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Silent But Deadly

June 20, 2011

I’m still waiting for whatever bike-lane-related hysteria is about to emerge from the office of Jim Walden and NBBL headquarters in advance of this week’s court hearing, but for now I wanted to point you to this June 8 Newsday story you may have missed, “Bicycle controversies sweep New York City.” (Subscription required.)  After explaining the threat posed to cyclists by suddenly opening car doors — a real danger that contributed to the death of cyclist Jasmine Herron last year and one that can be reduced by protected bike lanes — the article introduces bike lane non-expert Louise Hainline.

A threat to pedestrians crossing Louise Hainline’s street also is hard to anticipate.

“The thing about bikes is that they’re silent.  People with kids, with dogs, particularly the elderly, are startled by them coming down the street,” the Park Slope, Brooklyn resident said. “It’s kind of terrifying.”

In fact, bikes are so silent, so stealthy, that not a single one of the pedestrian deaths they have caused on Prospect Park West, its side streets, or elsewhere in Brooklyn this year or last has been entered into any kind of public record nor reported on by the local media.

You can be sure that this incident — which sent seven people, including two children, to the hospital — was preceded by a fair amount of noise, including the rumble of car engines, honking horns, and screeching tires.  It must have been kind of terrifying.

Another terrifying accident, in which an SUV destroyed the entrance to the Nevins Street 2/3, also involved the types of cars that make noise.  (The incident only occurred yesterday afternoon, so you can forgive Seniors for Safety for not releasing a statement about it as of this writing.  I’m sure they’re working on it.)

Hainline isn’t identified as a member of Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes until later in the Newsday piece, but when the group is introduced as one side in the “battle in the city’s bike lane wars,” here is how it’s described:

Community groups Seniors for Safety and Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, a group that opposes bike lanes, filed a lawsuit in March alleging the city distorted cycling statistics to justify the bike lane.

Emphasis mine.  This may be the first honest description of NBBL to ever make it to print.

  1. June 20, 2011 10:39 am

    >Community groups Seniors for Safety and Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes..

    They’re a community group, like Skull & Bones is a “community group”.

  2. Marcus permalink
    June 20, 2011 10:50 am

    Eleven people who testify against bike lanes = community group. Hundreds of seniors, kids, and others who support bike lanes = zealots.

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