Now, though, the most dangerous thing you can do in 21st century New York is attempt to cross the streets, because our intersections are designed to kill pedestrians:
It turns out that being in the crosswalk can be a very dangerous place. WNYC has analyzed the last four years of traffic crash data in New York and found that the most common location for pedestrians to die is in a crosswalk, with the light. That's when turning vehicles are supposed to yield. When they don't, it can be deadly.
Basically, the way it works is that the light turns green, and then the drivers and pedestrians are both supposed to go at the same time--but the turning drivers are supposed to yield to the pedestrians, you know, just because. Who the fuck thought this system was a good idea? This is why, despite Internet rants about suicidal jaywalkers ("jaywalking" of course being a construct created by The Man in order to keep us down), the best way to get run over is crossing exactly when and how you're supposed to:
As for the second-best way, "crossing where there is no signal or crosswalk," keep in mind that in many circumstances that is perfectly legal too.
But now things are finally going to change, thanks to something called "Vision Zero," and part of this bold new initiative involves reducing the default speed limit in New York City to 25mph. Unfortunately, to nobody's surprise, the NYPD have made it pretty clear they're not going to enforce it:
Thomas Chan, chief of the NYPD’s Transportation Bureau, said cops would focus on real speedsters rather than drivers going 1 mph over the new limit after it takes effect Nov. 7.
“This is going to be all about discretion,” he said. “We hope that we don’t have to issue the summonses, but . . . the officers, the NYPD will be prepared to enforce the new speed limit.”
So yeah, drivers, basically continue doing what you've already been doing, which is whatever the hell you want.
But don't worry, cyclists will still be ticketed:
Officials also said the city has cracked down on reckless bicycling, as cyclist fatalities have doubled this year and two pedestrians have been killed by bikes.
“We’re very disheartened with what’s happened on the bicyclist front,” said Polly Trottenberg, commissioner of the city Department of Transportation.
More than 4,300 bicyclists have been hit with summonses this year, for violations like riding on the sidewalk and riding the wrong way.
Wow. Two pedestrians have been killed by bikes? I'm pretty sure at least five pedestrians have been killed by drivers in the last week.
Fortunately for nobody, there have been tremendous innovations in the field of penalizing cyclists, and the most recent great leap forward has been arbitrarily penalizing them for riding safely while they're breaking no laws:
Brian McQuillen was riding a Citi Bike down Fifth Avenue near 42nd Street yesterday afternoon when a policeman ordered him and two other cyclists to pull over. The officer told them they were guilty of biking on the left side of the street, which in New York City, is not a crime.
"The officer said there had been a lot of cycling accidents recently, and that he was doing this for my safety," McQuillen says. "My safety? And you're telling me to ride in the bus-only lane?"
This is an unusually hearty "fuck you" to cyclists even by NYPD standards, since any seasoned New York City cyclist knows it's usually much safer to ride on the left side of a one-way street. The reason for this is that you're less likely to get doored there, since all cars have drivers but not all cars have passengers. (Though you should still beware of right-hand drive cars driven by foppish college professors.)
Now though you can apparently get a ticket for riding on the left side, at least until they decide to start ticketing you for riding on the right side, and naturally the middle of the street will be totally off-limits, and eventually anybody with any sense will conclude, "Fuck that, I'm leasing a Hyundai."
So I'm asking, please, "Bicycing" magazine, for the love of [insert deity of your choice], would you please retract that fucking award already?
Meanwhile, the auto industry is very bitter, because despite their best marketing efforts these so-called "millennials" don't wanna buy cars:
In 2009, Ford brought its new supermini, the Fiesta, over from Europe in a brave attempt to attract the attention of young Americans. It passed out 100 of the cars to influential bloggers for a free six-month test-drive, with just one condition: document your experience online, whether you love the Fiesta or hate it.
I have only one question for the Ford Motor Company, which is WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T I GET A CAR???
Needless to say, appealing to a bunch of bloggers didn't work, and those goddamn ingrates still won't buy:
Don’t blame Ford. The company is trying to solve a puzzle that’s bewildering every automaker in America: How do you sell cars to Millennials (a k a Generation Y)? The fact is, today’s young people simply don’t drive like their predecessors did. In 2010, adults between the ages of 21 and 34 bought just 27 percent of all new vehicles sold in America, down from the peak of 38 percent in 1985. Miles driven are down, too. Even the proportion of teenagers with a license fell, by 28 percent, between 1998 and 2008.
You can imagine the heated discussions in those boardrooms. "We singlehandedly created the concept of jaywalking to clear the streets for cars, we cleared entire neighborhoods to make way for expressways, it's virtually impossible to get in trouble for running somebody down and killing them, thanks to all this new technology you can basically be brain dead now and still be able to drive...I mean WHAT MORE DO THEY WANT FROM US FOR FUCK'S SAKE???"
As for the reason millennials don't want cars, there are plenty of theories: crippling student loans, increasing tendency to remain in urban centers, the rise of car sharing...but everybody knows the real reason is Mikael Colville-Andersen, who with a bold tweet recently laid claim to the entire concept of blogging about urban cycling:
When I started Copenhagenize in '07, I was a lone voice in the urban cycling desert. Now, each day, I rejoice in the sound of the chorusNow that's audacity.
— Mikael (@copenhagenize) November 3, 2014
First of all, everybody knows that the first modern urban cycling advocate in the world was David Byrne:
("I was not owning a car before you were even born.")
Secondly, I'm pretty sure that in 2007 there was already a lot going on in the field of blogging about urban cycling. I mean, sure, my blog didn't exist until 2007, but Streetsblog started in 2006, BikePortland started in 2005, and according to someone on Twitter the Transportation Alternatives website has been around since 1996. 1996! It still took like 15 minutes to download a single pornographic image in 1996. In fact, that's all the Internet was in 1996--porn, Sheldon Brown, and the Transportation Alternatives website.
I'm also tempted to say there were people advocating for urban cycling even before the Internet, but I'll refrain from doing so until I see some hard scientific evidence.
So sure, Mikael Colville-Andersen invented urban cycling advocacy. But there's a more important question facing humanity now, and it is this:
Who invented the World's Fastest-Drying Dress Shirt?
Well, I'm pleased to announce that I've found an answer, and it's TAHAANGA, that's who!
Nice shirt and all, but what's up with fucking Hee Haw the Barista?
Nice hat. Wonder how fast it dries.