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    Easily double digit numbers in this city ride bikes at least a few times a year.

    City DOH surveys give a bit under 25% of adults saying they rode at least once in the past year, less than half of those say they rode at least several times a month.

    I’d be surprised if a majority even tried pot.

    Pretty close actually.

    18-25: 52.7%
    26+: 46%


    Joe R.

    Sorry, but that wouldn’t be a winning platform. We have the numbers on our side which show cyclists don’t pose any significant threat to the general public. Just roll out those numbers. It’ll be the proverbial rope which our opponent will hang themselves with as they try to defend their position.

    That said, why do we continue to let these anti-bike demagogues have a major voice in our discourse? Like global warming deniers, they should promptly be ridiculed and silenced, by force if necessary. People are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts. When someone running for a major public offices plays fast and loose with the facts to justify their positions, they need to be held to account. Someone repeatedly overstating the dangers of cyclists should be charged with spreading false information. Even if only a civil case can be bought before them it’ll send the message that you must back up what you say with facts.



    Here’s the list of Bronx largest employers. As the BPs have little power and are really just ceremonial positions, he can spend his time dialing for dollars to fund a Bronx Citibike expansion:


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    Unless you don’t have the numbers, in which case you’re asking to be squashed when the authorities decide they’ve had enough and finally put their foot down.


    Joe R.

    I could probably write an entire book if I wrote about everything that article got wrong. Amazing that we still think it’s good policy to cater to the tiny minority who choose to drive into Manhattan.


    Kevin Love

    “The extent to which placards shape perspective is hard to overstate.”

    Is there any other country in the world where there is a city with this kind of placard system? I have been many places, and never encountered this anywhere else.


    Joe R.

    My calculations assume a free-flow condition. Obviously traffic congestion will reduce average speeds. In fact, that’s the reason why the average speed is 8.2 mph instead of something higher. The cause is vehicle congestion, but that will exist so long as no steps are taken to limit the number of vehicles entering Manhattan. That’s why the Post’s assertions are so off-base. Even if you removed bike lanes and pedestrian plazas, the extra space would quickly fill up with more cars, and you’re back to square one. If anything, the Post’s piece is an argument in favor of congestion pricing (or even outright bans of certain types of vehicles, like private automobiles).


    Kevin Love

    Yes, I was thinking that, but if I wrote about everything disturbing in that article I would be writing until midnight. :)


    Kevin Love

    They were illegal protests. Another example would be the recent legalization of marijuana in many states. Think that would have happened if everyone had carefully obeyed the ban on marijuana?

    Ditto for the sit-ins and other protests against Jim Crow laws.

    Conclusion: An effective way of changing unjust laws is for large numbers of people to openly defy them.



    If only we could go back to the days before bike lanes, when delivery trucks never double parked. /s


    Joe R.

    Fewer people use pot than ride a bike. Almost everyone I know has ridden a bike at some point in their lives. I’d be surprised if a majority even tried pot. The number who smoke it regularly is probably well down in the single digits. Employers often do random drug tests. It’s very hard to remain employed if you regularly smoke pot. Despite these low numbers, we’ve succeeded in getting recreation pot use legalized in several states. I predict it’ll be legalized in all 50 states by the next Presidential election. And same-sex marriage has already made considerable headway despite well under 10% of the population being homosexual (and an even smaller percentage desiring marriage).

    The point is cyclists easily have the numbers compared to other groups which have had favorable legislation passed. The problem here is the small number of very vocal bike haters. We’ve often let these people dominate community board meeting, we’ve let them dominate legislative sessions, few have been willing to question their “facts”. Why is that? We made headway with all the other issues not solely due to numbers, but because we shined a light on the opponent’s dubious claims. We showed recreational pot use was mostly harmless, or at least no more dangerous than smoking. We showed same-sex marriage harms absolutely nothing. We showed Jim Crow laws are a vestige of slavery. We need to silence the bike haters for good. They’ve put ideas in other people’s heads who otherwise might not have a strong opinion one way or another. A pedestrian who might have had a few encounters with red-light running cyclists might just chalk it up to yet another low-level urban nuisance, like garbage in the street. But once they hear someone in a position of authority castigating cyclists, they become radicalized against them also. So let’s put these bike haters to task. If we can’t reeducate them then let’s make sure they’re seen as what they are, namely fringe lunatics who don’t speak for most people. For too long they’ve dominated the dialogue on cyclists.


