17 August 2010

Killer Cyclists Invade Manhattan

They must be really desperate for ratings.

I'm talking about the local CBS news at 11:00 pm.  Last night and tonight, the program featured
 that made it seem as if cyclists are the greatest menace to this city since the 9/11 attackers.  

They shot footage of the scariest-looking messengers, the least attractive delivery men (Yes, all of the "rogue" cyclists were male.) and the most hysterical pedestrians they could find, and made it seem as if cyclists are all missles of hostility wrapped in lycra.  You would think that every cyclist has run a red light and hit somebody's grandmother, and that life in this city is about to come to a standstill because residents and people who work here are too afraid of crossing the street to get anything done.

Some years back, WNBC ran something similar.  The difference is that back then, there were neither dedicated bike lanes nor as many people cycling for transport as there now are.  So, if anything, I think that the WNBC segment was less hysterical, at least as I'm remembering it.  To see the current WCBS "report," one might think that bike lanes will take over all of the city's parking spaces.

Now, I'll admit that I've run a red light or two in my time.  But, tell me, what pedestrian--at least in New York--hasn't crossed against a red signal?  And do you mean to tell me that motorists don't run red lights?

Also, I would venture to guess that many more cyclists have been injured by motorists, or even pedestrians, than cause injury to non-cyclists.  That almost never gets reported, mainly because cyclists tend not to report accidents, even if they are injured in them, because so many of us feel that 
the police and other city authorities don't take cycling accidents--at least ones not caused by the cyclist--seriously.

That happened to me once when a pedestrian charged into the middle of a street and knocked me and my bike onto the pavement.  Luckily for me, at the previous intersection, the light had turned red, so there was no traffic behind me.  To this day, I shudder to think of what might have happened had cars or trucks streamed through that intersection.

When I told some policemen who were on foot patrol, they were for some reason convinced that the pedestrian, whom I had never before met, bore some sort of grudge against that I caused, and therefore I shouldn't have been surprised at what happened.  

It's funny that the so-called journalists never seem to find people like me, or the cyclist whom a cop pushed off his bike for no apparent reason, or the cyclist who was almost run down by Foxy Brown a couple of years ago.  If those reporters were to track us down, they'd find that, while we don't have the wealth or power of the Policemen's Benevolent Association or any number of other groups in this city, we are, for the most part, well-educated and very aware of our surroundings.  But that would be too complex for a TV evening news program, I guess.

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