Now That Citi Bike Is Live, Will All Cyclist Injuries Be Newsworthy?

Now that Citi Bike is live, the media are apparently paying close attention to traffic crashes that injure cyclists. So long as the cyclist is on a Citi Bike.

Both the Post and the Associated Press picked up the story of a cyclist who was hurt in a collision at Houston and MacDougal yesterday afternoon. NYPD says the cyclist ran a light and was struck by the driver of a livery SUV. The AP reports that the victim was thrown into the windshield and was hospitalized with “non-life-threatening” injuries.

Here’s the AP’s lede:

A rider has been struck by a SUV just three days after officials launched the nation’s largest bike-sharing program.

In a typical 72-hour stretch, dozens of cyclists are injured by motorists in NYC. In April alone, 288 cyclists and 904 pedestrians were injured by drivers, and 3,217 motor vehicle occupants were involved in collisions that were serious enough to cause injury. These crashes don’t make national news, and coverage in the local media is sporadic at best.

Nor are details offered pertaining to vehicle speed in this crash, which could have affected whether a collision occurred and was definitely a factor in the severity of the cyclist’s injuries. The AP does say that hundreds of cyclists are seriously hurt in NYC every year, but considering the context this factoid is offered only to sensationalize. There is no mention of engineering or enforcement improvements that could make streets safer.

In fact, there’s no attention-grabbing detail to this story — no gore, no famous people, nothing — except for the fact that the cyclist was riding a Citi Bike. The Post and the AP don’t even agree on the gender of the victim. But what difference does that make as long as they can make bike-share seem dangerous.