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  1.  

    CheshireKitty

    I’m amazed that you would call licensing/registration/insurance “knee-jerk solutions.” Do you also feel motorists should not be regulated?

  2.  

    Joe R.

    Yes, but that just kind of underscores my point-namely it was the damage from the fall which killed Tarlov, not from the collision. Indeed, she could have had the same outcome being hit by a bike going 5 mph, or even colliding with someone walking 2 mph. The bike caused her to fall, but any one of a number of other things could have done likewise. Let’s see this for what it is-a freak occurrence. The survival rate for bike-ped collisions not involving a fall is probably close to 100%. Had this been me, I personally would have done my best to grab Tarlov as she was falling as I know the fall is what kills most peds in bike-ped collisions, but Marshall may not have been in a position to do so.

  3.  

    sbauman

    The argument regarding approach speed ignores the fact that velocity is a vector. Assuming a flat surface, the approach velocity was in the horizontal direction; the impact velocity was in the vertical direction. The approach velocity did not contribute to the impact velocity.

    The impact velocity is the result of a gravity in free fall from the height of the victim’s head. That’s between 12 and 13.3 mph from heights of 5 to 6 feet.

    The effect of the downward slope are minor. They permit the approach velocity to have a vertical vector that’s attenuated by the sine of the slope’s grade. The sine is roughly equal to the tangent for small angles. The tangent is equal to the grade, which is probably less than 1% in the area of concern.

    So, the rider’s speed contributed between 0 and 0.3 mph for approach speeds of 0 to 30 mph.

  4.  

    JudenChino

    God, I feel like a Palestinian. We kill one of theirs, and it’s the biggest media story. Whereas, they kill us all the time, and you have to beg, literally beg for media coverage.

    /To be clear, if the guy was reckless (which it sounds like he was) then he should be charged, tried and sentenced accordingly. I just wish all killed peds/bicyclists/car&van passengers were afforded the same degree of justice.

  5.  

    Joe R.

    I’m doing likewise (a bike cam-I don’t use a helmet) even though I rarely even see pedestrians the times I ride, let alone get to an intersection while someone is actually crossing. There’s no arguing with video footage.

    Yep, 72,000+ miles riding and the only thing I’ve hit has been mostly potholes, plus a handful of doors. I know enough to avoid both now. I haven’t fallen off my bike since 1996.

  6.  

    r

    But they still go too fast even if they are technically going under the posted limit. I’ve seen service vehicles go 15 or 20 mph when the park is “closed” to vehicles. (I know because I have a computer on my road bike and am passed by these vehicles even when I’m going 12 or 15 mph.)

    Service vehicles should stick to a strict 10 mph speed limit at all times. 5 mph in some spots is not unreasonable.

  7.  

    Reader

    Cars out of the park would mean the city could re-stripe things and change signs to reflect how the park is used WHEN IT’S A PARK and not a cut-through for taxis and town cars for a few hours each weekday morning and evening.

    That would go a long way toward lessening confusion about who goes where and how fast people should be riding bicycles.

  8.  

    Joe R.

    He could have slipped the GPS into his pocket after the collision, or even just threw it into a trash can or sewer inlet. Truth is I hope the police have the GPS in their possession, and they determine he was at or under the 25 mph speed limit. Assuming then he had the light, as eyewitnesses said, it puts to bed any notion that traffic laws were violated here (other than by the pedestrians crossing against the light). Sure, he should have exercised due care and slowed down somewhat, but by the same standards perhaps the pedestrians crossing against the light should have bothered to look for approaching traffic. Apparently they didn’t, and that was a major factor in this tragedy.

  9.  

    Joe R.

    This death in the park has made me admit that I detest those reckless cyclists as much as I detest careless drivers, even as I recognize the latter cause greater harm on the whole.

