Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Danger! Kidnappings of Innocent Bicycles!

The NYT reports on an increase in kids commuting to school by bicycle. I grew up riding my bicycle to school every day, as do many people all over the world, but in NYC, that's considered a bit strange for a kid. How strange? Well just take a look at the paranoid comments in response to the article:

"With the kidnappings of innocent children reported in the papers all the time, wouldn’t it be safer for all if they could just go back to past times and walk to a school in their own neighborhoods? "

"Great. Now you will have all these children riding bikes to school so that the crooks and thieves can beat up the kids and steal their bikes to buy crack!!

Or worse, you will have crazy NY drivers running these poor kids over as they ride through the crosswalks!!

It’s a great idea if you live in Iowa or Nebraska!

Not in NYC! This would be a bike thief’s trifecta!! Or worse, experience a sharp rise in vehicular homicide as these kids get run over by drunk and unattentive (cell phone and texting freaks) auto and truck drivers!!!

And this is why we pay the DOE employees a King’s ranson in salary to come with ideas that will place our school kids in avoidable, mortal and physical danger!!"

"...It is very common for children who go alone to end with criminals and molesters...."

"Will there be added funds given to each school where racks are installed for security to guard the racks?"

Criminals, Molesters, Helmets!

How to Kill Someone and Get Away with it

Just go to Arizona and make sure your victim is riding a bicycle (in the bicycle lane) and then hit them with your car:
"...Jerome was killed on his bicycle Sept. 3, a month before his 85th birthday.

Jerome was about a mile from the home he shared with his brother when he was struck from behind by a Toyota Camry... Jerome, a cyclist for about 10 years, was in the bike lane wearing a helmet and reflective vest.

[The driver] who was not impaired, was cited for driving in the bike lane and for not giving a cyclist three feet of space, both civil violations. It’s unlikely he’ll face additional charges...

Erik Ryberg, a Tucson attorney who has represented cyclists for five years, says the tool is in place to criminally prosecute in such cases but nobody is willing to use it.

Ryberg says negligent homicide would be a reasonable charge but has never been applied when a cyclist has been killed by a driver.

“They reserve it for more serious cases of negligence than just driving,” he said."


Waste Not

The installation "Projects 90: Song Dong" just closed at MOMA. Song Dong, a Beijing artist, worked collaboratively with his mother to sort out and display the stockpiles of potentially useful items she had been saving in her home.

While it's surprising to see that there weren't any bicycles in the collection there were some related supplies... Perhaps the bicycles of a Beijing household are too precious to give up?

Projects 90: Song Dong
Seat covers

Projects 90: Song Dong
Sturmey Archer Box

As a former gallery owner and an artist-against-the-art-world, I have some elaborate opinions on installations like this which would probably bore you all - so let's stick to how the public received it. Here are the comments I overheard as I walked around the exhibition:

"I don't know why, but this is special."

"I think the categorization helps too."

"I guess if you took everything out of our house..."

"The house must have been bigger than I thought."

"It's an art show."

"I feel like I've gotten my $5 worth already."

"That was a good MOMA-run."

NY400 Bike Share

NY400 Bike Share

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Dutch arrival in what is now New York, the Consulate General of the Netherlands and some Dutch corporations held an event called "Holland on the Hudson" as part of the wider NY400 celebration. The Bike Share offered the free use of a Batavus bike for 6 hours.

I'm sure the native people of North America would have preferred neither, but I can't help thinking we would be better off today if we were still under Dutch rule.

About NY400:
"This year we celebrate 400 years of enduring friendship between the Netherlands and the United States. Four hundred years ago, a Dutch ship called the Half Moon guided to the shores of what is now New York City with Captain Henry Hudson at the helm. This led to the establishment of New Amsterdam and the New Netherland colony. Some 167 years later, in 1776, the Dutch were the first to salute the flag of the United States of America. NY400 celebrates the free spirit, openness, entrepreneurship and tolerance of those Dutch-American pioneers, and their continued relevance today and beyond."

NY400 Bike Share