stupid letter writing pedestrian

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Anonymous's picture

"So some letter-writer complains to the Times about reckless cyclists.

Apparently we are ""all over the road"" and put her in danger. Well as a pedestrian, what exactly is she doing in the road? Second, as a driver, did she care to take notice that maybe we are all over the road because there is no point whatsoever in staying in a bike lane? Anyone try riding up 8th avenue lately? It's more of a double-parking lane, a turning lane, a walking lane, a hailing-a-cab lane and a garbage and debris lane than an actual bike lane. I'd rather just ride in the street like I ride up 1st than to waste my time thinking I'm safe in that bike lane.

I also love how she thinks that we can finance the building of new bike lanes by making the cyclists pay. As if the act of cycling itself is not payment enough, considering all the benefits it has for the cyclist and the traffic problem in this city.

And to think that this idiot is an actual judge..........

Stop Reckless Bicyclists (1 Letter)

Published: September 19, 2006

To the Editor:

So the mayor wants to increase the number of bicycle paths throughout the city (news article, Sept. 13). What folly, without also significantly increasing enforcement of the traffic rules that also apply to bicyclists — enforcement that would pay for itself and the additional paths.

I am out and about our city as a pedestrian and driver. Often I am at risk from the bicyclists who are all over the road but not in the designated paths.

I also preside as a jurist in the summons part of Manhattan Criminal Court. I have yet to see a single summons issued to bicyclists who fail to use the bike paths.

Police officers do issue summonses to the delivery guys who do not have store ID’s, and from time to time but not often enough, to bicyclists riding on the sidewalk endangering pedestrians. How politically incorrect of me to complain.

Stella Schindler
New York, Sept. 13, 2006
The writer is a retired family court judge currently sitting as a judicial hearing officer.

Anonymous's picture
Claudette (not verified)
What a shortsighted person

"I suspect this person is one of those terrified people who look at us like deer in headlights when we approach.

It's too bad we are all lumped together as ""cyclists."" Surely there are dangerous riders out there, just as there are dangerous motorists and dangerous folks in general.

She ought to applaud the city for trying to remove the ""cycle menace"" from her precious mainstream roads and to keep us on nice safe bike paths where we belong! That is, until a city tow truck turns into one and runs us over.


Anonymous's picture
Claudette (not verified)

I could not get those italics to stop!! AAARGH.
Are they off now???

Anonymous's picture
Wayne Wright (not verified)
The streets ARE our designated paths lady...

Ms. Schindler complains: 'Often I am at risk from the bicyclists who are all over the road but not in the designated paths.'

By and large, the streets we're cyling on don't have bike lanes at all, in which case the streets themselves are our designated path. The writer goes on to complain about cyclists on the sidewalk. Where, then, are we supposed to be?

Has Ms. Schindler considered how much public space her car requires compared to the amount of public space one uses when bicycling on the same thoroughfare?

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
nope...greg farber's post missing 'italic' closing tag?

hmmm...maybe italics would look better in blue?...

(trickle, trickle)


Anonymous's picture
Russ (not verified)
Not so Fast

"On reading Greg's post before the text of the letter on which he is commenting, my first reaction was ""yeah--dumb judge."" Then I read the letter and actually thought about it.

Today, during lunch hour, I walked about three blocks near my office in midtown--not 10 minutes in all. In that time, without paying particular attention, I noted two cyclists riding the wrong way, east on 43rd Street, and one on the sidewalk near 43rd and Fifth cutting between groups of pedestrians and missing them by a hair. All of the riders looked highly skilled and, I have no doubt, were fully in control of their bikes, as are most of those I regulary see going the wrong way on 43rd betweeb 5th and 6th. It's now a matter of habit for me to look both ways when crossing 43rd. And forget about the messengers doing trackstands in moving traffic in the middle of the 43rd and Sixth intersection. These guys scare the c--p out of me. Same goes for all the hard riders who train by startling pedestrians in the park.

This stuff is all crazy, uncivil and just plain wrong, and I find it hard to blame the judge for noticing. I can't imagine that anyone in the NYCC believes that more bike lanes (which, of course, we'd all welcome) will somehow work to modify scofflaw bike riding behavior. But the enforcement regime in the park has sure slowed the hare-brained descents on that west side downhill near the museum.

