Earth to ‘Cycling’ Commish O’Neill: Here’s How the NYPD Rank-And-File Think About People Who Bike
If NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill really loves folks that get around on bikes, he has a funny manner of displaying it.
We discovered as tons on Monday, three days after a person at the 103rd Precinct in Queens indignant cyclists with a Vision Zero-themed tweet that featured a crumpled up bicycle and an offer that it’s flawlessly OK to hate cyclists.
“Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re right here,” read the emoji-filled March 29 tweet from the Jamaica precinct (under). “Keep an additional eye Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 4.55.49 PM out for them cyclist emoji (and Motorcyclist) as you pressure they’re tougher to identify.”
The tweet outraged many cyclists, with its “Animal Farm”-in-reverse implication that those who get around on two wheels are bad and those who get around on 4 wheels are right. The different implication, of direction, is that it’s all proper to harbor anti-cyclist bias for your heart.
“Bikes are ridden by people. People. Who have died due to thoughtless road layout and no police enforcement,” tweeted Gail Thomas. “We are People. Who dies.
On Monday, while the authentic tweet was nevertheless lively, O’Neill changed into requested with the aid of Streetsblog whether or not the tweet conveyed an anti-bicycle owner bias inside the NYPD, specifically that police officers agree that it’s flawlessly suited for drivers to “hate” individuals who chose to get around with the aid of bike.
“Maybe the tone of the message — and the photograph — turned into certainly not appropriate,” said O’Neill, who regularly refers to himself as a bike owner. “‘Love ’em or hate ’em.’ … As anyone knows, I love ’em.”
Then, without pausing, he veered into territory that indicates the stocks the view of many drivers that folks that motorcycle are appropriate so long as they’re not in the manner.
“But bicycles do should adhere to the regulations of the road,” O’Neill stated, apropos of nothing, earlier than describing the best issue about cyclists … from a driving force’s perspective: “The fact is there are much fewer vehicles in Manhattan because of bicyclists.”
Streetsblog requested if O’Neill was concerned about his officials being “anti-motorcycle.” Again, he downplayed the concern.
“I don’t recognize approximately whether all 36,000 police officers love bicycles. I recognize one,” he stated, again referring to himself. He did now not permit any other comply with-up, which might have focused on what his response could be if a top police reliable tweeted, “Love ’em or hate ’em” about a racial or ethnic group.
Still, the tweet ought to were something of a black eye for a commissioner who prides himself on his commitment to Vision Zero. Indeed, sometime after the click conference, the tweet from the 103rd Precinct became taken down and replaced with something some distance extra anodyne — yet nevertheless with the picture of the crumbled bike, a haunting picture for every person who has been hit or almost hit by using a 3,000-pound machine.
A name to the 103rd Precinct was referred to the network affairs workplace, which did not respond. O’Neill’s spokesman at 1 Police Plaza also did not reply to numerous follow-up questions.
The tweet will possibly be dismissed by means of a few observers as just a clumsy try at humor — you know, from one put-upon motive force to another. But it comes as new research confirmed what cyclists have long regarded: Drivers see cyclists as less than human.
In the examine, Australian researchers asked individuals approximately their attitudes in the direction of cyclists — and 31 percent rated cyclists as less than human. The dehumanization become even worse among non-cyclists: forty-nine percent viewed folks that journey a motorcycle as non-human, in step with the look at posted inside the magazine Transportation Research,
The take a look at additionally related the dehumanization to real competitive conduct towards cyclists. The greater dehumanization that someone admitted to, the more likely that that individual behaved aggressively in the direction of a person on a motorcycle, the examine observed.
“Respondents who rated cyclists as 89 percentage human or less showed 1.87 instances extra direct competitive behaviors to cyclists compared to the respondents who rated bicycle owner as greater than ninety percentage human,” the studies team wrote.
Aggressive behavior in the direction of cyclists is fairly enormous, previous research has shown. About 70 percent of cyclists have skilled a few forms of harassment from motorists, a few research has proven. One examines located 15 percentage document having had an item thrown at them.
“Public references to violence towards cyclists aren’t uncommon and infrequently given the equal condemnation as, as an example, violence towards ladies or bullying,” wrote the lead researcher, Alexa Delbosc.
To positioned violence toward cyclists in attitude, in the 103rd Precinct last year, there were 3,354 crashes, inflicting accidents to 43 cyclists and 216 pedestrians.
But, love ’em or hate ’em.