An Open Invite for Diane Savino to See NYC Streets From a Bike Saddle

After State Senator Diane Savino’s remarks about yelling at bicyclists to “find a fucking bike lane” ricocheted around online NYC media yesterday, we’re hearing that some constituents and other New Yorkers have contacted her to see if she’s up for getting a bicycle rider’s perspective on city streets.

State Senator Diane Savino represents northern Staten Island and parts of southwest Brooklyn.
State Senator Diane Savino represents northern Staten Island and parts of southwest Brooklyn.

It’s pretty tough to find a bike lane when the bike network is as threadbare as Staten Island’s, and the few lanes that do exist are constantly obstructed by parked cars. And it’s probably been a very long time since Savino saw city streets from behind handlebars instead of a windshield. In this interview with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer that aired a few years ago, Savino suggested biking to Shea Stadium using basically the same route you would take in a car — a lot of highway service roads with no bike lanes.

Here’s an invitation to Savino from Brooklyn Spoke author Doug Gordon (lightly edited for the blog — here’s the original):

Dear Senator Savino,

As a father of two young children, I was very disturbed by your recent comments on Facebook in which you admitted to swearing at cyclists from your car and telling them to get in a bike lane.

I ride my children to school almost every day and then head to work. We bike to swim lessons, gymnastics, birthday parties, parks, and to the grocery store. With or without my children, I have been harassed many times by drivers who think New York City’s streets belong solely to them. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing – riding in a bike lane or legally exiting a bike lane to make a turn or avoid an obstruction such as a parked car – there is truly nothing I can do to stop an angry driver who simply doesn’t like bicycles from getting upset with me.

I ask you to kindly join me and my children, along with any other families who would like to come, on a short bike ride. It might be helpful for you to experience what it feels like to bike on New York City streets. Please respond with a date and time that’s convenient for you and I’ll gladly help work out the details.

Let’s see if something good can come out of all this. A few years ago, Savino’s boyfriend, State Senator Jeff Klein, had his own angry encounter with a cyclist go public, but more recently he’s been instrumental in moving important street safety legislation through Albany. Thanks in no small part to Klein, NYC now has a lower citywide speed limit and an automated speed enforcement program.

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