First, hear this, I mean, please, hear this — no one is more troubled than this long-time traffic safety advocate to learn from this paper’s story “Council To Move on Vision Zero’s Checklist Bill” (May 16-22 ) that pedestrian and cyclist deaths have spiked this year. But should the bicycle advocacy group Transportation Alternatives (TA) be the primary adviser on how to make the streets safer? Gotta say it, city bicycling is such a dangerous traveling mode.
And to qualify as an adviser, shouldn’t TA be more concerned that city cyclists habitually run red lights, ride the wrong way, fail to yield to pedestrians when making a turn — and ride on walkways? And instead of pointing out that bicycles rarely kill pedestrians — tell that to Donna Sturm’s family — shouldn’t it acknowledge that unreported injuries result from all of the above traffic-law breaking? And admit former police commissioner Ben Ward was right when he said “Lawless biking is scaring the public to death!”
Two-Wheeled AnarchyHow can the pro-bike forces call themselves safe-streets advocates when they ignore this two-wheeled street anarchy, now compounded by the electric scooter invasion? How can they not stress the need for on-site Yield to Pedestrian signs – to raise awareness of vehicle operators and also the police to this foremost cause of pedestrian injury and death. Repeat that please. And If only they’d demand street cameras that catch those who fail to yield as well as speeders. Then they’d qualify as primary advisors along with this longtime traffic safety activist that is.
And, of course, pedestrians must obey the laws of the road — Stand back! Wait for light! — and get ticketed if we don’t!
But the Department of Transportation (DOT) instead calls for redesigning the streets, which takes time and funding. But why this plan for more bike lane protection when bikers often ride the wrong way and speed through red lights at the cross streets? Crossing there is both stressful and risky. So is entering or leaving cars, taxis or delivery trucks parked on the outer lane. Plan to overcome these dangers instead.
Ah, if only the safe streets advisers would call for bike registration, license plates, accident insurance and a riding test. And yes,call for bikes to make a nice little sound for their safety and those sharing these high-density streets.
More Speed Cameras Vision Zero came about because parents devastated by their children’s traffic deaths demanded the city do something to stop the street carnage. And the mayor so thankfully listened and Vision Zero was born. It would have happened sooner if all traffic tragedies had mattered. But there is an age bias problem.
The media reports this past week that more speed cameras are thankfully going up around schools, but why only around schools? The governor may need reminding. “There is an old Italian saying that goes that there are two things in life that will never leave you, the eye of God and the love of a mother,” he said in his Mother’s Day message. “Today I send all my love to my mother, Matilda Raffo Cuomo, my family’s rock, and I wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers across this great state. To all the mothers in New York, once again, we thank you and are grateful for all that you do. I was lucky to celebrate Mother’s Day with my three wonderful daughters too.”
And he added: “Earlier today my mother joined me to expand camera speed zones in New York City. Every mother and parent wants to protect their children from harm’s way and this new bill will do just that by reducing traffic fatalities.”
But please use the word “tragedies,” governor. And consider that your mother wants speed cameras everywhere to also protect her adult son and adult granddaughters. Again, the cameras must also report those who fail to yield. That’s what mothers forever want most,their offspring’s safety and well being. And indeed they should be primary advisers on whatever will bring that about!