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More cycling regulations won’t make New York City’s streets safer



cycling regulations new york

Over the weekend, a 47-year-old cyclist was killed in Bushwick after a driver in an SUV chased and intentionally hit him. The driver, IDed as 41-year-old Korey Johnson, says he believed the cyclist was breaking into his car; he has since been charged with murder and manslaughter. That crash marked the 20th cyclist killed by cars in New York City this year, which is double the number of people killed in 2018.

But this week, during a press conference on crime statistics, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters that his administration has internally discussed more regulations for cyclists—namely, requiring Citi Bike riders to wear helmets, and perhaps even compelling bike riders to register for licenses.

“I’m someone who believes that more and more people riding bikes has been a good thing for this city,” de Blasio said during the presser. “But we have to make sense of the safety realities.”

But putting more regulations on cyclists would have the opposite effect. By creating even more barriers to entry for New Yorkers who are bike-curious, or those who are casual riders, the city would, in fact, make cycling even more dangerous.

“Requiring adults to use bicycle helmets has been shown time and again to discourage people from biking,” Marco Conner, the deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement. “When there are fewer people biking on city streets, we see higher rates of bicyclist crashes and injuries, in part because car and truck drivers become less accustomed to operating around bicyclists. The safest cities for biking and walking in the world do not mandate bike helmets or licenses.”

On the helmet issue, de Blasio said that “[t]here are different viewpoints on what would work and how much impact it would have,” referring to a mandatory helmet law, and that it’s “a real valid issue so it’s something we’re studying right now.”

But data does not back up his assertion that those “different viewpoints” are worth entertaining. Studies have shown that cycling in cities becomes safer when more riders are on the roads—and bike-sharing programs like Citi Bike have contributed to that uptick, with thousands of new riders taking to the streets since the program launched in 2013. According to data from the city’s Department of Transportation, there were close to 179 million cycling trips taken by New Yorkers in 2017, with about 17 million of those coming from Citi Bikers.

At the same time, mandatory helmet laws often leads to fewer bike-sharing trips. Mandatory helmet laws have been cited as one of several reasons for the demise of Seattle’s Pronto Bicycle Share program, which launched in 2014 and shut down in 2017. A similar problem plagues the bike-sharing program in Melbourne, Australia; more than half of respondents to a 2014 survey cited the city’s mandatory helmet law as a barrier to using the system.

It’s also worth noting that Citi Bike is, on the whole, a safe system, despite the lack of any sort of helmet requirement. The program launched in 2013, and to date, there have only been two fatalities—one of which happened earlier this year, when 74-year-old Victor Ang was hit by a UPS truck near Hudson Yards.

And in an otherwise safe system, helmets don’t actually offer as much protection as you might assume, according to a 2012 report published by the National Association of City Transportation Officials. That report, authored by Australian professor Piet de Jong, found that, “[i]n jurisdictions where cycling is safe, a helmet law is likely to have a large unintended negative health impact. In jurisdiction where cycling is relatively unsafe, helmets will do little to make it safer.”

Plus, helmets don’t always protect riders who are hit by cars or otherwise involved in accidents. Bike messenger Robyn Hightman died after being hit by a truck driver on 23rd Street in Manhattan—and they were wearing a helmet.

Does this mean you shouldn’t wear a helmet? Of course not; taking that extra precaution is a good idea. But should it be mandatory for cyclists, particularly those who might be picking up a Citi Bike on a whim or for a ride of just a few blocks? Not unless the city wants the bike share program to lose the ridership gains it’s made in the past six years.

The same logic goes for compelling cyclists to have licenses, an idea that has been proposed before—and has, unsurprisingly, proven to be quite unpopular. (And in cities where it has successfully been implemented, the fees are either very low—and put back into cycling systems—or the programs are rife for abuse.)

Such regulations have been proposed at both the city and state level in the past, and failed to garner support. It’s unclear how such a policy would be enforced, or what it would cost, or how it would impact a bike-sharing system like Citi Bike. And as Gothamist points out, requiring licenses to ride a bike would most likely unfairly impact immigrant and minority New Yorkers, who are already among those most at risk for being aggressively targeted for minor infractions.

So what is the solution to making our city’s streets safer? Investing in cycling infrastructure, such as bike lanes that are separated from vehicular traffic by some kind of physical barrier (rather than painted stripes), would go a long way. The de Blasio administration recently put forth its own cycling safety plan, called the Green Wave, that calls for installing 30 new miles of protected bike lanes every year—with the goal of creating a full network by 2030—along with cracking down on drivers who block bike lanes and truck drivers who flout traffic rules, and implementing signal timing to make cycling more efficient.

