Everything you need to know about livable streets in ten tweets

I try my best to not say things when I’m angry. It’s a policy I often violate because I think I can be measured – and, as my rational self knows will be the case, I usually fail.

Last night, Doug from Brooklyn Spoke showed class while tweeting about an awful cycling incident. Doug usually sticks to facts and logic when writing; it was nice to see him break away from that to some extent.

I mean, long-form is great and all – I’m a huge proponent, as anyone who reads this blog knows – but sometimes things are best expressed in short, personal bursts. For those who don’t understand his frustration, I’ll attempt to provide some commentary.

Obviously the “ramming” part is the scariest of this post, but the rest is almost as disturbing. This is someone who, at any moment, could run someone over and then get off scot-free just by staying at the scene and claiming he didn’t see the person and blowing under a .08.

Doug’s wariness is justified: even if you have a dozen witnesses who saw a driver sideswipe you then try to chase you down in front of your wife and toddlers, the NYPD will suggest you don’t file charges.

Yet people like this are allowed to drive 3,000-pound vehicles, putting innocent pedestrians at risk of instant death while the driver basks in the comfort of seat belts, air bags, and a steel cage. Oh yeah, and that whole thing about not being prosecuted.

I see this all the time. It spurred me to write about the impatience of drivers a couple of weeks ago, and Bike Snob yesterday published a great rant about a driver who feels justified in doing this exact same thing because he thinks it’s safer for the cyclist. If you’re going to share the road, you should at least know how other people think.

I hope cops would be nice to someone who had just had his wife insulted after almost getting killed. That’s basic empathy.

Taking the lane is a cyclist’s right, but many drivers either are unfamiliar with the law or don’t want to be delayed by a few precious seconds.

Remember that incident in Williamsburg a few months ago? Imagine how many cyclists don’t have GoPros to record stupidity like this.

Why does Ray Kelly insist that “you have to observe the violation” to arrest a maniac driver, when achieving the same result with a gun would result in a full-scale investigation?

I have been in arguments with people who claim the two aren’t the same. Guns are highly regulated because they’re intended to cause damage, they say, while cars are openly available because they’re for transportation. (Yes, that’s the argument.)

Anyone who believes this should be fine telling a grieving parent that it’s better that her son was killed by an SUV and not by an errant handgun. I’m sure that will be a huge comfort.

Trigger, steering wheel: in the hands of someone who loses self-control, even if only for an instant, both can cause irreparable harm. Why do we care about the means?

I like to think the same thing about the people who brought on the financial crisis. Good thing they’re all in jail!

This is why we need to attack this problem at its root: a culture that encourages aggressive, dangerous behavior – not actively, but through lack of deterrence. I’m hoping Mayor de Blasio’s commissioner will have the balls to make the department, um, do its job.

The 78th Precinct issued a whopping zero (0) tickets for speeding in September, maintaining its total at 109 for the year. This in an area covering around 200 blocks, not counting Prospect Park.

People I care about and respect have, for some reason, resigned themselves to dying while cycling – some because they think they don’t have the power to change the way things work. Advocacy is hard; the changes don’t come overnight, and you often alienate yourself from people because they don’t understand what you’re doing or why you’re doing it if the expected payoff is so bad.

Doug has been a great force for positive change in this city for a long time. I’m sure he’s pissed off a lot of important people by pushing for “what’s right” instead of for “what gets the votes”. Thankfully, those two things are becoming more aligned.

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