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:

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