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Thursday’s Headlines: ‘de Brainless’ for the Fall Edition

12:06 AM EDT on September 5, 2019

Council Speaker Corey Johnson on a Citi Bike.

Mayor de Blasio tripped on his bike helmet and landed on his head yesterday when — goaded by bikelash dinosaur Marcia Kramer — he told reporters that he's mulling helmet and license requirements for city cyclists.

"De Blasio’s public dalliance with the two ideas will do little to restore faith among safe streets advocates that he has truly recommitted to driving down street fatalities, or that he understands why they argue for more protected bike lanes unobstructed by trucks or cops," Dana Rubinstein and Erin Durkin wrote in Politico. "Rather, his comments are likely to reinforce the notion that beneath his Vision Zero veneer, the mayor is a 'car guy' at heart."

Streetsblog's Dave Colon conjectured that a "de Brainless" Hizzoner "must have had some bad mescaline on his stroll through a Nevada canyon recently" and channeled the fervent wish of many cycling advocates that he "remain the absentee mayor."

Newish Postie David Meyer played the story straight, noting that the data mostly do not support the mayor's contention that helmets aid safety.

Sorry, this isn't about safety; it's about politics. De Blasio wants to discourage cycling right now — as he knows those measures will: He can't do the hard work of making streets safe fast enough to stanch the blood tide engulfing him on the campaign trail. (How heartening to see The Times's report that he'll exit the race next month!) He also likely choked on recent bikelash blather like this Post article. None of it augurs well for a future cabinet portfolio.

In other news yesterday:

    • "The SUV made him do it": The alleged Bushwick cyclist slayer protested in a jailhouse interview that he didn't mean to kill anyone, he just "lost control" of his vehicle. Buddy, that's what they all say. (NYP, NYDN)
    • AMNY's Vincent Barone detailed the fresh L train disruptions coming our way this fall. Reporting machine Barone also whipped out stories about a pregnant MTA bus driver filing suit, DOT safety measures regarding school traffic, and Brooklyn Beep Eric Adams's placard-abuse forum Tuesday night.
    • Guse at the Newsuh also had a speed-camera school-safety angle.
    • On the subject of Adams's forum, Streetsblog exposed  the paternalism and sexism behind the Brooklyn Beep's illegal-parking regime near Borough Hall, where city cars hog the sidewalks. We hate city cars. New Yorkers don't often consider it, but city cars — an often untaxed perk — are the seamy remnant of a felonious political spoils system (think: Tammany) that in fact predated motor vehicles. In another life, we spent many hours in city cars, and we say: Chuck 'em! The public and the environment would benefit vastly if most city workers rode transit as a condition of employment.
    • City and State thinks state limousine-safety measures have run out of gas.
    • NYT waddled in with a story about Governor Cuomo's recent license-plate contest.
    • And, finally, the New York Review of Books (remember it?) argued that a cooler planet will require a shift in our personal and institutional travel habits to disfavor aviation. Oh, everything old is new when "flying too high with some guy in the sky is my idea of nothing to do."

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