Tough on bikes? RIOC now cracks down, but only if they’re sitting still

Tough on bikes? RIOC now cracks down, but only if they’re sitting still

Suddenly, this weekend, RIOC got tough on bikes, but their bold initiative counts only if they’re parked. And just as the state agency’s befuddled over bike safety, this step comes with its own WTF factor.

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island Daily News

On Saturday, RIOC got tough on bikes, but did it as half-fast as ever…

“Please be advised that, effective Monday, March 22nd, unattended bikes that are tagged by PSD will be removed within 48 hours,” RIOC suddenly announced.

An alert went out from their systems on Saturday, allowing a single day’s warning. Something was missing, though. Well, no, a lot was missing, starting with common sense and clear communications.

But nobody knows why or how the move developed.

Always full: A bike rack on the West Promenade.

Let’s be honest here. Residents have been after RIOC to do something, anything, about bike safety, and the state’s reacted like it woke up with a Rubik’s Cube in its hand.

In fact, that day, I watched what’s become a Roosevelt Island tradition: bicyclists going the wrong way on one-way Main Street, gliding past the subway station. No stop signs observed. Families flaunting safety together as a sign of, I guess, back-asswards unity.

Of course, to be fair, not all of them went the wrong way down Main. Some opted for scattering pedestrians on the sidewalk instead.

What I didn’t see and virtually never see was any sign of PSD doing anything about it. Maybe it’ll require death or injury and another lawsuit before they wake up. But it’s hard to say. Public shaming, videos, resident appeals… None of that budged RIOC off its passive pedestal.

But look out, if you’re parking…

RIOC suddenly got tough on bikes, but it came off more like finger-wagging or a hissy fit.

“Roosevelt Island bike racks, at designated locations on the Island, allow for short-term bike parking.  The racks are not to be utilized for long-term storage.”

What provoked that pedantic recitation of the already known?

And what “designated locations” are we talking about here? Under Motorgate? On the waterfront? At Starbucks?

RIOC doesn’t say, although you might think that’s an important factor, if they’re serious.

Instead, they follow up with a quasi-literate warning: “Bikes left unattended, or that are locked to a street sign or pole, will be tagged for removal.”

But unattended for how long? Five minutes grabbing a latte at Starbucks? A day off from riding while working on a project at home? How about a week while on vacation?

The deep thinkers at RIOC never say, and no details were added when they pushed a repeat warning on Sunday.

RIOC’s getting tough on bikes, but why?

So, what pissed off RIOC enough that PSD awakened from its two-wheel slumber?

Most likely, someone the state agency listens to — it’s not us — hassled them after not finding rack space available for parking.

But instead of focusing on the real issue, RIOC lashed out, blaming anonymous bikers at unidentified locations.

The simple fact is, RIOC’s been pushing for more bicycle riders here for years but has never committed to their safety or the need to park somewhere.

So, now there’s a problem, and what does RIOC do?

They take a half-baked position blaming people for using the few parking places available.

And in such a half-baked way, it’s hard to tell what the heck they’re talking about.

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