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Cops Blame Cyclist Fatalities on "Catastrophic" Bike Lanes

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Today the NY Post, citing city statistics, reports that there have been 3,830 accidents involving bicycles, including 12 fatal ones, so far this year, compared to 3,294 in 2009. The tabloid asserts there's been "an alarming 16 percent spike in vehicle and bicycle collisions" over the past year—and we all know whose fault that is! Two unidentified NYPD sources and a UPS driver get at the heart of the problem. "This was a catastrophe in the making as soon as they put those bike lanes up around the city," says one anonymous cop in the East Village. "They are arrogant. They think they now own the road and think they can do no wrong. Some even yell at police cars saying they have the right of way." Arrogant, self-righteous and obnoxious? Are we sure this cop isn't referring to cyclists like these?

Another nameless "traffic-accident investigator" tells the Post, "It's crazy. The volume of traffic, careless bicyclists and too many turns in too many directions is a recipe for disaster. Most times they don't obey [laws] and that leads to chaos." It's so true—before there were all these cyclists out there setting a bad example, nobody ever broke any traffic laws! And the article's everyman angle comes from UPS driver Manny Sosa, who gripes, "Man, it's a pain because they truly think they can just do whatever they want to do." And so, for the betterment of commerce and the safety of all New Yorkers, the bike lanes must be destroyed, Q.E.D.

In New York City, 155 pedestrians and 12 cyclists were killed in traffic in 2009. But what about 2010? We contacted the DOT for more info on these new statistics cited by the Post, and spokesman Montgomery Dean tells us, "We don't have 2010 numbers (we didn't give out the numbers in the Post story and we're not certain who did). It's important to note that whatever the number, the sheer number of new cyclists on the street is driving down the overall rate of serious bike crashes (crashes compared to number of cyclists on the road) to a fraction what it was in 2001 and about half what it was even five years ago. Cycling at our commuter locations is more than double what it was in 2005 and more than three times the 2001 number, yet the absolute numbers of injuries should be about the same as they were a decade ago, despite the dramatic growth in cycling."

Perhaps Streetsblog commenter Nate sums it up best: "A Post article filled with irrational victim-blame? No way. Soon you’re going to be telling me that Time’s running trend stories about social networking sites."

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