Last One Standing

Check this out. It’s from Berlin. Fixed gear racing in a cool format that would probably wear me out for month.

8bar – Last One Standing – Berlin 2015 from 8bar BIKES on Vimeo.

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Cyclists are Getting Hit and No One is Doing Anything About It

On May 28, 2015 a hit and run driver killed a neuroscientist in Manhattan. The “driver” was trying to get away from a traffic stop.

Sergei Musatov was a 42-year-old assistant professor of neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical Center.

“They say they attempted to stop the vehicle after it dangerously went through a red light. The vehicle fled,’’ David Bookstaver, a spokesman for New York State courts told the NY Post. “The officers say in their statement they did not pursue but came across the vehicle after it was in an accident.”

“Musatov was hit on his pricey Cannondale Quick bike a couple of blocks from the bridge on the Manhattan side,” writes the Post.

A man was killed by criminals who were running away from cops, who cares how much his bike cost? Did the Post comment on how expensive the crooks’ shoes were as they ran away from NYPD?

In July, a 57-year-old man was hit by a driver who then drove away.

“I just heard a crash, bam, bam,” Sam Hassan told WCBS. “The guy, one car hit him, he bounced off another car and then he was just on the floor. He wasn’t moving.”

Investigators said the cyclist’s body hit the windshield, rolled off the hood and then hit the pavement, leaving him with serious injuries.

On Friday September 11, 2015, a 27-year-old woman was killed by a hit and run driver on City Island.

WPIX reports Gabriela Aguilar-Vallinos of Croes Avenue, Bronx. was hit around 11:46 p.m.

Police say they found the 27-year-old victim unconscious and unresponsive with severe head trauma. EMS transported her to Jacobi Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

She was riding over the City Island bridge when she was hit by a white 2015 Hyundai Genesis which took off.

No one’s been arrested and the investigation is still ongoing.

Wednesday, October 14, a semi truck hit and killed a cyclist in Queens.

34-year-old Anna Rodriguez of Ridgewood, Queens, was riding her bike at around 8:45 a.m. in Maspeth when she was hit near the intersection of 56th Road and 48th Street.

She was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she died.

Dennis Forceri, the driver of the semi, was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and driving while ability impaired by drugs. Police said, he was also ticketed for not having a license, failing to yield to a bicycle, and failing to exercise due care.

“Being arrested is what he deserves if you’re driving without a license,” a motorist told WCBS. “It’s probably why what happened to this woman happened. He didn’t know how to drive it properly.”

“It’s extremely chaotic here in the morning. Everybody’s speeding through here. You got the trucks that are coming through here,” he said.

And many bicyclists, like Daniel Salvatierra, said they often worry about their own safety.

“The car is not really paying attention to you, making turns when you’re right next to them, pulling into parking spots,” he said. “It’s terrifying. That could have been me. I’m not even wearing my helmet right now.”

Gothamist reports Forceri later tested positive for cocaine.

Streetsblog says he’s now been charged with murder.

This morning Public Advocate Letitia James issued a statement on the most recent series of pedestrian and cyclist deaths at the hands of reckless drivers:

Over the past eleven days, five pedestrians and one cyclist were killed by motor vehicles in New York City. We must continue to work together to achieve Vision Zero, which requires good street design, education, and enforcement. Too many innocent New Yorkers are dying on our City’s streets and sidewalks, and we have a moral and civil responsibility to use every tool in our arsenal to make our City safer.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown is known for pleading down cases against drivers who kill people, rather than taking them to trial, even when defendants are accused of committing high-level felonies like aggravated vehicular homicide and manslaughter. Streetsblog will follow the case against Forceri as it progresses.

NYPD Stealing Bikes in Midtown

Gawker reports that the NYPD feels they need to steal bikes locked to public things in Midtown.

So, locking your bike to a sign post means it’s now twice as likely to get stolen. But you won’t know who stole it because the because the bad guys don’t leave a note and the alleged good guys don’t either.

Yay New York.

