One of the side effects of this mentality is that people who would otherwise use better judgement stop taking safety measures that they would otherwise take if they were using a road, because they are on a physically separated facility that’s auto free. Because the facility is regarded as “safe”, safe choices by the user goes out the window. This isn’t limited to helmet use, but to travelling at a speed appropriate to conditions, riding on the right, paying attention, and preparing for the unpredictable. And given the traffic mix of pedestrians, bladers, children, animals, and cyclists of vastly varying experience, the only thing that’s predictable is that somebody’s going to do something unpredictable, it makes sense to take one’s own precautions (including helmet use). Even physical conditions (gravel, the random rock at night, a crooked stick, a slick section, an sudden jolt caused by a pavement imperfection) can cause a crash.

    In the cyclist death I mentioned above, someone was using the shore parkway in Brooklyn, sans helmet. The cyclist, flying along, had a child step out in front of him; in maneuvering to avoid the kid, he lost control and struck his head on an adjacent rail.

    Nothing runs like a deere.