Interview with the head of UCAS (city cyclists against stopping)

Let's start with an explanation of who you are.

Naturally. I'm the head of an organization called Urban Cyclists Against Stopping, or UCAS. We assert that it is the inalienable right of every cyclist in New York City, while biking from point A to point B, not fuses.

But what if you are at a red light? Do you want to stop?

No.

What if a pedestrian has priority? Do you want to stop?

No.

What if a small child, holding his caregiver's hand, comes directly into your path? Do you want to stop?

No.

What happens if a leashed dog steps off the sidewalk slightly in front of its owner while the “Do Not Walk” signal is flashing? Do you want to stop?

No.

That could take a toe off the dog!

Dogs have an unnecessary outer toe on each foot. It is known as a club moss. It's rudimentary. Rover won't miss it.

What if you're bicycling northbound, and just as your traffic light changes from red to green, an older woman heading eastbound, pushing a wire shopping cart, hasn't quite made it to the sidewalk yet? Do you want to stop?

No.

Don't you want to cut her slack?

No. If I hit her, it's her fault. you chose to shop when she was old, lady. I am a cyclist. I can not stop.

That's brutal.

That's UCAS. Either way, it's more likely that I'll zoom past her, just close enough to scare her out of her shoes, while yelling obscenities in her direction.

What if a city bus makes the same left turn as you do, and – in the slow, clumsy manner of a city bus – takes up most of the street space and it is advisable for you to just stop and wait? Do you want to stop?

No.

What are you going to do?

Impatiently I will swerve back and forth on the piece of asphalt where the bus is not. As soon as I'm free, I run past the bus and shout obscenities at the driver. Alternatively, I jump the curb and ride on the sidewalk.

You are not allowed to drive on the sidewalk.

That is your opinion.

It's the law.

This is New York City, baby. UCAS does not practice 'the law'.

Look, I have some sympathy. Many cyclists are delivery drivers who earn very little, face dangerous street conditions, and are under pressure to make their deliveries as quickly as possible. I usually give them a pass for running red lights and riding on the sidewalk. But what about the rest of you? Why can't you just brake when the light turns red?

Because we can't.

That's not a serious answer. What would happen if you stopped?

We . . . we would die.

I do not believe you.

You are clearly not a city cyclist who is against stopping. For us, the stakes are so high.

Isn't it true that you simply hate stopping because it's a bit of a hassle to stop your legs at a red light and then activate them again when the light turns green?

Did you hear what you just described? It's a kind of death.

Oh come on. Motorists constantly stop at red lights.

And people stab each other with knives, but you never hear members of Congress calling for knife control.

That's not even a meaningful answer.

You know what doesn't make sense? Stop when you are on the bike.

All I will say is that cycling in the city has made great strides in recent years, thanks to the Citi Bike program and the construction of dedicated bike lanes by former Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Wouldn't it be the right response to celebrate your good fortune by contributing to the city? Wouldn't it…

Your question takes too long. Let me stop you there.

You interrupted me!

I rest my case. ♦

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