Spring 2001, p.26


Car-Free Park Comes First
Dear T.A. and AAA,
As a driver and bicyclist, I am a member of both AAA and T.A. I read both periodicals, and sometimes feel pulled in two directions. But not now.
I live near Prospect Park and am a mother of two young children who love to ride their tricycles, bicycles, and scooters in the park after school. I love my kids to get fresh air and the natural release of exercise. But when cars are in the park Mommy won't let them, because my heart jumps every time a pack of cars whiz around the bend, even at "only 30 mph." It is hard to explain to a 3 or 7 year old that suddenly the park roads have become a highway, and are no longer safe for children. "Why did they let all the cars in, Mommy?" Beats me.
Since the park is successfully car-free during off-peak times from Apr. to Oct. without negative traffic impacts, the DOT could easily extend car-free hours year-round.
Mary Most,

Speed Cameras A Good Thing
Dear Mr. Peter Vallone,
As you probably know, legislation has been introduced in Albany to pilot 20 "speed cameras" in NYC to catch speeders. NYC is plagued with road hogs who think the streets are their own private speedways. They recklessly place children, the elderly and others at risk of being mowed down. These cameras will help put a stop to the carnage. Accordingly, I urge you to pass a "home rule message" that will allow Albany to enact the legislation and get the speed cameras installed as soon as possible.
Zev Stern

"Dead Right"
Dear Officer Farrell:
On Feb. 24, near the George Washington Bridge you stopped me when I executed what I believe to be a legal, safe maneuver for a cyclist in traffic: turning left from the inside lane. You said that since bikes are not a part of the traffic flow, I was to stay to the far right side of the road and cross the lanes all at once. You said my aim should be: "not to be seen, but to stay out of the way." If cyclists are subject to the rules of the road, and are part of traffic, is this not what I should have done? Turning left from the far right side of the road onto the bridge is not the safest alternative. Perhaps you should ride a bike on the road sometime. It would be an enlightening experience.
Elizabeth Renaud

And the response…
Here are some highlights from a longer letter:
Dear Elizabeth,
"...P.O. Farrell has seen the results of collisions occurring between bicyclists and vehicles. Bicyclists, rarely win the confrontation. His non-issuance of a summons for his observance of what he believed to be an unsafe act is evidence of his concern."
"While training prospective motorcycle officers I always include a comment. You must drive even more defensively than the law allows. The other drivers with whom you are sharing the road do not perceive you as a physical threat. The way motorists drive shows what they think of sharing the road."
"In other words, you could become what we accident re-constructionists refer to as 'dead right.'"
Officer Kevin Mahon
New Jersey

Biking In The City
Dear T.A.,
I bike a lot in NYC, to work and everywhere else. I appreciate the work you do in order to make NYC more bike-friendly. Thanks.
Bill Curran
Ed. note: Bill, thanks for your generous donation.