Today’s Headlines

  • Turning Driver Struck and Killed Maria Serrano, 50, on Amboy Road (AdvanceNews)
  • Steve Levin Is All for the Jay Street Redesign (Bklyn Paper)
  • Don’t Speed (News, AMNY, Post)
  • Daily News: Step to It on Gateway Tunnel, But Don’t Forget to Vet Amtrak’s Penn Station Plans
  • Remember When Diversity Plaza Was a “Barren” Failure? (TL)
  • People Who Park Illegally — the Ultimate Victims (Post)
  • A Defender of Illegal Motorbikes Makes His Case With a Big Dose of Bicycle Resentment (News)
  • EDC’s Traveling BQX Streetcar Show Comes to Williamsburg This Week (DNA)
  • Item! Council Member Andy King Biked to His District Office on Bike to Work Day (BxTimes)
  • Damned Bike Lanes (Post)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • AnoNYC

    Yeah, and there’s no guarantee that the scooter you choose will be registered as a class B/C either. Apparently the manufacturer requests the certification through the DMV Technical Services Bureau. Only a DMV-certified model of a limited-use motorcycle can get a registration in NYS.

    Better off just getting a license and jumping on a 125cc scooter and having that extra knowledge.

  • AMH

    NYCDOT began cleaning up its signs a few years ago.

  • reasonableexplanation

    A gas vespa weighs about 250lbs dry, (an electric one would likely be heavier) so you’re probably not taking that up any sort of stairs or elevator. Some apartment building have a garage or storeroom with on street access, but it’s not that common (especially in older buildings).

    Believe me, if it was simple to store a motorbike indoors, you’d be seeing a lot less of them parked on the street (theft is a big problem here). As such, many people probably wouldn’t have a place to charge them.

    Private homes are the perfect use case for electric cars or motorcycles.

  • AnoNYC

    Hah, there’s so many things that we should replace parking with at so many locations:

    -Trash receptacles (dumpsters) for every street like in most modern cities with attached structures. Instead we toss it on the sidewalk…
    -Loading zones.
    -Bus only lanes where needed.
    -Daylighting and other ped improvements.
    -Bicycle corrals.
    -motorcycle/scooter parking.
    -Car share parking.

    But no, parking above all.

  • Vooch

    Vespa 12HP 150cc had a catalytic converter and gets 117 MPG

  • Vooch
  • AnoNYC

    Agreed. Though the line is blurring.

    eScooters are becoming more popular as their prices drop and options increase. The reliability and range are also improving at a fast pace.

    ebikes, motorized with pedals, are still good enough for most trips though.

  • AnoNYC

    They already do. All motorcycles and bicycles are expected to follow the same rules as automobiles.

    Bicycles need to stop getting penalized at lights/stop signs and motorcycles should be allowed to split traffic at low speed (10-15 MPH depending on traffic).

  • Vooch

    the money quote from the article:

    “…Noncompliant Chinese vehicles have become such a pollution issue in California, in fact, that the Air Resources Board has just added a new motorcycle emissions facility at its Haagen-Smit Lab in El Monte to test them. The board estimates as many as 20,000 all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and scooters are shipped into California from China each month, many of them with emissions that are at least 10 times higher than the state’s requirements….”

    Off road 2 cycle machines

  • Vooch

    12 HP Vespa 117 MPG w/ catalytic converter

  • reasonableexplanation

    Yes? just like there are priuses that get 55mpg, and trucks that get 8mpg, we still say ‘average cars’ get 23mpg. So too there is quite a range in scooters and motorcycles, and we should be considering the ‘average bike.’

    Looks like cats and abs are starting to be put in bikes, which is great!

  • AnoNYC

    Motorcycle license/insurance/registration requirement, parking/risk of theft, fear of traffic.

  • Vooch

    I chimed in because the sub 15HP two & three wheelers are very suitable for Mobility in the 5 boros.

    they also happen to get great mileage

    The over powering of all motor vehicles is a topic Joe R covers often. Many Private cars & delivery trucks are obscenely powered these days.

  • AnoNYC

    Motorcycles are usually, but not always, more powerful so you can take them on the highway or outside NYC. There are some pretty powerful scooters like the Piaggio MP3 which has 500cc.

    You’ll need at least a 125cc scooter or motorcycle to access NYC highways and won’t be able to leave the city without maybe at least a 250cc. That’s minimum though, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with less than 300cc on the suburban freeways.

    The advantage of a scooter is storage and other comforts (seating position, low floor, low speed nimbleness, wind coverage). Most scooters are automatic transmission too which is pretty nice in an area with heavy congestion, especially when it comes to low speed. Usually better gas mileage.

    Motorcycles are usually cheaper for more powerful engines and you ride them rather than sit in. Designs are also better IMO. Most motorcycles are manual but this is changing slowly.

  • AnoNYC

    Gas is still cheap, gas mileage is still good.

    I think there’s an electric Vespa or Piaggio in western Europe where it’s more expensive to fill up. A couple brands do have electric scooters overseas.

