Monday, January 9, 2017

If you want a title you'll have to subscribe to my premium service.

Rejoice, safe streets advocates of New York!  A crucial blow on the battle for Vision Zero has been struck!  Yes, on Manhattan's Upper East Side, the NYPD 19th Precinct has confiscated a shitload of ebikes:
Sure, this will do nothing to reduce all the injuries and deaths caused by drivers of motor vehicles, but it will probably make food delivery a little slower, and I'm quite sure Upper East Siders will use that additional wait time to reflect on the importance of street safety.

Yes, instead of targeting the people who maim and kill, it's good to see the NYPD punishing the people who really deserve it in the name of public safety:


Some workers, like those undocumented ones at the shadier joints, aren't getting a base wage. They get by only on tips earned. That might mean just $30 to $50 per day. They're only keeping a percentage of those tips, with the rest going to their employer and/or a shift manager. When tips are paid by credit card, the card provider is skimming 2-3% off the top in transaction fees before it even gets to the worker.

Workers are typically paying for their own bikes. Buying a decent bikes is an investment towards greater earnings potential. A lighter mechanical bike or an electric bike will get the worker to the destinations more quickly and with less effort. Like any bikes in NYC, the nicer ones get stolen with regularity. A big, clunky bike isn't going to get stolen as frequently, but that sort of bike doesn't get the worker to the destinations quickly either. 

On top of all that which cuts into the tips, you can bet the employer isn't providing healthcare. If they get injured while on a delivery run, they're out of work and not about to earn anything in the downtime.

Now you can add "NYPD confiscating their ebikes because some rich people find them annoying" to this considerable list of indignities.  Sure, this might seem unfair, but don't forget that America is a trickle-down society and when the system favors the wealthy we all benefit.  Consider Upper East Side resident and staunch anti-bike activist Woody Allen:

"None of the streets can accommodate a bike lane in a graceful way," Allen said, arguing that the DOT's plan to add bike lanes to Upper East Side crosstown streets is out of step with the community. "Every street has a good argument why it shouldn't have a lane."

If the NYPD were to inconvenience Allen by allowing delivery people on ebikes to run amok, or by jailing him for child molestation, he might stop making movies.  This would be a tremendous blow to our culture, which needs out-of-touch films that provoke critical thought such as "Why the fuck does this guy still bother?"  Also, every generation has its token nebbishy Jewish actor, and without Woody Allen employing them as proxies they'd have nothing to do in between making movies people actually want to see:


("Nobody's actually going to see me in this, are they?")

So rest assured the system's working as it should, and by continuing to penalize the most vulnerable road users we'll have this whole drivers-running-us-down-left-and-right thing licked in no time.

Meanwhile, in somewhat more promising news, the New York State Court of Appeals has ruled that cities can be held liable for failing to redesign dangerous streets:


The Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, ruled that New York City and other municipalities can be held liable for failing to redesign streets with a history of traffic injuries and reckless driving.

The ruling stems from a crash in 2004, when Louis Pascarella, driving “at least” 54 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone, struck 12-year-old Anthony Turturro as he rode a bike on Gerritsen Avenue. Pascarella later pled guilty to assault.

Holding cities responsible for failing to keep us safe on the roads we pay them to maintain?  That's un-American!  Of course, more than ever "un-American" is a good thing, and indeed some say this could be a "game-changer:"

“This decision is a game-changer,” says Steve Vaccaro, an attorney who represents traffic crash victims. “The court held that departments of transportation can be held liable for harm caused by speeding drivers, where the DOT fails to install traffic-calming measures even though it is aware of dangerous speeding, unless the DOT has specifically undertaken a study and determined that traffic calming is not required.”

At trial, Turturro’s attorneys presented evidence that in the years before the crash, residents asked the city to take measures to calm traffic on Gerritsen, which locals described as a “racetrack.”

This all sounds incredibly promising...until you consider that the city already pays hundreds of millions of (our) dollars a year already to settle suits against the NYPD, so what's shelling out a few more bucks for some traffic victims?

A civil trial jury awarded Turturro $20 million, finding the city 40 percent responsible for the crash.

