Okay, so this past Monday in Brooklyn a driver (or, as the press called her, "a car") steered her car onto the sidewalk and ran over a 4 year-old boy, who incredibly survived with only minor injuries:
Naturally everybody rejoiced that the child was all right, the driver was not charged, and the press and pretty much everyone else (except, I'm sure, the kid's mom) seemed happy to write it off as just another "oopsie."
But alas, drivers in this city lust for the blood of children, and this thirst was not slaked, so yesterday in the Bronx a hit-and-run driver (or, as the press called him, "a car"), backed INTO a restaurant and killed a 7 year-old child:
The driver was subsequently charged, but only because he took off afterwards:
But witnesses chased Oduro on foot and managed to flag down a pair of Traffic Enforcement Agents who were stopped at a red light nearby. The TEA cops pulled Oduro over and took him into custody; he was subsequently charged with multiple counts of Leaving the Scene of an Accident.
Had he simply stayed put and explained that he'd confused the gas pedal and the brake they'd have let him drive home, guaranteed.
In any case, it seems fairly clear to me we've got a bit of a problem in this town. Furthermore, this is not an unusual week, and indeed motor vehicle "accidents" are the leading cause of non-illness-related childhood death in New York City:
This is why our mayor, Bill de Blasio, campaigned on the whole "Vision Zero" concept. It's also why he has boldly declared the following:
"We have an epidemic and must do all we can to make our streets more forgiving"
Oh, wait, sorry, that was the mother of a child who was killed in the crosswalk by a taxi driver. I haven't heard a peep out of Bill "Vision Zero" de Blasio about the recent spate of drivers leaving the road in search of victims--though he did get to meet the "Queen of Funk" this week:
Look, I have nothing against Ch-ch-chaka...Chaka...Chaka Khan, but at least pretend "Vision Zero" was something more than a catchy campaign slogan. Say something controversial, like, I dunno, "Kids shouldn't be getting run over on the sidewalk or in restaurants." Because things are not going very well:First heard @Chakakhan in No Nukes film & was hooked. Met the Queen of Funk @celebratebklyn last night & am in awe. pic.twitter.com/HB7ISMDxxB— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) June 5, 2015
And that's to say nothing of the shitty press, who are too busy chasing the Killer Fred to treat this like the bloodbath it really is.
So what are parents to do? Well, since nobody seems to give a shit, all we can really do is try to teach our kids just how dangerous drivers are. I mean sure, it's not going to help when some scumbag drives an SUV into a McDonald's while they're tucking into a Happy Meal, but at least maybe knowing their enemy will give them a fighting chance in a crosswalk or when they're old enough to head out solo on their bikes.
At the very least, as a "culture," we need to start learning how to understand real danger instead of filling kids up with paranoid bullshit. For example, my kid has a Winnie the Pooh book, and in it there's some scary fear-mongering story about how you're not supposed to talk to strangers. Really?!? This is New York City! The whole point of living here is that you're surrounded by strangers, many of whom you can actually learn something from if you engage with them responsibly. Meanwhile, here's the reality of child abductions:
115 "stereotypical" kidnappings? Nationally? Not like that's okay, but it sounds like strangers are the least of our problems, and you've got the most to fear from your own family.
That's why I say fuck this "stranger danger" bullshit. I'm teaching my kids the number one thing they should be afraid of is drivers. DRIVERS!!! They're the ones who are out to get you. And it would be nice if Disney and these other child mindfucking companies would follow suit. I mean, where's the Winnie the Poo story about the hit-and-run driver plowing through Christopher Robin's treehouse and taking out that pathetic sad-sack Eeyore?
(It was bound to happen.)
Come on, the ending writes itself:
("We were just looking for Hundred Acre Woods Outlet Mall and confused the gas and the brake.")
Plus, by teaching your kids that drivers are out to get them, you're automatically protecting them from abductors as well, because if someone's going to abduct your kid I guarantee they're going to use a motor vehicle to do it:
That's why you've heard of a "rape van," but you've never heard of a "rape bakfiets:"
Either way, while I'm guessing there have been no formal studies, I suspect your child is probably more likely to get run over by a pedophile than molested by one.
If anything, teaching your kids how to interact with strangers might actually save them one day. This is why I figure if I teach my kids that the biggest threats to their well-being are 1) Drivers and 2) Religion then I've got most of my bases covered:
From a religious standpoint, said Lawrence Schiffman, a professor of Judaic studies at New York University, the Talmud does not specifically forbid a rabbi from appearing naked before his disciples.
Oh, okay, good to know everything was kosher when he was HOT-TUBBING NAKED WITH KIDS.
And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right that's nice, and if you're wrong you'll see dogs on bikes.
Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and be sure to talk to a stranger this weekend.
--Wildcat Rock Machine
1) After killing a cyclist, a Michigan woman was banned from using her cellphone for two years.
(An insouciant Kerry uses his cellphone with abandon.)
--Riding a bicycle at 71
--Riding a bicycle during "sensitive negotiations"
--Wearing "one of those weird-looking, pointed, bicycle-delivery guy helmets"
--All of the above
3) The next generation of smart helme(n)ts proves that human evolution is the ongoing process of burying our heads ever further in our own asses.
4) What's with the holes?
--The tires are airless tires so parents don't have to inflate them
--The tires whistle when the bicycle reaches a certain speed
--They're wear indicators
--They're "speed holes"
5) Of course Alberto Salazar was working with Lance Armstrong.
--A fat bike-specific bike pump
--A mountain bike-specific vaporizer
--A singlespeed-specific potato gun
--All of the above
7) What does Greg LeMond think the UCI should use?
--"Something about this high"
***Special Freak Bike-Themed Bonus Video!***