I know I'm getting old and being crotchety, but I don't have much tolerance for the constant whining in the background about how badly cyclists are treated, and I'd sure prefer it if we weren't quite so self-righteous about the good we're doing for society. We earn a fair amount of the public disdain we feel.

Just my two cents."

Anonymous's picture
chris o (not verified)
You have a point, but it is buried in blunder

Well Russ, trusting you still ride your bike in the city, good for you and us. But I am now going to have to vent on you because I really abhor your sentiments.

I don't earn public disdain and won't accept it because of what other cyclists do. You may not have much tolerance for the constant whining about how bad cyclists are treated, but I have no tolerance for the whining here on the New York Cycle Club message board about how certain mis-behaving cyclists are my responsibility, or reflect poorly on me and all cyclists. It is just nonsense and I am sick of it. Do all drivers feel guilty when some driver races at 110 MPH down the freeway. Or when a driver double parks disrupting traffic flow, or parks in a bike lane. Or drives recklessly and kills people. Russ, over 100 people die in motor vehicles every day - do drivers feel guilty for all the carnage other drivers create? Or pedestrians, they are reckless. Do you think individual pedestrians deserve to be insulted, degraded, injured, even killed for all the misdeeds of the general pedestrian population?

As for the judge's comments, they were almost non-sensical. Yes cyclists can be beyond rude, but the letter was a really poor articulation of that. Schindler - she's on my list. And it is not the good list.

Anonymous's picture
chris o (not verified)
sorry about the italics (nm)
Anonymous's picture
Russ (not verified)
No need to take her off your list.


I don't expect you to feel responsible for other cyclists' behavior (and I sure don't), but I do expect you to understand why sentiments such as the judge's are not just common but pretty darn universal among the non-cycling population. There's been enough said about how most cyclists ignore traffic laws (self included, even when leading NYCC rides). As for the judge, I grant you her letter is kind of silly, but I have to say there are moments when I share the sentiments, if not the conclusion, and I don't find myself outraged when I hear others express them. Would you like to hear me expound on the foibles of NJ drivers?

I will grant you that both sides of this subject have been explored to excess on this board, and I hereby resign from the argument.

Not sure what my blunder is, but I'm not really anxious to know. And you betcha, I still live and ride in the city--on weekdays.

Just another two cents.

Anonymous's picture
Joe (not verified)

Yes, there are idiotic cyclists who have no regard for others. But, with all due respect, give me a break. For every wayward cyclist I see, I also see 10 cars breaking the law and endangering cyclists and pedestrians: speeding, illegal lane changes, illegal turns, blocking intersections, etc. 150-pound riders on 20-pound bikes going 18 mph are not the problem. Drivers in 4,000-pound cars going 40 mph are the problem.

And for every wrong-way cyclist I see, I notice 100 oblivious pedestrians jaywalking, walking against red lights, failing to look before stepping out and, my favorite, walking off the curb against a red light just to wait for the light to change.

Cyclists are the endangered minority in this city. Not pedestrians.

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Imagine this - bike lanes

I can't imagine that anyone in the NYCC believes that more bike lanes (which, of course, we'd all welcome)

Actually, I don't welcome more bike lanes. Likewise, ""Effective Cycling"" author and Cycling Transportation Engineer, John Forrestor feels the same way.

Bike lanes just reinforce many drivers misbeliefs and deleterious driving behavoir that bicycles don't belong on the street with cars. I'm often reminded of such when I use the 6th Avenue bicycle lane."

Anonymous's picture
bill vojtech (not verified)

"I agree. Whenever I see a bikelane being put in I think ""someday, we'll only be allowed in lanes like that.""

The public sees adult cyclists as weirdos playing with toys on their roads, not as saviors of traffic clogged cities."

Anonymous's picture
A cyclist (not verified)

"Do you really see yourself as a ""savior of traffic clogged cities""? And I'm not asking only you personally, I'm wondering if all, or even most, cyclists feel that way about themselves. Because I find that sentiment to be both arrogant and scary.

