Service of Two-Wheelers: Good for the NYC Orthopedic Business

October 26th, 2015

Categories: Bicycles, Traffic, Travel

Bicycle Shots Oct 2015 003

I’ve written before about bicycles in NYC, the first time when the cycling program was announced in July 2012 and several times since. In a post a few months ago I described two near-miss crashes as I crossed the street with the light and bicycles ignored me.

A recent traffic alteration in my midtown Manhattan neighborhood inspired me to cover the subject again. It underscores my opinion that this city is not bicycle-appropriate and that bicycles are neither traffic nor pedestrian-friendly.

Bicycle Shots Oct 2015 004New to the East 50s on First Avenue is a bicycle lane next to the curb where cars have parked for decades. [See the photo above. That line of cars is parked!] Parked cars use up what had been a traffic lane [which should strangle the movement of vehicles on the Avenue]. Drivers backing up to park in one of these spaces will temporarily intrude on a third traffic lane slowing movement even more.

Crossing NYC Street 003 flipThis strategy, designed to protect bike riders, must have been made by a person who doesn’t walk the streets of New York or who isn’t observant. New Yorkers don’t stand on the sidewalk to wait for a green light to cross a street, they stand in the street. Potential BOOM! [The man in the photo at left isn’t even looking in the direction of oncoming traffic!] And when drivers push open their car doors to get out, how many will watch for zigzagging bicyclists? BOOM again with potential broken bones and work for auto body repair shops.

Yellow caution tapeThursday morning the city cordoned off all the First Avenue bike lanes with yellow caution tape from 49th to at least 54th Streets. I couldn’t see any reason for it and there was nobody to ask. Where did the bikers go? They were forced to squeeze into the traffic. Argh. [See the photo below.] By Friday morning the tape was still there, only on the ground, as were the toppled traffic cones they were taped to.

I’m not anti-bike; I’m increasingly not a fan of bicycles in midtown Manhattan where I don’t think they belong. I doubt they alleviate substantially the need for motor vehicles to justify their pride of place. And you?

 Bicycle Shots Oct 2015 006 flip

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14 Responses to “Service of Two-Wheelers: Good for the NYC Orthopedic Business”

  1. ASK Said:

    I just don’t see that many bike-riders to justify the need for knocking out a traffic lane on any Manhattan avenue street; this isn’t Copenhagen, where hordes of people ride bicycles for the economy of it…It’s NYC.

  2. DManzaluni Said:

    Will your opinion change as soon as use of the Citibike program becomes a bit more widespread and people start to become a bit healthier?

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    That is another good reason. For three or more months where ice and snow threatens there is even less bicycle traffic midtown. And as I noted, it’s more than a lane lost if you take into consideration the holdup when a car moves in or out of the new parking lane.

    Tightening the noose on the flow of traffic on an avenue is dangerous in so many additional ways. I overlook First Avenue and too often see a fire engine or ambulance stuck in traffic unable to break out. Gives me the willies.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    D Manzaluni,

    Nope. I don’t see sucking in dirty air as healthy and in spite of advances in car emission control [Volkswagen and its ilk notwithstanding], as I’m a walker–a healthy approach that doesn’t adversely affect my neighbors–the danger to pedestrians is a main concern. NYC isn’t known for its driver manners whomever is at the wheel or the handlebar. I fear for my safety which may be selfish but is true.

  5. hb Said:

    As a past victim of bicycle hit and run, I become apoplectic whenever the subject of the arrogant, privileged, young, entitled crowd willfully snarling up already impossible City traffic with their G-d D-mn-d bicycles comes up. If they want fresh air, they should move to the Rockies.

    Leave apart how dangerous bicycles are, their proliferation puts a real financial burden on the aged who are too frail to use them even if they wanted to.

    I have lived to New York since 1962 and feel like I am being forced out of the place. Apart from the occasional social event, being old and sickly, I often need to see doctors. I can no longer safely ride the subway, and even the busses are a bit perilous, apart from their service being erratic. I must usestaxis. Thanks mostly, but not entirely, to bicycle lanes and stands, ten minute rides now take twenty minutes. The cost increase is brutal, leave apart the attendant increase in pollution. Ten days ago, my trip, six blocks crosstown to my midtown dentist cost $21.00 including tip!

  6. ASK Said:

    @diMansaluni…sorry but I agree with JB on this.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:

    hb,

    Speaking of taxis, how many people flag them from the middle of the street? I’m not saying what is right and lawful, I’m describing what happens. So this person will dodge a bicycle on the new lane, walk past parked cars and flag down a taxi which, in turn, will further clog the avenue.

