Drivers who kill people in New York rarely get in any trouble, and the Wall Street Journal reports we've actually got "one of the narrowest standards for conviction in the nation" when it comes to vehicular homicide and manslaughter:
In New York state and city, drivers are rarely charged criminally if they kill another person in a crash, according to data compiled by the state and analyzed by The Wall Street Journal. That is because New York's vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter statutes apply only to motorists who are drunk or on drugs—one of the narrowest standards for conviction in the nation, legal experts said.
So basically, New York is to shitty driving what Florida is to shooting people.
I wonder how the editors managed to sneak this report past Dorothy Rabinowitz, who knows the real threat comes not from drivers, but from cyclists:
Actually, I don't wonder how how they managed to sneak it past her at all. Just turn on some "Larry King Live" reruns and Rabinowitz lapses into an erotic reverie that couldn't be interrupted by a Mack truck. Done.
Also, another Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper is reporting something else that we already know, which is that the person driving your cab in New York City could very easily have killed somebody:
He probably doesn't feel too bad about it either--or at least this cabbie who killed a five year-old boy doesn't:
Gul told The Post on Saturday...that he doesn’t feel bad about the accident. “Actually, no, I’m not too much sad. Actually, I’m not this fault happen [sic],” he said.
Gul, who said he was back behind the wheel of his cab just two days later, has an active license and splits use of his cab with two other drivers.
I realize these are the sorts of awful articles that ruin your day, especially on a Monday, though hopefully the fact that the media is actually paying attention to this now is an indication that some sort of change is afoot--though I suspect that, come the spring, they'll be back to baiting cyclists again.
In the meantime, since drivers are pretty much free to hit us and then lie about it afterwards, increasing numbers of cyclists are riding with video cameras, and here's one that's integrated with a tail light:
The inventors have actually sent me one of these to try out, and once I set it up I'll share my experiences, though I hope I don't have the opportunity to to truly "test" it, if you know what I mean. Up until now I've never ridden with a camera attached to my bicycle, partially because I hate futzing with electronics while I'm riding, and partially because it depresses me that this is our only meager defense against shitty drivers, but the sad fact is that it's probably not a bad idea to arm yourself with one of these so I'll play around with this thing and see what happens.
In the meantime, the winter here has been relentless, and I've already burned most of what I own for heat and eaten my way through most of the household pets. (The cat was surprisingly delicious, especially with a side of the goldfish.) As far as recreational bicycling goes, ordinarily you can mitigate the cold somewhat by riding on trails that are protected from the wind, but for the fat bike-less among us they are more or less off the table thanks to all the snow:
(I bore right.)
Therefore I have been sticking with the roads, and while I'd rather be knocking around in the forests of suburbia when it's 20 degrees American at least they clear the roads here--unlike Portland, where I've learned they only plow main arterials, and where they don't salt due to groundwater contamination and environmental concerns.
(Fuck 'em, I say. Just kidding. I love all animals, especially on bagels.)
I may kid the Portlanders about freaking out over the snow, but the fact is there's not much point riding when the streets are completely iced over, so I don't blame them for staying in their homes and doing beard maintenance until the thaw. You're pretty much guaranteed to fall on your bike when it's really icy out, and an hour or two of turning the pedals and some Twitter bragging rights isn't worth waiting months for a bone to knit. Sure, you can buy studded tires, but why do that when you live in Portland? You'll use them about as often as you'll use a bikini in Riadh. (Or in Portland for that matter.) Really, you're probably better off going running:
(Via a reader.)
Or maybe you're not.
Or, take a short break from riding and engage in other seasonally appropriate forms of recreation, such as sledding--but be careful:
The man was not wearing a helmet. Portland Fire recommended that sledders wear helmets to protect themselves.
There is nothing funny about head injuries and I hope he's OK, but it is extremely depressing that you can't even have a sledding accident without the media reporting on your helment status.
In ten years all Americans will wear helments with 360-degree cameras at all times no matter what activity we're engaged in, I guarantee it.
By the way, where are all the fixie riders talking about how much control their drivetrain gives them in poor conditions? They can't all have defected to cyclocross bikes, have they?
I guess they have.