    Patrick Miner

    ““If it’s true,” he said, “you are going to see some serious road rage!””

    In light of “Pizzagate”, this is an interesting prospect.


    Joe R.

    What if no pedestrians are around to see it? That’s frequently the case at the places and times I ride. Also, I think you give way too much credit to how much people see. Unless they’re crossing the street, the vast majority of pedestrians aren’t aware of what’s going on at an intersection. Often their heads are buried in their phones. Even when crossing the street, a disconcertingly large number of people don’t pay attention.

    Your idea that we’re going to magically get more and better infrastructure by obeying laws which not only don’t make sense, but make things highly unpleasant, even dangerous, for us is fundamentally flawed. This has been pointed out to you dozens of times by dozens of different people. We tried to appease Hitler. How well did that work out?

    Education is our best tool. If someone sees us going through a red light and makes a comment, maybe stopping for a minute and briefly educating them on why might help. If someone doesn’t ride a bike they may not understand why it’s safer to get ahead of car traffic, how much energy and time frequent stops cost, how lights are timed for car speeds (and therefore law-abiding cyclists might hit reds every two blocks), etc. These are things we need to educate people about.

    We also need to say in no uncertain terms that passing red lights is only acceptable if you don’t usurp someone else’s legal right-of-way. That’s really what causes the problems. Do you think you would have all these complaints about red-light running cyclists if none of them came close to crossing pedestrians? Most people mind their own business and don’t care what someone else does, at least until the other person’s actions cause them problems.

    Finally, whether you agree with it or not, there is a need in this city for a lot more greenway type non-stop bike infrastructure. If cyclists could do 90% or more of a trip on such infrastructure, you would see a lot less boorish behavior on regular streets. It would also send the message that cyclists have a legitimate place in the transportation food chain when you build expensive infrastructure designed just for them.



    Also, bike lanes do not force trucks to double-park. A lack of loading zones (or people illegally blocking loading zones) does that, bike lane or no bike lane.



    Nothing, but the point is that it also had nothing to do with cyclists keeping their noses obsessively clean.



    You will note from my thread above, progressive light performance falls below purely random firings at fairly low occupancy rates. Moreover, if a lane is not available, the occupancy rate rises in proportionately.



    The average speed can be as low as 0 mph for progressive traffic signals on one-way streets. It depends on how full the block ahead is, when the first traffic light turns green. If there are cars in the block ahead, cars can go only as far as the last car in the block ahead. They must wait until the second light turns green. Suppose all the blocks are fully occupied, then the none of the cars waiting for that first light can proceed until there is movement in the second block. If third block is also filled, then neither of the first two blocks can move until the third block moves. If all the block are filled, nothing moves, hence 0 mph.

    If it is assumed that the lights are timed for velocity V and all blocks have the same occupancy, R, from 0 to 1, then it can be shown that the speed for a given occupancy is
    Also, the average speed over the entire occupancy range is: V((ln 4) – 1) or 0.386V.

    For the 20 mph example, the average speed is 7.7 mph, which isn’t as good as the pure random firing of 8.9 mph. In order to achieve that 8.9 mph average, occupancy has to be below 39%.



    “Stop de Kindermoord” and the die-ins in The Netherlands

    What did running red lights have to do with that success?



    One of the more insidious aspects of this hit piece is how it weaves truth together with falsehoods:

    “The goal of the jammed traffic is to shift as many drivers as possible to public transit or bicycles.”

    Yes, shifting drivers to public transit or bicycles *is* among the city’s goals, but no, they’re not trying to do so by jamming up traffic. First of all, people opting against driving and choosing other modes is good for everyone, INCLUDING drivers because (hello) it means less traffic. And bad traffic in fact ties up buses, endangers cyclists and pedestrians, creates unnecessary pollution, and slows emergency responders, so suggesting the city is creating it intentionally is not only ignorant but absurd. And do we really have to point out that bus and bike lanes do not exist primarily to tie up traffic, but rather to make biking and taking the bus better?

    This piece is spreading misinformation to stoke anger among people who choose to drive and to reinforce the notion that the city is obligated to accommodate that choice at all costs. That’s not how it works, especially in a town where so few people drive on a regular basis.


