WSJ Wigs Out About NYC Bike Sharing Program

I absolutely despise Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but one good thing he’s done is roll out a new bike-sharing program across the city. But Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal editorial board declares it to be “totalitarian” and says that it only happened because, “The bike lobby is an all-powerful enterprise.” Oh yeah, the bike lobby rivals the defense industry for political power. This screed is just totally deranged. If you can’t see the video below the fold, you can view it here.

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  • roggg

    Dafuq did I just watch? What exactly does totalitarian mean at the WSJ that bike sharing is totalitarianism?

  • The real danger is that terrorists will attach scythe blades to the sides of the bikes and mow down countless pedestrians in New York City.

  • You laugh now, but when the Proletariat rise up and ride their “free” Socialist bikes to Wall Street to steal the earned wealth from America’s Job Creators…

    The majority is against this Totalitarian program. And she knows “the majority” is against that because everybody she knows agrees with her.

    Aw, hell. She’s mad because they get in the way of her chauffeur towncar

  • whirligig

    My town has those. Ours are red (for Communism).

    Is each person that I see on one of those bikes a totalitarian dictator, or only some of them?

    How much of that lady’s beef is fueled by bitterness about being too decrepit to ride a bike?

    So many questions.

  • slc1

    As frightening as it may seem, Ms. Rabinowitz is one of the saner voices on the WSJ editorial page (or at least used to be before Murdock took over).

  • cptdoom

    Um, um…um, what was that? How did we get to a point where a bike-sharing program is a sign of totalitarianism? Are New Yorkers being forced to use the system?

    We have a similar program here in DC, and it has been a huge success. In fact, it was so successful from the outset they had to about double the number of available bicycles because demand was so great. That’s right, demand increased, so supply had to follow, which, if I am remembering what I learned getting my Master’s Degree in Economics correctly, is the basic description of market forces.

    Now Ms. Rabinowitz has a point about bike safety, and I think the police should ticket cyclists who refuse to follow the rules of the road, but most of the crazy riders are bike messengers, not regular commuters. In my admittedly anecdotal experience, the people using the bike sharing system are some of the most sedate and safety-conscious riders on the street.

    As for New York not being London, Paris or Amsterdam – well, she’s right on that one. I’ve been to both Paris and Amsterdam, although not London, and they are very different from New York. They don’t have homeless people begging you for cash or food every few steps, they don’t have high levels of gun violence and they don’t have litter blowing through their streets (I couldn’t believe how quickly the Amsterdam sanitation services cleaned up a few million pieces of confetti and glitter after last year’s Pride celebration). What a socialist horror!

  • Chiroptera

    You know, I’ve been seeing a lot of cases where conservatives have been using the word totalitarian in inappropriate contexts lately. Do they even know what the word means? How is that “Dictionaries for Conservatives” program coming along?

  • @6: You beat me to it, mentioning the successful program in DC.

    OMG! Bike sharing in Washington!!! Eeeeek!!eleventy11!! Communists!!

    The one funny part of the program is that one of the collection centers is behind the White House…and when I was there a couple of months ago was behind a security fence. So maybe only White House staffers could use them?

  • slc1

    Re cptdoom @ #6

    There is also one in Arlington Co.

  • Let’s see…..having not watched the video, I’m guessing it’s:

    Bicycling (and bike sharing) is common in Europe.

    Europe is socialist.

    Socialism is totalitarian.

    Therefore bicycling and bike sharing are totalitarian.

    I would offer my own counter-syllogism:

    Bicycling (and bike sharing) is common in Europe.

    Europeans in general have great reasons to use bikes, such as ubiquitous bike lanes.

    A lot of Europeans are certainly fit.

    A lot of Americans are certainly anything but fit.

    Americans in general do not have great reasons to use bikes– for example, bike lanes are comparatively non-existent.

    Therefore, Americans should shut the fuck up about totalitarianism, build some bike lanes, share some bikes, and get their asses on them.

  • There was a time when the use of words for their sound, connotations, and imagery in defiance of strict definition was the province of poets. Now it is the province of idiots.