    I agree but let’s not confuse “fast” and “reckless”. You can have fast, safe cyclists and slower, reckless ones. As I pointed out to Nicole in my lengthy post above, a cyclist traveling at even 8 mph can cause a fatal injury given the right set of circumstances. And there are indeed situations where a speed of only 8 mph might be too fast for the conditions. On the flip side, there are plenty of situations where high speeds are perfectly safe, meaning at worst they place only the cyclist in danger, not anyone else. It’s all a matter of context. I’ve descended a steep hill with a strong tailwind once at 65 mph. This was on a rural 2 lane highway in NJ posted for 50 or 55 mph. There were no pedestrians, no motor vehicles, really nothing to endanger anyone other than myself. I wouldn’t ride at such speeds anywhere in NYC regardless of the time of day because it’s not appropriate (except maybe on expressways but bikes aren’t allowed there anyway). It’s all a matter of context. There are times riding in NYC when 45 mph is safe and just keeping up with traffic. There are other times when 10 mph is excessively fast. A good cyclist should know the difference. Apparently Marshall didn’t. High-speed riding is a legitimate use of the park but it should be restricted to between 10 PM and maybe 6 or 7 AM (and the park should remain open all night to facilitate this).

  10.  

    BBnet3000

    Its nice to know that if God forbid I ever end up hitting one of the pedestrians who jaywalk out in front of me on my commute, Paul Steely White will be among the first to condemn me to the Post before waiting for the results of the investigation.

    I’m getting a 1080p camera for my helmet soon. There’s just no way I’m going to be at the mercy of anybody’s word or any emotionally charged thinking when it comes to myself or worse, anybody else being injured. I say this as someone who has ridden for years and many thousands of miles without a serious crash (the only crash I have had in NYC was with another cyclist, was his fault, and we both rode away fine).

  11.  

    lop

    Maybe the NYPDs broken windows should be used to go after cops who break windows. The guy should get a ticket for breaking that window and not wearing s seatbelt.

  12.  

    SheRidesABike

    Of course they should be able to pass If they were mostly slow, and yielded to traffic already in the bike lane like they are supposed to, it would be a nonissue, like so many other traffic realities in NYC. But it’s the exception for drivers to do that cautiously, in my experience, unless there’s been a drastic change in driver behavior there since last fall (the last time I used that part of the park on a regular basis each week). For me . . . the answer is cars out of the park, period, and solving the problem of preventing speed demon cyclists the rest of the time except for early morning hours.

    This death in the park has made me admit that I detest those reckless cyclists as much as I detest careless drivers, even as I recognize the latter cause greater harm on the whole.

  13.  

    BBnet3000

    In my experience in both Central and Prospect Parks only services vehicles like the Conservancy vehicles and garbage trucks go slower than the speed limit.

  14.  

    Joe R.

    I need to point out one thing which you should mention in your article regarding speeds. Yes, it’s true some cyclists can reach or exceed 30 mph. However, and you may not be aware of this, the damage potential in collisions is measured by accelerations, which in turn are caused by momentum change. In the case of a very heavy object like a motor vehicle striking a pedestrian, the momentum change of the pedestrian is from near zero to nearly 100% the speed of the vehicle. In the case of two objects of similar mass, like a cyclist and a pedestrian, both suffer a similar momentum change roughly equal to half their closing speeds. In other words, if a cyclist going 30 mph strikes a pedestrian who we can assume is going 0 mph then the momentum change for the pedestrian is the same as what they would suffer being struck by a motor vehicle at ~15 mph. It’s generally accepted that pedestrian injury rates are low for motor vehicle speeds under 20 mph. The same is true for ped-bike collisions where the bike is going under 40 mph. In short, the reason Tarlov died ( http://www.myfoxny.com/story/26591558/struck-by-cyclist-dies ) was because the bike caused her to fall, and she hit her head in such a way as to cause traumatic head injury. She didn’t die due to multiple blunt organ trauma, as would have been the case if the death were due to collisional momentum changes. Indeed, I find it difficult to think of any normal scenario involving bikes and pedestrians where this would be the case. Perhaps it might be a factor in Alpine descents involving 60-70 mph speeds, but not any speeds which can be reached anywhere in NYC. I should also note in a very high-speed bike-ped collision the cyclist would be quite likely to die also. What happened here was a collision which would be survivable 99.99% of the time. It wasn’t in this case not due to speed, but due to a 1 in 10,000 chance of the fall causing Tarlov to hit her head in such a way as to cause brain trauma. The same thing could have happened if an 8 mph cyclist caused her to be pushed into a sharp object, like maybe something projecting from a traffic light pole.

