Bill Cunningham, the great NY Times photographer and chronicler of the city, makes a video each week for playback on nytimes.com. This week he made a joyful video about the new bike share program, and NYC bicyclists in general.
New York is not D.C., and thank god for that. But if you’d told me that bike share was going to change the entire landscape of transportation in D.C., I would have slapped you in the face. But it has. The bike share program there is a success—that much is obvious from the sheer number of them on the street.
Capital Bike Share has some issues, but it’s also awesome—with bike share, you’ll never have to worry about collecting your bike from across town after a long night out. You’ll never have to worry about your own bike getting stolen, or remembering where you left it, or wondering whether, if you ride to work, it’s going to rain on your way home. To me, at least, that type of convenience is worth the membership fee any day.
There are so many good things about living in New York, but the thing that may make me angry most often is the weird unwillingness to hold drivers accountable for the cyclists, skaters, and pedestrians they injure and kill. It’s a running joke that Gothamist appends most headlines regarding a cyclist’s death with the phrase - “No Criminality Suspected”.
In this case a little boy crossing the street with the right of way, was hit and killed by a dump truck, and the driver left the scene. Now, they’re only going to give the driver a summons for a traffic violation. One day, knowing the injustice that is waiting from the city, pedestrians and cyclists are going to respond with violence against a driver who speeds or runs a red light and kills someone in the process. And the city will go overboard to punish them with years in prison, and the NYPD and the DA will let the driver off with a $50 fine. And they’ll probably tell the family of the dead pedestrian to pay the fine and apologize to the driver for their family member getting in the way.
In June, Courtney Fullilove, an assistant professor of history at Wesleyan University, was riding her bike in Central Park when she was allegedly assaulted by Manhattan-based attorney Marshall Feiring, who resides near the park. Feiring was charged with two counts of assault and harassment, and it’s still unclear what may have motivated his alleged actions. But Fullilove believes she did nothing to provoke Feiring before he allegedly grabbed the security chain tied around her waist and violently yanked her off her bike.
According to a civil lawsuit against Feiring, Fullilove was seriously injured in the crash, “suffering a severe concussion, memory loss, psychological trauma, fatigue, loss of vision, recurrent disabling headaches, spinal derangement, contusions to the right hip, abrasions to the nose and face, and other injuries, requiring emergency treatment at a hospital, and additional medical care and assistance thereafter. Fullilove sustained pain, suffering and mental anguish due to these injuries.”
The crash happened in the bike lane near the intersection of West 108th Street and Central Park West around 7:45 p.m. on June 13th. Fullilove lost all memory of the incident due to head trauma, but her lawyer, Steve Vaccaro, says bystanders witnessed the assault and have given statements, and police responding to the scene arrested Feiring, who lives near the park. His attorney, Sanford Talkin (visit him at TalkinLaw.com!), declined to comment on what his client’s motivation may or may not have been, telling us only that Feiring “maintains his innocence and looks forward to his day in court.” (via Manhattan Lawyer Sued For Allegedly Assaulting Cyclist In Central Park: Gothamist)
Normally, the headline would include, “No Criminality Suspected by NYPD”.
With any luck, this will be the last time I write about Lance Armstrong. But first, I want an apology. And I deserve one. Some readers will have followed my evolution fromgullible fanboytosurprised readertoangry man.
Now, I am simply amazed…
Michael Specter on Lance Armstrong, and the evidence released Wednesday by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency: http://nyr.kr/Q488rQ
Why would anyone apologize to this guy? He started out dumb and gullible, and he’s ended up pissed off and self-righteous. I don’t begrudge Barry Bonds his greatness, and I don’t begrudge Lance Armstrong his. This idea that professional (or even college- or Olympic-level) sports are ‘clean’ is for children. And that’s not even taking into account the despicable approach taken by organizations like the USADA in their attempts at character assassination.
In professional sports — and college sports — oversight organizations exist solely to exploit the athlete, not to ‘protect the integrity of the sport’ (see: NFL uses replacement refs because the owners didn’t want to pay into pension plans).
I not only wouldn’t apologize to Michael Specter, I would laugh at him for his silliness, his misguided sanctimony, and his naiveté — both then and now.
Almost predicting there will be more legal battles in different venues, Sparks found “there are troubling aspects of this case, not least of which is USADA’ s apparent single-minded determination to force Armstrong to arbitrate the charges against him, in direct conflict with UCI’s equally evident desire not to proceed against him.”
“Unfortunately, the appearance of conflict on the part of both organizations creates doubt the charges against Armstrong would receive fair consideration in either forum,” Sparks said. “The issue is further complicated by USA Cycling’s late-breaking show of support for UCI, and apparent opposition to USADA’s proceeding — a wrinkle which does not change the court’s legal analysis, but only confirms that these matters should be resolved internally, by the parties most affected, rather than by edict of this court.”
Sparks had no desire to intervene in the fight between cycling and drug-testing authorities in a case that cites offenses going back 14 years.
“As mystifying as USADA’s election to proceed at this date and in this manner may be, it is equally perplexing that these three national and international bodies are apparently unable to work together to accomplish their shared goal — the regulation and promotion of cycling,” Sparks said. “However, if these bodies wish to damage the image of their sport through bitter infighting, they will have to do so without the involvement of the United States courts.”
The USADA really is behaving like a pack of shits here. You can’t tell an athlete that the rules are that they have to pass drug tests, and then, when they do, tell them they have to answer self-interested witnesses that the US DOJ wouldn’t trust to use to press a case. Armstrong may have doped, but there is no scientific evidence of it. Other people might say he doped, but that isn’t the standard he has to meet. The USADA is simply pursuing this for some other reason. Why, I don’t know. But it’s not because they have evidence that would meet their own criteria for anyone other than Lance Armstrong. So, you really do have to ask, what is behind their bizarre behavior?
When there’s an altercation between a cab driver and a bike messenger, it’s usually hard to root for either one. In this case, the cab driver hits a cyclist, but the cyclist gets all douchey in return. But the narration is excellent. If you ride in NYC, none of this will surprise you, although recently the general trend has been to hassle, ticket, and arrest average bicyclists, even if they are following every law in the book, because if there’s one thing NYPD hates more than a citizen expressing outrage over the financial collapse, it’s a citizen on a bike. Bike messengers seem to get a little better treatment, at least based on this video.
It seems impossible. Could an airbag really serve as a better bike helmet?