24 January 2010

Law-Abiding Cyclists?

Yesterday I made the trip from home to the Brooklyn Bridge, AND back. It was not the first time I rode to the Bridge, but it was a first to get there and back both by cycling. The trip took over four hours but it was not because I was a slacker. Along the Belt Parkway waterfront it was nice and free of traffic but beyond that I had to slow down to watch out for traffic. Even when part of the trip was along Second Avenue, which was quiet for a weekend day. Once I crossed the Gowanus Canal, it was all slow-going. Some streets still had bike lanes but the streets were narrower, too. Some street had no room at all for a bike and a car to share the road and I had to hurry up to get through it. Somewhere along the line I even had to ride on the sidewalk. That's the case with New York City. It is simply not possible to obey the law 100% of the time. You are on a bike lane then all of a sudden it ends and you are faced with a narrow street or a busy one with lots of traffic. You either ride on the sidewalk, go against traffic, or bite the bullet and go with the flow.

On the way back, I faced a similar scenario at the intersection of Third Avenue and Prospect Avenue. I could risk going with the car through the narrow passage below the Prospect Expressway, or go the wrong way on Third Avenue, on the sidewalk.

I hope whoever planning the roads for NYC take cyclists into considerations. On that note, it seems Bike New York is a good organization to promote cycling. I will start getting involved with it through its Bike New York Tour, a 42-mile trek through the five boroughs of New York City, then follow up later with other activities.

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