  • DaveL

    My only suggestion would be to add a limited number of sturdy adult-sized tricycles (with cargo baskets) to the fleet, for use by people who are:

    – Over the weight limit for the ordinary bikes

    – Carrying cargo that’s impractical to carry on the ordinary bikes

    – Can’t use them for reasons of disability. Growing up, we had a family friend with cerebral palsy who used one of these to get all over town (until he got old and switched to an electric scooter).

  • I enjoyed the video.

    It was a spoof, wasn’t it? I mean, nobody could be that insane.

  • Draken

    If all transport currently taking place on bike here in Copenhagen or Amsterdam would be replaced by car traffic, the smog cloud would be visible in Washington.

  • The bikes get in the way of their limos and make them late for their trip to the Hamptons. How much more unfair to Real New Yorkers could it possibly be?

  • jaybee

    ‘I represent the majority of citizens, the majority of citizens of this city are appalled by what happened,’ Rabinowitz said.

    Cool! Now NYC can save a ton of money by canceling all elections and just asking Dorothy Rabinowitz what to do, as she represents the majority of citizens.

    I also checked her use of “begrimed.” It is an actual word, but nobody has used it since Shakespeare’s day, apparently when Dorothy was a child.

  • mobius

    This is autocratic and totalitarian because, of course, everyone is being FORCED to use bicycles.

    And, of course, no pedestrian or car driver has ever been hit by an SUV and killed. [/sarcasm]

    This is opinion piece is just completely unhinged, divorced from reality.

  • D. C. Sessions

    How did we get to a point where a bike-sharing program is a sign of totalitarianism?

    The evil things are all over Europe. Europe! What more proof do you need to know that they are tools of International Godless Communism?

  • D. C. Sessions

    If all transport currently taking place on bike here in Copenhagen or Amsterdam would be replaced by car traffic

    The cities would grind promptly to a halt. I’ve spent many an hour wandering aimlessly about Amsterdam on foot, and if the bicycle traffic were replaced by cars it would be totally immobile — not least because there’d be absolutely nowhere to park, but also because too many of the streets are too narrow for two cars to pass each other. Not to mention dead-ending at canals etc.

    Lovely city. Remarkably fit people on bicycles at all times of year and in any weather. Not only that, but the Netherlands is the only place I’ve ever found shower heads high enough I don’t need to squat to wash my head.

    No wonder nobody wants New Amsterdam wants to be as different as possible from the original.

  • tbp1

    Anything, absolutely anything, that helps make life a little easier for anyone making less than $250K a year, or which in any way diminishes petroleum consumption or air pollution, is pure evil, apparently.

    The class hatred dripping from these people is absolutely amazing, not to mention crazy. I am increasingly reminded of the first time I went to Versailles, and found myself thinking that that whole reign of terror thing was starting to make sense. (I had a similar feeling recently in the Hermitage.)

  • magistramarla

    We were living in that librul state full of granola-crunching socialists known as California until a month ago.

    We lived in the Monterey Bay area (one of the most beautiful places on earth, IMO). My hubby biked the 6.5 miles to work and then back (uphill, too!), leaving me the Prius for grocery shopping, etc.

    There are bike lanes everywhere on the Monterey Peninsula, and he could even choose to ride near the beach for awesome views. He’s in fantastic shape for a man in his mid-fifties.

    We’re now again living in Texas (as near to Hell as I’ve ever experienced). There are only bike paths in a few areas, usually associated with parks. There have lately been several cases of bicyclists being harmed or killed by motorists here, and even a case of one small-town mayor being angered because a group of bicyclists on the road slowed down his five minute commute to work in his SUV. I read a comment in the paper in which the commenter said “Why do these people think that they have the right to play their sport in our streets? I don’t play golf or football in the street.” They are also convinced that anyone who uses a bike to commute to work must have lost his/her license due to a DUI.

    My hubby misses his daily bike ride, but we feel that it is just too unsafe in this state, not to mention too terribly hot. Unfortunately, the right-wing crazies have become convinced that anything that is good for the environment or for human health is something to be ridiculed and destroyed.

