Grappling With The Cone Of Smugness

Just in case you thought New York City didn’t take its bike infrastructure seriously, check out this baby:

It’s a small e-assisted vehicle for doing bike lane maintenance, which makes sense, but what doesn’t make sense is that for some reason it requires the operator to wear a helme(n)t:

Whereas absolutely none of the other countless tiny vehicles already in use by various city agencies do:

[From here.]

So is the reason for this that the people operating this thing will be uniquely vulnerable to cone attacks? Possibly:

[Bike lane maintenance crew member locked in hand-to-hand combat with a traffic cone.]

More likely though it’s because this thing just happens to have pedals, and as well all know anything that has pedals requires a foam safety hat for some reason:

“But wait,” you may be wondering. “Don’t they all have pedals?” Well, yes, all the other ones have brake pedals and accelerator pedals:

It’s perfectly fine to drive those sorts of vehicles without wearing a helmet, obviously. However, if instead of simply stepping on the pedals you also turn them round and round with your feet then you need to wear one. It’s simple physics, stupid!

And again, that helmet specifically needs to be a bicycle helmet, not an automotive helmet or a motorcycle helmet that might conceivably offer actual protection in the event of a collision:

I don’t know that this proves anything, I just like the video.

“So why even bother equipping this thing with pedals at all?,” you may be wondering. “Since the city has been using shitloads of tiny vehicles for ages, why not just use those? Can’t we just send them all out in golf carts and Cushmans?”

Well, no, duh! See, this thing is going to be spending lots of time blocking the bike lane:

Personally I have no problem with the DOT blocking the bike lane in order to attend to it. However, advocates do, and you’re not allowed to block the bike lane at all for any reason–even to provide you with fresh Citi Bikes:

That silly peasant servicing the largest bike share fleet in the United States really should know better.

Given this, clearly equipping this thing with pedals is the DOT’s attempt to deflect these complaints, since it will allow them to reply, “Hey, it’s a bicycle, it belongs in the bike lane.” However, as I know from personal experience, you’re not even allowed to encroach on the bike lane if you’re on an actual honest-to-Lob two-wheeled human-powered bicycle and helping someone else who’s also on a bicycle:

This fear of stopping at all for any reason must explain why I’m the only bicyclist in New York City who ever yields to pedestrians.

So really, the only road maintenance vehicle that could possibly satisfy the smugerati would be some sort of construction drone that hovers over the bike lane in order to fix it:

Though even then it would run afoul of the livable streets movement, since banning helicopters is the new banning cars:

This then brings us back to the problem of what they should name this thing:

Seems like “Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t” would be fitting.

Powered by

Up ↑