    For the reasons given above, you’re also way off-base with your assertion that police should confiscate electric bikes. No, they should be legalized, with the provision that they can go no faster than 25 or 30 mph-a speed which is no more dangerous to pedestrians than motor vehicles going 15 to 20 mph, and far less dangerous than motor vehicles going the legal 30 mph speed limit.

    Finally, that 5000 pound figure given by Sam Schwartz is way off base. That implies a 30G+ collision force, or basically an acceleration from 0 to ~15 mph in about 0.02 seconds. The corresponding distance would be 3 inches. A bike hitting a pedestrian at 30 mph doesn’t have a blunt face to cause such a rapid acceleration. Sam is quoting what might happen if a pedestrian were struck by a very heavy object with a very hard front end which would cause such a rapid acceleration. In layman’s terms, his data are relevant to motor vehicles, not to bicycles. I sincerely hope the Post will redact this incorrect information.

  15.  

    Hilda

    I really do not understand why the speed limit in the park is 25 mph. This is the same speed as major arterials, but it is still a park. There should be no cars in the park (It’s a park!), but until that happens, the cars should be limited to 10-15 mph.

  16.  

    walks bikes drives

    You have to plug the GPS into a computer to upload it to Strava. He never got the chance. NYPD is in possession of the bike, and assuming, the GPS.

  17.  

    walks bikes drives

    Nope, to hold him to the same standard, NYPD would have to announce to the world “No criminality suspected.”

  18.  

    walks bikes drives

    The SUV that hit Chambers was confiscated, but I don’t know for how long. I was there when they towed it away.

  19.  

    Nicole Gelinas

    Yes, they do come into the bike lane, and they legally shouldn’t. However, I wonder if the cars/trucks *slowly* intruding into the bike lane when it is safe to do isn’t better than them all backing up behind a slow horse and causing everyone more problems. Don’t know the answer, just thinking …

  20.  

    walks bikes drives

    It is possible that he was not legally in the wrong in this case. If he 1) was not breaking the 25mph speed limit 2) had the green light and 3) she had a red light/dont wall signal, then she was technically breaking the law and causing the accident. In the argument that he should have slowed down, he might have done just that, slowing compared to his original speed, which still could have been under the speed limit. If he swerved and slowed around a group of jaywalkers, causing him to collide with another jaywalker who may have just stepped onto his path, or assumed he was going to take another path and guessed wrong, this could have been the accident. Remember, it is not the speed of the impact that resulted in her traumatic injury, it was the way she fell. You can cause traumatic brain injury by one pedestrian bumping into another pedestrian, causing one to fall and hit their head on the concrete/asphalt.

    I am not arguing the rider was not at fault. I am simply arguing that not one of us has the facts, and therefore the right, to determine who was at fault. We are basing our interpretations of what happened on the New York Post, and we all know they never sensationalize anything or get anything wrong.

    If any of my students made any of the same arguments as many below, I would fail them for it for incomplete reasoning. I understand having beliefs, and biased ideas of who was wrong, but don’t present it as truth if you don’t know or have the capacity to know the truth.

    There is only one fact we can all get out of this: it was a tragic situation.

  21.  

    Notherposter

    A study in Britain claims incidence of serious injury to pedestrians from car-pedestrian impact is almost the same as bike-pedestrian impact.

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3986796.ece

    Some posters posit that cyclists can selectively obey traffic laws because they inherently cause lesser injuries than drivers. It appears that the kinetic energy is still beyond what the human body can safely absorb. From my time playing contact sports, given similar structure, the advantage in collisions usually goes to the party with the higher kinetic energy.

    If the cyclist can avoid the collision, it is their responsibility to do so, just as it is for a driver who sees an impending collision with a cyclist or pedestrian. To argue otherwise is irresponsible. Yelling or honking is not a good substitute for slowing down.

  22.  

    Maggie

    A sincere question. Does NYPD confiscate motorists’ cars and trucks as evidence when they’re in fatal collisions? Thinking of the collision that killed 61-year-old Jean Chambers this summer, or the collision that killed a 58-year-old woman on the UES three weeks ago. Were those cars confiscated as evidence, and if not, why not? Do we get info on how fast the cabs were traveling that killed 13-year-old Valding Duran, or 22-year-old Kelly Gordon?

