Jokester Ulrich Welcomes Serious Discussion of Traffic Safety… Just Not Now

Council Member Eric Ulrich, reportedly a top candidate to take on the suddenly vulnerable Anthony Weiner in New York’s 9th congressional district, kept it classy yesterday when asked to explain his own embarrassing Twitter behavior. After telling a constituent to “get a life” for suggesting that bike lanes and traffic calming can help prevent crashes like the one that critically injured a 53-year-old grandmother in his district this weekend, the 26-year-old southeastern Queens rep led off his response to Gothamist’s John del Signore with a Weiner quip:

First of all, I can say with certitude that my Twitter account, to my knowledge, has not been hacked. With that said, I cannot believe that anyone would use a tragic incident like the one that occurred on Friday to advance their own agenda. To suggest that a bike lane would have prevented this from happening is simply absurd. While I welcome a serious discussion about traffic safety in my district, I will not allow people to use this unfortunate event to begin that conversation.

Ulrich told political reporter Azi Paybarah that the constituent who tweeted her traffic safety concerns, who goes by the handle hangingbyastrap, had been “harassing” him. “Don’t use this tragedy to advance your agenda,” Ulrich said.

So don’t harass Eric Ulrich by reminding him that people in his district are getting injured and killed in preventable traffic crashes. Just shut up about the grandmother sent to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after a van driver crashed into another van and jumped the sidewalk in Ozone Park, or the 81-year-old woman who was mowed down by a tow truck driver as she crossed Woodhaven Boulevard. Don’t even bother with the data that show bike lanes make streets safer for motorists and pedestrians in addition to cyclists.

If you want to engage Eric Ulrich in a discussion of traffic safety, you must not tether your remarks to the actual events that cause people to lose life and limb, or the actual solutions that can prevent similar events from happening again.

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