No doubt the issue of road sharing by cyclists, runners, walkers and cars in Prospect Park is a tricky one. And the serious cases of two pedestrians being seriously injured in collisions with cyclists are tragic regardless of who was to blame. But our friends at the New York Daily News have managed to write an almost implausibly one-sided, innacurate and irresponsible article on the topic.
Let me state a couple of things very clearly. First, there are bonehead cyclists who make things bad for everyone. I am not defending them nor am I suggesting that they don't exist. Second, the accidents mentioned in the article were tragic. But that doesn't make the News' reporting any less slanted and irresponsible.
First and foremost, the article is accompanied by a large photo of a cyclist in his sponsor's uniform. The photo shows a reading of 31 mph (6 mph above the legal speed limit) on the radar gun pointed at the rider. But it's clear that the rider in the photo is going at a leisurely pace up a hill, and is obviously not doing 31 mph, and not breaking the law. (Furthermore, the woman pictured walking with a stroller is in the bike lane and is in violation of Park regulations.) This is roughly akin to writing a story about a lawbreaking motor vehicle and then including a photo of a commercial van – complete with company logos – that had no involvement with the accident. It's a disservice to the rider and to his team.
Speaking of lawbreaking motor vehicles, I'll be happy to meet one or more of the four intrepid reporters who wrote this piece in Prospect Park one day. We can use their radar gun and see how many cars exceed the speed limit. They say they witnessed eight cyclists speeding in four hours. It wouldn't take four minutes to find eight speeding cars. (And if they want to talk about dangerous, I'll happily give them a physics lesson on the forces created by a 2000+ pound car vs. those created by a 20+ bike and its rider.) They'll also find numerous drivers illegally cutting through the transverses, walkers and runners in bike lanes, and lots of other infractions that endanger park users.
The News states "two women were nearly killed in collisions with bicyclists in Prospect Park in the last six months — but that hasn't slowed down riders, the Daily News has found" but it's not until paragraph 15 that they mention that she may have been at fault and that the cyclist has countersued her.
If the four authors are too lazy to look it up, I'll tell them how many pedstrians are killed by cars vs. how many are killed by cyclists in this city. And if they decide to take a break from making broad generalizations about cyclists, perhaps they can report on the dangers that we face and how the authorities ignore them. As brooklynspoke.com points out, "the same police force that says 'accidents happen' when explaining away its decision to not investigate the death of a cyclist killed by a hit-and-run truck driver apparently doesn’t apply that philosophy to accidents involving bicycles. Not only that, it now has the resources to station officers and vehicles in the park for hours on end to educate cyclists and enforce slower, safer riding."
No doubt that cyclists need to do better, but that in no way excuses the News for its biased reporting.