An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Insult to injury: Die even harder, bike messenger!


Messengers in New York regularly make use of sidewalks, blow red lights, create their own lanes, and generally wreak havoc in a most delightful way -- for their own survival, but also to maximize their paltry profits. So it's a shame that the city of New York is entertaining the idea of cracking down on them. Today, two Upper East Side council members proposed fining the companies that employee scofflaw messengers. (Is there any other kind?) The $100-300 tickets would be served to dispatch, rather than ground crew. Inevitably, this will mean that Big Apple bike messengers will lose their jobs rather than a day's wages, and that seems more than a little harsh.

According to council-member Jessica Lappin, in her Upper East Side district there have been 1800 tickets given to bicyclists; 200 of those have been for riding on the sidewalk. She avers that companies who employee bike messengers would train their cyclists better -- and educate them about traffic laws -- if they had to foot the bill for violations.

But if telling people that fornication was a sin actually stopped people from fornicating -- well, there wouldn't be much need for Church, would there. Two thirds of the advantage of bike messengers is that they can selectively break and bend the rules to get from point A to point B faster. That's not an excuse, it's an explanation. That said, we seriously doubt that any significant number of those 200 tickets were given to working messengers. Most likely they were fixie riding posengers with Baily Works bags and Ulocks hanging out of their pockets. That's because actual messengers -- and any messenger who survives New York for more than a day is a good one -- have a spidey sense for pedestrians and for cops.

Also this: in just about any city we've ever visited, the ticketed courier has a good working knowledge of and relationship with local courts of law (being the lion's share of their delivieries in these internet-enabled times). Making a brief appearance to the clerk and explaining that you were on the job is usually enough to get the ticket ripped up.

This law will royally fuck up a longstanding system of honorable law-bending, and be an undue hardship on an already besieged profession.

Still, as long as we're huffing and puffing like this, listen up young courier and fixie hipster alike: Stop running down little kids and old ladies. It's called a "sidewalk," not a "sideride." Use your powers for good, dammit.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

cops(in NYC) have let me go with a warning when I tell them I'm not a messenger (which I'm not). But they're a vicious bunch nonetheless.

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