Nothing beats a great pair of NY Post diatribes on the subject of cycling, and that goes double when one of the ranters is columnist Steve "He Who Yells At Cloud" Cuozzo. As you may know, bike lanes and pedestrian plazas have been a boil on Cuozzo's neck for too long, and his latest screed, prompted by complaints about reckless delivery men on the Upper West Side, is bursting with good stuff:
While CB 7 wants restaurants to "enforce" DOT rules for bike deliverers, the whole mess is mostly the DOT's fault... By promoting mass bicycle ridership in a city singularly unsuited for it, and by shoving aside opposition to ill-conceived bike lanes, the agency effectively authorized all bikers to laugh at the DOT's own rules.
Cops got the message. They wink at cyclists who ride on sidewalks, speed, run red lights and go the wrong way on one-way streets. Officers I've alerted to maniacs who nearly ran me down showed no interest. Are they lazy—or has Bloomberg so empowered Sadik-Khan even Ray Kelly's afraid of her?
That's right, not even the chief of police has the onions to stand up to that power-drunk DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, but to be fair, she is intimidating; just look at those sharp teeth! It's because of her bike lanes that delivery guys ride like jerks, according to Cuozzo's logic. And furthermore, "her" pedestrian plazas should be returned to their rightful owners (drivers!) because they're nothing but "loitering grounds for tourists." Remember: an idle tourist is a dangerous tourist!
Cuozzo's editorial was inspired by another Post article about Upper West Side residents who feel threatened by delivery men. As well they should; a lot of these guys are reckless scofflaws who zoom down sidewalks and break little old ladies' hips. To fight back, the community board is threatening to withdraw their support for liquor licenses for restaurants whose delivery men pedal like jerks. But is it fair to blame all this on the DOT's investment in biking infrastructure?
Wiley Norvell at Transportation Alternatives tells us that Cuozzo's anecdotal account of police "winking" at cyclists riding on sidewalks is counter-factual. "There were 21,136 tickets issued for riding bikes on the sidewalk last year—and that’s just one type of violation," Norvell tells us. "Here’s the thing: where well-designed bike lanes are installed, we invariably see a rise in cycling coupled with a sharp decline in the number of injuries to everyone—drivers, cyclists AND pedestrians. If the Bloomberg Administration based its policies on the rants of Mr. Cuozzo and his ilk, we’d have a city with more injuries and fatalities on the roads."