How to Write a New York Post Anti-Bike Screed
Say what you will about the Post’s factual accuracy, they can churn out the bikelash content with mechanical efficiency. Here’s how they turned bike-share — a concept already so mainstream in American cities that USA Today ran a trend piece on it — into chum for today’s edition.
1. Mention the French.
Forget London’s successful bike-share program. Pay no mind to the 60,000-bike system in Hangzhou, China. Ignore the bike-share programs in Washington, DC, Denver, and Minneapolis. Just say bike-sharing is “a French concept” and let the mental images of beret-wearing wine-sippers work their magic.
2. Claim that New Yorkers don’t bike.
Remember the New York Post story a few days ago when New York Post reporters counted more than 7,000 cyclists in one work week at the intersection of Prince and Lafayette? Hard to forget if you pay attention to how our tabloid press covers the bike beat. But easy to ignore if you write opinions for the New York Post.
3. Make stuff up about the public engagement process.
The Post states that bike-share plans are proceeding “with very little public input.” But it says right in the city’s request for proposals that the winning bidder will “develop all materials needed for public meetings, forums, and events and present those materials when requested by NYCDOT.” There’s nothing to present yet because the city hasn’t selected the winning bid.
4. Sow fear.
New York’s density makes it an ideal urban environment for bike-sharing to thrive, and the city is looking to launch a system that generates enough use to turn a profit. Few public transportation systems ever reach that threshold. So the Post imagines another way for the city to lose money from bike-sharing: lawsuits stemming from a horror show of buses “squashing” riders and riders “flattening” pedestrians. We checked with the folks at Greater Greater Washington and with the District Department of Transportation to see if anything like this has transpired in DC after the launch of Capital Bikeshare last year. The local bloggers told us nothing of the sort has ever happened, and DDOT confirmed.
5. Watch the pageviews climb.