    Kevin Love

    I will repeat my previous assertion: The number of minority groups that have achieved their goals by following your recommended tactics is precisely zero. Your proposals have a 100% track record of failure.

    From a specifically cycling point of view, what has brought success was protest campaigns such as “Stop de Kindermoord” and the die-ins in The Netherlands. I prefer to benchmark success, not failure. See:


    Kevin Love

    What I personally find most offensive about the article is the Aunt Sally bigotry that holds that people like me are not “real” people and our traffic is not “real” traffic. So we have statements from an anonymous (of course) NYPD source such as:

    “The city streets are being engineered to create traffic congestion, to slow traffic down, to favor bikers and pedestrians”

    Earth to NYPD: Cyclists and pedestrians are traffic. We exist. We are real people, like it or not.

    Or look at their list of “grievances” that includes things like:

    “Protected bike lanes on major avenues that eat up a traffic lane and force trucks to double park.”

    Planet Earth calling: Bike lanes are traffic lanes. We are traffic. We exist. We are real people.

    Or consider this bigoted statement: “They’re purposefully cutting down on the number of vehicles coming into the city by cutting down the space for vehicles.”

    Planet earth calling: Bicycles are vehicles. We are real people using real vehicles to really get around.



    The practical end result of this would most likely mean we have to remove traffic signals on at least minor cross streets

    NYCDOT standards don’t allow painted crosswalks when you have two lanes of traffic in the same direction without some form of traffic control – stop sign, traffic light. Avenues have more than one lane of traffic.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    Forty-four percent is a huge sector of the population. Furthermore, that doesn’t actually reflect the number of people who have tried pot; it reflects the number of people who are willing to say to a stranger that they have tried pot. No matter what the number is in such a poll, the actual amount is sure to be far higher.

    Anyway, the applicable parallels for the preferable tactic of bicyclists following the law are smaller interactions, such as what people experience at work. An employee who demonstrates respect for the boss’s rules and shows that he/she is a team player will often get indulgences that would not have come to a more combative employee.

    We as bicyclists are not operating from a position of strength; we do not have the numbers. So we have no choice but to play the game in order to increase our perceived legitimacy. We currently have a bit of a seat at the table, with a few good Council members (Reynoso, Rodriguez) willing to go to bat for us. But these guys are consciously bucking the majority, a role which they accept because they believe in the issue.

    If we want more politicians to back bike-related initiatives, if we want a pro-bike agenda to be a core concern of the majority of the City Council instead of just of two or three courageous Council members, we have to make it easy for them. But, as long as these politicians hear from their constiutents mainly complaints about bicyclists, we’ll never achieve the move into the mainstream that would benefit us so much. And every red-light-run has the potential to generate X number of complaints; that’s why that behaviour is unstrategic.

    Anyone who underestimates the depth of the contempt in which we bicyclists are held by the general public is living in a fantasy world. We in New York can sneer at the angry irrational types who supported Trump; but we’re eventually going to have our own local analogue, as some demagogue will run for mayor on the platform of getting rid of bike lanes, and will tap into this well of vitriol. (I am glad that Anthony “Rip Out Your Fucking Bike Lanes” Weiner self-destructed, because he would have been the guy.)

    We still have the tremendous gifts that Bloomberg gave us. The smart move now is to defend them. Unfortunately, it will probably take the actual loss of parts of our bike infrastructure before some people understand the need to cultivate allies and to avoid unnecessarily antagonising our enemies.



    I can see the argument for upping the time limit as the system expands.

    An alternative would be a different fee structure. Say ten cents a minute beyond 45.



    The NY Post cover is really one of the worst pieces of journalism I have seen in a long, long time. The fact that four people wrote it? Almost laughable. The “source” quotes that fill the manufactured craptacular is incredible. There is zero balance. No logic at all (in fact I can name two pedestrian plazas that have actually improved traffic flow). And the fact we are allowed NYPD “sources” to be experts on transportation? What? What’s next? Allowing a sanitation “source” to criticize the health department? Or appointing a surgeon to head a cabinet position like HUD? Oh wait…..



    Facts do matter. You’re either misreading, or playing fast and loose with them.

    He said “”But the sad fact is that a greater percentage of bicyclists than of drivers run red lights.””