But reducing the number of cars on streets is also important, both in terms of making streets safer for bikers and pedestrians, and encouraging more people to ride. In its recently released Mobility Report, the DOT concluded that New York City’s streets are “more congested than ever,” with the number of for-hire vehicle trips increasing dramatically, and an uptick in freight traffic and home deliveries. And many cyclists are riding in lanes that offer, as Streetsblog put it, “green paint and a prayer”—so it’s no surprise that crashes are on the rise. The city is putting measures into place that may combat these problems; congestion pricing, which will be implemented in Manhattan below 60th Street, is the biggie, but a “cruising cap” on for-hire vehicles is also expected to help.

And as Aaron Gordon recently wrote at Jalopnik, the city should refocus its priorities when it comes to cycling; instead of using safety as the key metric—as Vision Zero currently does—it should be focusing on ridership, and ensuring that New York is a pleasant place for cyclists to ride.
“When it comes to cycling, ridership and safety are closely intertwined. Most people won’t bike if they don’t feel safe, but the more people who bike, the safer bikers are,” Gordon wrote. “The close relationship between the two can lead to a false impression that a policy focused on safety will increase ridership, but in fact it’s the other way around. By explicitly targeting ridership as the key metric, it forces policymakers to constantly ask: what makes people ride, and what makes people stop riding?”

Mandating helmets and implementing bike licensing would discourage people from riding, which would ultimately make our city less safe. Instead, de Blasio should listen to the many advocates who’ve implored him to accelerate the implementation of protected bike lanes, adopt internationally recognized safe streets design protocols, and find ways to shift the focus away from cars, and onto the millions of New Yorkers who get around in other ways.


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Meet Narwhal, the Rescue Puppy with a Tail Growing out of His Forehead




puppy unicorn

There’s a 10-week-old puppy in Missouri with a tail growing out of his forehead.

Yes, his forehead. No, it doesn’t wag. And, appropriately, his name is Narwhal.

It’s me Narwhal!! I don’t understand what viral is but my foster mama said my story being viral helps ALL our special…

Posted by Mac the pitbull on Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Well, his full name is “Narwhal the Little Magical Furry Unicorn,” according to dog rescue nonprofit organization Mac’s Mission, which took him in after he was discovered last Saturday. He was found in the freezing cold, with what appears to be the beginnings of frostbite on one paw.

Unlike an actual narwhal whale, which has a protruding canine tooth that resembles a tusk, the tail on Narwhal’s forehead is short and stubby, sprouting right between his eyes — and flops from side to side when he plays. He has a normal tail, too, this one is just extra.

Workers at Mac’s Mission, which specializes in special needs dogs who had been abused or born with defects, say he’s recovering quickly, with the frostbite healing.

“He seems completely healthy other than some usual puppy worms he got meds for,” said the organization in a Facebook post.

Just another video of our narwhal the magical fuzzy unicorn puppy because we think he is amazing. (We are not accepting applications for him right now until we are very certain his unicorn horn is not going to have a growth spurt and become an issue) (no it does not wag) (yes he is keeping it) (yes he is amazingly awesome!!) Love,MacKeeperOfTheUnicorns

Posted by Mac the pitbull on Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Vets took X-ray scans, which showed the tail isn’t connected to anything. It has no real use, as far as they can tell, but it also doesn’t cause him any pain, and there’s no medical reason to remove it — so the forehead tail is here to stay. “The unicorn face tail does not bother Narwhal, and he never slows down just like any normal puppy,” said the Facebook post.

He was found with another dog, which rescue workers speculate may be his father. This older dog, who has been named Poppa Smurf, is a Daschund Terrier mix — so they assume Narwhal may have some Daschund in him as well.

It’s not clear what happened to the two of them before they were discovered, but a spokesperson from Mac’s Mission told CNN Narwhal is from rural Missouri in the Midwest, and loves to play — and now, he has thousands of fans online, after his special tail catapulted him to internet fame.

The rush of the online attention has been “crazy,” the spokesperson, adding that the staff “feel like we’re in a dream.”

He’s not yet ready for adoption, Mac’s Mission said online — but that hasn’t stopped Narwhal’s fans from wanting to take him home. The organization has already received over 50 adoption applications for him, a spokesperson told CNN.

Narwhal will likely be listed for adoption once he’s older and has gone through more medical procedures like vaccinations. The staff says they also want to monitor his unicorn horn a little while longer to make sure it doesn’t grow or become a problem.

