We’re approaching a new level of anti-bike mania in New York City. Sentiment is so totally divorced from reality, not even the New Yorker’s vaunted fact-checking apparatus can rein in the mistruths and idiocies.
Exhibit A: John Cassidy’s “Battle of the Bike Lanes.” Here, Cassidy has done us the great favor of producing what may one day be regarded as a seminal document of New York City’s bike lane backlash era.
In the year 2025, when my teenaged children ask, “Why did New Yorkers fight so much about bike lanes when I was a baby?” I will tell them to read this. And since teenagers in the year 2025 will be biking all over the place but won’t be reading anything more than 140 character bursts of text, I’ve put together this paragraph-by-paragraph bullet-pointed interpretation of Cassidy’s first-person essay:
- I know that the “bike lobby” will attack me for writing this — not because what I have written is imbecilic, uninformed and factually incorrect — but because they have no sense of humor.
- All I know about the Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes law suit is what I read in Michael Grynbaum articles.
- I don’t have anything against bikes. I just hate the infrastructure that makes biking possible.
- Biking in New York City was more thrilling in the old days when cyclists were killed by taxis and other vehicles with greater frequency. Now cyclists seem to want it easy.
- I support the movement to improve bike infrastructure. I just don’t like it when the movement succeeds in getting city government to build bike infrastructure.
- I acknowledge that this is the rant of a bitter, angry motorist.
- I have owned six, enormous cars in New York City. They’ve averaged somewhere around 11 miles per gallon.
- Thanks to my cars, I’ve visited virtually every neighborhood in the city. I never could have done that via subway or bike, or… really? I could have?
- Street space should not be set aside for bike lanes. It should be set aside for free parking for my Jaguar XJ6.
- I will now take an utterly gratuitous swipe at the Park Slope Food Coop. Let’s gin up some pageviews.
- I take great enjoyment in my driving, except for the 90% of the time that I am stuck in traffic, searching for parking and growing ever more bitter as cyclists whiz past my immobilized gas guzzler.
- I acknowledge that this is all just an emotional reaction. What I am writing makes no sense whatsoever. I am an economist.
- Now that the city has striped 200 miles of bike lanes on its 15,000+ miles of roadway, we have clearly reached the point of diminishing returns for bikes and bike lanes. As for cars and car lanes — sky’s the limit. As an economist, I see no end to the number of cars and car lanes we can cram in to New York City.
- Every New Yorker should be able to drive his Jaguar into Greenwich Village for dinner, as is my pastime, and find convenient, free parking on a public street near the restaurant.
- All of the snarled traffic on Hudson Street and Sixth Avenue near the Holland Tunnel is the fault of bike lanes and cyclists.
- The horrible traffic congestion on Brooklyn’s Fourth Avenue is the fault of the bike lanes on Fourth Avenue. (Editor’s note: In fact, there are no bike lanes on Fourth Avenue.)
- Let the movement to restore Iris Weinshall to the DOT throne start here. Like me, Iris Weinshall was a great friend to cyclists. It says so on her Wikipedia page. Forget the fact that her Bike Program Director quit his job in disgust and she is suing the city to get rid of the bike lane on the street where she lives with her husband U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer.
- See how much more modest and humorous I am than those Bike Lobby Jacobins?