Come on, 40% of $20 million is only $8 million!  Your elected officials would gladly pay that rather than face the wrath of neighborhood residents upset over losing a handful of parking spaces to a bike lane.  Plus, we all know that when people get hit by cars it's usually their own fault, and it's much easier to blame smartphones for all the ills of society:

Shoppers and commuters standing in line, people crossing busy streets, even cyclists and drivers whose eyes are on their phones instead of their surroundings.

Hey, he's wearing a helmet, I don't see the problem.

Anyway, while distracted driving is a huge problem I'd say distracted cycling is pretty much a non-issue, since unlike driving a car simply staying upright on a bicycle requires at least a basic level of attention.  I'd also say this is completely untrue:

Ms. Colier, a licensed clinical social worker, said, “The only difference between digital addiction and other addictions is that this is a socially condoned behavior.”

Really, the only difference between our nation's crippling opioid addiction and checking your Facebook a million times a day is that one of them is "socially condoned?"

Well okay then.


70 comments:

Ted K. said...

197. Some people take the line that modern man has too much power, too much control over nature; they argue for a more passive attitude on the part of the human race. At best these people are expressing themselves unclearly, because they fail to distinguish between power for LARGE ORGANIZATIONS and power for INDIVIDUALS and SMALL GROUPS. It is a mistake to argue for powerlessness and passivity, because people NEED power. Modern man as a collective entity—that is, the industrial system—has immense power over nature, and we (FC) regard this as evil. But modern INDIVIDUALS and SMALL GROUPS OF INDIVIDUALS have far less power than primitive man ever did. Generally speaking, the vast power of “modern man” over nature is exercised not by individuals or small groups but by large organizations. To the extent that the average modern INDIVIDUAL can wield the power of technology, he is permitted to do so only within narrow limits and only under the supervision and control of the system. (You need a license for everything and with the license come rules and regulations.) The individual has only those technological powers with which the system chooses to provide him. His PERSONAL power over nature is slight.

dnk said...

Fuck Ted - Podio!

Watch and Camera Guy said...

Podium?

Anonymous said...

Fourth??

leroy said...

Dear Ted K bot - the first step to getting better is acknowledging that you have a problem. Just saying.

Personally, I'd pay good money to be distracted from reality for the next four years.

Unfortunately, that ain't gonna happen.

No matter how much my dog says he'll help.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

I don't ride on ice.
And due to my atrocious eating habits, I don't think I'll be riding in my fleece tights either!

N train lived up to it's Never moniker.

vsk

Serial Retrogrouch said...

Hey... I'm a premium subscriber... where's my title?

Anonymous said...

Cognitive Dissonance is real, and it is a double-agent.

dop said...

I don't know....looking at your eyephone does make you constipated

Serial Retrogrouch said...

dop... that must be why laxatives are selling like hot cakes since 2008.

N/A said...

Woody Allen is a shit.

Anonymous said...

If you want my comments you will have to subscribe at my premium rate...

HAL 9000

Coline said...

Damn, I curse every cent that douche bag earned from me watching his worsening movies. His earlier ones were fun, especially the funny ones.

Il Pirata es Mort said...

How many lanes of traffic has Woody Allen jammed up with his film crews? Every street has a reason they don't want him there.

Freddy Murcks said...

This pretty much sums up my feelings about today's post. Be more funny!

dnk said...

Freddy Murcks --- as Edward the Penitent said: how can we laugh when our beds are burning?

Cat 404 said...

Allen is a self-licking_________.


Friday Quiz question.

bad boy of the north said...

illegal ebikes?what makes them illegal?only the nypd knows...

bbotn said...

wow!i didn't know ebikes were illegal in nyc.now I is edgumicated.

bieks said...

94% of people who watch Woody Allen movies do it to impress their artsy friends (it doesn't).

CommieCanuck said...

I think we should have these safe sites where Facebook users can meet and update their status without judgement, and at these sites they can be counselled and put onto a non-addictive version of Facebook which requires updates only once every 5 years: Linkedin. Just don't put it in my neighborhood, I live in a nice place.
How many of our best artists have we lost to Facebook, strung out in alleyways constantly changing their status from it's complicated to it's really complicated? Washed up on a beach in New Jersey with their fingers still in rigor around their iPhones? sad.

Woody Allen films have ironically turned into films, that when discussed in public, require a shot to the face with a sock full of manoowah. You know, like the one about the genius who has inappropriate extra-martial relationships with a younger woman.

STG said...