    That’s a comment on cyclists’ propensity to run red lights, not a comment on the absolute number of red lights run by cars and cyclists.



    Yes, and the proper image to drive home the message about geometry is below:



    I didn’t think it was that bad, I can see where he’s coming from even if he is misinformed. He seems to understand that cyclists are nowhere near as dangerous as drivers, but he employs a circular argument that the law should never change to allow X because it currently prohibits X. Answering his question about what Europe is doing that we aren’t would fill in those gaps in his understanding. Maybe someone can write a response.



    Especially when on a bike, since you can’t floor it to make a bunch in a row.



    There’s still some optimization.


    Kevin Love

    “First of all, marijuana is used by a huge segment of the population, possibly even a majority”

    Source? And if that source is a survey that includes everyone who has ever smoked marijuana, then you have to count as a cyclist everyone who knows how to ride a bike, even if they never do anymore. By the way, that number is 94% of people in the USA. Source:

    The percentage of Americans who have tried marijuana? That would be 44%. See:

    “To equate the annoying law which requires us to stop at red lights with immoral laws that deny the humanity of various types of people is inappropriate.”

    There are two problems with this statement. First, the advocates of Jim Crow tend to reject the statement that they deny the humanity of their victims. The statement, “Separate but equal” explicitly endorses their equality. Secondly, many of the cyclist haters deny our humanity. See the “Aunt Sally” bigotry in the Post article linked by Streetsblog today at:

    I will repeat my prior assertion: The success rate of the tactics you recommend is zero. But please feel free to try to come up with a counter-example to prove me wrong.



    Incredible, seems like we’ve come nowhere since then.



    I notified Microsoft and Google again about the bus stops. Google is well aware of the plaza but Microsoft isn’t yet. I’ll stop bugging you about the plaza if we can get the bus stops straightened out.



    Probably not everywhere but in NYC this is certainly the case. A large number do it cautiously and prudently though.



    There are actual stats that show that the number of red lights run by drivers in a single day is greater than the number of people who ride bikes in a single day. I realize we’re in a post-truth world now, but facts matter.



    That SI Advance article rules. First of all it doesn’t say but it’s in front of the 120th precinct building at that corner of Richmond Terrace where cops have seized the sidewalk, one of the two westbound traffic lanes, and the westbound bike lane, for car and trash storage. (they also illegally park and double-park on the westbound side of the street, blocking the bike lane and part of the traffic lane). This fact never gets mentioned in the Advance’s demented whining about “the traffic crisis”. I would not be surprised if police vans blocking visibility contributed to this. Second, the car manages to be in the median AND take out the traffic light which is hard to do even by accident, I thought. Third, local crank commenter’s enthusiastic thanks to the Advance for calling it an “accident” and not a crash which is already getting upvotes. perfect SI crash story imho



    I disagree. As cycling volumes increase, you might in fact find that an argument builds for two-way bike lanes on the major avenues. They were two-way for cars up until relatively recently.



    “we can easily see”.

    I may not agree with Ferdinand’s argument, but I definitely agree with his observations. If I had to take a guess, I’d put at at 90% or more the fraction of cyclists who run red lights in NYC when it feels very safe and “normal” to do so: in the Central Park loop, in the greenway, at some t-intersections, etc. Of course, even the most daring and scofflaw of cyclists stop at some red lights, where it very hard to run the light safely.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    While I am very pleased at that Plaza Street lane, and even moreso at the reasoning behind it, that lane stands as one of those exceptions which prove the rule.

    I hope that you will acknowledge that the wrong-way cyclists on the bike lanes on First, Eighth, and Ninth Avenues are certainly not going to lead to two-way lanes in those locations (notwithstanding the small two-way segments already in place on First Avenue near the 59th Street Bridge). If too many bicyclists continue to abuse those lanes, then we’re going to lose them.

    I understand the comment about herding cats. Still, each one of us can do only what one individual can do. If we want to preserve our bike infrastructure, then each of us has the ethical duty to promote the behaviour that is most likely to result in the continued existence of this infrastructure, and to denounce in our fellow bicyclsts the behaviour that puts this infrastructure at risk.



    I believe it’s to solicit input on which of the three proposed fare hike options to choose, not whether or not there will be a fare hike.

    Which doesn’t mean that it’s not just community theater though.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    The parallel holds in none of those situations.

