In some respects New York City is different from the rest of America, but not where the fortification mentality is concerned, and the latest bit of anti-bike hysteria is focused on a man who (gasp) gave a kid a ride on the handlebars of a Citi Bike!
View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com.
Never mind that nowhere else on the planet would this be considered a big deal. Never mind a fully-laden Citi Bike goes about six miles per hour. Never mind this is about as dangerous as putting your kid in a shopping cart and wheeling him around Key Food while you buy groceries. Never mind your kid's just as likely to get hit by an SUV if she's in a stroller on the sidewalk.
No, doing something completely unremarkable like this in America calls for public shaming:
"The man riding a Citi Bike near Christopher Street obviously thought it was OK to take off with a young girl on the handlebars."
So wait, did he just nab a random kid off the street and take off with her on the handlebars? If so then maybe they've got a story. Otherwise, you know what? It is OK. Or at least it should be. Sure, technically it's not legal, but so what? (Oddly though, what is 100% legal is putting a child of any age in a taxi or car service without a child seat, which is about a million times more dangerous than this.) You know what else isn't technically legal? Driving your SUV onto the sidewalk and running down a kid in a stroller. But you can't get in trouble for that, because there's no "moral blameworthiness." You are, however, guilty of "moral blameworthiness" in this city and in this country the second you straddle a bike. And you can forget about using it to transport a kid.
And what about the smug douchebag who took the picture?
I can't blame him for not passing up an amusing Citi Bike-related photo-op. I can't even blame him for Tweeting it. However, once your picture of a young girl goes viral and you start mouthing off about it on the local news you're officially an asshole. Here's what he had to say about the act of raising a kid a few feet above the pavement and transporting her along Christopher Street by means of a slow-moving bicycle:
"That probably takes the cake for the worst decision of the week."
No, I think the worst decision of the week was taking a picture of a little girl and then standing there with a shit-eating grin on your face while the local news used it to fan the flames of anti-bike hysteria.
He's even bragging about it on Twitter:
Look mom I'm on TV! Who the fuck is Will Ehrich though? Lol http://t.co/QPL8q4WgddI'm sure your mommy's very proud of you.
— Frank Hendler (@BLASTOFFNYC) June 14, 2013
By the way, that SUV driver who ran over the kid in the stroller? That happend a week ago too, and I'd say that was a pretty shitty decision on the part of the driver--but not as bad as this, the worst decision of the week according to Frank Hendler, the Village Asshole.
I'm also going to guess Frank doesn't have any kids, since those are usually the people who are first to tell parents what they're doing wrong. He does, however, have a hairy weiner dog:
Walking a designer dog in the rain without a little doggie raincoat?!? That probably takes the cake for the worst decision of the week.
In any event, I'm going to let you go without a quiz this Friday, and I give you permission to knock off work immediately and go for a bike ride. Enjoy your weekend, ride safe, and if you let your child ride in the shopping cart, for Lob'ss sake make sure they wear a helment!!!
--Wildcat Rock Machine