Op-Ed: We Just Have to Do Something About These Cyclists!

Photo: giggel/Wikimedia Commons
Photo: giggel/Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes here at Streetsblog, we receive a letter to the editor of such moral clarity that we decide to print it in full. That’s why we are presenting a letter from Carla Sanderson, who lives near the Fort Greene and Clinton Hill neighborhood where a 3-month-old baby was killed by a reckless driver on Sept. 11 — a story that revealed the shocking inadequacy of city officials to protect vulnerable road users. To our correspondent, the death also revealed the false narrative that is pushed by the car culture to distract us from the real danger on the streets. Here is Sanderson’s letter:

Carla Sanderson
Carla Sanderson

Where I live, DeKalb Avenue is a one-lane thoroughfare where the B38 carries hundreds of people from Queens at one end to downtown Brooklyn at the other. Honking, screaming and revving of engines is the soundtrack to my every day. Exhaust wafts silently in the windows and into my family’s lungs. The speed camera outside flashes regularly (when traffic isn’t so bad to slow the drivers) until it turns off at night. That’s when the cars really fly.

There is parking on both sides of Dekalb for cars with mostly out-of-state license plates: New Jersey, Texas, Virginia — some of them paper and months past their “expiration date.” It is very nice of the city to provide free parking to so many out of state visitors!

Also, if there aren’t enough parking spots, it’s not a problem because the unprotected bike lane is a perfect place for double parking. No need to worry about a ticket, because the NYPD also finds bike lanes convenient for parking, and apparently stopped enforcing traffic laws during the pandemic (despite continuing to arrest people for other crimes).

When there are no parked cars, drivers can use the bike lane as a passing lane to speed by slower traffic and then cut back in, that is until they get stuck behind a pesky biker. Then they honk and scream. Bikers in the “bike lane” regularly get doored or hit by cars pulling out.

This summer in a fit of road rage, a man driving an SUV (with Florida plates) got out and slashed another SUV driver in front of my apartment. Drivers have killed 200 people this year on city streets, but we really have to do something about those bikers!


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Last weekend, former DOT Deputy Commissioner "Gridlock" Sam Schwartz wrote an op-ed in the New York Times urging the city to start creating bike lanes that physically separate cyclists from motor vehicle traffic at some locations. This weekend, as DOT laid down a brand new "shared lane" design on Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn, a letter to the editor […]