I can only assume he found this smut at school, which concerns me, because learning about traffic safety from the City of New York is like learning about sex in the playground from the kid who saw a porno once. Indeed, it's not a stretch to call this sort of material "safety porn," for as with regular porn it simultaneously idealizes and degrades its subject--wide-eyed characters smiling as cars (or phalluses as the case may be) attack them from every direction.
Anyway, I almost couldn't bear to open it and was about to consign it straight to the shredder, but despite my better impulses I turned the page and saw this:
Okay, obviously the "correct" answer in the context of the booklet is the helmet, and when I confronted my son and tested him that's what he chose. I don't know where the hell he even picked that up, he sure as shit didn't learn it from me. Such is the power of cultural osmosis. Honestly, any good parent knows that the real correct answer is the banana:
Why? Think about it: kids get hungry. Really hungry. This is especially true when they're riding bikes. Kids bonk just like full-grown Freds do. So what are you going to do when yours is melting down miles from the nearest deli? Feed them their own helmet?
I don't think so.
Yet this is where we are now: when engaging in physical activity, a hunk of styrofoam is considered more important than a source of fuel.
In fact, in considering those choices, I'd put the helmet at the very bottom of the list and prioritize them thusly:
1) Banana: 'Cause you gotta eat;
2) Smartphone: In case of emergency, plus if you don't Instagram the ride it didn't happen;
3) The doll: emotional support;
4) The helmet: to put on the doll.
And yes, I admit that a large part of me is moved by the earnestness of this booklet, what with its adorable cartoon animals all doing the "right" thing. Still, as an adult steeped in cynicism and beaten down by experience, I can't help but find it infuriating that no matter how "safely" kids behave in this city the biggest danger they face every day is from maniacal motorists and the police who do everything they can to defend them. Consider this:
The driver, a 41-year-old, got out of her red Fiat and, according to Ballantine, screamed, "She ran a light!" Ballantine said that Davis did not run a light. (Davis, at this point, "wasn’t talking coherently," according to Ballantine. "She was trying to get up but she couldn’t.") Shortly thereafter, Ballantine said, a black car pulled up and men who she assumed were police got out with walkie-talkies, and she continued on her way to work.
The day of the crash, the NYPD told reporters that Davis was riding against traffic when the driver hit her, and the driver was not ticketed or charged. A department representative said this morning that investigators have amended their report to indicate that Davis was riding with traffic, and that they are in conversation with the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office about possible charges.
So basically the driver killed a cyclist, lied about what happened, and the police were like, "Well, that's good enough for us!" And that's how it works--which is why my booklet for children would look more like this:
By the way, as the person who coined the word salmon, I'm very annoyed to see it used in a headline like that. The whole point of the word was to mock the irritating fixie people riding towards me all the time, not as a technical term to use in connection with the victims of horrible deaths, regardless of which way they were riding. It's pretty distasteful to use a stupid slang bike blog term in this context. They might as well have added IMO FWIW while they were at it.
Still, I suppose I should be grateful that at least our propaganda doesn't try to scare kids away from bikes altogether, which is what they're attempting to do in Phoenix:
In the edition “Don’t Get Doored,” for example, a lad on the way to see his brother in the hospital (who was put there by not wearing a helmet, natch) smashes through a car window, lands on his head, and winds up with a weeping belly wound and a hand that looks like a broken rake. And that’s a tame scene compared to other stuff in the novels, which accompany each fracture and body-blow with Batmanesque noises like “KA-CHAM!,” “KA-SNAP!,” and “GA-GUSH!”
This has been making the rounds lately, but let the record show I mentioned it back in 2015, which I feel compelled to mention for the same reason I gratuitously remind you on a regular basis that I invented the term "bike salmon." Anyway, with images like these, which mode of transportation do you think the teenagers of Phoenix will choose once they reach driving age?
"I think I'm gonna be sick" indeed. They might as well skip the comics and go "Full Clockwork:"
Here's what he's watching:
Speaking of Amsterdam, they're now hiring a "Bike Mayor:"
The bike mayor will be a public representative, but not strictly a politician in the classic sense. Since they’ll technically be an employee of CycleSpace, an independent NGO, they won’t be elected by an entirely democratic process. The benefit of this system, however, is that they won’t be as constrained by the political system as elected officials are, and as such will be better able to represent a diversity of interests.
The bike mayor will be selected by a combination of public vote and an expert jury. Candidates who express their interest (via a short video) by May 1st will be put forward for the public vote. The public is able to weigh in until June 24, and while their opinion will hold influence, the final selection will ultimately be up to a jury of relevant parties including Amsterdam’s mayor and representatives from the city’s transit authorities and cycling groups.
"They won't be elected by an entirely democratic process," huh? Interesting. That's pretty much exactly how our president is elected, except the "diversity of interests" is basically the Fortune 500.
Maybe New York City should elect a bike mayor. I'd love to see a no-holds-barred campaign between this guy:
And this guy:
Spoil alert: Bill Cunningham wins after it's revealed that David Byrne owns a Dodge Charger that's registered in New Jersey under an assumed name.
Lastly, meet VELOSCHMITT:
It's got unhooked v-brakes just like the Walmart bike that almost knocked you over on the sidewalk:
It's also looks like a hot tub crossed with a coffin:
Though when in motion it looks kind of like a cartoon sperm:
I'm sure it will be a resounding success.