Safe Streets Advocates: Whoopi’s ‘Apology’ Just Isn’t Enough [Updated]

Families for Safe Streets members handed out fliers to Whoopi Goldberg's audience on Tuesday. Photo: Melodie Bryant
Families for Safe Streets members handed out fliers to Whoopi Goldberg's audience on Tuesday. Photo: Melodie Bryant

Family members who lost loved ones to road violence told Whoopi Goldberg that she’s not off the hook for her ill-informed comments last week about the supposed danger of protected bike lanes.

Rallying on Tuesday outside the ABC studio where Goldberg tapes “The View,” Families for Safe Streets demanded that Goldberg use her national platform to help them promote street safety causes. 

Last week, Goldberg made some ill-informed comments about bike lanes.
Last week, Goldberg made some ill-informed comments about bike lanes.

“We need Whoopi Goldberg to use her opportunity on ‘The View’ to invite us in, so rather than talking about something without the relevant information, we can bring the knowledge of years and years of looking at New York City streets and understanding what makes the difference,” said Mary Beth Kelly of Families for Safe Streets. “This is a public health crisis that can be solved, and Whoopi Goldberg could invite us on the show and we could start the conversation.”

The rally comes three days after Goldberg, a New Jersey resident who drives into Manhattan for work, released a tepid apology to walk back some — but not all — of the anti-bike lane tirade she unleashed on Mayor de Blasio earlier in the week. In the four-tweet statement, Goldberg claimed she is not against bike lanes themselves, but the is against “medians and cement islands that accompany the lanes.” She also said “her heart goes out” to families who have lost spouses, siblings and children to reckless drivers.

Families of victims of traffic violence said they appreciated the apology, but Goldberg must go further to educate her audience on the importance of livable streets and the ease with which they can be created. Safe streets advocates spent the morning handing out fliers to audience members as they waited to get inside for the “View” taping. Audience members were asked to call ABC and urge the studio to invite Families for Safe Streets activists on the show.

“I know she means well. She is a good person. She just doesn’t understand what it is like to be a pedestrian or a cyclist in New York City,” said Jeffrey Heller of Families for Safe Streets. “People listen to her. She could have a great impact on what happens not only in New York City, but around the country.”

Families for Safe Streets members also visited Madison Lyden's ghost bike. Photo: Ben Verde
Families for Safe Streets members also visited Madison Lyden’s ghost bike. Photo: Ben Verde

After protesting at the studio, activists made a short walk to the ghost bike of Madison Lyden, who was run down and killed this summer when a cab driver forced her into traffic on Central Park West, which does not have a protected bike lane.

Mayor de Blasio declined to criticize Goldberg, saying only that he respects her opinion and that she raised “valid” concerns on her show when she criticized the design elements of Vision Zero, the mayor’s signature safety initiative.

Goldberg has declined Streetsblog’s request for an interview. But later in the day on Tuesday, ABC sent Streetsblog a video clip from Tuesday’s episode of “The View” during which Goldberg tried to clarify that she is pro-bike lane — but it’s the cement medians that bother her:

  • KeNYC2030

    In other words, Whoopi, we’re the idiots for not knowing what you were talking about. Maybe we should fire all DOT’s street safety engineers and hire you to make sure everyone can get along on our streets “in the event of an emergency or a holiday.”

  • Daphna

    Whoopi Goldberg is still COMPLETELY WRONG. Her explanation and ‘clarity’ further show how she does not understand the elements of street safety. Features such as pedestrian islands are crucial tools towards re-designing a street for safety. Wider medians are another tool. Raised islands are MUCH more effective than paint on the ground. So Whoopi Goldberg’s “clarity” just shows another level of her prejudice against street safety in favor or her own perceived convenience.

  • r

    So Whoopi is sorry if other people didn’t get what she meant and just wants streets designed for “emergencies and holidays.” Not only does she not know the first thing about safety, she also doesn’t know how to apologize.

  • Nawc77

    Jeffrey Heller is wrong she is not a good person. Remember she also defended a child rapist who drugged and analy raped a 14 year old girl. Quote “it wasn’t rape-rape”. That is who Goldberg is.

  • Komanoff

    I might actually give her a pass if she came out in support of congestion pricing (even though her car-commuter from W Orange probably wouldn’t be raised). Anyone have a way to take her temperature on that? (Though, tbh, I want so badly for Families for Safe Streets to be on her show and gently/methodically rip her arguments to shreds.)

  • Steven Craig

    She had NO reason to apologize, Again, the screaming minority of “Activists” are making policy. Read their commentary, name calling, lack of real facts ( DOT admits their figures are questionable and Transportation Alternatives is a joke ). The pathetic underused “Bike lanes”: will continue to disrupt traffic flow and enrich a few contractor who laugh at this “Controversy” all they way to the bank. Totally PATHETIC