Daily Bike Forecast — by Bike Snob NYC

March 21st, 2019: Here Comes The Rain

GWB

Hopefully you enjoyed the first day of spring yesterday, because today's gonna be rainy:

Thursday Weather

Thursday Rain, mainly after 9am. High near 48. East wind 9 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.

Thursday Night Rain, mainly before 5am. Patchy fog after 2am. Low around 44. East wind 8 to 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.

Sunrise: 6:58am

Sunset: 7:09pm

Sounds like it'll get wetter as the day goes on so plan accordingly.

Still, better weather is inevitable at this point, so is it too early to start fantasizing about a bike path on the Verrazano?

The plan's biggest obstacle, according to Hedden, is the MTA, and what he sees as their unique resistance to improving access to outerborough bridges. While crossings owned by the Department of Transportation and Port Authority have made huge strides in recent years, the major MTA-owned bridges—including the Triborough, Throgs Neck, and Whitestone—are all still without bike lanes.

"It's frustrating for the cycling community, particularly here in South Brooklyn," said Hedden. "At this point, it's only the MTA that continues to deny access to cyclists and pedestrians." (A spokesperson for the transit authority did not respond to Gothamist's request for comment).

Pretty amazing that in a city divided by waterways, you can't technically ride over any of the MTA bridges--even the ones with paths require you to dismount and walk.  

In City and State, Councilmember and Health Committee Chair Mark Levine talks about all the e-stuff, including e-bikes and e-scooters:

 

There’s always criticism that e-scooters and e-bikes are dangerous, that emergency rooms are full of victims. Do you see them as a public health issue?

Giving people new ways of getting around that doesn’t pollute, that reduces congestion on the streets, is a win for everybody. Obviously safety is paramount, no matter what kind of vehicle you’re on, whether it’s a car, a bike, a motorcycle or a scooter, you’ve got to follow all the traffic laws. Adults can’t ride bikes on sidewalks and people can’t go against traffic. But the right response is to give people options and ensure that they adhere to traffic safety laws – not to simply ban outright entire modes of transportation, which have already proven to be popular and overwhelmingly safe in other cities, which are ahead of New York.

And look, there’s a health impact of breaking our addiction to the automobile as well, which is emitting fumes that contribute to asthma and global warming. And cars themselves are leading to hundreds of fatalities a year in New York. I think it’s unfair to brand scooters and e-bikes as being particularly dangerous.

Try telling that to the NYPD:

Councilmember Brad Lander has a somewhat different take on e-scooters:

The Vice article he cites lists the usual e-scooter concerns:

What's more, even if you're supposed to be either 16 or 18 depending on where you are and generally obey the rules of the road when you hop on an e-scooter, anyone who's ever seen a drunken reveler hop on one and speed down, say, Dirty Sixth Street, in Austin, Texas, or some crazy person go the wrong way down an Indiana interstate on either a Bird or a Lime, knows the reality: Scooter companies are not enforcing those rules in any meaningful sense, and interviews with the people charging many of these devices suggest the same laissez-faire attitude has ominous implications for their safety.

Is there a purveyor of wheeled transport that does enforce traffic rules in any "meaningful sense?"  

Whether it's a Civic or a Citi Bike, once you're off and running you're on your own.

The article then goes on to describe a dystopian hellscape in which scooter chargers fight for turf and threaten each other with violence à la the Road Warrior:

Last summer, Loya told me over the phone, he was confronted by a couple of apparent juicers who told him, "Don't come around here no more." Just recently, he was overtly threatened: As Loya told it, he was leaving lunch with his family when he noticed some scooters nearby that he figured he might as well grab. As they were leaving, an SUV pulled up to his vehicle, and the other driver motioned for him to roll down his window. The man, who was accompanied by a woman in the passenger seat and appeared to be middle-aged, said they expected to not see him on their scooter turf again or else he would be shot, he recalled. Loya's three small children were in the backseat as this exchange occurred, he said.

Come on, New Yorkers are better than that.  Anyway, compared to the private trash carting industry, the sordid world of scooter night-charging sounds about as scary as selling Girl Scout cookies.  Plus, it's a problem that's easily solved, as the article points out:

Another scooter startup called Spin is trying to phase out contractors and replace them with salaried employees, which would certainly help in providing basic workplace protections in an industry that constantly seems to be racing itself to the bottom. (Bird was also moving in that direction when it came to the people who repair their scooters in a few cities.)

Make that a condition for companies to operate shared scooters in New York City, and then let the employees join TWU Local 100, done and done.

Finally, with a bike path coming to the Kosciuszko Bridge, we're gonna need some more bike lanes:

Better get started on that.