I’m not sure who I should be more pissed at? The author of this long winded out of touch article on the current state of cycling in NYC or the NY Times editorial staff who some how deemed in their infinite wisdom it would be a good idea to give a page and half of realestate to this article. First off, this is not journalism, but rather one opinion, from one cyclist who doesn’t talk to anyone else. Why is this not in the op-ed section along with the other random rants about people angry about cyclists riding on the sidewalk, as if that were the biggest thing the rest of us have to worry about everyday on the streets? This would be much more suited for the NYPost and their columnists who every now an then have a near-death experience with a food delivery person and want instant legislation banning all cyclists from the 5 borough area.
The article in the Sunday’s City Section of the NYTimes:
A cyclist speeds through the crosswalk at 34th Street and Broadway.
Photo by: Todd Heisler
This is a photo of what appears to be a working NYC messenger, I think its Tone. But taking the time to find out who it is would have required the writer to give this person some just credit and find out what his opinion is about the rise of popularity of cycling. Then we the audience could get some other opinions of what its like out there everyday on a bike.
Title of the article:
THE WILD BUNCH
by Robert Sullivan
I won’t bore you with all the details of this opinion piece about how this cyclists remembers the 80′s and how rare bikes were and blah blah blah…you can read for yourself Here.
The idea of this piece is that more bikers are on the streets these days who have less experience of riding safely and the author poses these 4 points in ways to become more responsible. I’ve added some responses myself.
Which brings me to four sure-to-be-scoffed-at suggestions for better bike P.R.:
NO. 1: How about we stop at major intersections? Especially where there are school crossing guards, or disabled people crossing, or a lot of people during the morning or evening rush. (I have the law with me on this one.) At minor intersections, on far-from-traffic intersections, letâ€™s at least stop and go.
NO. 2: How about we ride with traffic as opposed to the wrong way on a one-way street? I know the idea of being told which way to go drives many bikers bonkers. That stuff is for cars, they say. I consider one-way streets anathema â€” they make for faster car traffic and more difficult crossings. But whenever I see something bad happen to a biker, itâ€™s when the biker is riding the wrong way on a one-way street.
There will be caveats. Perhaps your wife is about to go into labor and you take her to the hospital on your bike; then, yes, sure, go the wrong way in the one-way bike lane. We can handle caveats. We are bikers.
NO. 3: How about we stay off the sidewalks? Why are bikers so incensed when the police hand out tickets for this? Iâ€™m only guessing, but each sidewalk biker must believe that he or she, out of all New York bikers, is the exception, the one careful biker, which is a very car way of thinking.
Granted, many food delivery people insist on riding on the sidewalk…probably because they are undocumented workers who have low paying jobs without health insurance and have to be on a bike for 12 hours a day and would rather take their chances making short trips on the sidewalk then out where they can become hood ornaments by irate vehicles. This may change about the time NYC food vendors don’t have stale pretzels. Good Luck. I occasionally ride on the sidewalk and here are a few reasons why.
1) the narrow side street is filled with stopped cars because some A-hole is double parked on his cell phone and their is no room to get around.
2) there is random construction stopping traffic.
3) the address I am looking for is way to far away for me to go around.
In my 20 years of biking in NYC, I have never had a close call with anyone on the sidewalk. I dunno…maybe I just know how to ride a bike. If we stop riding on sidewalks can we ask the pedestrians to stop walking in the bike lanes? I doubt it. Sorry Robert Sullivan…this IS NEW YORK, but I hear the property values in Portland Oregon are at an all time low.
NO. 4: How about we signal? Again, I hear the laughter, but the bike gods gave us hands to ring bells and to signal turns. Think of the possible complications: Many of the bikers behind you are wearing headphones, and the family in the minivan has a Disney DVD playing so loudly that itâ€™s rattling your 30-pound Kryptonite chain. Let them know what you are thinking so that you can go on breathing as well as thinking
I agree. I use my hands to signal. I make noise. I communicate with drivers as much as possible. These are good points but do we really need this long article to tell us this?
My suggestion to you Robert is: Stop and interview some REAL NYC cyclists. The really cool bikers like me who have been writing a bicycle blog for over 5 years. Get a bunch of their testimonials together…its called journalism. Then rewrite your article. You may be surprised what you find and how their are a whole bunch more factors going on in NYC. Things like, yes we have new bike lanes but some of them go right down Broadway into a esplanade full of pedestrians forcing us in dangerous close contact with each other. Like how the Manhattan bridge doesn’t have any German tourists on it taking pictures like the Brooklyn bridge but its almost certain suicide trying to get on the bike path on the Brooklyn side. Lets not forget to mention the 5 year harassment campaign by the NYPD against cyclists and not just during critical mass. Do your homework pal. I wish we could just talk about the current state of cycling in NYC in terms of just weather to ride on the sidewalk or not, but unfortunately it a much bigger picture.