    We feel a bit nervous about driving our Prius in this town, and we’ve already gotten some rude comments when we use our reusable grocery bags in stores. (Plastic bags have been outlawed by many towns on the California coast.)

    I can’t wait for my hubby to retire, so that we can return to California!

  • Rip Steakface

    I would ride a bike, myself, all over the place if American towns were designed in a more compact, efficient manner. Instead, it’s literally miles to any school or workplace from my fairly centrally located house. When I went to Poland, everything was conveniently close together – we walked everywhere because it was a helluva lot easier than wasting the gas. Even walking we could get nearly anywhere we needed to be in a few minutes. Biking would take even less time.

    Here? It’s a twenty minute bike ride to my girlfriend’s house, it’s a similar ride to school, and any place that would hire me has a similar distance. I’m glad we have surprisingly good public transit in my town, because I would be screwed otherwise.

  • baal

    Okaaaaaay. Just finished listening to her and um, Poe. You could not parody her without sounding the same.

    This is why we cannot have a decent country. A small net good government program gets the WSJ flipping out. Imagine the ballistic shit they’d fling for something larger.

  • frog

    I guess the bike lobby is massive and powerful because apparently it’s being underwritten by giant multinational bank Citibank.You know, the same guys who put their name on the new home of the New York Mets. [For non-baseball people: the Mets are perennial losers, often managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and very much the ugly, disregarded sibling to the much more successful New York Yankees.]

    cptdoom @6: Actually, New York doesn’t have much gun violence, particularly in comparison to almost anywhere else in the United States. Admittedly that’s a low bar, but seriously, not much on a per capita basis. (Yes, there was a crazy surge last weekend. But it’s noteworthy precisely because it’s a bit of an abberation.)

  • AsqJames

    So at one point the one on the right quotes someone saying “In the last four years no pedestrians have been killed by cyclists. In the same time period 547 (or something like that) have been killed by cars and trucks.” and Rabinowitz’s response is something like “You’re absolutely right, everybody knows bikes are the really dangerous ones.”

    WTF ?!?!?!

    I’ve heard of “lies, damn lies and statistics” but that’s just outright weird.

  • lochaber

    There seems to be a real specific hatred towards bicyclists. Even in the CA Bay area (plenty of bicyclists and bike paths), I’ve had cars choose to closely follow me and repeatedly honk/yell, instead of just passing (multi lane street, minimal traffic). Cops like to harass people on bikes, etc.

    I’d really like to see more encouragement for pedestrians and bicyclists, it’d be good for the environement, it would be better for the general health of the populace, etc.

  • thebookofdave

    Reminds me of the famous, and erroneous quote of Sinclair Lewis: “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross”. What he actually said was: “When totalitarianism finally comes to America, it will be wrapped in spandex and bearing a messenger bag.”

    True story.

  • martinc

    That’s great NYC has got a bike share program.

    I used the Paris system in 2011, and it’s awesome. $2 sign-up fee, then it’s completely free, as long as you only take 30 minute rides. That’s brilliant for tourists. I was in NYC last year for a week, would have loved to have used the Citibike program.

    It’s great to see world cities take a common sense approach to these things: a share program is good for locals and tourists alike, despite the opinions of a few mindless haters.

  • lochaber

    …and now that I’m home, I finally watched the vid, and… holy shit. That has to be The Onion, or a poe, or dada, or something…

    srsly, are we all using the same vocabularies? I… I don’t know what the hell is going on.

  • @7:

    “Dictionaries for Conservatives”

    Word: Definition

    Liberty Whatever I want it to mean, for the purpose of THIS statement.

    Religious freedom (See above definition)

    Fiscal policy (See above definition)


  • caseloweraz

    You think Dorothy Rabinowitz is bad? Read the article on the same subject by Daniel Greenburg in Frontpage magazine. Although it’s hard to say that article is on the same subject, since it veers all over. Swamp oaks! Iman Idris! and (unsurprisingly) Nazis.

  • twincats

    I also checked her use of “begrimed.” It is an actual word, but nobody has used it since Shakespeare’s day, apparently when Dorothy was a child.

  • twincats

    Whoops. Never mind.