Apr 11, 2011

Bicycling in New York City

 We bike a lot in central Florida. We have an only ok-not great network of bike lanes here. Yes some of the bike lanes perhaps compact the normal traffic lanes a bit and may hinder normal flow of cars but generally the bikes and cars CAN co-exist if they try.

The total outrage against bikers in New York City is concerning.

Here's an editorial from the New York Times("There ought to be a Law-Well there is"  Dec 16 2010)

Let’s be clear. We like bicycles. They are good for our air, good for our health, and, perhaps even someday, good for our traffic problems. New York City has about 483 miles of bike paths, some going back to the 1800s, and is adding 50 miles of bike lanes a year. City officials have recently been handing out data showing that these lanes “calm” traffic and cut down on fatalities.

But a lot of people are not particularly calm about bicyclists, and we are deeply sympathetic. Too many cyclists must think that they don’t have to follow traffic rules. That red light? Zip on through. That one-way street? No problem. Cyclists like to call it “salmoning.” If the city is serious about encouraging biking (and, by the way, less than a percent of commuters in New York currently ride bikes), then the New York Police Department and bike riders have to crack down on these cyclists and make them obey traffic laws like everybody else.

That there are actually rules may come as news to some cyclists.

The city’s Department of Transportation has a summary on its Web site. For example, only pre-teenage children are supposed to have bikes on the sidewalk. Cyclists “must have hand on steering device or handlebars.” Also, “Rider cannot wear more than one earphone attached to radio, tape player or other audio device while riding.” Cyclists often complain that the problem is not the bicycles but the cars. It is true that cars and trucks can too easily maim and kill cyclists. But cyclists can too easily injure pedestrians — and themselves.

The Manhattan borough president, Scott Stringer, listening to complaints from cyclists and other New Yorkers, did a quick snapshot of several locations and found what he called chaos. Over a 22-hour period, his staff members clocked: 741 instances of pedestrians blocking bike lanes; more than 275 vehicles blocking bike lanes, including a school bus and pedicabs; 331 cyclists going the wrong way; 237 cyclists running red lights; and 42 cyclists riding on sidewalks.

Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner, has promised a new education campaign to help riders and drivers and pedestrians get along. The police department also needs to give more tickets to cyclists who break the law. It’s not easy — imagine catching a cyclist going through a red light — but a few more $100-plus tickets, plus an order to read the rules, would certainly calm traffic in New York City.

In that there is discussion of barring cars from Central Park in NYC and other major cities such as London penalize car drivers in their city hearts, it seems strange that the New York elite like the Mayor and the NY Times do not wholeheartedly support biking over cars. 

Since Conserv-A-Store has been accused of practicing Green Socialism it may not surprise you to find that we feel if a carbon tax was applied to each individual in the USA, there would be so many bicycles sold that Wal Mart would need to open Bicycle Only Stores.
We feel this will happen sooner rather than later and cannot wait.

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