    I’m not trying to play gotcha with these, or to minimize the awful tragedy in Central Park. Just troubled by whether we’re (mostly NYPD and some tabloid writers) taking seriously the 1300 pedestrians and cyclists injured and 18 killed, across the city in July alone. This is so much death and carnage that we need to root out – along with making the parks safe for everybody.

  23.  

    PW

    emphasis!

  24.  

    PW

    Agree. Sadly, the tabloids’ emphas is typically on sensationalism and page views, which doesn’t help anyone in the long run. Would be nice if the story could have asked those questions, rather than focusing on the weather conditions.

  25.  

    SheRidesABike

    Yes, on that southeast corner things are somewhat slower at times, but I avoid it if I can because too many drivers try to cut you off in the bike lane to pass the carriages, etc. and they are pretty aggressive about it.

  26.  

    Joe R.

    That was my take away as well. The double standard here is amazing. I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy ended up with serious jail time while motorists regularly get off scott-free killing people, even if there is a mound of evidence they were operating their vehicles recklessly.

    One of the Post articles noted Marshall didn’t upload his GPS data to Strava for the ride when he hit Tarlov. Did it ever occur to them than maybe his GPS was damaged in the collision?

  27.  

    JohnDoe

    If we want to hold bicyclists to the same standard as drivers, shouldn’t the police let Marshall off with maybe a ticket? To bring serious charges against him and ignore all the other, more serious driver-pedestrian collisions is simply ridiculous.

  28.  

    Nicole Gelinas

    Another question is whether the vans have seatbelts for everyone on these vans and whether the police require all passengers to wear them. There should be an emphasis on harm reduction here.

  29.  

    qrt145

    Thanks for replying. Yes, in some parts of the loop, most notably the southeast, where it is narrowest, horse-drawn carriages and pedicabs do act as traffic calming. It definitely depends on location. The West Drive is wider, so people drive faster in my experience. There are two car lanes, so even with horses etc. there’s normally at least one open lane.

  30.  

    dr2chase

    Nice clear message from the NYPD — if you hit-and-run, it’s too much trouble to track you down, even if private citizens track the car down for you. If you stay with the victim, prepare for felony charges and having your stuff grabbed as “evidence”.

  31.  

    Robert Wright

    My experience was northbound in the northern bit of the park. There was definitely speeding going on there.

  32.  

    Robert Wright

    A couple of months ago, I had a rare day off during the week and rode up to Harlem Hill in the afternoon rush hour. It was the first time I’d ridden in Central Park with cars around. I have a bike computer, was riding around 20mph and had plenty of motorists pass me very quickly. Few seemed to be making any attempt to adhere to the speed limit.

  33.  

    Nicole Gelinas

    In my experience, most (not all) cars and trucks driving through the southernmost side of the park during the morning hours (when open to MV traffic) go slowly because they are navigating around horses, pedicabs, etc. I ride less than 15mph on average around the loop and I can easily pass cars that are waiting to pass horse carriages, pedi-cabs, etc., without exerting myself.

    I also just don’t see a lot of cars in the southern side of park even during “opening” hours, anyway, probably because it just isn’t worth it for them.

    However, I am not there all the time, obviously, and if people have had other experiences, I don’t question them. I have certainly seen speeders, too.

    And I think drivers do go faster in the mid & northern parts of the park, where there are fewer pedestrians and almost no horses / pedicabs.

    Thank you for your feedback and for reading my article.

  34.  

    Reader

    Agree. There’s an overall improvement, but many drivers still speed largely because traffic volumes are so low that they can open up on some of the longer stretches in the park. Either way, I can’t imagine NYPD ticketing drivers for going 28 or 35 in a 25.

  35.  

    Press watch

    Note the Daily News report on the NYPD crash that tragically took the life of Officer Williams. “Banks said police were examining whether heavy early morning showers were to blame for the tragic crash but would not elaborate on a possible cause, citing the ongoing investigation.”

    Rain happens. Quite frequently, in fact. So was the driver operating the van in a manner appropriate for the conditions? The ways in which our press excuses driver behavior or ignores it altogether is astounding. In the tabloids, pedestrians die because they’re staring at their phones, cyclists dies because they’re reckless, but drivers die because of the weather.

  36.  

    Jeff

    That was before the re-striping. The new lane configuration has actually resulted in much better motorist behavior, and a more pleasant experience for all. Don’t get me wrong, cars don’t belong in the park any more than joggers and cyclists belong on the BQE, but it’s definitely an improvement.

