Today’s Headlines

  • Subway Delays Up Again, Hitting Four-Year High (News)
  • Meanwhile, in Albany… (NYT)
  • More Coverage of Cyclist Death on Church Ave (DNA, Post, News, PIXBklyn Paper)
  • City Budget Deal Includes 1,300 New NYPD Officers (NYT, C&S, AP, DNACapital, Gotham Gazette)
  • Rising Real Estate Taxes Help MTA Budget, But Authority Still Faces Capital Plan Gap (Crain’s)
  • MTA Hires Cleaning Crew to Spruce Up Select Bus Service Stops (News)
  • Medallion-Financing Agency, Facing Declining Values, Sues TLC to Stop Ride-Hail Apps (Post)
  • TLC Passes New Rules for Ride-Hail Apps, Requiring More Info for Consumers (NYT, WCBS, AP)
  • Staten Island Man Faces Lawsuit After Allegedly Dooring Park Slope Cyclist (Post)
  • Canarsie Driver Smashes Cars, Person, Home in Attempt to Avoid Roadkill (News, WNBC)
  • If You Keep Getting Speed Camera Tickets, Maybe You Shouldn’t Drive So Fast (DNA)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • djx

    Does NYPD even pretend to care about what causes cyclist traffic fatalities? Do they think they’re doing a decent job?

  • Simon Phearson

    While I agree that the NYPD’s account is extremely implausible and doesn’t jive with my own experience riding alongside these beasts, I have a hard time thinking of what evidence one could come up with, that would contradict that account. Short of the truck driver admitting that he had just passed the cyclist and maybe wasn’t paying too much attention to where he was situated in the lane at the time the cyclist was struck, how would you do it?

    Sometimes I think that the tabs resort to so much victim-blaming because the writers (and their readers) can’t bear the thought that we have no control over whether we might be next. If we were to apprehend the problem of traffic violence directly as this enormous toll that driving takes on us collectively, and that any of us might randomly find ourselves under the wheels of a car or truck through no fault of our own – well, it’s too much to bear. I myself, reading about this cyclist, riding on a street much like ones I’ve ridden, alongside a truck much like one that have passed me or tried to edge me out of a lane, look for some strategy to survive: “If only he’d chosen not to pass the truck, or to slow down immediately to let it pass…”

    So maybe the NYPD’s just thinking the same thing? Maybe concluding that it was a “tragic accident” is a way of avoiding acknowledging that there is something fundamentally wrong in the way that drivers use our streets?

    Of course, that’s the charitable view. The cynical view is: Of course the NYPD isn’t doing its job. “Out of control” behavior is just what they cite when they can’t fully blame the victim or exonerate the driver.

  • Bolwerk

    “Progressives” really blow at long-term strategy. I took de Blasio’s coyness about who he’d appoint as a cue that he was planning to continue Giuliani/Bloomberg-era policies of molesting New Yorkers incessantly with police. We should know what police commissioner we’re getting before we vote, but the press didn’t do its job and pressure him about it.

    That said, even I’m a little surprised that he turned out to be virtually indistinguishable from Christine Quinn. A probably normal, maybe even fabricated, blip in crime figures caused the brown to gush out, and we got saddled with 1300 more limpdicks who will be immune to accountability.

  • djx

    Good point that the reporters share some responsibility.

    But if something is implausible, it has to be called out as such. Maybe the NYPD people did that in this case and the reporter got it wrong.

    In any case, the default for a situation like this, where maybe it’s impossible to determine what really happened, should be the accident reporters making it very clear that the theory they are repeating is the assertions of the driver. And if media attributes those theories to the NYPD. the police should object: “We didn’t say that’s the cause; that’s just what the driver claimed.”

  • Alexander Vucelic

    NYPD are mainly suburban drivers in attitude – until they get out of their cars; it will be difficult to changE their POV.

  • The Post story about the dooring is pretty dreadful. Apparently the cyclist “got lucky” when he got doored because, although his arm’s now full of screws and so forth, he was injured by someone who has money he can go after. That’s a pretty bizarre way to frame things.

  • Yeah, not being able to work, not having full function in his arm, but maybe, hopefully, one day, collecting some money if, possibly a judge sides with him after a lengthy court case. Sounds like he won the jackpot!

  • red_greenlight1

    You’re honestly surprised? The guy looked like a fraud from day one of his campaign.

  • J_12

    The root of the problem is legal, not enforcement. The way our laws are constructed, hitting someone with a car is not illegal unless it is possible to show some kind of intent (I’m grouping recklessness as a type of intent here.)

