On Older Views and Bike Safety My Story

| 17 Aug 2015 | 02:12

    Old people’s views matter but aren’t heard because many lack cyberspace which so rules the world - and the polls. Most elders want statesmen/stateswomen-like leaders, not fast-talking egotistical reality-show biz types. And Donald Trump’s view on “making America great again” is unlikely to mean when civil discourse was the rule not the exception, and wisdom accrued from years of experience was often heeded. And the women’s movement rebelled against females being inordinately judged by their appearance, which had better be youthful and even sex object-related. Most lamentably, these so basic goals lost favor, and despite major workplace achievements, women’s sex-object/youthful look has become almost a mandate.

    Ah, to make America great, every wannabee president should strongly denounce such demeaning images. The oldest candidates should challenge the ageism aimed to discredit their campaigns. Hillary Clinton should start by going gray - or white, like her husband, and make overcoming ageism a civil rights issue. And not only for women, men increasingly dye their hair and hide the bald - along with their age. Even more unnatural, they worry about the decline of physical performance. Indeed, males may be the most oppressed gender.

    And even as the population ages, candidates get high marks for fleetness of foot and speech. Style over content is ever more dominant. (Incidentally, the first city Disability Pride Parade got little media coverage, which a Daily News editorial thankfully called a “Disability Shame.” While one may need to skip to its back or editorial pages to read or see what’s fit to print, unlike the paper of record, it reports on what I’ve long called crimes of traffic and traffic tragedies.)

    Speaking of disabilities, how many Catholics can not make the steps of the new non-accessible church to which they’re now assigned?

    As for unused longtime experience, my “trail-blazing work on pedestrian safety” (Rep. Carolyn Maloney) is an arch example. Maybe it’s because it also strongly opposes bicyclists’ habitual disregard for the laws of the road, and government’s relative unconcern. Former councilmembers Bob Dryfoos, Andrew Eristoff, Carol Greitzer and Charles Millard were notable exceptions. But City Hall continues its all-out support for bicycling; evidently believing government’s first duty, to protect public safety and strictly enforce the laws that ensure it, doesn’t apply to bicycling. And very big taxpayer dollars continue to support bicycling, but bicyclists pay nothing to bring private wheels into a high density city with great public transit.

    Incidentally, for decades I’ve railed against motorists’ failure to yield when turning into a crosswalk, the most deadly crime of traffic to pedestrians. I’ve long pushed for a much lower speed limit – all this and more long before Mayor DeBlasio’s most needed Vision Zero. But again that governmental Vision slights bicycling “crimes of traffic.” So do most media.

    This ubiquitous traffic safety threat is again raised here because of Councilmember Ben Kallos’ press release: “We are hosting a Bicycle Safety Forum on August 20th at 7PM. Location is Stanly Isaacs Neighborhood Center at 415 E. 93rd Street. Reports will be given on Education, Training, and Enforcement and speakers will include representatives from DOT, 19th Precinct, Bike New York and Transportation Alternatives.”

    Because DOT (Department of Transportation) along with Transportation Alternatives have adamantly resisted non-commercial bike-licensing, here’s to 19th Precinct police reminding the Kallos forum that “If bikes had license plates the hit-run bicyclist who recently seriously injured a woman at 86th and First, would likely be apprehended.” A recent pro-licensing piece by Coalition against Rogue Riders head Jack Brown, should be distributed; along with Mickey Kramer’s Our Town piece. Susan Siskind’s N.Y. Alliance for Pedestrian Safety arguments should be heard. So should mine, although I’m hardly nimble of foot or of speech.

    And for many (maybe the New York majority), those who need “the education and training in bicycle safety” are those elected or appointed to protect public safety.

    But the concerned must show up, speak out, and write - and keep believing it can be done if enough of us try and that “ nothing ventured…” Etctera. Etctera,