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.

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