Winter 2004, p.26

Letters

Letter Sent to Councilmember Provenzano about Bike Lanes
I read an article about the Hering and Yates Avenues bicycle lanes in a recent Bronx Times-Reporter and was disturbed by the anti-bike lane sentiment, part of which the paper attributed to you (whether correct or not). I am one of your constituents and I made use of these lanes (Hering and Yates Avenues) on a number of occasions this past summer when my dad was dying of West Nile Virus at Einstein Hospital. I feel so much safer using these lanes than on parallel Williamsbridge Road, where drivers illegally double park and make U-turns. I am sure you are aware of the difficult parking situation near this hospital. Some students and employees could (and do) bicycle to the hospital using these lanes instead of driving. People who live on these streets must realize that they are not private roads for their exclusive use. We all need to give consideration to each other, including people who ride bikes for convenience, health and energy conservation.
Jeffrey Silverberg

Editor’s Note: As we went to press, the Bronx Times-Reporter reported that, at the behest of Councilmember Provezano, City Hall told the City DOT to remove the bike lanes on Hering and Yates.


It’s No “Accident”
It would help a lot if the media, notably the “good, gray, New York Times,” stopped describing deadly motor vehicle accidents as “runaway car hits 5 pedestrians” or “the car jumped the curb to injure X pedestrians.” Motor vehicles are NOT sentient beings; they are pieces of heavy machinery that are operated by persons, most of them alert and responsible, but some of them totally concerned with getting their vehicle from one places to another as fast as possible, damn the consequences.
Dick Netzer

Editor’s Note: We agree. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration refers to motor vehicle collisions as “crashes,” not “accidents.” So should the media.


Fearing for my Life
I work as a bicycle messenger in Manhattan. I have daily run-ins with taxi drivers and other motorists that usually result in a shouting match, with me starting the shouting because I fear for my life when a car has violated my space. Of course I could get another occupation, but I don’t know what that would be. I feel fortunate to have a job at all. Do you have any literature that would explain how to ride more safely in the city or better yet, how to deal with motorized vehicles that give no respect to bicycles? Thank you for your efforts to make our city safer.
TJ Sager

Editor’s Note: Improving the safety of the cycling and walking environment through driver education and enforcement is a large part of T.A.’s work. We maintain an extensive “Cycling Resources” section on our Web site at www.transalt.org/info/cycling that includes tips on how to ride safely and react to obnoxious drivers. You will be glad to learn that, in response to our request, the Taxi and Limousine Commission added questions about safe driving around bicyclists to their mandatory driver’s test. T.A. has also worked with the New York Police Department to stage “Give Respect/Get Respect” events during which we give out mock tickets to drivers breaking the law.


Mayoral Support of Car Alarm Ban?
Why doesn’t Mayor Bloomberg support the bill to ban car alarms? It doesn’t make sense. Car alarms are a huge quality of life issue and banning them will only make the city a more bearable place to live. So why not support the bill??
Kathleen McNamara

Editor’s Note: Good question. Please write to Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker, Gifford Miller at City Hall, New York, NY 10007 and make the same points.


Plagued by Pot Holes in Queens
I cycle from the Upper West Side to the end of Long Island. The pot holes between 114th Street and Main Street in Flushing, Queens are very severe and for much of the road there are no lights at all. I called 311 to report the problems on this section of the streets and they assured me that the problems would be fixed within ten days. Three weeks later, the pot holes and broken lights were still there. The area is seriously dangerous. Please let me know what can be done to bring this to the attention of the city. Thank you!
Susan Evans

Editor’s Note: Send a letter with your 311 complaint number and the date of your call to Mayor Bloomberg at City Hall, New York, NY 10007 and ask for his help.


Preventing Killer Drivers
It is good that the New York Daily News is putting some pressure on lawmakers to address the flaws in existing laws about drivers who run over pedestrians or cyclists and get away with little or no punishment. I think that driving schools must emphasize the need for drivers to be mindful of cyclists. They need to learn that cyclists have rights on the roadway just as motorists do. Perhaps another way to accommodate cyclists is place a ban on the “Right on Red” rule. Motorists won’t try to squeeze around cyclists who are going straight and waiting for the green light.
Twalema Khonje

Editor’s Note: We agree that there needs to be more and better driver education. New York lags in the quantity of required driver education. On the other hand, you will be happy to learn that New York City is one of the few places in the country where right turns on red are banned.


Why doesn’t Mayor Bloomberg support the bill to ban car alarms? It doesn’t make sense. Car alarms are a huge quality of life issue and banning them will only make the city a more bearable place to live.

The Word on the Streets

Congratulations to Transportation Alternatives Magazine for being nominated for Utne Magazine’s 2003 Independent Press Award in the local/regional coverage category.
We encourage all readers to send us comments. E-mail info@transalt.org; mail to 115 W. 30th Street, Suite 1207, New York, NY 10001; fax 212-629-8334; or submit a comment through our Web site. We look forward to hearing from you!