“Everyone is super interested in him,” the spokesperson said — but “we are hopeful they are seeing the other available dogs as well!”


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Missing Brooklyn Boy Scout, 13, found safe a week after he went missing




Brooklyn boy, 13, home safe after he goes missing for a week

BROOKLYN — Ade Prince, the 13-year-old Boy Scout and choir boy who didn’t come home from school a week ago, was found safe Monday night after a wild goose chase that started near a Flatbush apartment and ended near the Barclay Center in Brooklyn.

Some neighborhood kids saw a missing flyer posted in a park near P.S. 6 on Snyder Avenue and confronted a boy Prince was hanging around with in recent months.

Prince had left for his charter school a week ago and never came home.

His parents said although he was a loving and respectful son, he had started staying out late sometimes in the last eight months—and one time, disappeared for two days.

Prince is not a big 13 year old and looked younger than his years.

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Amazon Black Friday deals 2019: the best offers and discounts




black friday

Black Friday 2019 falls on Friday 29 November but, as with every year now, many of the best Black Friday deals have already started to appear. And when it comes to the size and duration of the Black Friday sales it’s hard to get bigger than Amazon.

Every year, Amazon breathlessly announces ahead of the sales event that THIS year will be its “biggest ever” event with thousands of discounts across products in its various departments.

For 2019, it’s making that “biggest ever” promise again, confirming that the 2019 Black Friday sale will run for eight days from 00:01 on Friday 22 November until 23:59 on Friday 29 November. We assume those days will also apply to Amazon sales in other countries.

Another Black Friday tradition is that Amazon offers a mix of multi-day discounts along with “Lightning Deals”, which are only available for a limited amount of time – or until the product sells out. This will happen again for 2019, and as happened last year, Amazon Prime members will get early access to the Black Friday 2019 Lightning Deals.

Prime members also get access to grocery delivery service Amazon Fresh while new for this year, Fresh on Demand means UK Prime members in select postcodes pay just £2.99 per delivery on orders over £40 (free for orders over £120), or they can subscribe to Fresh Add-On of £3.99 per month for unlimited free deliveries.

There are also more ways to shop this Black Friday, including AR View, Showroom and Discover. AR View lets you see products in your home before you buy using augmented reality technology. Showroom lets you virtually stage Amazon furnishings in 3D in a living room setting. And Discover lets you browse items and refine your selection based on your personal preferences.

Looking back to 2018, we know that the Black Friday sales period was a massive success for Amazon: the retailer says that Cyber Monday 2018 was the single biggest shopping day in the company’s history. In the US, over five popular shopping days starting with Thanksgiving on the Thursday and continuing through Cyber Monday, Amazon says it broke records as customers purchased “millions more products over the five day period vs. the same period last year.”

That record was then shattered by Amazon Prime Day 2019 in July when Prime members worldwide purchased more than 175 million items throughout Prime Day, making it the largest shopping event in Amazon history.

In the UK, Amazon tells us that in the first eight hours of Black Friday 2018 (00:01 – 08:00), customers were shopping at record levels, ordering more than 100,000 toys and 60,000 beauty products during this time.

For Black Friday 2019, Amazon is adhering to the above formula of multi-day discounts and Lightning Deals but promising “more great offers than ever.” (Well, it wouldn’t promise less.)


The Black Friday sale will run for eight days, starting at 00:01 on Friday 22 November and running until 23:59 on Friday 29 November. Presumably it will then turn into a Cyber Weekend / Cyber Monday sale for another few days.

This eight-day Black Friday sale follows the same pattern as last year: in 2018, Amazon kicked off its Black Friday Week Sale on Friday 16 November, a week ahead of Black Friday itself.

As well as the main Black Friday sale, it would not surprise us at all to see Amazon run some sort of ‘Countdown to Black Friday’ or ‘Early Black Friday Deals’ event starting on Friday 15 November, then the confirmed ‘Black Friday Week Sale’ starting on Friday 22 November, and then the big ‘Amazon Black Friday sale’ itself which will kick off at 1 minute past midnight on Friday 29 November 2019.

Once that sale is over, we’d expect the Cyber Monday sale to begin and run until midnight on Cyber Monday.

And then on the following Tuesday 3 December, it’s likely that Amazon will kick off its ‘Countdown To Christmas Sale’ which will feature a range of deals right up to midnight on Christmas Eve.

But of all these sales and mini sales, it’s likely that the BEST sale prices will fall in the four-day Black Friday to Cyber Monday period…


more info



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