  37.  

    Reader

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/03/03/nypds-selective-approach-to-selective-enforcement-in-central-park/

    “NYPD is still operating under a clear double-standard when it comes to enforcing traffic laws in Central Park. As shown in this video from the Transportation Alternatives East Side Committee, motorists on the park’s Loop Drive not only exceed the 25-mph speed limit as a matter of course, they do so in the company of police officers themselves.”

  38.  

    Joe R.

    The cyclist in this case was most likely going at or under the 25 mph speed limit. Moreover, my idea here is that even 8 mph cyclists and pedestrians don’t mix all that well, so let’s grade separate crossings so they don’t have to. Remember with the current silly scheme of signalized crossings each group has to wait about half the time. People in general don’t like to wait, so they will often cross or ride against the light. Grade separation reduces waiting to zero for everyone all the time, and keeps everyone safe all the time. Of course, no traffic signals will mean you can’t give cyclists tickets for running red lights. I’m sure this aspect of grade separation would bother you, but the point of safety measures should be to keep everyone safe, not to punish people. The best safety measures don’t require resorting to punitive measures to get people to change their inherent behavior.

  39.  

    David Zion

    They should put speed pumps in the park to cause cyclists to slow down. I see them rarely stopping at red lights.

  40.  

    Joe R.

    First off, I should point out that eyewitnesses said Tarlov was crossing against the light. That means Marshall had the green. Given the data he uploaded to Strava over the last year or so, it’s also highly unlikely he was over the 25 mph speed limit. Therefore, he broke no laws, at least not explicitly. If he’s guilty of anything, it’s failure to exercise due care. If we’re going to rake Marshall over the coals for this, then I’m fine with it provided we do the same for every pedestrian crossing against the light who causes a cyclist or motorist to crash. I’m tired of double standards. It’s not OK for cyclists to fly through crowded crosswalks when they have the red light. And neither is it OK for pedestrians to cross against the light, or midblock, with their heads buried in their phones without even a cursory glance to see if it’s clear. These are both examples of reckless behavior but only one type seems to attract the attention of the media. Perhaps this is because only a minority of people in this city ride bikes regularly, while everyone walks. That still doesn’t make it OK any more than it was OK to have a double standard for black people which still exists even to this day.

    Second, lots of people ride bikes at least occasionally for recreation. That’s a large enough group to prevent what you mentioned from occurring. I suggest all those who want to come down hard on cyclists refocus their energy on motor vehicles. This event is a tragedy, no doubt about it. However, it was caused by one asshole cyclist who probably should have slowed down somewhat even if he had the light. Are we ready to impose all sorts of draconian measures on motorists every time someone is killed by a motor vehicle on our streets (a near daily occurrence, by the way)? No, we aren’t. Sadly, we often don’t even punish the individual motorist involved. A good start to better safety on our streets might be to first identify the larger problem and it isn’t bicycles. A second might be to actually start enforcing laws which allow punishment when a motorist kills or seriously injures someone (and to take away their license for good when that occurs).

    People have all kinds of misperceptions about the relative danger of things. It doesn’t matter if some people might perceive bikes as more dangerous than motor vehicles. They’re a minority for one thing. For another, we don’t make laws based on people’s perceptions of what is dangerous, or at least we shouldn’t. Rather, we make laws based on information. The statistics don’t justify regulating cyclists any more than they’re already regulated. If anything, they point the other way-cyclists should legally be allowed to treat red lights and stop signs as yields, just as pedestrians can now do (defacto legal for peds as police almost never give jaywalking tickets).

    Remember well a direct side effect of more bicycle regulation, assuming cyclist numbers don’t decline to nearly zero, which I’m sure they will, is increased contact of cyclists and police. In general, police should have as little contact as possible with the citizenry. Each time a cop stops someone, there is the potential for something to go drastically wrong. Would you be OK if the police misinterpreted a cyclist going for his/her ID during a traffic stop as a danger and killed him/her? You’ll see a lot of that if we regulate bicycles more, although I suppose cyclist deaths won’t really matter to you because your posts make them see less than human to you.

