Step Away from the Tailpipe!


The New York City Council voted yesterday to ban smoking in parks and pedestrian plazas. The Wall Street Journal quoted Speaker Christine Quinn as saying, “No one should have to inhale deadly cigarette smoke when they go to a park or beach.”

Right on!

I’d much rather inhale deadly airborne chemicals when I’m out walking, biking, triking, or sipping tea at a sidewalk cafe! Which is why I’m adamantly opposed to any legislation the City Council might create to protect New Yorkers from the health hazards of tailpipe exhaust. Please keep those automobiles clogging the roads!

But seriously…

BBC Health says: “Once released into the air, exhaust emissions are breathed in and transported in the bloodstream to all the body’s major organs.” Compounds such as carbon monoxide, benzene, polycyclic hydrocarbons, and lead can damage the human respiratory, circulatory, nervous, and immune systems. They can also cause cancer.

So…where are the laws banning internal combustion engines from city streets? Congestion pricing would have been a good start. Electric vehicles offer a partial solution, in the sense that they decrease emissions where they’re driven – but until our country’s grid runs entirely on wind, sun, and run-of-the-river hydropower, expanding NYC’s Leaf & Volt complement will just send the toxic wind elsewhere, to be absorbed into some other set of bloodstreams.

Which brings us back to pedal power. Yup, for the time being it’s the only way to move goods and people around town without pumping noxious fumes into the nostrils of any innocent bystanders. In fact, triking has the potential to enhance the health of those who pedal!

How about that comprehensive network of dedicated trike lanes, Speaker Quinn?