Friday, August 13, 2010

CBS "Schnews" Schmears Cyclists

As reported by Alfredo Garcia, written by Jen Benepe
August 13, 2010 
Apparently, CBS News is practicing "Schnews" at its very best with a provocative news promo piece that smears cyclists, and bally-boos-hoos our so-limited bike lanes. In a commercial preview for a schnews item coming up the taglines include:
"Bike Lane Backlash"
"Bicycle bullies"
"This is anarchy in the streets!"
"You're riding the wrong way"
"Are cyclists out of control or just getting a bad rap"
"Why the city keeps giving bikers more freedom"
A voiceover of the promo titled, "Bike Bedlam," says these reports will "get to the bottom of it all."

The piece appears to question why there are more bike lanes, suggesting that more cyclists are riding recklessly, and that cyclists are frequently using sidewalks. The piece shows a rider in full regalia and implies that cyclists are speeding on bike lanes. It also shows several pedestrians complaining.

Why doesn't CBS dedicate a whole month to speeding cars, and dead pedestrians in New York City?

Let's look at the numbers. In 2008, the last year that statistics were available more than 15,000 people were injured by motorists in New York State, and 302 of them were killed.

On the other hand, there were a total of 9 accidents (non fatalities) involving pedestrians and cyclists.

To add insult to injury, 42 cyclists were killed that same year, most of them in New York City, and 5,646 were injured--that is, of those that were reported. Everyone knows that cyclists tend not to report all accidents because they know the New York City police won't do anything about it. I know because it happened to me, and just about everyone else I have spoken to.

So what's the story CBS? Is it a slow news season and you need to pick on someone? My guess is it's another cheap shot to stir up controversy and attract eyeballs with false news. The news editor at WCBS TV should be fired.

This is what one of the viewers, Michael McDermott,  said about "Bike Bedlam:"
What about Car Bedlam? I tried riding my bike down Manhattan once and it was like playing a video game. If you didn't have cars and trucks cutting you off like you weren't even there. You would have people popping out between parked cars right in front of you and expecting you to suddenly stop. I gave up and walked!


Martin said...

You tell 'em Jen. Thanks for looking up the stats, etc.

I can't tell you how many close calls I've had with drivers talking on cell phones or driving with their elbows because they're busy texting or driving the wrong way down a one-way street while looking down and dialing their cellphone. Not to mention pedestrians doing pretty much the same.

Bikers get a bad wrap and I'm glad you're telling a little bit of the other side of the story.

melty said...

So where in the US Constitution does it say it's ok for a motorist to crap up the air I have to breath? Oh, that's different to my holding you up 2.5 seconds? How does my "inconveniencing" your day stack up against your polluting my lungs?

OK where's the campaign? Sign me up!

JT said...

Melty, the campaign is here:

Great group working to make walking and riding safer in NYC.

Kevin Walsh said...

As a pedestrian, I have always felt more threatened by bicyclists than motorists. On a bike, I follow the rules, ride on the right, and stop for lights. I feel threatened both by aggressive bicyclists and motorists.

Stop the aggressiveness from both bikes and cars and things will be a lot more safe and peaceful.