    First of all, marijuana is used by a huge segment of the population, possibly even a majority. By contrast, we bicyclists are a marginal group. Marijuana law reform is fuelled mainly by the commonsense understanding by this large part of the populace, who have first-hand experience with marijuana and know that it is enjoyable and harmless. If as many people rode bikes as smoked pot, we wouldn’t be fighting the battles we currently fight. Instead, we’d have nationwide bike Interstates, and the Idaho Stop would be a Constitutional amendment.

    The references to Jim Crow and anti-sodomy laws are even more off-base, because those situations involve moral repugnance. The massive resistance to morally unconscionable laws is the correct tactic in such cases. To equate the annoying law which requires us to stop at red lights with immoral laws that deny the humanity of various types of people is inappropriate. The tendency to ignore such a fundamental difference reflects poorly on us, and does our interests no favours.

    What we have as bicyclists in New York City is a battle for public perception. Of course we here at this site understand that bike infrastructure benefits all street users (including drivers) by calming traffic. But many see it as a handout to a small minority — don’t forget that we’re thrilled if bikes reach 1% of mode share. We simply cannot afford to piss off the neutrals and push them into the camp of our enemies. If we do that, then we can forget about talking about improvements to our bike infrastructure, because we’ll be battling to ward off removal.



    “”But the sad fact is that a greater percentage of bicyclists than of drivers run red lights.”

    You have no source for this.”

    Come on, let’s not kid ourselves. I see more cyclists run red lights on a single commute than I see cars do so in a month.



    If fewer officers are actually “directing traffic” isn’t that clearly good? Why should we be paying people to personally direct traffic in normal circumstance? It seems like it’s only a thing in New York because of widespread box-blocking behavior.



    That’s because the City – spelled with a ‘y’ – doesn’t contribute funding.



    Your argument is undermined by some of the contra-flow bike lanes in NYC. Plaza Street in Brooklyn, for example, was installed precisely *because* people were disobeying the law by going in against car traffic. Advocates didn’t stand there scolding wrong-way cyclists into behaving before they worked with the city to provide a solution. They pointed to the “bad” behavior and said, “Look! We need a solution here.” DOT came up with one and it’s been working fine ever since.

    Your philosophy amounts to herding cats. People have been trying to control cyclists’ behavior ever since there were bikes. It doesn’t work.


    Kevin Love

    Of course, if the Post reporters had done their homework, they would know that there is only one way that major cities have ever been able to reduce congestion: by removing motor vehicle traffic. Every major city that allows unrestrained motor vehicle traffic is a hell of congestion. Ever been recently to London? Or to Toronto? See:

    Compare that to downtown Amsterdam, where 87% of trips less than 4 km are made by bicycle. See:


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    As long as the law requires us to stop at red lights, a cyclist going through a red light — even at an empty intersection — is a source of stress to pedestrians. When pedestrians see this, their confidence in being safe when they have the green is undermined. Furthermore, they see us flouting the law and they become resentful (yes, even despite their own technical violations of the law when they jaywalk).

    If we had better laws on the matter, such as the Idaho Stop, then everyone would be aware of the fact that bikes are allowed to proceed at a red light after a full stop; and the sight of this would seem entirely proper, as long as the objective conditions of safety were met. Until then, the act of illegally running a red light on the part of bicyclists — even at an empty intersection — is going to be understood by ordinary people who witness it as display of hostility.

    You can deny this truth if you like. But don’t be surprised when we see significant losses to our bike infrastructure on account of the hostility that red-light-running bicyclists have created. The logical arguments about empty intersections mean absolutely nothing, because the entire question is one of public perception.



    You are mistaken. He is concern trolling so as to build support for his nonsensical argument. It’s a rhetorical device, nothing more. If he were actually concerned with the welfare of people on bikes, he’d study up on ways to protect them.

    As you build better bike infrastructure, the percentages of people who disobey the law goes down. Look at PPW: from nearly half of all cyclists riding on the sidewalk to under 4%. It wasn’t finger wagging that solved the problem. It was quality infrastructure.



    They don’t do it because they want to. They do it because it’s the law. Not saying it’s useful, but they have no choice either.


    Kevin Love

    Yes, here is an excellent video and article on how traffic signals were removed from many intersections in The
    Netherlands. See: