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Quote for the Day

January 3, 2011

Your job is to keep speaking reason while the madness runs its course. – Elly Blue, “The Year Ahead in Bikes,” Grist.org

Lots to agree with in Elly’s 2011 predictions.  If I were to add a more specific prediction to her observation that “local media is poised to pounce on bikes,” it would be to say that livable streets advocates need to brace themselves for 2011, especially when the weather gets warmer.  With what I think will be the biggest increase in cycling numbers since anyone started keeping track, and with lingering confusion over how to use bike lanes, it is all but inevitable a New York City cyclist will hit and injure a pedestrian this year.  Whether it’s the fault of a salmoning cyclist or a distracted pedestrian on a cellphone will be irrelevant.  So too will the fact that it will be statistical anomaly, at least according to the Safety in Numbers theory.

When it happens, expect the usual suspects from CBS2 and New York Post columnists to the Metro section of the New York Times, City Council members, and Marty Markowitz to use the story as a referendum on bike lanes.  Never mind the six-car pile up just down the street; bike haters will be licking their chops to exploit any velo-related accident that comes over the wire.  Someone could trip over a valve cap on a sidewalk and it would generate more media coverage–and outrage–than a school bus filled with nuns crashing on the West Side Highway.

Be prepared.  I do believe that in the end cooler heads and common sense will prevail.  With rising transit costs and higher gas prices already here or coming our way, how can they not?

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