Well, Alec Baldwin, that was a short goodbye.
There you were yesterday morning at 16th Street and Fifth Avenue — riding your bicycle against the traffic just in time to zoom into an NYPD crackdown on folks who cause road accidents: clueless cell yakkers who wander into traffic, texting drivers who clip pedestrians in the crosswalks, and yes, bicyclists who whisk through town blissfully heedless of rules.
The cops say that when they stopped Baldwin in Manhattan, the actor jumped ugly with them. So they did what cops do in such cases. They marched him off to the precinct house to contemplate his sins while seated on one of the world’s hardest benches.
But it didn’t matter much. Hours later he was a free man, railing at the city, on his Twitter account, as “a mismanaged carnival of stupidity . . . desperate for revenue and anxious to criminalize behavior once thought benign.”
He’s seriously out of line.
There’s nothing benign about this.
Bicyclists going the wrong way on Manhattan’s frantic streets often smash into pedestrians who aren’t expecting them. They can seriously hurt themselves as they add an especially unpredictable element while weaving in and out of the traffic flow.
The resulting injuries and deaths are a major reason for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero campaign — designed to end traffic deaths in the city. One person dies in city traffic every two days says the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. The number of people who die in city traffic accidents now approaches the number of New Yorkers who die in homicides, the city says.
Baldwin would have New Yorkers think that the NYPD crackdown is simply a revenue-grab launched by a bunch of authoritarians on the city payroll. Wrong. It’s to protect the millions who use our streets daily.
Perhaps Baldwin ought to check out Houston, where he might not stand out as much. That city came in No. 1 in a recent study of road etiquette and aggressive behavior.