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In preparation of President Obama’s visit to New York a couple weeks ago, the police with no friends in the scheduling department on the force pulled the duty of driving up and down Houston Street, cutting locks, and carting the bikes away. Why? It seems that some genius military strategist believes that bikes could be used as improvised ‘pipe bombs.’ Fast forward one week, and look to Times Square on a busy theater night. Some jackass parks a car loaded with non-explosive fertilizer and fireworks on the sidewalk and evades police for nearly three days.
It sounds like one of terror suspects being interrogated in one of our secret camps offered some valuable intelligence, but the translator (who likely has never been to New York) confused ‘Houston St.” with “Time Square” and “bike” with “car.” Poor guy. I know the military is stretched thin for translators, but what happened to all those bikes?
Listen here to learn more about electric bikes.
If you’re into blood and gore, take look at Mediamatic’s Sur Place exhibition on Bike Crash Portraits. People with crushed faces after they get hit by cars or fly over the handlebars. A lot of them look like self-portraits taken in hospital bathroom mirrors. Each portrait has the brief story behind the crash. Brutal stuff.
Today Google unveiled their ‘Bike There’ option on Maps. I dropped my commute in and it sent me over the Brooklyn Bridge footpath at rush hour and through some Prospect Park walkways. While the idea of having a Bike There option is great for people who don’t know how to find their way around, I think the Maps option might cause problems for cyclists in New York. Specifically, we’ll find a lot more bikers throwing themselves off the Brooklyn Bridge after making an attempt to navigate the masses of walkers utilizing the shared footpath over the bridge’s roadway. Ultimately, of course, this might be a good thing as it will not only help relieve bike congestion on the bridge, and it also serves to underscore the need for a road-level bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge.
This never happens. An NYC messenger was reunited with his stolen bike after Tweeting that his ride had been stolen. Security footage proved useless and a campus of the neighborhood turned up nothing, but a contemporary and Twitter follower of the messenger saw the stolen bike outside a downtown deli. He called his buddy and ran over and “put a hand on the bike,” which as we all know, is akin to putting your jacket on a chair in a movie theater–it implies ownership. The messenger returned to be reunited with his one-of-a-kind orange bike, but the pair declined to enter the deli to look for the thief.
A New York judge has ruled that it’s lawful for NY Police to arrest Critical Mass participants who don’t apply for a parade permit. Cyclists will be allowed to ride in groups smaller than 50 riders without a permit, but if they want to ride through town in a group larger than that, they’ll need to wade through the bureaucracy of city hall. It’s a huge loss for cyclists. No more massive group rides in the city and one more hurdle for alley cat races.
The BikeSnobNYC argues that Critical Mass is moving New York backwards in terms of cyclists’ rights. He argues that we started with no regulations, and that thanks to Critical Mass, we’re losing those rights. The New York order essentially takes away your right to freely assemble (on a bike and then ride around).
Either way you look at it, one thing we have to look forward to are groups of 49 riders staged a few minutes apart rolling around town.
Portland’s $600 million plan to wind bike lanes through the entire city has been kicked off with a $20 million infusion from the city board. The plan passed unanimously. These aren’t your crappy, bike-lanes-painted-on-the-ground that never see maintenance and serve mostly as overflow parking for cabs; they’re going to be lanes that are segregated by curbs and boulevards. It’s amazing what the West Coast can accomplish with $20 million when they don’t have to use half of it to pay off mob-run construction unions.