Volume 80, Number 34 | January 20 - 26, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

The bicycle thief

To The Editor:
A couple of weeks ago I was riding my bicycle down Ridge St., and to my left I saw somebody walking a bike that looked just like my gray, European, adult tricycle — which I refer to as my mini-pedicab — that I had parked on my street corner. I looked right to the spot where it’s usually chained up and it was missing. I ran after the man and asked him what he was doing with my pedicab. He was startled and told me that someone just sold it to him, claiming it was his bike to give away.

I told him that didn’t sound like a feasible story since he was a holding a hacksaw in one hand and the metal tube of the bicycle around which the lock had been fastened was sawed in half. We went back and forth, he insisting that he did not steal it and I insisting that he did. Going nowhere with this, I asked him to return the pedicab, and luckily he did not resist and gave it right back to me.

Then he shocked me again, now offering to buy the bike from me for $100, which he supposedly had paid the other guy, “the real culprit of the crime.” It felt absurd to even contemplate his offer, but I had been torn on what to do with the pedicab for a while.

It was too small to be used as a full-size pedicab but too large to fit in my apartment. I didn’t feel right to leave it on the corner and take up a parking space for another bicycle, but I felt sad thinking of it being given away.

I took one more look at the guy and started to soften. He was an older man, telling me he wanted to fix it up to drive his family around the neighborhood. I suspected he could be lying again, but I told him I would consider it and get back to him. He helped me get the mini-pedicab chained up again, advising me where to place the locks to stop the next person from sawing them off again. He gave me his cell phone number, and I thought that wasn’t the greatest move since he just gave me a way to contact him if I decided to press charges later. So I assumed it was a fake number.

A couple of weeks later I decided it was time to give up the bike and if the guy was willing to take $150 I was ready to give it to him. Yes, it was crazy to even contemplate selling it to the thief. But I didn’t see any really positive outcome to calling the police to report the incident, and I had nowhere to store it and didn’t have the skills to fix it — where the tube had been sawed through — to sell it for a higher price.

So I gave him a call and the deal was done. He agreed to pay $150 and was going to give me another bike he doesn’t use anymore, which I was going to give away to somebody in need of a bike. I hoped that I would one day see my pedicab all spiffed up, with a family in tow, cycling through my neighborhood. That would make it all worthwhile to me. One more cyclist on the road is never a bad thing in my world.
Barbara Ross

Bike lanes: Use and abuse

To The Editor:
Re “Critics can’t roll back the progress on bike lanes” (talking point, by Barbara Ross, Jan. 6):

I believe Barbara Ross makes sane, balanced, measured points. It isn’t bike lanes that are the problem regarding traffic safety. It’s the way people — pedestrians and cyclists — use or misuse the lanes.

I really don’t feel very safe when cycling in these bike lanes. Some of my fear is from my fellow cyclists who abuse their privileges. Same with pedestrians and dog walkers who abuse the bike lanes. The other fear is at intersections where motorists turn from my blind side.

As long as motorists, cyclists, pedestrians et al. act selfishly, aggressively, abusively, New York City will remain a very, very dangerous place.
Michael Gottlieb

Doherty was snow scapegoat

To The Editor:
I cannot believe what I heard and saw on the television about Commissioner Doherty of the Sanitation Department. This man gave up years of his retirement to come back and help his department and us New Yorkers. In other snowstorms he and his Sanitation workers were lauded for their good work.

Mr. Doherty, us true-blue New Yorkers would like to thank you and your department for the great hard work that you have done for New York for many years.
George Marmo

E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 145 Sixth Ave., ground floor, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. The Villager does not publish anonymous letters.

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