I've been a pedestrian for an extremely long time (I won't let on exactly how long) and a cyclist for just a bit over three years. And as much as I hate to say it, in my experience most of the misbehavior (for lack of a better word) I see on the road comes from cyclists, not from drivers. And I'm wondering if that ""savior"" attitude has anything to do with it.

(And BTW, I'm not just talking about the messengers and the delivery boys. They're each in their own categories, IMO, since they're riding for their living, not for fun and not for transportation purposes. Unfortunately, they have a tremendous influence on the opinions of the non-bike-riding public, and a very negative one at that.)

I find that much of that ""misbehavior"" takes the form of arrogance. Others don't go fast enough, or are in the way, or shouldn't be on a bike altogether, etc. etc. If such attitudes are shown toward other cyclists, I can only imagine the attitudes shown to drivers. (Not that I'm letting them off the hook; I'm not. But that's a whole different discussion.)

There's a thread on this board about cell phones, and someone mentions which cell phone is the best one to buy in case you get a call while you're cycling. The idea of someone talking on a cell phone while riding a bike (which I've encountered quite a few times) is just as scary as a driver doing it while driving.

And the idea of only being allowed in a bike lane. What a horror. You might have to ride with cyclists who are slower than you!

I don't understand how we can expect the non-cycling world to listen seriously to us when our own messages seem to be so, well, self-absorbed is the word that comes to mind.

(Okay, I'm getting ready for the onslaught.)


Anonymous's picture
Joe (not verified)

"Mr. Pedstrian,

Have you ever walked against a red light? Have you ever jaywalked in the middle of the block? If not, congratulations. If so, does that make you ""arrogant""? Are you just too good for red lights? Are you just too hip to walk to a corner and cross in a crosswalk?

I doubt it, my friend. You are just trying to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible...just like the cyclists you denegrate without even knowing. Have you ever had a conversation with a messenger? Or a delivery man?

I'm not sure you would like the negative economic impact on NYC if messengers had to stop at every red light. I'm not sure you would like to wait 50 minutes for your sushi delivery while the delivery guy is stuck in traffic on 2nd Ave., waiting for green lights."

Anonymous's picture
Stéphane (not verified)

Bike lanes do work in Montreal, where car drivers seem to consider that they have to share the road with bikers when there is no bike lane.
Cyclists in Montreal look different from cyclists in New York: they are relaxed, they are not on a survival mission, they don't feel they are a target.
But so many things are different there...

Anonymous's picture
Greg Faber (not verified)

if only they built all bike lanes like the one on berri street...

sidewalk - bike lane-buffer-parking lane-street...

Anonymous's picture
Josh (not verified)
safer streets?

"DoT just installed ""Bike Route"" signs along Tenth Street from the greenway to 6th Avenue. I've noticed cars drive slower, and I feel more entitled to the street than I do when I'm forced to navigate a crappy narrow lane that is a death zone."

Anonymous's picture
tailwind (not verified)

Has anyone written a rebuff letter to the Times? I think old Stella is on another planet.

Anonymous's picture
chris o (not verified)
This was published as a reply

Letter from Car Free Central Park Organizer

Published: September 23, 2006
To the Editor:

Re “Stop Reckless Bicyclists” (letter, Sept. 19):

Of course there is no excuse for bicycling in a manner that endangers other road users. But when people are treated like outlaws, we should not be surprised if some of them behave as such. Bicyclists have literally no place on the vast majority of New York City’s streets, and the few bike lanes that exist often serve simply as a convenient place for motorists to double-park with impunity.

I just returned from a visit to Copenhagen, where seemingly every major thoroughfare offers a generous and protected bike lane, frequently with traffic signals exclusively for cyclists. The implicit message is that cyclists are valued and have the same right as cars to the city’s streets. This has drawn thousands of residents to cycling, and it is not a coincidence that almost all the riders I observed abided by the rules of the road.

Once New York sends a similar message by according cyclists a safe place on its own streets, we can look forward to similar compliance with traffic laws — and reduced car use in the bargain.

Kenneth M. Coughlin
New York, Sept. 19, 2006"

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