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Debunking typical bike activist talking points – Part 1

Thanks to our supporters for collaboration on this series

Here are some typical bike activist / “yimby” talking points which cherry-pick information to control narrative.

1. Car owners have statistically higher income than non-car owners in NYC, therefore all car owners are rich and should pay for parking.

While it may be true that owning a car is correlated with earning a higher income, correlation does not equal causation. It is very possible that the fact that an individual owns a car is the reason they make more money due to the much larger range of locations one can work, rather than a person having money compelling them to buy a car. For example, union construction jobs are excellent middle class jobs that don’t require a college degree, as are road crew with the DOT, but doing those jobs without a car is extremely difficult and impractical due to the varied locations, hours, and equipment. In many instances getting a car is the very event that lifts someone out of poverty as it increases their potential job prospects.

Furthermore, the median income for an individual in NYC is $32,320. Even if you made double that, $64,640 is hardly wealthy by NYC standards. Due to the nature of the transit system only working for those traveling to Manhattan below 60th street, many not in that demographic have no realistic choice other than driving.

2. Cars are private property using public land for free. 

In economic theory, a person’s car, like their bike, or their toothbrush, is their personal property as it does not generate profit for them and simply serves a function in their lives. The personal property may be useful when earning wages, like the union electrician who has to drive from Queens to Staten Island for work, but wages are not the same as profit.

Citibike docks are actually an example of private property as they generate profit for their owner corporation (Lyft) and exploit their staff (who drive large fleets of flatbeds, negating any claim about them being better for the environment) paying them a wage which is only a percentage of the value they produce. Citibike is private property using public land for free.

Calling personal cars private property is very dangerous because it equates a wage earner to a corporation with capital. Bike activists using this talking point is indicative of a deep lack of understanding of our economic system and pits the working class against the poor rather than the working class against the owner class and the idle rich who are the true beneficiaries of the system, and ironically, the worlds biggest polluters.


Boycott Uber and Lyft

At Meeker Ave Neighbors we are pro-worker and anti-corporatist. If you must use an app based rideshare, please do not use Uber or Lyft. Use Co-op Ride, a driver owned rideshare company composed of ex-Uber and ex-Lyft drivers or the Curb app to summon yellow cabs to your location. They are cheaper than Uber and Lyft too, since the money goes to the drivers rather than shareholders.

Also, please do not use Citibike (owned by Lyft). If you want to ride a bike, please get your own bike and use it for years. It is cheaper, better for the environment and avoids rewarding a corporation for their takeover of our public infrastructure. Citibike (owned by Lyft) employs a large fleet of maintenance trucks and flatbeds as well as their ebikes churning through batteries that have no way of being recycled. It is costly at $3.50 per half hour and upcharges for every minute over 30 minutes you use one of their bikes. This also encourages reckless riding to reach a location within 30 minutes.

Co-op Ride for iPhone

Co-op Ride for Android

Curb for iPhone

Curb for Android