I'm glad the NYPD is cracking down on e-bikes. They are silent motorcycles that ride 40mph on bike paths and sidewalks. I have had several close calls with these while riding and on foot.

e-bikes need to be regulated as motorcycles, or governed to bicycle speeds. Motorcycles require skill to control, thats why we have a licensing system, and restrictions on horsepower for new riders. I've seen several delivery boys lose control on them, especially on downhills.

An additional hazard is created by the poor design of these bikes - most of them have overly long top tubes, and adjustable (and flexible) quill stems pointed vertically or backwards to compensate, causing tiller-like steering. Now add bags to the handlebar, poorly maintained and overloaded bicycle brakes, and a novice rider.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Twenty turd Scranus!

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Cops stealing the ebikes just eliminates the middle man, they can legally fence them too!

BikeSnobNYC said...

STG,

No doubt there are some irresponsible ebike users out there and cerainly some kind of regulation is reasonable. But the NYPD bragging about confiscating them and tagging it "Vision Zero" in a neighborhood that's had more than its fair share of motor vehicle mayhem is offensive.

--Wildcst Etc.

JLRB said...

STG - I too am not a huge fan of the eBikes, but I think the way the NYPD went about this, choosing to crack down on 40 pound menacing eBikes while not doing squat about unsafe automobile drivers with 2 ton weapons is the point made. However, I do appreciate your working the goofy tiller effect into your critique.

Sax Huret said...

That distracted cyclist is on something with a 52-42 and non-aero brake levers. There's even a crummy French bend in the fork. Not guilty.

JLRB said...

Shit - I missed WCRM's post while typing mine.

Nevermind

wishiwasmerckx said...

So over the holidays I was in "the city so nice they named it twice (TM)."

I had understood from this blog that NYC had outlawed e-bikes, so imagine my surprise at just how ubiquitous they actually are there.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

If e-bikes are outlawed only outlaws will have e-bikes!

Anonymous said...

Just watched the "Weiner" documentary (late to the game, I know). If he had been elected he would have served as our cycling savior!

First 10 minutes of the documentary he salmons a Citibike up a group (a murder?) of runners! Glorious!

Dooth said...

Proving that he's still au courant, the auteur Woody Allen's next project will be about the alley cat bike racing scene:
Graceful Rush.

Anonymous said...

Vision, (seeing), zero, (nowt), surely the NYPD is admitting total blindness...Not a surprise...

C3P0

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 5:07pm,

Ah yes, after he promised to "tear out the fucking bike lanes" if elected there was a backlash so he dug out some helmet from like 1989 and did a bunch of Citi Bike photo ops like that one.

--Wildcat Etc.

janinedm said...

It's not an overly long top stem you're seeing on ebikes, they're upright bicycles. Of all of the people and things I've been prodded into yelling at on NYC streets, it hasn't been the delivery guys. As I think about, they've probably earned the smallest share of my overall ire (I don't mind the smell of cigarette smoke).

Cat 404 said...

It's probably been said before but there's some terrible irony in the phrase "Vision Zero" since most people who use vehicles to run over peds and cyclists say they "never saw" the victim.

Drock said...

Dude I ride with was riding and looking at phone, crashed had his neck in a brace for a month, he's not learned cause he still attempts it

Shiftless One said...

I ride a rather older mountain bike and I never seem to use the smaller gears on the front but tend to just leave it on the king gear all the time, my more bike-knowledgable friend said this can lead to excessive chain arc that can prematurely wear the drivetrain. Is he right?

No Big Deal said...

Hey Shiftless One, your friend is right, use the queen or the knave gear too, or you're not riding with a full deck.

Anonymous said...

My mom is a premium subscriber. I'll just use her password.

David Oates said...

Great post, wildcat. Hoping you keep those claws sharp for the year ahead. We're going to need them.

Bogusboy said...

The Great Lob is still telling you to get the fuck out of NYC....

Die free... said...

Hey Cat,

Your big city ain't got a monopoly on this stuff. Little towns in little states hate pedestrians and cyclists too!


"The number of pedestrians and cyclists struck by Seacoast drivers is on the rise and local police say in most cases it's not the driver's fault..."

"Meanwhile, five Republicans have sponsored a bill to repeal the so-called hands-free law, which restricts the use of handheld devices while driving..."

