Fact Checking the New York Post
The New York Post’s Jennifer Fermino hops in her wayback machine to pen an attack on one of Brooklyn’s oldest bike routes, which she claims are causing problems for bus drivers:
The bike lanes — between 23rd and Dean streets — leave little room to avoid opened car doors or bikes that come whizzing out of nowhere, Davis said.
“Nine times out of 10, you can swerve around, but here, there’s nowhere to go,” he said.
Some of the lanes are protected — meaning they are sectioned off from regular traffic — while others are what are known as “shared paths.”
FACT CHECK: There are no protected bike lanes on 5th Avenue between 23rd and Dean streets in Brooklyn. Instead, from 23rd Street to Carroll Street there is a class 2 bike lane, which, in fact, gives bus drivers plenty of room to avoid opened car doors. From Carroll to Dean streets 5th Avenue has painted sharrows, which create no difference to the fundamental geometry of the street. Complaining about the space taken up by sharrows is like saying your apartment is smaller ever since you repainted the living room.
I always find it amusing how the worst attacks on bike lanes actually make the case for their necessity. To wit: If the 5th Avenue bike route was actually “sectioned off from regular traffic,” bus drivers wouldn’t have to worry about bikes “whizzing out of nowhere.” Then again, is it too much to ask bus drivers to keep an eye out for cyclists on one of Brooklyn’s most heavily trafficked–and oldest–bike routes?
So take a look at that photo. Is the problem that the man in the bright red jacket riding next to a painted bicycle symbol is taking the bus driver by surprise? Or is it simply that of all of the obstacles slowing down buses on 5th Avenue cyclists are the easiest target for Post writers? Fifth Avenue is indeed a “skinny thoroughfare,” but it seems as if in Fermino’s rush to trash Bloomberg she’s concluded that skinny road users are the problem.