The NYMSTF was started in early 2009 by a group of riders who were tired of all motorcyclists being painted as either “Hell’s Angels” types, or dangerous “Squid” sport bike riders weaving through traffic at hyperlegal speeds. We wanted the public to know that most riders are average folks: People with professional day jobs, married people, and people with mortgages and kids. Most riders are not hoodlums or thrill seekers. We ride because we enjoy riding, or we ride to save money on gas.
The central goal of the NYMSTF is to increase motorcycle ridership. The reason is simple: The more motorcyclists ride in NYC, the safer we all are. (This is also the philosophy of Transportation Alternatives with regards to bicycles, and we feel we are in the exact same situation.) We become safer because car drivers and the general public become more aware of motorcyclists. (75% of all motorcycle fatalities and serious injuries are as a result of car and truck drivers violating our right of way. The #1 reason cited by the violating driver is “I didn’t see him.” See federal “Hurt Report”.)
We believe the City of New York should be encouraging motorcycles and scooters. We believe motorcycles can be a force for good. Motorcycles take 1/6th of the space on the roadway, 1/6th of the space when parked. Typical fuel economy for motorcycles is 40-110 miles per gallon (MPG). Full pluggable electric motorcycles are available for purchase today – not in some abstract future, and not for an unreasonable amount of money.
NYC should provide motorcycle-only parking on-street. Motorcycles can park in areas too small for a car. Motorcycle parking could be incorporated into the street plans, as it is in London, Paris, and San Francisco. Providing motorcycle-only parking would not subtract from automobile parking or public space, but it would encourage people to take a scooter or motorcycle to work, instead of a car.
We believe NYPD should not be discouraging motorcycles, as they have been. Current NYPD tactics are to periodically pull over and detain ALL riders, without any reasonable suspicion of any crime. Law-abiding riders comply, and outlaws evade the police. The result of this is a growing resentment between law-abiding riders and the police. We call it “Motorcycle Stop and Frisk.” NYPD needs to reach out to motorcyclists, and work with law-abiding riders to find a better solution.
Motorcycles and Scooters need to be formally recognized as Vulnerable Road Users, the same as bicyclists and pedestrians. The NYC DOT has to recognize that motorcyclists and scooter riders are more closely related to bicyclists, than they are to cars and trucks. NYC DOT needs to create a position of “Motorcycle Czar” within the NYC DOT, and that person needs to be a motorcycle or scooter rider.