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20170108/walking-disaster

BikeSnobNYC said...

Shiftless One,

Riding that way to be a major taboo, but now that wide-range, single-ring drivetrains are taking over it's pretty much the norm. Older drivetrains may not handle extremes in chainline as well as new ones and depending on your setup it may not be too happy being run that way but for the most part I'd file it under "stuff bike dorks worry too much about." If you're not losing the chain and it's not making lots of noise it's probably fine.

--Wildcat Etc.

PS: If you only ever use the one ring in the front maybe convert to a single-ring setup so your front ring is optimally positioned.

Some guy from upstate said...

It's not just NYC, under state law, e-bikes are considered to be motorized bicycles, like an old Schwinn with a Whizzer in it, which are not legal on public roads anywhere in the state. I still haven't figured out why e-bike makers have not added the extra equipment that would be necessary to fit e-bikes into the already existing categories for mopeds, other than that they are perfectly happy to sell you a $1500 bicycle you can't legally use (except to toodle around your private estate).

Lord of the Rings said...

The concept of having a single gear on the front of a MOUNTAIN bike is daft!

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
babble on said...

Huh. There's an unusual octogenarian here in Vancouver who is on his third e-bike now, and this one he curated himself cause the first two just didn't have quite the get-up-and-go he was looking for, bless his sweet-as-honey-pie, mad-as-a-hatter, turbo-charged little ol' heart. He bought the first fifteen or twenty years ago, when he moved to New Brunswick so that he could drive his (now) late wife down to see her sister in Manhattan regularly. He says an electric bike was "Hands down the fastest way to get around town while those two sisters were rabbiting on the way you gals always do." This is a man who has always been well ahead of his time. He was a computer programmer in the '70's, for goodness sake! He'd have given skyscraper cliff diving a go if he figured it would get him to where he wanted to be, so I'm inclined to believe him. Yep. Given how fast and loose he likes to ride his latest e-chariot these - days, rain, shine or this week's great sheets of ice not withstanding - you've gotta wonder if he had anything to do with that particular piece of bike banning legislation.

bieks said...

Where I live, street-legal ebikes have to cut off the power at 32km/h (20mph) - not 40mph, but still pretty excessive on a shared pathway. I understood the same 20 mph limit was the case in in Canada's thermal underpants although it no doubt varies wildly state by state. With all that extra weight, they probably rocket past woo-hoo speed on the down hills.

BeerDrivenCyclist said...

50th!!! Woohooo. Woody A is a dipshite, so who cares what his opinion is? Kind of like Meryl's opinion of Donny T... who cares. You are paid to be an actor/director/producer. Please leave the social commentary to others - just because you're famous for something doesn't result in your opinion being worth anything. Ms. Colier may be on to something there though. What if we replaced addiction substances with smartphones? Would that work? Hello Ms. Colier? Ms. Colier? The cartels could then switch to running smartphones across the border - although now that I think about it that may not be a good idea. It is far easier to wedge a couple of condoms of drugs in your bum than a smartphone....

Springtime for Hitler said...

Oh no, just when you thought you had heard the last of Hillary's e-mails along comes some GOP piece of toilet paper saying some more have turned up over at the State Dept and their just going to have to be investigated. And while the Goophers are at it, still time for Benghazi investigation #52, or 66, or 82, who can keep track?

Anonymous said...

I have decided to start voting with my wallet. I am no longer drinking kentucky bourbon, until Mitch McConnell is no longer senator there. Thank god for Jameson.

Elizabeth said...

Hey, e-bike user here. I live in Westchester and commute 15-20 miles to work in Manhattan. I absolutely rely on my e-bike. What, would you rather I clog your roads with my car, or take your spot on the subway? C'mon...

Just to point out, they don't go 40mph, not even close. E-bikes are governed to a top speed of 20mph, and I have seen very few "modded" to go faster. I average 15mph door-to-door on my e-bike; quite reasonable for NYC, and competitive with driving in rush hour.

Not to mention the mis-information and offensive speech about delivery "boys", racist assumptions about poorly maintained brakes, etc. The standard Chinese e-bike in NYC has hydraulic disc brakes that work better with less maintenance than any other bike brake I've ever seen. They're a few grams too heavy to be Fred brakes, but they do work really well.