    Remember statistically you’re less likely to die being hit by a bike than being struck by lightning. Should we make laws prohibiting people from going out during thunderstorms on the notion such laws might save one or two people a year, if that? No, we shouldn’t. There will always be some percentage of deaths from freak occurrences. People trip and die walking, but most people think walking is inherently safe. Occasionally, someone is struck by a bicycle and dies because they happened to fall in such a way as to cause serious head injuries. Yes, the bicycle caused the fall, but the fall could just as easily have occurred tripping on a tree branch or slipping on an icy sidewalk. In all cases, this was a rare, freak occurrence. Bikes inherently don’t have enough momentum to reliably kill people as motor vehicles do. Hit a person with a bike at 30 mph. 99.99% of the time the person will live. 0.01% of the time they will hit their head on something and die. Hit a person with a motor vehicle at 30 mph and they will die about half the time. It’s clear to me what the bigger threat is even if it isn’t to you. Let’s not use this tragedy as an excuse to overreact.

  41.  

    SheRidesABike

    Agreed. During open hours, virtually all the drivers on the park roads drive close to 25 — if they’re going slower, they aren’t going much slower, and most go over.

  42.  

    qrt145

    Ms. Gelinas, I know you often read this page, so let me ask you: where did you get the idea that in Central Park “most drivers go closer to 15 mph because it’s the only responsible speed in so busy an environment”? It doesn’t reflect my experience, unless you are talking only about cars being driven during “car-free” hours, which means maintenance and police vehicles. Yes, during car-free hours they do drive slowly and even with hazard lights blinking (although they typically don’t stop at red lights, which is fine in my opinion). But during the hours open to cars, people drive at least at 25 mph. I go through the park several times a week on my bike, typically at 15 mph (I have a speedometer), and cars just zoom past me. Many of them are speeding, no doubt.

  43.  

    Joe R.

    If it’s not 100% necessary for safety then it’s punishment. The speeds and weights of bikes make them inherently safe enough to be operated without licensing. A few fatalities per decade is statistically on the order of the danger posed by lightning strikes. And as Iop pointed out, licensing, insurance, and registration hasn’t done much to encourage good motorist behavior, has it? About 200 people die in NYC alone each year at the hands of motorists.

  44.  

    Crusty

    A driver (car or bike) should be traveling slowly enough to avoid hitting anyone or anything. Cars slow down in traffic- pedestrian or auto- and bikes are required to do so as well.

  45.  

    qrt145

    The Poe is strong with Andrea Peyser (Post link #3). Hadn’t it been published on the Post, I wouldn’t have been able to tell whether it was satire or not.

  46.  

    Joe R.

    A few places tried registration for bikes. Even that proved to be unworkable, so there’s no way licensing would be feasible. For one thing, where do you put the license plate? For another, the general idea behind getting people on bikes is so there’s one less car on the road. If you have to jump through as many hoops to ride a bike as to drive a car, most people will just drive. All licensing/insurance/registration schemes would do is bring the number of cyclists to near zero, with a proportional increase in the number of motor vehicles. Is that really what you want?

    A bicycle at 30 mph (a speed by the way which few cyclists can reach, let alone maintain for any length of time) is equivalent to a motor vehicle going about 15 mph in terms of momentum changes. It’s generally accepted that the threshold for serious pedestrian injuries by motor vehicles starts at 20 mph (or 40 mph for bikes). In short, the danger posed by bikes doesn’t justify a draconian registration/licensing/insurance scheme. Governments only resort to such things for tasks which are dangerous unless done by a properly trained operator. I don’t argue that some cyclists need to learn to be more considerate and careful when riding, but those are a small minority. Moreover, if we get larger numbers of people riding, this will tend to have a calming effect on these aggressive cyclists.

    Police need to see moving violations to issue a ticket. I’ve already called police once or twice to report motor vehicles which nearly hit me running red lights. Even with a license number, there’s nothing they can do. In fact, an officer I talked to said she can’t even do anything if she witnesses a moving violation while off duty. The idea that citizens can report licensed bikes running red lights is frequently mentioned when discussing bike licensing. They can’t. And it’s a good thing they can’t because what’s to stop a citizen who just hates bikes from saying bicycle license number such and such ran a red light? If you want to live in that kind of a world where citizens can get other citizens arrested even for unfounded violations then I might suggest North Korea. I know I don’t.

