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Bikes vs. bumpers

Brooklyn Daily

People got all revved up at a Vision Zero town hall last week.

Cyclists and drivers squared off at Borough Hall on April 1, with bikers saying they need more protection from cars, and motorists complaining that they get too much blame for accidents — and shoulder more of the burden in traffic-safety efforts.

Auto advocates said that Mayor DeBlasio’s drive to reduce traffic fatalities to zero leaves motorists feeling persecuted.

“I feel that Vision Zero punishes only one group — the motorists,” said Tal Barzalai, who went on to say that pedestrians are a big factor in traffic crashes. “If they had more alertness, some of the accidents actually could have been avoided.”

Cyclists countered that drivers act like they own the road — and that the city encourages the behavior.

“Everything about our streets says that car occupants are more important than non-car occupants,” one man said. “It comes from a wrong philosophy.”

Another resident called for more protected bike lanes and walkways.

“If we want Vision Zero, the best thing we can do is keep the cars away from the people and the bikes,” said Ralph Yazzo.

Protected lanes come at a price to drivers— often requiring that the city narrow or eliminate lanes or ax parking spots — but one bicycle booster said motorists must make concessions, because safety trumps all.

“This is a moral imperative,” said Dave “Paco” Abraham, who was struck in a hit-and-run in East New York five years ago.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.

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