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Winner of Bike Shorts: Rachel Brown looks at 1st Ave. bike lane.

In case you missed it.

I missed the last Bike shorts, Ken Stanek’s ongoing short film festival in Brooklyn. Even though there were two opportunities to see the movies, due to a rain date. RATS.

There was a lot of buzz about the winning film, Rachel Brown’s short about bike lanes.

It doesn’t take a great documentarian such as Errol Morris (Thin Blue Line, the Fog of War) or Michael Moore (Sicko, Capitalism a Love Story) to make a concise investigative film. Rachel just grabbed a camera and interviewed some riders of the new bike lane on 1st Ave. This is an excellent look at the debate about whether bike lanes in NYC are actually safer.

3 comments to Winner of Bike Shorts: Rachel Brown looks at 1st Ave. bike lane.

  • cr

    Foolish logic. 1st Ave is safer than 3rd Avenue? In what universe? Stop acting like it’s your god given right to fly up and down avenues.
    - So you have to deal with pedestrians in the bike lane? Call the waaaaaaahbulance – it’s part of the “flow” of NYC. It sure beats getting crushed by a car, truck, bus, etc while weaving through traffic (or getting doored which is far less likely in a bike lane ((although not impossible))).
    - I think (and I say this as someone who rides to/from work everyday and cruises around town on 2 other bikes) that if you slowed it down a bit you would find that pedestrians are not that much of a problem (as I have found riding 1st Ave every single day since the lane opened).
    - It’s not your god given right to *fly* up and down the avenues. Cars need to slow it down and be more careful and so do cyclists. You want a carefree ride? Leave the city and ride a rural bike path.
    - And you’re also going to bitch about OTHER CYCLISTS in the bike lane – that they’re riding too slow – are you fucking kidding me? Get a freakin’ bell or something (which legally you should have).
    - Perhaps bike commuters should leave earlier in the morning to get to work on time so that they don’t have to kill it on their trip.
    -Stop acting like the bike lanes are supposed to exist in a vacuum – no one other than a cyclists, not even a pedestrian or ANYONE else should NEVER, EVER enter one.
    -You are a vehicle on the road – that’s right I said the “V” word. You have rules just like any other vehicle.
    - Also, people ride the wrong way because they usually don’t know any better – perhaps some sort of education program, or cops ticketing for this sort of behavior might help.
    - “They’re very poorly designed. I think they make it more dangerous for bikers” – Meaningless statement and downright false. While it might be argued that the 1st Avenue could have been put on the other side of the road, the other side of the road has a hospital on it in the upper 20′s so that’s a no go. Are we going to say bike lanes supersede hospitals?
    - You’re not forced to ride in bike lanes (I know, I now – you’re not *YET* forced to ride in a bike lane), so if you think it’s dangerous and you need to kill in the bike lane on your road bike like Ms. Frenchie in the video then do it. I’m sure her collision with a car would have been far worse then the scar on her chin (which I couldn’t see on the video full screen).
    - “You’re going into a car” – I’ll take a parked car over a moving car any and every day.
    - The video example of the rollerblader – everyone hates rollerbladers, so that’s a poor example. Even rollerbladers hate themselves.
    - “1st Avenue is slower and more dangerous than it ever was before.” – So ride in traffic like you had before – no one is stopping you. Again, “slower” is a stupid argument – it isn’t about speed.

  • cej

    It’s true that there is more chance if a collision in the 1st Ave bike lane, but with much less chance of getting killed. Hopefully, pedestrians eventually start looking for traffic in the bike lane before stepping into it, but it doesn’t look good so far. There is not much room to maneuver around them, so my squealing brakes serve as my bell (I prefer to keep both hands on the brakes, not the bell). I commute 7 miles uptown, so I do like to cruise at probably 18-20 mph, and until I figure out someway to safely pass slower bicyclist inside the narrow lane, I’ll do so at the next intersection. I don’t fault anyone for riding at a leisurely pace. The lane encourages more folks to get out on their bikes, and the more the better, at any speed (as long as they don’t “salmon”). And riding in the bus lane might not be a good option when they start ticketing car drivers AND bicyclist for using it starting in November.

  • Solo500

    Bikes are vehicles, the left hand lane sandwiching us into the pedestrian space is insane. I have constant conflicts with pedestrians AND drivers in the insane left hand lane–I have been commuting on this route for over 10 year with hardly any issues and now every single commute is a battlezone. COP CARS lounging in the lane have got to be the most infuriating.

    Salmoning riders, idiotic motorized bikes, you name it. The whole thing is a work in progress but at this moment a pain in the ass.