    Finally, traffic signals are designed for cars, not pedestrians or bikes. I don’t have time to write a lengthy post on why they make things worse for cyclists/peds, but the idea that either should have to religiously obey traffic signals makes no sense on many levels. Sure, when people are in the crosswalk with the walk signal a cyclist must yield to them. I fully support fining any cyclist (or perhaps sending them to a safety class in lieu of a fine) who doesn’t grant right-of-way to peds or motor vehicles with the green before passing a red light. However, once the intersection is clear they should then be able to proceed, just as pedestrians can now look and cross against the light without concern of a fine.

  47.  

    Brad Aaron

  48.  

    qrt145

    As mindful of the law as motorists? LMFAO! You mean those motorists who break the law constantly every single day by speeding, failing to yield, failing to signal, etc…? Motorists who are almost impossible to strip of their licenses? Motorists who, even when unlicensed, drive anyway and get nothing more than a slap on the wrist when caught (which is extremely rare)? Motorists who kill pedestrians every other day and in most cases don’t get as much as a ticket for it? Motorists whose carnage is largely ignored by the media?

    If getting a cycling license would get “us cyclists” to be ignored like that, I’m all for it!

  49.  

    Get Real

    “Bikes need to begin slowing down about halfway down the block, before they get to the intersection, just like cars slow down. They can then wait patiently for the light to change, just like cars. If they are going to make turns, just like cars they have to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.”
    This is too funny. You do realize that cars kill 200-300 pedestrians every year in NYC. Cyclists have killed less than 5 in the pass 10 years. There is a big difference between what people should/need/have to do, and who gets punished and how – when people don’t follow the rules. While we’re at, let’s add NYPD needs to do their job more effectively around traffic violence. Or Wall streeters have to be more ethical in their actions. What a world this would be…

  50.  

    dr2chase

    I disagree almost completely. Bikes don’t “need” to wait for the light to change — Idaho stop works in Idaho and in other places. Bicycles do need to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, but because they are so much skinnier than cars “yielding” can look quite different; with experience, it is possible to ride a bicycle through crossing pedestrians (though pedestrians deserve safety, pedestrians crossing against the light get somewhat less respect, and yes I will — you need to do the crossing-boats trick with each pedestrian in the crosswalk as you approach). There’s no need whatsoever to obey the exact same rules as car drivers (as if drivers obeyed the law, even though the traffic laws were written for them); every day I ride on mixed-use-paths not even as wide as a modern single road lane, with bidirectional bike and pedestrian traffic, yet carnage does not result.

    Most bicyclists already are licensed to drive cars. Insurance doesn’t really make much sense; though this one idiot nearly killed this poor woman, for insurance purposes (i.e., statistically, in aggregate) we are much safer than automobiles, and insurance companies do not exclude bicycle liability from renters and homeowners policies — again, for many of us (I don’t know how common renters insurance is — we always had it) we are already covered.

    There are several ways that bicycles are unlike cars that make them safer. First, they weigh far less. I ride a cargo bike, at its heaviest load ever its gross vehicle weight was only one quarter that of the lightest car I have ever owned. Second, bicycles are far slower than cars. My lifetime-fastest-ever bicycle speed would be considered obstructing traffic on an interstate or many rural roads, and the fastest speed I attain in daily commuting (25mph) would be regarded as an slow speed limit by most car drivers. My usual speed is between 15 and 20, lower than the limit in school speed zones. Third, we are far skinnier and (because of our low speeds and two wheels) more maneuverable; it is relatively easy for us to decide to perform a right turn at the last minute, or to hop on or off a sidewalk — we can dodge obstacles. Fourth, in general we can see and hear better than most drivers. There’s no messy fogged windshield, no roof pillars obstructing our view, no noisy engine, no windows to keep the sound out, no stereo to mask what sounds do creep in past the windows. We’re (generally) as tall as if we were standing, not sitting, and our heads are far forward on our vehicles. What this means in practice is that I hear cars coming around corners when it is impossible to see them; I spot pedestrians on an unlit MUP from the reflective bits on their shoes or the retroreflection from their dogs eyeballs; I can call out to pedestrians and vice-versa to communicate presence and intent.

    It is, however, a good idea to start coasting towards a red light or stop from well far back. Not only does it increase safety, it also reduces wear and tear on brakes and gives your legs a minor rest.