New York City turned thousands of motor bikes, four-wheelers and illegal mopeds into confetti Tuesday with a stirring photo-op of a bulldozer crushing the outlawed vehicles.
These vehicles are a pain in the ass, it’s true; they’re noisy and often taken by their operators where motorize vehicles shouldn’t be, like sidewalks, bike lanes and parks. Mayor Eric Adams told assembled members of the press on Tuesday he will not rest until this scourge is rectified. From the press conference:
“he NYPD heard the call, and they did a Herculean task to get rid of these loud, intimidating and dangerous and illegal dirt bikes and ATVs that are on our streets. For years, we’ve witnessed what happens when they go under control or we do not enforce. They continue to grow over and over and over again.
And I’m not going to give up on my promise and commitments to rid our streets of these bikes and make all of our boroughs a place where people can move about. As you can see from the number of bikes here today, we are making good on our promise.
But New York’s StreetsBlog was (rightfully) unimpressed. They pointed out that cars kill and maim far more people and destroy a whole lot more private and public property, but drivers generally get away with a simple speeding ticket or similar slap on the wrist. For example, a cabby who had been cited multiple time for reckless driving jumped a curb on Monday, injuring six, three critically in the Flatiron district of Manhattan:
Now, look, of course, we agree that recklessly operated illegal mopeds and four-wheelers are annoying and dangerous, but statistics consistently show that recklessly operated cars are a much greater hazard to city residents. Yet hundreds of drivers have been slapped with dozens of camera-issued speeding tickets this year — yet they keep driving as long as they keep paying the $50 tickets.
And that’s why Cuba was on hand at the mayor’s crush party — to ask Hizzoner about what he’s doing about reckless drivers, one day after a reckless cab driver struck a cyclist and then mowed down multiple people on a Broadway sidewalk.
Like us, multiple outlets followed up on Monday’s crash, though most outlets’ coverage were deeply unsatisfying. We focused on how the mayor refused to turn tragedy into an opportunity and fully pedestrianize Broadway (though he told Cuba he’ll consider it). The Daily News focused on earlier comments from DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez about how drivers should slow down, yet did not update its story with the mayor’s comments (neither did amNY, though Kevin Duggan’s second-day story was much deeper than other papers’).
The Post (for some reason) highlighted what we knew two days ago (that the cab in the crash had multiple camera-issued tickets for reckless driving).
Not a bad point. While these now-flattened vehicles are not good for city streets, traffic deaths in New York (just like the rest of the U.S.) were up a startling 44 percent in 2021 over 2020, and that rise wasn’t caused by four-wheelers. At least 59 people were killed in car crashes in the first three months of 2022, according to Axios. That’s up from 41 deaths in the same time period last year. Pedestrians are dying faster than ever in New York. Hit-and-runs have doubled since 2018, and pedestrian fatalities involving an SUV shot up 42 percent, according to NBC New York.
NYPD estimates they’ve seized 900 illegal ATVs, mopeds and similar vehicles in the last year. Mayor Adams vehicles will all be crushed and turned into scrap so they “...can never terrorize our city again.”