The mechanics don't speak English, but they know their bikes really well. They will do all required maintenance, replace all necessary parts, and turn you around within an hour --- as opposed to the days required by other bike shops. This is possible because they service only one model of bike, and they keep all spare parts on hand.

Of course any vehicle can be poorly maintained. Why don't we read comments about the menace those "boys" from Queens driving cars with poorly maintained brakes? Ohh... maybe because only a total idiot would ride/drive without brakes. Or make such a ridiculous insinuation on a Blog forum...

Yes, e-bikes are silent, as are electric cars. Get used to it, transportation is going electric. Wouldn't you rather be passed by a silent, clean vehicle than a noisy truck belching diesel fumes in your face? I know I would. Anyway, that's why I have a loud bell and use it liberally (while still far off). Some pedestrians appreciated it, some douche bags give me sour looks. Hey, whatdyawant?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Lord of the Rings,

Why?

--Wildcat Etc.

N/A said...

Wildcat, what size wheels/tires are you running on the Husky Marin? You may have mentioned it previously, but I don't recall and can't seem to find mention of it. Have you gotten gnar in any snow with it?

I've been debating getting a full on fat bike, but I reckon I'd only get maybe 1-2 months of fun use out of it during the year at the most. And while it would allow me to ride when/where none of my other bikes could, and there'd be no overlap of function, that's a big nut for such limited use.
So, I thinks to myself, let's look at bikes in the "Plus" sizeway. The Marin Pine Mountain seems to be well into the specs that I like, the price is totally reasonable, and it doesn't look douchey. All good things. For the record, Marin would not have been on my radar at all if not for your bloggings with the pictures and the delightful ride reports and whatnot. I think it can run 650x3, which would probably be fat enough for me on the snowy stuff I'd want to ride on, and then I could slip some moderately-chubby 29's on for the rest of the year.

BikeSnobNYC said...

N/A,

Yes, it is 650b/27.5/whatever with 3" wide tires. It won't do what a full-on fat bike will in the snow but unless you're riding groomed trails all winter I don't see the point of having one anyway. (Contrary to popular belief even a fat bike won't let you ride through a foot of un-packed snow.) The "plus" size is certainly much happier in a few inches of snow than a "regular" 29er and you don't give up anything the rest of the year.

--Wildcat Etc.

N/A said...

I am just looking to putter around on a snowy path, not blaze trails or anything hardcore. So, it looks like you're confirming my line of thinking. Thanks for the reply WC.

blunchbelly said...

I enjoy this blog for the insight on every topic in the cosmos,but this talk of bikes gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Like drinking "real" eggnog and eating holiday cookies.

janinedm said...

I hate talking about politics here but the idea that celebrities should stay out of politics went out the window when a reality show host was elected POTUS. The idea that politics is or should be the domain of people who know what they're talking about went out the window when we elected a man who uses superlative adjectives and the phrase "you know" to cover up for his chronic lack of informed opinions. We are in uncharted lands of fukery.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Elizabeth, you may have the best road manners going but you are the exception and not the rule. That's a good distance for electric. My ride is 11 - 14 miles and the only reason I have not given in to getting an eBike is because I will go total sloth!! hahaha. Anyone riding anything open in this cold is to be commended.

The pizzaria I go to received flyers from the cops like 4 years ago they were handing out to all the merchants about these eBikes being "illegal". I hope they get their rightful place outside "The Shadows!".
I can not comment on Delivery Girls on eBikes as I have not come across any yet.

Cheers!

vsk

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Some guy from upstate said...

Here: http://www.nybc.net/help-win-the-use-of-e-bikes-on-nys-roads/
Yes, your e-bikes is not legal on public roads in NY. Yes, that is dumb. Contact your legislator.

JLRB said...

Looking down and seeing a Brompton bike between your legs sounds like something from The Third Policeman

JLRB said...

Oops - time warped to wrong day

Mr. Doom said...

The device paradigm is calling. You ought to upgrade the dilapidated MTB with wider/lighter hoops and a fashionable 1X drivetrain. Also no dropper post? You call yourself a bikesnob but are equipped with Sheldon Brown's second hand gear.


And btw, get a real fatbike, plus bikes are the decaf/nu-metal/middleschool kid of the bike world.

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Clark Bob said...

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Clark Bob said...

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Clark Bob said...

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Clark Bob said...

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