  • djx

    Thinking back more carefully, it’s was more like a third or a little more were just wrong. Less than half, but still not good.

  • AnoNYC

    There are already several models of electric scooters in China. Many are Vespa-like clones.

  • reasonableexplanation

    I don’t disagree with the first bit, I’m very pro bike (motor or human powered). Just wanted you to understand that they’re not these magic non-polluting pixie devices.

    Their great fuel mileage is a function of their weight. For scale; a 250lb scooter + 150lb rider = 400lb/100mpg. (4:1)

    A 3000lb car (mazda3) + 150lb driver = 3150lb/34mpg (93:1).

    A car that goes 0-60 in anything more than 6 seconds is not overpowered (especially given how short some highways merges are on NYC area highways). Similarly, sometimes with a bike, you gotta have some ‘get up and go’ to get out of danger. A modern vespa does 0-60 in about 14 sec… for the bigger 250 version.

  • vnm

    I was walking on the Third Avenue Bridge ped walkway this weekend, where the cops were doing the document check. All the law-abiding motorcyclists were sheepishly standing their handing over their registration, proof of insurance, license, and proof of annual inspection. Meanwhile, I guy riding an ATV without a helmet or license plate was riding across the bridge, and as soon as he saw the checkpoint, he turned right around and rode back to the Bronx, against traffic on a one-way bridge. THAT is the guy they should have been stopping, not the people who were actually stopping for the checkpoint. But the police would be ill advised to pursue chase against traffic, so, I’m not sure how to resolve this.

  • ahwr

    Why not put that in context?

    * There are other, even bigger polluters to deal with, such as diesel trucks, construction equipment and non-emissions-compliant products from China.

    Noncompliant Chinese vehicles have become such a pollution issue in California, in fact, that the Air Resources Board has just added a new motorcycle emissions facility at its Haagen-Smit Lab in El Monte to test them. The board estimates as many as 20,000 all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and scooters are shipped into California from China each month, many of them with emissions that are at least 10 times higher than the state’s requirements.

    Long story short: Motorcycles, even small ones, are more polluting than Hummers

  • Joe R.

    The easy answer is to have something similar in concept to the push-to-pass button they have in Indycar racing. Have vehicles limited to perhaps 10HP/ton on urban surface streets (you can do this with GPS which detects location). When you’re not on urban streets the car defaults to maximum power, which is legally limited to 30 or 40 HP/ton. However, there is a power boost in the form of an electric motor and small battery or supercapacitor which can give you a few hundred HP for 5 or 10 seconds for highway merging. This feature could automatically activate at highway entrance ramps.

    Bottom line—there is little reason to have installed, continuous power of more than about 30 or 40 HP/ton in any vehicle. The only driving situation where you need more than that is highway merging.

  • Joe R.

    Add things like gas-powered leaf blowers to that list. Those should be banned in NYC yesterday. They’re both a noise and pollution problem.

  • Vooch


  • Vooch

    disagree – 120HP was fine for my first Car a 1967 4dr Impala

  • ahwr

    What’s wrong?

  • Andres Dee

    I’ve seen the moto-gangs coming through various neighborhoods, and not just poorer ones. At least from what I’ve seen, the issue is not whether they’re street-legal. I’ll assume they are. They’re driven with little regard to who else is on the road. High speeds. wheelies and against traffic. Sorry, Josmar Trujillo. Being from a “less well to do neighborhood” is not justification for endangering people on foot and on sidewalks…or for being an arse. That (according to the apologist in the News) no one’s been injured is not a testament to the moto-gangs’ exercise of due care as much as it is that people instinctively scramble at their approach.

  • bolwerk

    When that happens, it means there are different parts of the block with different rules. Usually there are perfectly good, or at the very least understandable, reasons for that.

  • AnoNYC

    North Bronx politician.

    My money’s on the car.

  • AnoNYC

    Letter seems to emphasize the racist slant against the riders when described by the NYPD and media.

    Bicycles come up because in the eyes of many like Trujillo bicycles = gentrification = white. To him, bicyclists are getting preferential treatment because of that.

  • AnoNYC

    Exactly, the checkpoints are pretty much useless.

    I’ve seen entire groups shake off the cops without a problem. In a city as congested as NYC, a patrol car is not going to catch a motorcycle most of the time.

  • Miles Bader

    Scooters are a major means of transportation in Taiwan (like 50-60% of modal share in some places I think) …

    They have obvious advantages—fuel efficiency, cost, space used both on road and when parked, etc—but my impression is that they can be kind of dangerous compared to a bicycle or walking: Of the Taiwanese people I know (maybe 10-20?), more than one has sustained major injuries in a scooter crash (one has really nasty scars on her arm/shoulder), and they have friends who died in such crashes.

    So while scooters maybe be a good fit for some scenarios, and they’re generally better than cars (maybe more dangerous for the rider, but probably safer for everybody else and better in non-safety-related aspects), it seems better to push bicycles/walking/grade-separated-mass-transit whenever possible.