    Operating a vehicle is inherently dangerous, but we accept that people performing what we consider normal operation will sometimes injure or kill other people as a result. As long as they were operating according to normal standards, and didn’t intend to hit another person, we classify this as a non-criminal “accident”. In reality, it’s a consequence of how we define normal operation.

    If drivers were held to a higher standard, this would be different. When someone hits someone else with another object, such as a baseball bat, often the very act of having hit the person is enough to substantiate recklessness or intent. But if the object is a car, we have standards like rules of 2 (or 3), and the need for a police officer to witness the actual collision, in order to even consider criminal charges.

  • Simon Phearson

    I think this is a good point, but it doesn’t explain the need to issue victim-blaming statements to the press, or the press’s need to regurgitate those statements. If “no criminality was suspected” because, as you put it, it simply isn’t a crime to kill someone while operating a vehicle non-negligently, then there’s no reason why they couldn’t just say so – instead of coming up with half-baked theories about pedestrians and cyclists suicidally throwing themselves into harm’s way. Indeed, reporting it that way allows the public to convince themselves that there isn’t an underlying legal problem.

  • J_12

    This is true, but we don’t exist in a vacuum. The law and the enforcement policy arise out of the prevailing cultural norms, and our cultural norm is that a certain level of violence and damage resulting from driving is acceptable. We justify this through a combination of victim blaming, alienating those who use other transportation modes, and distorting the facts.

  • Jimmy

    There is no possible rationale for taxi medallions to be in the $800,000 to $1 million range. Added competition is APPROPRIATE and is good for the actual workers who will find the profit threshold much earlier in the year.

    Don’t really care so much for the greedy jerks who are fighting tooth and nail to artificially restrict supply to pad their wallets. The crappy thing is that they get to co-opt the stories of the drivers who are now “under water” on their medallion loans…. meanwhile, it was the financiers who put these drivers in this horrible situation in the first place.

    The market needs major correction. Unfortunately, it’s not the poor suffering medallion-financing agency that will feel the most pain.

  • djx

    “The root of the problem is legal, not enforcement. ” So you’re saying that’s why “NYPD sources” reflexively blame the victim unless there is extremely strong evidence to the contrary. And sometimes even when there is? And reporters just eat it up?

    Wow.

  • djx

    Cultural norms arise in part due to information we have. If people in authority and the media keep repeating things that are frequently not true, that affects culture and public policy.

    They (police and media) have a responsibility to get some basic facts right – or admit they simply do not know – and not stick with bogus narratives. This stuff it too important for spread misinformation to be acceptable. When they do it, it means they are complicit in the problem.

  • Joe R.

    It goes even deeper than this. A long time ago, most likely before most of the people who post here were born, we as a society decided on the concept of universal driving. Driver’s licenses should be easy enough to obtain and keep so that nearly everyone would be able to drive if they chose. We’re living with the consequences of this asinine policy to this day. Part of the reason people can’t bear to think about traffic violence is any way you slice it, the reason it exists is because we allow incompetents to get behind the wheel, and stay behind the wheel. The term “accident” even tacitly acknowledges this, as if these deaths and injuries aren’t the fault of the driver. Maybe in quite a few cases they’re not. Sure, technically nearly all these incidents can be attributed to human error, but in quite a few cases the human in question might just not be capable of making and executing the correct decisions to avoid them.

    We’re faced with a dichotomy where the state tells people they’re allowed to drive, but doesn’t thoroughly prepare them for the task, or even ascertain if they’re physically/mentally capable of driving. If we were to confront the traffic violence problem head on, the end game will be eventually telling large numbers of people, many who have been driving for decades, that they can no longer drive. Ever. The auto and oil companies would fight this effort tooth and nail. So would every other industry which profits off automobiles. Nevertheless, I feel this is the only way forward. Increase licensing standards right now. Given everyone driving a retest under the new standards. Those who don’t pass after a few chances lose their license for good. Also, anyone who is still driving when this process is complete will face the prospect of losing their license permanently if they ever kill or seriously injure someone.

    In the end we can’t bear to face the problem simply because the end result of trying to fix it will be large numbers of people, probably 75% of the population or more, will lose their driving privileges, along with the supposed freedom they perceive comes from them. There is no phantom enforcement or infrastructure fix. At best those might cut injuries and deaths by half. So long as we have large numbers of vehicles on the streets, many operated by incompetents, the carnage will continue.