17 thoughts on “CityViews: Fear and Loathing on New York’s Bike Lanes

  1. Glad you are healing but anyone who rides a bike to work from 215 Street to Bleecker Street might be better off taking the subway. I live on S.I., drive a car, and ride a bike for exercise. I’m always careful around bikes and pedestrians but notice that the bike lanes on S.I. are virtually unused 7 years after their installation. The bike lanes are more appropriate where they are actively used, not in a car-dependent outer borough. Bicycle commuting is maybe o.k. for people in the Manhattan – Brownstone Brooklyn bubble but nor for anyone else. The bike path being laid out along the SI east coast is good example of how a bike path should work. BTW my car doesn’t spew out that much CO2. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/29838fb9d6ed0c32cf920df75aeecee0363207f795291d20bb47962a27500ef5.jpg

    • Manhattan and Brooklyn are hardly a bubble, since they hold half the population of the city and most of the the jobs. If anything is a “bubble” in the context of NYC, it is Staten Island.

      • I should have been clearer, I meant geographic and lifestyle bubble, close enough to Manhattan to permit bicycle access.

    • I have to laugh every time I read a post that says, ‘bikes are ok somewhere else but not where I live.’ Who would have thought 20 years ago that people would say Manhattan and Brooklyn were good places to ride a bike? Yet here it is.

      Last I checked, Staten Island has a rail and bus system and plenty of people who don’t own cars. It is also pretty flat in lots of neighborhoods. If it had a network of protected bike lanes and not just a few disconnected ones, it would be a cycling paradise.

      You also should check out the subways in Manhattan during rush hour. The riders who watch 3 trains pass because they can’t squeeze on are thanking Benz for taking her bike to work.

      • The Staten Island Railway runs along the east shore and thus does not serve the entire island. Something like 85% of SI households own at least 1 vehicle, one of my neighbors owns 4. S.I. developed differently from the other boroughs. More spread out, just like eastern Queens. It will always be car dependent. The bus network is limited by the fact that S.I. has no flexible street grid like the other boroughs. The express bus network could use improvement. The MTA is studying the entire S.I. local and express bus network right now.

        • Staten Island is about as dense as Washington DC, a city with a higher bicycling mode share than NYC as a whole. SI is more spread out than the other boroughs, but it’s not a low density area by any measure.

          As a driver you should promote bicycling as a way to reduce congestion in your borough.

    • bike commuting from Port Richmond to downtown is great, my dad’s done it every day for decades. The problem is entitled motorists who consider it a birthright to drive on clear highways at all hours, corrupt police who have seized a car and a bike lane at the 120th precinct, and poor bike and pedestrian connectivity and lanes in general (e.g once 3, now all 4 bridges having no pedestrian access). The idea that SI will always be car dependent is laughable given that Staten Island is a petri dish for the suburban experiment on a densely populated island and the result is, as SIers never stop whining about, a traffic disaster. It’s a political decision. The street grid is erratic but that does not affect bikes differently than cars.

    • Better off taking the subway? That’s not much different than saying she might as well drive. If she wants to ride her bike to work, that is admirable. Not to be dissuaded.

    • The outer boroughs are not car dependent considering that most households do not have a registered automobile (Staten Island being an exception). Most trips in NYC are short, and bicycling should account for a much larger percentage of them.

      Even the island however is dense and geographically small enough to support an increase in bicycling and mass transportation use. Every person not in an automobile means less traffic. The bicycle lanes in SI do not increase congestion.

  2. I feel you. All of it. My commute to work is very short and still something happens every time. No directional signal, arbitrary door opening, in the summer and on the weekends there are less cars, but they’re amateurs, you can’t trust them. You can trust an Uber driver to not care about anything but their passenger. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  4. Beautifully stated. This sentence sums up the sad — and too often tragic — irony of biking in NYC: “Why, when our capitalist-driven consumption is choking the planet to death, do zero-emission cyclists have to take their lives in their hands dodging CO2-spewing cars?”

  5. Thank you for sharing this awful experience with us. I want to believe that the mayor is supportive of his own Vision Zero initiative, but inane comments like the ones he made on WNYC show over and over that he is truly clueless about good urbanism and transportation.

  6. I’m sorry this happened to you and I hope you’re healing well. Here in lies the problem. What of the cyclist that place pedestrians and motorist in harms way by riding sidewalks or running through traffic lights?
    My mother was waiting for a bus when a messenger ran into her, breaking her leg and injuring her back. He just kept moving!
    I was assaulted by a messenger who felt he had right of way while I was crossing the street on a walk signal. He broke my nose and left me battered. I had to pay for those medical bills. Not him!
    There are rules in place for cyclist and those rules are broken everyday. Stay in your lane. Go with traffic, not against it. Don’t ride on sidewalks unless you are under the age of 12. Wear a helmet. Just to name a few.
    If there is to be some common ground here it has to begin with common sense. It’s not just for your own safety. Here is a link to the NYC bike rules. http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/biketips.shtml

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