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

Hey Citi Bikers, Mayor de Blasio wants you all to wear helmets, like Corey Johnson!
Hey Citi Bikers, Mayor de Blasio wants you all to wear helmets, like Corey Johnson!

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.”



  • Justinain World

    Licences will be a great thing! It separates those who do the right thing always vs the people who do not give a crap. Like people who drive with cars with expired inspection stickers… who does that? Lame people that is who. Who do you want on the streets? People who care about doing the right things or the current crop of riders?

  • Andrew Miller

    That’s dumb and you’re dumb.

  • Alec

    Who does one have to @#$@ to get the DOT to repaint the bike lanes on St. Nicholas Ave in Washington Heights? They repaved about a month ago but still no paint… and now cars are parking in what was previously a protected segment at 162nd st.

  • MasterSignifier

    Takes one to know one.

    God forbid cyclists should be held responsible for any of their behavior.

  • Joe R.

    Requiring licenses and holding people responsible for their behavior are two different things. Besides, there’s absolutely no practical way to enforce any bicycle licensing scheme. Bicycle licensing is just a back door way to discourage cycling while pretending to advocate for things like “responsibility”. Our mentally challenged Mayor was never a fan of cycling. He talked the talk because it got him votes. Now that he’s term limited, and trying to appeal to a wider audience in his (albeit ill-advised) Presidential bid, his true colors are coming out. Of course he thinks bike licensing and helmets for Citibike users are “worth discussing” because both would drastically decrease cycling. And that’s exactly what he wants, but he’s too chicken shit to say it.

  • kevd
  • walks bikes drives

    Instead of a new giant bureaucracy to license cyclists, which would never be able to be self-sufficient without making cycling only available to the rich, how about laws that allow police officers to pull over cyclists who are riding unsafely and then give them a ticket? And if they don’t have ID, the police officer would then be able to hold the offender at the precinct until their identity could be established and then a citation given. This idea would meet all the requirements of being able to hold a cyclist responsible for unsafe riding behavior, right? It would allow cyclists to be held to the exact same standard as a licensing requirement would, without requiring the additional cost to the cyclists and government to actually administer licenses to cyclists, wouldn’t it?

    Here is the fun part. My idea is actually reality as we speak, by current law. So, what is the actual point of a licensing requirement?

    Before you try to say it is so a person could identify a bicycle by a license plate, understand that a license plate that could be secured to a bicycle and not be a safety hazard to a cyclist in the event of a crash, would be too small to see from a distance of a few feet, and therefore not a useful tool either. So, as I was saying, what is the actual benefit of licensing cyclists?

  • Joe R.

    A lot of the idiots who want cyclists to be licensed don’t seem to bother thinking things through. Nor do they say exactly what problem is solved by bicycle licensing. The usual answers are “to hold cyclists accountable” (you’ve already shown that no license is needed for that), to ticket cyclists for violating traffic laws (again, no need for a license to do that), or to catch cyclists who hit-and-run (that’s a rarity, and for the reasons you said any practical license plate would be too small to read from more than a few feet away). Another stupid reason is to allow people to take pictures of cyclists running red lights so they can get tickets. First off, a police officer is the only one who can issue tickets for good reason. We don’t need citizens using apps issuing tickets. Second, what is the point even if you could do this, other than to be a control freak who wants to make cyclists stop and wait, even at empty intersections?

  • walks bikes drives

    Of course we agree on a lot of things. Now the challenge to us, though, is to understand WHY people are pushing for licensing, however misguided, and then figure out what we can do to fix that perceived need. Name calling, and arguing with a personal attach (a la Trump) doesnt help. We need to get many of these people to understand our side. And we as a community need to validate their feelings, and any legitimate root causes of those feelings, and do what we can to minimize those root causes.

  • Joe R.

    There are some legitimate causes to backlash but they’re blown out of all proportion by the media, making the problem seem a lot worse than it is. Education, pointing out statistics, is a good tool to use to get those who are reasonable to see our side of the argument. However, we have to acknowledge that some of the most vocal voices on the other side, like Steve Cuozzo or Marcia Kramer, will never be amenable to having any reasonable discussion about bikes. They already know things like bicycle licensing or helmet requirements won’t solve any real world problem. However, they’ll frame the discussion around safety or accountability, when the real goal is just to get bikes off the roads for good. They can’t say this in today’s political climate without being castigated for it, so they resort to another angle to push for things which accomplish the same goal.

    The bottom line is that it’s not too hard to get the majority of reasonable people in our camp if we stick to facts. The unreasonable ones will never be swayed. All we can do is what we’re doing here, which is to tear apart their arguments so reasonable people will ignore their calls for things like bicycle licensing.

  • Maggie

    Did I imagine this, or did Maggie Haberman have a blink-and-you-missed-it tweet recently with her impression that NYC doesn’t have public conversations about bike lanes and it should start?

    I’ve spent hours of my life at Community Board meetings to advocate for bike lanes, usually after someone’s death on an unsafe street without a bike lane, and the idea that the New York effing Times, having chosen as the paper of record, not to report on these lengthy, regular and public discussions, can then turn around and say they want to see a public conversation… It leaves me in sputtering shock at her ignorance. She’s a native Upper West Sider whose shtick is that she knows this city well. If the NYT doesn’t bother to cover or acknowledge the conversations that already occur, that’s not really the community’s fault.

  • Urbanely

    Good luck. I’m still waiting on them to repaint a stop line and marking at an intersection. Since Parks Dept has allowed a street tree to grow to the point that it obscures the stop sign, a line is mandatory at this point.

  • Justinain World

    it is not dumb. I bet you are the kind of person that drives with an expired something or other. Go sit on your front porch. Administrative tasks eliminate the lazy people who like to not follow the rules. I want bike riders who appreciate licences, not jerks (like you)who do whatever they feel like.

  • Andrew Miller