Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
Update: New York Magazine posted this awesome Venn diagram of why so many conservatives hate bike share (h/t commenter Racaille):
I’m a big believer in transit and liveable streets as you know. But even I find the overly self-righteous and sanctimonious attitude of some bicycle advocates (as well as the reckless riding style and flagrant disregard of traffic laws by all too many bicyclists) rather grating. They’ve piled on Nicole Gelinas, for example, for some minor transgression of orthodoxy regarding the bike share system despite the fact that she’s been a cheeerleader for Bloomberg’s transport enhancements (“Mayor Bloomberg’s transportation reforms have unclogged New York’s streets and made them safer”). And she’s done it on the conservative side of the aisle, which can sometimes be a challenge.*
But just when you think they’re bad, along comes something like this unbelievable video featuring Wall Street Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz to make them look like paragons of rational discourse by comparison. I realize I’m late to the party here, but this is simply too over the top to let pass without comment.
I’ve watched this multiple times and I still can’t figure out if it’s for real or a Saturday Night Live skit. It’s titled “Death by Bicycle” (I’m not making this up), and in it Rabinowitz proclaims the end of New York is nigh thanks to Citibike, via a series of incredibly overwrought claims and soundbites:
“Do not ask me to enter the minds of the totalitarians running this government of the city”
“I represent the majority of the citizens. The majority of citizens of this city are appalled at what has happened.”
“…a government before which you are helpless.”
“…a city whose best neighborhoods are…begrimed is the word…by these blazing blue Citibank bikes.”
“It is shocking to walk around this city and see how much of this they have sneaked under the radar.”
“Before this every citizen knew, who was in any way sentient, that the most important danger in the city was not the yellow cabs, but the bicyclists.”
“…the mayor and his ideology-maddened traffic commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan”
And my personal favorite: “The bike lobby is an all-powerful enterprise.” Who knew? Apparently the bike advocates make the folks over at Bilderberg look like pikers.
I think everybody would admit there’s some truth in the idea that Bloomberg has a personal agenda he’s not bashful about cramming down the public’s throat without regards to public opinion. (Big Gulp, anybody?) And as I said, cyclists and their advocacy groups do deserve a chunk of their reputation. But this is so over the top and ludicrous I don’t even know where to start. It’s a parody of itself. Instead of blue bikes, Rabinowitz apparently sees the Red Menace. Definitely not what I’ve come to expect from the Wall Street Journal editorial page.
In any case, this is a must watch, for entertainment value if nothing else. I cannot imagine another video will compete with this one in the “video of the year” awards this year. It’s destined to be a legend. If the video doesn’t display for you, click here and note that it’s an autoplay link.
* I don’t know Nicole but I have been a contributor to City Journal