Monday, March 9, 2009

Avenues Are for Bikes

The New York Times recently ran an article written by biker Robert Sullivan, who postulates that if New York City bikers would just be nicer, more bike lanes and legislation would pass in our fair city. It's like a suburban contract, except in the city. After he relates how difficult biking life USED to be, he commences pooh-poohing bikers who don't stop at stop lights and who ride the wrong way down one-way streets. He sights a common complaint among non-bikers: bikers ride too fast on the Brooklyn Bridge. I know it may surprise some pedestrians and tourists, but bikes are meant to go fast, especially down inclines. 

He proposes four simple tasks bikers should regard, but once again, someone needlessly shakes a finger at bikers instead of adding to the dialogue of how we could replace the current crummy system with a better one that is clean and safe for all of us in the city. (He suggests wider bike lanes separated by barricades.) We could all learn a thing or two from Copenhagen, where the wide bike paths are supposedly so safe that bikers don't wear helmets. As you can see in this video, Copenhagen's bikers aren't being cut off by a driver's last minute decision to double-park in the bike lane nor do you see any bikers flying over open car doors, something that has put more than one friend of mine in the hospital. I don't mean to point out the obvious, but the safe bike lanes have contributed to a decline in car traffic. 

Since we absolutely must wear helmets, my old man and I recently stopped at Bobbin Bicycles, a small London bike boutique. Their classy helmets are designed by the Japanese company Yakkay and can turn the average bike commuter into someone fit to ride English saddle. How about it, Mr. Sullivan? Maybe if we bikers looked better, people would like us!

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