Sunday, July 24, 2011

Portnoy's Lament

Testimony given Dec 9, 2010 at oversight hearing of the Transportation Committee of the city council. Chair: Jimmy Vacca.

By Jack Brown

*Refer to above NYT Grynbaum account. **Note Jan 6,2011 the sustained program of bike law enforcement began by the NYPD.**

It feels like we may be at the point towards a responsible bike culture in New York that was reached at the end of Phillip Roth's celebrated novel "Portnoy's Complaint".Portnoy's psychiatrist after listening to his catharsis says "Ah now ve may begin" This Oversight Hearing can form the basis for a coordinated effort to address the various concerns of the city agencies that go into forming a functional productive bike culture. The effort must be cooperative, consistent and considered. Everything that it has not been up to now. The Coalition Against Rogue Riding advocates responsible enforcement as the backbone of a law abiding cycling community. It is the bottomline where responsible bike communities work. Why not here?

By withholding the services of the NYPD it merely increases the sense of impunity on the part of irresponsible bike riders and undermines the credibility of the police department. In my opinion a lose lose situation. When I see adults cycling with youngsters on their bikes-without helmets and against the flow of traffic that constitutes child welfare endangerment. When I see cyclists on battery powered bikes riding every which way but right I know something needs enforcement.

It is time to establish a task force to consider the various and increasingly urgent issues necessary to promoting a responsible bike culture. Clearly the scattershot approach currently employed is a significant failure. An exercise in zealotry. It is time that a callous disregard for public safety is recognized for what it is and not conflated with a green ideal going toxic. I urge the transportation committee to exercise whatever powers it has to formally establish a task force to pursue this goal in a considered and knowledgeable fashion. It is my belief that the public would respond with appreciation and that a coalition of elected public official will bring the resources of their offices to advance such a process.

Jack Brown CARR
Coalition Against Rogue Riding

1 comment:

  1. it's worth noting that after this testimony was given on december 9, 2010, the nypd announced a sustained program of enforcement of the laws pertaining the bicylces. in light of previous media coverage on the issue of rogue riding, this could well have been a tipping point in the decision to re-establish more significant nypd presence.