NYC bike accident of "inevitable carnage" highlights the city's dangerous motorized bike and scooter situation

Originally published at: NYC bike accident of "inevitable carnage" highlights the city's dangerous motorized bike and scooter situation | Boing Boing


More dangerous than cars? Have the breathless Tweeters (x-ers?) of this “gory scene” ever looked over the guardrail? The Manhattan bridge overlooks the FDR for Pete’s sake. A road where you can only feel safe once the pilup of the day has already happened and traffic has ground down to bumper to bumper. Cars are still the problem. The city should be cutting further into cars’ space, not complaining that e-bikes are choosing the safer of two bad options (bike lanes or a car lane)


Lot of anti-ebike articles out there lately. The car companies sure seem scared of people not wanting massive land tanks to do 15 minute commuting.


I’m not against people using smaller vehicles. I do want them to be more careful when sharing space with pedestrians.


^^ This.

42,795 deaths in motor vehicle crashes in the US in 2022.

But e-bikes are a problem? Pig’s arse they are.


Or better still, not sharing space with pedestrians at all. Everyone hates shared space.


“Inevitable Carnage” is the name of my new band my sex tape my cat.


Car drivers kill more peds than ebikes ever will, and until we stop calling them “accidents” and instead start treating them like “murders”, I don’t think my viewpoint will change.

Cars share way too much spaces with peds, too




yeah, this. like uber and all the rest, the algorithm intentionally encourages fast delivery, not safe delivery.


I mean, yeah of course, but that doesn’t mean bikes that have gone from traveling at around 10 mph up to 40+ mph aren’t a serious safety issue. Vehicular traffic in NYC (and everywhere else), can be reduced while also regulating what are, in every reasonable way, motorcycles. It’s already done with the various classes of motorized bikes, those standards just need to be applied to e-bikes. Which will mean the enforcement of helmet laws and restrictions on speed, accessible motorways, insurance requirements and age limits for bikes that perform similarly to motorcycles, scooters and unclassified sport scooters.

I recently saw a child ca 13 years old ripping down the street with a young girl passenger on the back. I was traveling about 30 mph and they were disappearing rapidly in front of me; they had to be traveling at least 50 mph. No helmet, no license, no safety gear of any type whatsoever on a busy city street that crosses 3 train tracks. And this was a “bike” meaning the passenger was sharing his seat as opposed to an extended motorcycle-type seat (!!!). I can’t believe a reasonable person would look at that situation and think “yeah, this is fine.”

ETA: I was a Manhattan bike messenger in the era of Critical Mass. A lot of people put their asses on the line to get safe bike lanes and now this is the shit cyclists have to deal with in the space that was supposed to protect them? I don’t get the nonchalance.


That sounds nice, but isn’t a realistic possibility. I 100% agree that bikes should not be on sidewalks ever except for kids (which is already the NYC regulation). But there are dozens of instances on every block where pedestrians will inevitably share space with cars and cycles; crosswalks, jaywalkers, curb steppers, cab hailers, the weird West Side Highway access points that seemed designed to send cars into humans, etc. The whole point of urban traffic planning and right of way is to ensure that all parties have a chance to travel safely at their allotted moment. A bunch of grey-area vehicles that are also firebombs and move at high speed should be subject to the same regulations of similarly-capable vehicles (more so, imo because of the firebomb aspect).

Also, I don’t buy the idea that gig workers will be the ones to suffer with regulation. Anyone who’s spent any time on a bike in NYC knows that a classic pedal bike is the fastest form of travel available.

New York government report: Bikes are faster than cabs.

And that report is looking at Citi bikes. I’ve never ridden one, but from all I’ve heard they are pretty much the shittiest bikes on the road.


Literally millions of Dutch cyclists and pedestrians demonstrate every day that it’s perfectly realistic.


You’re telling me that at no point do bicycle paths cross paths with pedestrian lanes and vehicular traffic?

Amsterdam intersection with bike and vehicle lanes all crossing paths with pedestrian paths.

To be clear, I’m not saying that it’s inevitable that bikes will be on pedestrian pathways (which was pretty clear in my post that they should never be), but that there are always going to be moments when they have to interact with each other and cross each others’ path of progress.

Also: Every bike in Amsterdam has a very loud bell that is liberally deployed for this exact reason. Saying something shouldn’t exist is not the same as saying it doesn’t exist.


This is true. During my most recent visits to NYC in the past year, crossing the bike lanes has been the most dangerous part of crossing the street because of the e-bikes hauling @$$ in the bike lanes, in the car traffic lanes, basically everywhere.


Here’s a tedious admonition: energy to bust open one’s skull increases as the square of the velocity. So if this slow bicyclist (~10mph) could hit a root, break his clavicle, walk away with just a busted helmet, and still put together a quasi cogent boring comment rather than just sitting and drooling, you should definitely wear a helmet if you’re on two wheels traveling at more than 6mph-ish [old man finger-wag]


Exactly. I remember the bad old days in NYC when bike messenger arseholes felt they didn’t have to give the right of way to pedestrians or would just cycle on the pavement instead of the street. Eventually the city cracked down. Now, as we see with this pile-up, regular cyclists have to deal with ebike delivery people who seem to forget that they’re going a lot faster than the cycles without the motors.

The suggestions for addressing the problem in the FPP make sense, and don’t conflict with the effort to remove automobiles from city streets. We can have more bike lanes, congestion fees, better public transit, stricter traffic enforcement and regulation of cyclists and ebikers, and consequences for delivery and messenger companies that encourage their employees to drive unsafely and break laws no matter what vehicle they’re using.

A lot of that is due to a very different cycling culture that’s been around for over a century. There’s a level of mutual respect between cyclists and pedestrians over what is and isn’t a shared space and clear expectations of what happens when paths inevitably cross. That culture doesn’t exist in most N. American cities, where in line with “rugged individualism” it’s every person for himself.


As anyone from India or Brazil can tell you, this is what it’s like to live in a large city in a developing country. (The US may not quite fully be a developing country yet, but it’s well on its way).


What the boing boing writeup is failing to capture here is that the proliferation of bad behavior is down to vehicles that aren’t legally being operated, and are completely illegal to take on bike infra like the Manhattan path. The 2020 law legalized true class 1,2 and 3 ebikes, but did not change the legal status of 200+ pound e- or gas mopeds, the drivers of which are the ones doing the dirty here.

And coverage of the issue is conflating the legal and illegal, by and large. This writeup isn’t helping.

Helpful chart from NYC DOT here:

The really problematic actors are on mopeds of different classes and are riding them without benefit of license plates, registration, insurance, or any goddamned courtesy. And all over areas that are supposed to be motor-vehicle-free spaces. It is literally my least favorite thing about NYC right now.

Also worth noting the Lisa Baines death from June 2021 came of a crash with one of these moped jackovasaurs.


Obviously cars can and do kill more people than overpowered e-bikes do but that’s kind of missing the point here since we’re talking about what kinds of vehicles should be allowed in spaces specifically created to protect cyclists from motorized vehicles.