New York AAA Guy: If Drivers Broke the Law, There’d Be Carnage

Any member of AAA who is at all concerned about road safety should take note of comments made in the New York Post this weekend by AAA New York spokesperson Robert Sinclair.

In a typically shallow anti-bike piece filed by Jennifer Fermino and David Seifman, the Post calls on Sinclair — along with Michael Sampo, electrician/plumber and noted transportation pundit from Brooklyn — to respond to Mayor Bloomberg’s enthusiasm over Citi Bike, now set to launch in the spring.

Now, we’re accustomed to nonsense from New York AAA. Sinclair, after all, once declared that New York City is “undercarred.” But not only does AAA New York oppose proven safety measures like speed cameras and red-light cameras, Sinclair does not seem to grasp the reality of the dangers posed by reckless driving.

“The idea that bike sharing is going to be wildly popular remains to be seen,” said Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for AAA.

“New York brings a different set of challenges than perhaps might be found in any other city in the country,” said Sinclair.

“For many cyclists, the rules of the road don’t apply. You see it day in and day out. If motorists engaged in a similar level of behavior, we’d have carnage on our roads,” he said.

Because, as we all know, motorists don’t hurt anyone on NYC streets.

Since Fermino and Seifman aren’t about to challenge even an assertion as ridiculous as this with actual data: In New York State, of the 1,077 fatal crashes in 2011, 914 were caused by careless or illegal behavior, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Of 116,575 crashes resulting in injury, 94,307 were caused by motorists. In New York City alone, over 69,000 people were injured and 268 were killed in traffic in 2011.

Contrary to sensationalist “bike bedlam” crapola propagated by the dailies, motorists cause about 100 times more injuries on city streets than do cyclists. Clearly, there is carnage on our roads on a massive scale, and most of it is caused by drivers who ignore the rules of the road.

These are the kinds of readily-available facts one would think it would be Sinclair’s job to know. That, rather than pretending it does not exist, he would acknowledge traffic violence as an epidemic that costs thousands of lives a year, and alters the lives of countless others.

We gave Sinclair an opportunity to amend his comments for this post. He declined.

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