  • AnoNYC
  • reasonableexplanation

    Whether or not I buy that that was the car you drove, your 1967 impala goes 0-60 in 7.2 sec. Faster than the modern 170hp VW Passat (7.8sec), which i’d assume you would say is overpowered. (You could have also had the slower one, which went 0-60 in 13sec, in which case, my condolances, and if you feel that’s safe, uh… I disagree)

    I think I remember you and others complaining that the camry (~8sec) is overpowered, simply because of horsepower numbers too.

  • Miles Bader

    As r.e. says, gas scooters are so efficient that for the rider the advantages of electric would be minimal, and that’s limited their popularity…

    As long as pollution isn’t an issue that directly impacts the user, it probably won’t be the biggest part of any purchasing decision.

    Taxing vehicles based on their emissions would be one way to add a direct user impact…

  • neroden

    This sort of deliberate misbehavior by cops is actually criminal. It’s worth making it their problem. Unfortunately it requires someone with the power of arrest who isn’t part of the NYPD crime gang.

  • neroden

    Quotas (for arrests or tickets) are illegal and unconstitutional, if I remember correctly — we had state and federal court rulings about this. The crime gang called the NYPD is, by all accounts, still using quotas.

  • neroden

    Yeah, but the “officers” don’t want to bother to actually ticket people who are guilty of actual parking violations. The “officers” are probably parked illegally *themselves*. See above: they’re just writing tickets to meet quotas.

    NYPD is a problem.

  • Vooch

    i seriously doubt a 4 Dr 67′ Impala with slush Box and stock 289 (?) could do 0-60 in 7 secs. It was the most primitive machine imaginable. The Handeling was terrifying.I Bought mine for $150.

    I happened to also Have owned a 1996 Passat Wagon with the V-6 engine Which I believe was Rated at 167HP. . Owned it for nearly 10 years and just over 200k miles.

    Yes, I thought the VW was significantly Over powered.

    A similar sized Wagon to the Passat was a ’67 ( or ’68) Volvo Wagon 122s ? with a English engine and 4 speed. That Volvo Wagon was appropriately powered at according to Wikipedia 100/115HP

  • Joe R.

    Base curb weight for a 1967 Impala is around 3700 pounds, probably closer to 4000 pounds with fuel and a driver. 120HP equates to 60HP/ton. The minimum theoretical time you can get from 0 to 60 mph with that power-to-weight ratio is 7.3 seconds (divide 437.8 by the HP per ton). In practice wheel adhesion limits power at lower speeds, and with gas engines the transmission limits it at higher speeds (i.e. the engine is out of its peak HP band for much of the range). A good rule of thumb for gas engine vehicles is to multiply the minimum theoretical numbers by 2. This is especially true of older vehicles with 3-speed transmissions. Modern cars with 6, 7, 8 speeds, or CVTs, might bring that multiplier down to 1.5. For this particular car 0 to 60 mph in about 15 seconds sounds about right. Note that a 40HP/ton electric can probably manage about the same numbers.

    This issue about being “overpowered” here isn’t for the one time you need it (i.e. short highway entrance ramps) but for the other times you don’t. People use the power to do all sorts of asinine maneuvers which wouldn’t be possible otherwise. One of my favorites is the “start and scoot” way to leave a parking spot. It seems the idea of starting the car and pulling out slowly is passe. Now I see people get in, start the car, and jet out of the parking spot while the starter is still winding down. They don’t bother to look, either. Then you have lane-jockeying, gunning it to make red lights, etc. You also have people running over pedestrians by mistaking the accelerator for the brake. If these cars didn’t accelerate so f-ing fast, they wouldn’t reach lethal speeds in a matter of some tens of feet. The driver might also be able to realize their mistake before any harm is done. There are lots of good reasons for limiting power-to-weight ratios.

  • Andres Dee

    I was crossing the street the other day, when I was assaulted by a recording from an MTA bus going something like “look out, bus turning!” I (and anyone walking) have right of way over a turning vehicle in a crosswalk. Why is anyone allowed to trump that with an obnoxious recorded message? Do people who walk need to wear devices that squawk “I’m crossing, a–hole. Hold off!”?

  • AMH

    That’s actually a good article in the News about Gateway and Penn Station. Penn South is such a bad idea–the last thing we need is to destroy more of midtown for more dead-end tracks instead of through-running.

  • AnoNYC

    Message could be better, but alerts and proximity sensors are welcome.

  • Flakker

    What crackdown on illegal motorbikes? Yes the police announced it but as near as I can tell, it, as well as all kinds of extremely anti-social road behavior in the Bronx, has been tolerated by the authorities for a long time (though perhaps not as much in Harlem). And this instantly-cliche “blankety blank OF COLOR”, “thumbing its nose at gentrification” justification can be applied to any kind of obnoxious behavior. Is rampant littering an act of defiance against greedy whites too? I suppose he thinks that making your car real loud is some kind of unique cultural signifier as well, rather than boorish stupidity practiced across America.