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Monday’s Headlines: Blame the Bike Lane Edition

Mourners left candles at the site where Paulina Nrecaj was killed by a recidivist reckless driver. Photos: David Greene

The New York Post's coverage of this weekend's fatal crash in the Bronx ended up making news — with even a reporter from the tabloid criticizing the paper's anti-bike lane slant.

First, the basics: On Friday night, 59-year-old Paulina Nrecaj was struck by the driver of a Lexus SUV at the intersection of Bronxdale and Cruger avenues. According to police, the SUV had been traveling on Bronxdale when its 45-year-old driver "swerved" to "avoid striking a van" at the intersection. Instead, he jumped the curb and struck Nrecaj, impaling her on a fence.

The Post's coverage was the "just-a-tragic-accident" type, staring with the original squib headlined, "Woman impaled on fence after being hit by a car in NYC," which suggested that the car hit the woman by itself.

It got worse. After Nrecaj succumbed to her injuries, the Post led the story with, "A Bronx woman impaled on a fence in a freak accident Friday night has died," then went on to quote the victim's daughter blaming the protected bike lane because it supposedly confuses drivers.

“It throws people off. There’s never been an accident here,” she said. Not to criticize a grieving woman, but the Post needs to fact-check quotes; in fact, according to city stats, there were 85 crashes on the seven-block stretch of Bronxdale between White Plains Road and Morris Park Avenue in the three years before the bike lane was installed this year. Those crashes injured four cyclists, four pedestrians and 24 motorists. Since the bike lane went in this spring, no cyclists and no pedestrians have been injured.

Worse, the Post buried in the very last paragraph what proves this crash was anything but a tragic accident: the Lexus had 20 camera-issued speeding tickets and a red-light ticket on its record — 18 of those tickets since April 2020.

The failure to draw any implication from that integral piece of reporting earned the paper lots of ire for missing the point:

And even Post staffer David Meyer was none too pleased:

The Daily News didn't blame the bike lane in its coverage.

In other news from a busy weekend:

    • The New York City Hospitality Alliance, whose member restaurants were largely kept alive during the pandemic because road space was made available for outside dining, came out against congestion pricing in a Crain's op-ed. Part of the faulty logic: "Friends from outer boroughs who want to hail a taxi into Manhattan for Saturday night drinks might opt instead for a bar in their neighborhood to avoid paying the congestion fee." True, but those people will still go out and spend money, right?
    • Manhattan Borough President has a strong Daily News op-ed in favor of adding another protected bike lane to the West Side Highway.
    • Concerned about digital privacy? Then don't use OMNY, says Christopher Robbins at Hell Gate.
    • Yes, substandard e-bike batteries are a problem — as this Post story shows — but the city needs a plan to solve the problem of low-quality batteries flooding a market dominated by underpaid workers who will, of course, buy what they can afford.
    • Ferry fares officially go up on Monday, though regular riders can still buy 10-packs for $27.50 (amNY). Meanwhile, Crain's followed last week's news that the city is seeking a new ferry operator.
    • Bill de Blasio did his exit interview with the Times ... and the Post retaliated by cribbing a not-all-that credible Harvard student paper dissing the former mayor.
    • This non-residency fish stinks from the head down: NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell still lives in the suburbs, as do more than half of her employees. (NYDN)
    • Former Major League Baseball pitcher turned Port Authority cop Anthony Varvaro was killed in a wrong-way car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike as he headed to the 9/11 ceremony in Lower Manhattan. (NY Post)
    • Road rage sparks yet another shooting. (NY Post)
    • Looks like the city is using recycled plastic to repave roads. (SI Advance)
    • And in vital pizza news... (NY Post)
    • Hey, Dave Colon completists: Don't miss his appearance on BronxNet, archived here.
    • And, finally, the Baltimore Ravens apparently took the train to the beatdown of the Jets in the Meadowlands on Sunday (but the "noon" train being mentioned was on Saturday, not on Game Day):

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