    On First Avenue, the busses stop on the east side. The bicycle lane is on the left. This leaves even a smaller amount of space for cars or taxis to pick up and drop off passengers.

    If you are anywhere near First Avenue and the 50s, please be sure to check for bicycles before stepping off the sidewalk regardless of what the traffic light indicates. You don’t want another meet-up with a bicyclist lost in his/her world who ignores traffic signals or figures pedestrians had best get out of the way or else.

  8. Lucrezia Said:

    Cyclists are a menace to pedestrians and vehicular traffic. Apparently living on some distant planet, many see themselves as exalted beings immune to all laws protecting others, and in some instances, themselves as well.

    It’s bad enough when encountered on country roads, not moving to the side even when there is no visibility to oncoming traffic. When inflicted on an urban community, the result spells disaster.

    It’s not a matter of being pro or anti bike, but a matter of common sense. Some communities, including cities, provide areas exclusive to pleasure bicycles. Ideally others, i.e. delivery people and those cycling to work should be licensed with identical penalties for motorists.

    That said, those responsible for permitting the current infestation of bicycles in a metropolis the size of New York City, may have been well intentioned, but have clearly taken leave of their senses.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    An acquaintance who has a house in Maine where for years he and his wife have explored roads on their bicycles in summer was hit by a semi a few months ago. He’ll be OK but he needed to have his hip replaced. Unfortunately, high speed behemoth vehicles and bicycles don’t mix.

    In a city like NY we have Central Park which is easily cordoned off for bicycle riding. I don’t know if on Sunday mornings the Bronx River Parkway in Westchester is still closed to vehicles so people can ride their bicycles safely. That solution may not be ideal if you need the Parkway to get somewhere at that time but it’s safer for bicycle riders.

    To return Citibikes to loading docks, every day I see cyclists riding against the traffic on side streets. It’s pandemonium on wheels on a street already narrowed by the docks with irritated drivers trying to get around. And guess who will be fined and sued if a car bumps into a bicyclist? The driver, of course!

    When I lived on Air Force bases here and abroad riding my bicycle all over the place worked because people in the military tend to follow traffic rules, there was little if any traffic on the base when I was on my bike and I never felt at risk. I haven’t a clue if this is still true.

    People want everything and Americans are spoiled. If they want the convenience of one thing they don’t want to give up anything else so with motor vehicles they must give up clean air and bicycles. If they want the health benefits of riding a bicycle they should settle for the stationary kind.

  10. Judy M Said:

    My daughter- in-law who lives in the upper east side rides her bike to her daughter’s after school games bc mostly parking spots are limited. I’m sure she has taken rides further downtown wearing a helmet always as she is yoga fit & aware. So far so good!

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Judy,

    The upper east side is a different world from midtown. This morning I saw a truck making deliveries parked in the third lane of traffic on First Avenue. Suddenly there was a traffic jam when normally there wouldn’t have been one. Drivers in the city have short fuses and are impatient–not good mood mixes for pedestrians or cyclists. I hope your daughter in law remains safe if she ventures downtown to run errands.

  12. BL Said:

    Maybe in the park.

  13. Jennifer Eberhart Said:

    I completely agree, Jeanne! I have also been almost bowled over by disrespectful bikers a number of times. Most bikers never follow the traffic laws, and when I do see the rare person actually stopped at a traffic light, I feel like crying and kissing and thanking the person for being a good citizen! As a driver myself as well as a walker, I am afraid now to drive anywhere in the city. My number one fear driving in the city is, I’m going to hit a biker! I am a careful driver but because the bikers seemingly have no laws to govern them (or at least, the police don’t care to enforce them on bikers) I now need to pause at every corner for the possibility that some crazed biker will think he’s invincible in front of a car. I’ve seen that happen far too many times. If the city is going to show so much love to bikers, they also need to enforce some rules to level the playing field for everyone – bikers, drivers and pedestrians alike.

  14. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Jennifer,

    I used to drive in the city but haven’t for ages and was thoughtless in forgetting the fright for drivers. Every night on my corner at First Avenue and 51st Street waiting to cross the avenue I watch in horror as bicycles race across the street, some taking a sharp left turn in front of cars or zooming past pedestrians who haven’t yet factored in the new bike lane and wait for the light by standing in the street. Most of the bikes have no lights. They make no noise. I dread the sound of an ambulance to pick up what’s left of a biker, pedestrian and car driver mesmerized by a tangle. Add distracted driving, anger and drivers under the influence and the recipe is poison for all.

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