Gather ‘round, monsters, goblins, and ghouls. It’s Halloween, and we have spooky news from one of the scariest places in the world (if you’re terrified of tall buildings, pretty people, and loneliness).
A haunted hacker has been taking over New York City Department of Transportation electronic road signs to send messages to New Yorkers from the other side. The first supernatural transmissions arrived earlier this month and included such eerily true statements as “cars are death machines” and “cars melt glaciers.”
— Hae-Lin Choi ✊🏼 최혜린 (@HaelinChoi) October 7, 2019
Now, for Halloween, the trickster has some new messages for commuters: “Forget poison candy” / “cars are the real danger.”
— Streetsblog New York (@StreetsblogNYC) October 31, 2019
The sprite responsible for these spine-chilling messages has been dubbed Bikesy — the NYC bike-advocate version of Banksy (don’t yell at me, I didn’t come up with the nickname). Bikesy also left a “Happy Halloween” message on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn this morning, along with a warning: “Don’t be creepy” / “Leave the car at home.”
OK, fine. Whoever is hacking into road signs is most likely a transportation nerd with tech skills and some free time, not a tormented spirit from beyond. But you know what is super scary? Cars!
Some 40,000 Americans died in car crashes last year, according to an estimate by the National Safety Council. Cars killed 111 New Yorkers in the first six months of 2019 alone. That means vehicles are way deadlier than guns, which killed 61 people in the city during the same period, according to NYPD data. So far this year, 25 cyclists have been killed by vehicles in the Big Apple, more than double the number of cyclists that were killed by cars in the entirety of 2018.
And Halloween is a particularly dangerous time for people trying to share the street with cars. Research shows it’s the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians, who are three times more likely to be killed by a car on this day. For kids between 4 and 8 years old, the risk is 10 times higher. Not to mention the fact that gas-powered vehicles are a major contributor to climate change and air pollution, both of which come with their own major health risks.
How’s that for a scary story? The moral is clear: if you don’t want to be cursed for all eternity, listen to Bikesy and leave the car at home tonight.