Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Bike Lanes of New York City (not to be confused with the Bridges of Madison County)

I've caught some of the kerfluffle about New York City getting bike lanes.  Couple of things I want to address on the topic:

1.  We have these bike lanes but there are no bicyclists in them.  That makes me angry.

Think of it as penance for years of treating bicyclists as something to be exterminated.  Your bike population is now an endangered species.  It will take some time before you again have a breeding population.

2.  I'm stuck in traffic.  Next to me is a bike lane.  That makes me angry.

If you were honest with yourself you'd know that you have been stuck in traffic for years.  NYC is synonymous with stuck in traffic.  What got you bike couriers in the first place?  NYC car-jams.  Your bike lanes did not all of a sudden create this problem.

3.  I don't like my city's bicyclists.  They ride bikes with no brakes and single gears, they dress like idiots and they run red lights.  That makes me angry.

You reap what you sow, baby.  In places where it takes a mindless crackhead to brave the streets on a bicycle that's pretty well what you get.  How to gauge your city's bike friendliness:  look to see who is biking.  If you see gentle grandmas out there with flowers in their panniers you live in a bike friendly city.  If you only see bare knuckle twenty somethings with clenched jaws your city is not bike friendly.

4.   The bicyclists in my city do not wear bike helmets.  I think it's dangerous.  That makes me angry.

If you weren't angry I'd say you were living in Amsterdam or Denmark where the bicyclists do not wear helmets and manage very nicely.  Since you are angry I can tell you live in NYC or possibly Boston.  This one is a corollary  to 3.  People in safe cities wear helmets because they expect the worst that will befall them is a bad turn and an awkward tumble.  A helmet might be useful in this situation.  People in places like NYC and Boston know that a bike helmet is as useful as pissing in the wind.

Thanks for playing.


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