August 11, 2023

The New York Times attacks ebike riders and misses the story

James Gross and Micah Toll discuss Micah's latest article on Electrek

The 'New York Times' attacks e-bikes while ignoring the real danger all around us The New York Times published a pair of articles this weekend highlighting the rising number of deaths of cyclists riding electric bikes. However, in one of the most impressive feats of victim-blaming I’ve seen from the publication in some time, the NYT lays the onus on e-bikes instead of on the things killing their law abiding riders: cars. By all accounts, the e-bike rider was correctly and legally using the roadway in the only way he could. In fact, according to eye-witnesses of the car crash that killed the e-bike rider, he “did everything right,” including signaling his turn. The article goes on to detail how just three days later another teenage e-bike rider was pulled out from under a BMW – thankfully still alive – and taken to the same emergency room where the previous boy had been pronounced dead. Apparent praise is lauded on Encinitas for soon afterward declaring “a state of emergency for e-bikes,” which is a bit like saying we could just solve the school shootings crisis if kids would stop walking into all of those damn bullets. Two other points that the NYT doesn't know: El Camino Real is the most dangerous road in Encinitas. We also had a pedestrian fatality this year of a young man at another area of high crash count in Encinitas. The Encinitas City Council in 2020 voted out speed cameras on El Camino Real, which is one of the biggest deterrents to speeding and distracted driving. It also set a terrible precedent that we don't believe in enforcing traffic laws and using technology to help create a consistent standard that we won't tolerate dangerous and illegal driving in our city.

This quote should have led the NYT piece with some more research: “Nothing has changed, and hundreds of people are still getting these ridiculous fines,” Mosca said, referring to the $490 court-set cost of a ticket. Credit to Mayor Kranz and Councilmember Hinze for both voting against taking out the speeding/RL cameras. Finally, a 56 year old woman was killed and a 32 old man is in critical condition from car violence while on bikes this week in San Diego. One was hit by a Chevy Silverago and the other a F-150. Can you guess which two cars are responsible for killing the most Americans every year? Imagine if we looked to regulate safety for those vehicles? I know that is not going to happen anytime soon, in the meantime we can make our streets safer through slower speeds, traffic enforcement and safety education for riders (and drivers) and not through victim blaming.

Micah on Electrek Micah's ebike school channel

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