Service of Keep off the Grass: Bryant Park & Bicycles in the Big Apple

July 8th, 2019

Categories: Bicycles, Parks, Traffic, Transportation

 

Photo: eventbrite.com

Bryant Park [photos above and to the right below] is one of my favorite places to roost at lunch in summer. There are kiosks selling food in the park and plenty of takeout places around it and the price is right when I bring the fixings from home. Sitting with a friend and a box lunch under one of many trees on a green folding chair with matching round table is heavenly. I pretend I’m in Paris.

I mentioned this to a pal who shared the following story. Her son had recently been in that park to grab a bite to eat. As he did so he laid his bike on the grass in the center of the park and, she texted, “Pretty soon a security guard came along and told him he had to remove his bike. My son protested citing a nearby couple with a giant stroller also on the grass. ‘A double standard’ said my son. The guard apologized and said that they can’t approach a family and ask them to remove a stroller [the size of a Smart Car]. But a single guy with a bike can be shooed away.” She ended with “It’s all about being PC I suppose.”

Photo: activerain.com

However, when it comes to this city, bicyclists are on the long end of the stick in most other ways. A community board just agreed to new protected bicycle lanes on Central Park West from 59th to 110th Street which will eliminate 400 parking spots–but the impact on residents is far more than the loss of parking. It has to do with pedestrian safety. As I’ve bemoaned countless times before, you walk at your own risk in this city if there are bikes around. I was almost smashed into by speeding bicycles two Saturdays ago during a mid afternoon walk from 39th Street and First Avenue to 23rd Street off 5th. One bike surprised me from behind on the sidewalk; the other paid no attention to the traffic light that was green in my direction and the rider, a woman, didn’t respond or apologize to my protest. She just kept going.

Central Park West Photo: nybits.com

Michael Riedel rides his bicycle to work. The WOR 710 morning radio show co-host said he got a $90 traffic ticket for hurtling through a red light and ever since has followed traffic rules. He agreed that many of his fellow bike riders are menaces because they ignore the laws.

Shouldn’t keep off the grass rules apply to all vehicles with wheels, bicycles and baby carriages alike? Similarly, shouldn’t bicyclists be held to the same standards as motor vehicle drivers when it comes to traffic laws? Before forcing citizens to pay exorbitant fees to park in garages or leave cars out of town shouldn’t the city first increase the capacity of its public transportation options? Do bicycles cause consternation where you live? Do you have favorite places to picnic where you live or work?

Photo: 123rf.com

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6 Responses to “Service of Keep off the Grass: Bryant Park & Bicycles in the Big Apple”

  1. BC Said:

    Very different in a gated community of over 55. Many ride bikes and trikes without issue. No parking or grass problems in suburbia! Happy I do not live in the Big Apple.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    BC,

    I love living in NYC–it’s what I’m used to. I’ve not tried a gated community. Deep dish country, all alone, isn’t for me. Because I’m not clever and trained, owning a home isn’t for me either.

    When I lived on a variety of Air Force bases eons ago, I rode all over the place on a bicycle. Few people did in the day, so bikes weren’t’ an issue.

    I walk a lot in NYC, some 2 to 4 miles a day. In the country walking was a chore! Here it’s fun: There’s so much to see.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    Cyclists are a menace, wherever they may be. While cities suffer their presence in a number of ways, the country/suburban driver may be pushed into a life threatening mode when M./Mme cyclist, hogs the pavement on a narrow road, forcing drivers to snail it at 2mph or risk death by passing on a curve — never mind the double line laws! One way to stop potential carnage is to severely limit use of bicycles. This is sure to raise an outcry. Another is to spend heaps of taxpayer money to create extra lanes. More outcry. Common sense advises not to touch this one w/a 50 foot pole……Unless one owns a bicycle and expects to use it!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I remember coming upon bicycles on a narrow country road or a slightly bigger one with two lanes and nowhere to walk or ride a bicycle–yet there they were. I knew a biker who was tossed in the air by a truck on a winding New England road. He suffered a long time from the injuries and may still. [We’ve lost touch.]

    The opposite of limiting the use of bicycles is happening in cities all over the world. It’s an attempt to control use of fuel and to encourage exercise and streamline traffic. Maybe someday more bicycles and fewer cars will help NYC. The transition period is painful. The problem is that a policeman or woman who directs traffic cannot run after a wayward bicycle to ticket the rider. If more bicyclists were fined, they might respect the laws which would be a huge help. Licensed bikes and cameras would also help though what would happen to the rented bicycles tucked in to their stands all over the city? Complicated. City planners should have figured it all out long before launching massive bicycle initiatives.

  5. JBS Said:

    Perhaps baby carriages should be allowed. I know that when my children were young, they sometimes fell asleep in their carriage or stroller and I left them there when I stopped. Please give weary mothers an advantage!

    P.S. In Minnesota, bicyclists are expected to obey the same traffic laws that motor vehicles do. Otherwise, they are ticketed!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    JBS,

    The more I know about Minnesota, the more impressed I am. Leave it to bicyclists in this state to follow traffic laws.

    A non sequitur for sure but here’s to Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Senator, for President or Vice President!

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