Victim blaming linked to crack smoking

Toronto City Councillor Rob Ford, March 7, 2007:

What I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks. Sooner or later you’re going to get bitten… Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes. My heart bleeds for them when I hear someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, May 24, 2013:

I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine.


Environmentalists say bike lanes, which mow down pedestrians are OK — if the helmetless biker, whose handlebar bell is broken…

There is something poetic in the exquisite-corpse style of Adams’s incoherence. It’s full of irrelevant and self-contradicting “color” from her own disturbed subconscious mind. If it has a theme it is the same old nanny state rant we’ve been hearing for decades. And yet Adams herself is bothered by cyclists not wearing crash helmets and having bells in good working order — why does she concern herself with other people’s bicycle bells?

Adams advocates a nanny state for thee, but not for me.

Plastic bags are today’s dread. Soon we’ll schlep groceries in a Louis Vuitton clutch. String beans, OK, but when it comes to sweet potatoes and Fido’s dogfood you’ll need a Chanel tote.

She also decries and merrily conflates societal pressure to behave ethically, and in so doing exerts her own tabloid-amplified pressure against those horrible do-gooders. Because if this reusable grocery bag thing catches on, she’ll eventually have to conform. It is not at all difficult for her to keep empty bags in her car trunk, it’s just different and she’ll avoid it until it’s easier not to.

For now she will pretend that canvas shopping bags are a “Louis Vuitton clutch” or a “Chanel tote”, in a weird class-baiting effort to reverse this trend of common sense and practicality. She scorns those wealthier than herself as well as anyone who strives to do good, and imagines them to be the same.

And what of those with less than Adams?

Question: What do they do to trailer-park people? Cancel their MetroCards? Force march them against the light?

I’m not even sure where the nearest trailer park is—perhaps her editors nixed “ghetto people”?—but it’s astonishing that she associates this geographically inappropriate symbol of poverty with transit and walking.

You sometimes wonder what they are thinking, when motorists intentionally violate your right of way. When they get their way by threatening to kill you. Do they think their ten seconds is more important than your life? Are they deranged, anti-social egoists?

If it’s Cindy Adams at the wheel, you don’t have to wonder.

Disappointing Bicycle Shop Experiences

Today in disappointing bicycle shop experiences, I was told that yes my right pedal resists turning—not a good quality, for a pedal!—but sadly nothing can be done about its condition. Such is the state of Western technology.

Also maybe I keep the bicycle outside, which is Bad? No, I have not done this. It is probably why this bicycle is an impeccably clean and obviously babied toy—whose pedals I would like to turn freely. So that I can get my toes into the silly clips, if you must know.

Later I will go to another bicycle shop and repeat the exercise.

Have I told you about my plan to open a bicycle shop that simply carries out and charges for the work requested, instead of sending half their customers away and acting to the other half like they are doing a great personal favor?

Actually my plan is for someone else to do this, because it should be someone who knows how to repair bicycles. You can charge a lot more at such a shop. Put a sign outside that no repair jobs will be turned away, all will simply be given a price, take it or leave it. Everybody who’s been scoffed at in a bicycle shop (which is everybody who’s been in one) will flock to try this crazy experiment, credit cards in hand.

Dear NYC Transit

Riding downhill on the 9th Street bicycle lane in Brooklyn today around 12:30, I was traveling about the same speed as the B61, about a block ahead of it. I noticed that the bus driver was honking, over and over, once or twice a block all the way down the hill. Eventually I understood that the driver was blowing the horn each time he or she passed, and passed again, the same cyclists in the same bicycle lane. Finally, the bus driver passed and honked at me. Oh look, a bus! It was bus 5686.

While I’m sure your driver’s intentions are good, it is not helpful or safety-enhancing to “warn” cyclists with a horn honk when passing safely—quite the opposite. A seasoned cyclist will shrug off the piercing noise and do nothing, and that is the best case scenario. An inexperienced cyclist may be startled and look left—inadvertently moving into the vehicle’s path. Or they may retreat to the right—directly into an opening car door, which throws them left into the path of the bus. That’s what happened in Queens to Tskaka Cooke in June of this year, as I’m sure you’ll recall.

Please ask your drivers not to honk at cyclists and anyone else just going about their business on the street. Blasting the horn in routine situations makes them tense and dangerous, renders the horn useless as a signal of unusual danger, and surely isn’t appreciated by anyone who lives along your bus routes.

I deliberately framed this analysis narrowly to demonstrate that, under most plausible sets of assumptions, compulsory helmet laws fail on their own terms, by raising, not reducing, the likelihood that cyclists will suffer serious-injury accidents. Let’s use this finding to help bury helmet legislation once and for all, and encourage public officials and health professionals to join livable streets advocates in programs that will increase active transportation and decrease injury risks at the same time.

Yes. Let’s!

Backhoes making the light

On the way home, while I was maneuvering around a private car stopped in the bicycle lane, I was passed unnervingly closely. By a backhoe. It’s scary because you don’t know where a big tractor ends. It’s all lumpy. You just hear that there is a large diesel engine right behind you and realize that its driver is going to “make that light” even if it means crushing you. With a backhoe.

I chose not to “make the light” myself.