Diane Savino: “Hey, Find a F—ing Bike Lane and Get in It”

When someone is seriously hurt in traffic, which happens several times a day in New York, it should prompt an effort to figure out exactly what happened and prevent it from happening again. For some reason, though, when a motorist does the injuring, it usually gets a collective shrug from police and the NYC press corps. Then, in the rare instance when a cyclist inflicts grave injuries, the response tends to bypass truth-seeking and detour rapidly into blanket generalizations about everyone who bikes.

After cyclist Jason Marshall struck and killed Jill Tarlov on the Central Park loop last week, the actions of one individual have justified, in certain quarters (like the New Yorker website), sweeping assumptions about “bicyclists’ self-righteousness.” In other corners of the internet, it’s an occasion to vent aggression at all cyclists.

A recent Facebook post from Mike McGuire, who judging by his LinkedIn profile and Twitter bio is deeply embedded in New York City politics, mistakenly accuses Eben Weiss (a.k.a. Bike Snob) and, by extension, “the bike community” of blaming the victim in the Central Park crash. If you read Weiss’s post, you’ll see that he was, in fact, assigning responsibility to the cyclist.

What makes McGuire’s post noteworthy is what happened next — an exchange with State Senator Diane Savino, who represents northern Staten Island and parts of southwest Brooklyn:

savino_bike_quotes

Streetsblog contacted Savino for an explanation of her statements on Facebook. Her office declined to comment.

We’re left with this back-and-forth as a record of how some members of New York’s political class talk about people who bike, when they’re among friends.

Update: Savino told the Daily News that her comment was made in jest. But she is serious about safety and Vision Zero, and that’s why something must be done about cyclists who are “moving sometimes at 40 miles an hour.” Be warned: She expects some type of action in Albany next session to legislate bike safety, but she doesn’t intend to introduce it herself.

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