Should cyclists be banned from the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, or just rounded up and deported en masse to Portland? It seems like only the latter outcome will placate the NYC tabloids, which have recently escalated their war on bike lanes with matching editorials slamming cyclists who ride recklessly over the bridges. Today the NY Post revisits the age-old bike battleground on the Brooklyn Bridge, which really is a terrible bridge to bike over if you're trying to make an efficient commute. The Post finds that the situation is even worse now that there's construction that's shrunk parts of the path to just 10½ feet wide. It's a "war path!":
The battles have left both sides bloody, bruised and blaming the other. One of the walking wounded was Dennis Newman, a Nebraskan tourist who stepped onto the white line while admiring the view -- and got smacked by a speeding cyclist. "He ran his pedal right into the back of my right leg, deep into my calf," Newman said.
Thanks to the run-in, his holiday included an unplanned side tour of a genuine Big Apple emergency room -- where he got 18 stitches -- as well as a new understanding of the cultural differences between New Yorkers and Midwesterners. "What the f---k are you doing? There are bikes on the bridge!" yelled the BMX-riding cyclist before speeding off.
Newman! He tells the tabloid, "It's too dangerous to have bicyclists on the path. It's a tourist city, and there are a lot of people who aren't aware of the etiquette of the bridge." And you know what? We kind of agree with this Newman from Nebraska. The only cyclists who should be using the Brooklyn Bridge are ones content to go very slowly. Perhaps the DOT should consider putting up signs on the Brooklyn Bridge suggesting cyclists take the Manhattan Bridge as an alternative? Unfortunately, the Daily News won't like that!
The News has published two bike-bashing editorials in the past few days, deploying cliched cyclist stereotypes in an attempt to get DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan to do something about "maniacal" bike riders who are discourteous to others on the Manhattan Bridge construction detour. According to the News, they "curse out the family from Japan trying to take in the East River view. They flip the bird at the working stiff from Brooklyn who's trying to burn off a few calories on the way home from the daily grind." And the poor Daily News editors are "so terrified of these Cannondale-mounted maniacs that we fear getting out of our cars."
Yet despite the tabloid's paralyzing bike phobia, one intrepid editor agreed to bike over the Manhattan Bridge with Streetsblog's Ben Fried and Brooklyn Spoke, a blogger and self-described "member of the vast bike-wing conspiracy." Spoke writes that the purpose of the ride is "not to show that cyclists obey the law with one-hundred-percent fidelity. No reasonable New Yorker would say that they do. The question is whether or not the Daily News misrepresented the issue, misled its readers, relied on tired stereotypes, and generated a false controversy based on the limited experience of 'at least one member' of the editorial board." We look forward to reading the Daily News editor's account of this maniacal terrorist ride-along—assuming he or she even lives to tell the tale. Allah Akbike-lane!