Tuesday’s Headlines: Victim-Blaming at the New York Times (Again!) Edition

This guy is not the problem, NY Times.
This guy is not the problem, NY Times.

Seriously, what’s with the New York Times Metro section?

That question came up anew on Monday, when Winnie “The 14th Street Busway is a war on cars” Hu dropped another piece whose subtle subtext was, “Everyone should just drive cars, because cars are normal.”

You didn’t need to go much past the headline to see where Hu was coming from: “As E-Scooters and E-Bikes Proliferate, Safety Challenges Grow.” The piece basically blamed e-scooter riders and e-bike users for their own deaths under the wheels of the city’s booming number of car drivers.

After a lengthy opening explaining the boom in micro-mobility (it’s cheaper, faster, easier and better for the city), Hu goes on the attack. “Still, the e-mobility boom has brought significant safety challenges to New York’s already congested streets,” she writes. “At least 17 people have been killed while riding electric mobility vehicles this year.” Hu never mentions who killed those victims — a bizarre oversight that would never happen in a story about gun violence or murder.

Even a glancing suggestion that cars are the problem in the city gets dismissed summarily.

“The influx of electric bikes and scooters has also brought more conflict to the streets at a time when traffic deaths have risen to the highest level in nearly a decade because of more cars, more speeding and reckless driving,” she writes, another sentence that blames the “conflict” on the lightweight, sustainable newcomer, not the 3,000-pound behemoth who has been ruining our cities for about 100 years.

It’s really amazing what passes for balance in the Times newsroom. Seriously. This isn’t news. It’s the death throes of car culture.

And it’s particularly odious given how the supposed safety challenges associated with micro-mobility are almost entirely the result of an upper class of privileged New Yorkers — who used to order takeout and then either pick it up, or have it delivered from a corner restaurant on foot or on regular bicycle — now orders takeout food without any concern for the miles and miles of distance being traveled by these newfangled independent contractors.

We thank Nicole Gelinas for pointing out in her weekend Post column that the rise in road violence can be directly linked to the “predatory business model” of the app-based delivery companies (which are really just tech companies) that treat delivery workers as expendable. For some reason (perhaps because of all the Grubhub being ordered on W. 43rd Street?) that Times isn’t able to see the full picture.

Metro Editor Jim Dao should at least be aware that around the same time Hu’s story was published, an e-cyclist was killed by a teenage Chevy Silverado driver on a bridge in Queens that used to have a protected bike lane — until the city decided it couldn’t be bothered maintaining the flex-posts that separated it from traffic, as we reported (the Daily News story did not initially note it until we complained).

  • There was news of lots more bloodshed over the weekend:
    • A 95-year-old man was run down and killed on Grand Street — and the driver was not charged. (News12)
    • The NYPD released details of a crash that killed a pedestrian in Bedford-Stuyvesant back in July. (Patch)
    • A driver was arrested for hitting and killing a man who was riding a Citi Bike on the Henry Hudson Parkway (the driver was unlicensed, cops said). (West Side Rag)

In other news from a long weekend … of news:

  • DN wood on busesIn other Times-related “golly, people actually use bikes?” news, the Paper of Record had a cute story about football gamblers who have to go to New Jersey because of a geo-coded quirk in the law — and the Times found a few Upper Manhattanites and Bronxites who simply take their bike over the George Washington Bridge to place their bets. (Sorry to remind the Times, but people use their bikes for lots of things. It’s not so weird, you know.)
  • The Daily News wood on Monday (right) was a classic: Two-thirds of city school buses — school buses! — have gotten a school zone speeding ticket or a red-light ticket!
  • The MTA has not improved its schedule post-Covid, says Scott Stringer. (NYDN, NY Post, amNY)
  • Taxi drivers want (and need) a better bailout deal. (Gothamist)
  • State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says the MTA is short about $56 million in tolls from cheaters. (NY Post)
  • Oh, speaking of unpaid tolls and penalties, meet a cop with $15,000 in them … on his Range Rover! (NY Post)
  • Oh, and speaking of dishonoring the badge, another firefighter was caught driving drunk in Staten Island (NY Post)
  • Manhattan Borough President (an incoming Council Member) Gale Brewer and continuing Council Member Keith Powers want to pedestrianize Rockefeller Center, as Streetsblog has long championed. (NY Post)
  • See, we told you de Blasio was a terrible mayor … none of the local sport ball teams are winning! (NY Post)
  • Vox did a nice overview of how being killed by a car driver is still far and away the greatest threat to young people in our nation. (Our pal Charles Komanoff says Vox actually underestimated deaths from cars.) This chart is kinda all you need to see:

vox childhood death chart

  • We appreciated Richard Zoglin’s takedown of the Moynihan Train Hall, which is like a Potemkin village of transit. (WSJ)
  • Here was a pretty balanced story (for once!) from the Sunnyside Post about the DOT’s excruciatingly slow rollout of its revolutionary 39th Avenue Bike Boulevard in Queens.
  • Want to see Fifth Avenue just as cars began to devastate our city? Here’s a trip down Bad Memory Lane (YouTube). And then another, about five to 10 years later, when cars had already taken over. (YouTube)
  • The feds are going to release NON-toxic gases into the subway to test … um … the movement of toxic gases. (NYDN)
  • And, finally, WTF, David Remnick?! (We emailed, but did not hear back.)

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