I first heard about this practice from my friend Kevin Kenkel, an employee at New York’s Museum of Art and Design, who rides his bike from Williamsburg to his office in Midtown Manhattan nearly every weekday. When he went to retrieve it on the evening of September 4, it was gone.

The bike, which was locked to a street sign on Broadway between 58th Street and Columbus Circle, had been seized by the NYPD, but Kevin had no way of knowing that—the officer who’d taken it left no notice. A security guard at the museum suggested that Kevin check the police department’s Midtown North precinct, nearby on West 54th Street. He stopped by that evening, and it was there.

The police, it seems, are in the habit of clipping locks and confiscating ostensibly legally-parked bikes in the area. An officer on duty told Kevin that the bike renters who swarm Columbus Circle regularly steal bicycles, and that police will sometimes preemptively seize them as a preventative measure. “He explained that the bike guys are stealing and selling to tourists, and so the police, in order to crack down on that, are just removing any bicycle that’s locked to city property,” Kevin told me. “Any bike that’s not locked up to a bike rack. And there are no bike racks near my office.”

Michael Dugan, a community affairs officer at the Midtown North precinct, confirmed the practice. There is a problem with theft, he told me, and also with bike renters taking up spaces that commuting cyclists might otherwise use. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a rental bike or not, he said—if it’s locked up to city property near Columbus Circle, it’s liable to be confiscated. Seizings aren’t limited to street signs and light posts, he added: if there are many bikes locked to a single rack—a tactic renters often use—officers will clip the locks and take them.

The precinct eventually returned Kevin’s Trek 7.2—a hybrid road bike that retails for around $500—but not until the next day, after he provided a credit card receipt as proof of purchase and waited around for several hours. His lock, which had presumably been cut when the bike was seized, was not returned to him.

When I asked Dugan whether officers leave a notice when they confiscate bicycles, he scoffed: “Where would they leave a note?” I pressed the issue, arguing that Kevin had no way to know that his bike wasn’t taken by a thief. “He got his bike back, didn’t he?”, he responded.

Dugan claimed that it is illegal to lock your bike to city property, but according to Steve Vaccaro, an attorney at the cycling-centric law firm Vaccaro & White, that isn’t necessarily the case. Vaccaro said he does not know of any city or state law that prohibits the practice, and pointed to a 2005 case called Bray v. City of New York as legal precedent. In that case, cyclists affiliated with the monthly Critical Mass bike ride successfully sued the city in federal court after police officers cut their locks and confiscated their bikes. “If you’re talking about [locking to] a city-owned street fixture,” Vaccaro said, “I don’t know of NYPD having the right to take those without some form of notice.”

“I didn’t do anything illegal but they still confiscated the bicycle,” Kevin told me, adding that he was “pretty discouraged” by the experience. We’re unsure how often this kind of thing happens, but it sounds like he isn’t the only one.

Horseshit Alley

This morning I rode fast laps with the guys from EnduranceWerx.

Fast laps is where several of us meet at 72nd and the transverse near Central Park West at some ungodly early hour then proceed to chase each other at high rates of speed around the six mile loop of the Park.

We dodge other cyclists, animals, runners and tourists. This morning it was raining so we rode through horseshit mixed with rainwater. It’s scintillating. You really should try it.

It reminded me of life a bit. Sometimes the thing you try to avoid is impossible to avoid. You just have to put your head down and ride through it.

Sure it will spray all over you, get in your eyes, in your mouth, on your hands. But after a few minutes of riding it will all wash away.

Really, there’s no moral to this story.

I just thought it was funny that the section we rode through with the horseshit is called Horseshit Alley. It gets that way because of the horse drawn carriages that pull tourists around the park congregate there. Apparently, the only place the horse’s poop is there. Who knows why. It can’t be the area. I feel I am susceptible to suggestive pooping and I feel no more desire to poop there than any other section of the park. So there’s no paranormal phenomenon happening there.

But I feel like I’ve touched a part of New York few ever see. Like I’m somehow a part of it now. Horseshit Alley is in me and I am in it.

After two showers and a bike scrubbing it may still be in me. But it’s not on me anymore. That is all.