Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cycling While Female (by res ipsa)

We have this whole bike lane war going on in New York right now. The short version is that the Bloomberg administration installed a whole bunch of bike lanes in an effort to get people to try non-car methods of getting around town. The proponents are, in addition to Bloomberg, people who like to use non-car methods of getting around town; those for whom the subway and buses are, at $2.25 a ride, too expensive; those not into burning too many fossil fuels; people who hate creating and/or sitting in traffic; Billyburg hipsters; people who just like to exercise or get a little fresh (or at least as fresh as it gets here) air; and any number of other groups I'm forgetting. The opponents are amateur photographer and (for now) congressman Anthony Weiner; the city's former transportation commissioner (who also happens to be married to Senator Charles Schumer); at least one segment of Brooklyn's Hasidic community; and NYPD, whose officers do everything from intimidate to assault cyclists.

About that last group of opponents: here we have a lovely little news item about a woman hassled by NYPD for showing too much leg while cycling. I read it and immediately thought of this crazy-ass crap I missed while on vacation and that scene in Costa-Gavras's "Missing" where Pinochet's thugs grab two women on the street, cut their pants legs, and say, "From now on, women in this country wear dresses." In the words of the great sage, Roseanne Roseannadanna, "It's always something." Either you're dressed too provocatively, or you're not dressed provocatively enough, right?

Anyway, if you click through to the Daily News story, an NYPD deputy commissioner says he can't comment on the woman's allegation until we hear the cop's name and his side of the story. And you know what? I agree with him. So let's hear both! The cyclist may not have gotten the officer's name, but NYPD knows who was on duty and walking that beat in SoHo at the hour she was pulled over so they can definitely investigate.