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July 19th, 2003, 01:28 PM
I have created a page on Wired New York on Biking in New York City (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/biking/). Here is one recent website I have found related to biking in NYC:


From June 27 to July 26, New York City is host to BikeSummer! Come together with bicycle lovers and potential bicycle enthusiasts from all over to:

Celebrate and promote the bicycle as an efficient, fun, sociable, healthy, environmentally friendly way to get around
Explore the city and places beyond
Connect with new people and communities
Envision and work toward a more bicycle-friendly world.
A true testament to the creativity of cyclists and New Yorkers, our calendar includes arts, performance, literary interest, food, adventure, advocacy, competition, rides, tours, activism, multimedia events, films, education, fun, and more --130 events and counting. Events are free unless otherwise noted.

We hope you'll continue biking after BikeSummer, too. Many BikeSummer event organizers offer rides all year round. Plus, on August 3, New York is hosting a pro race featuring the best U.S. cycling teams. The 1.2-mile circuit through Lower Manhattan provides great free public viewing.

New BikeSummer events and pictures will be posted on this site all month. Lots more on the history, culture, and future of BikeSummer can be explored here, too. (For navigation tips, see below.)

BikeSummer started in San Francisco in 1999 and travels to a different city each year. BikeSummer 2003 is being produced entirely by volunteers from New York-area groups. Volunteers welcome! Leave a message at 212-330-7083. Enjoy BikeSummer!

August 1st, 2003, 09:01 PM
Bike Ride Across Brooklyn (http://members.tripod.com/nybicyclist/bikeride/index.htm)

August 12th, 2003, 11:32 AM
NYC.gov Bicycle Network Development (http://www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/dcp/html/bike/bm.html)

December 17th, 2003, 08:05 PM
Innovative Designs Along the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway (http://www.transalt.org/press/magazine/034Fall/05greenway.html)

What Germany and Holland Can Teach NYC About Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety (http://www.transalt.org/press/magazine/034Fall/18europe.html)

Urban Cycling: A Tale of Two Cities (http://www.metropolismag.com/html/urbanjournal_1203/urbancycling.html)

January 12th, 2004, 11:30 AM
April 26, 2003

Manhattan Loop Nears for Bikes


Michelle Vasquez and Jeff Carpenetti reached the George Washington Bridge from Battery Park in two hours.

In its modest way, it has been a quest as irrepressible as sailing a ship around the globe. New York's Magellans on bicycles have long yearned to complete a loop of Manhattan Island. The chief obstacle has always been that Manhattan's shores, unlike those, say, of Paris, were designed for commerce and commuting, and only in a few patches for pleasure.

But slowly, the city has been hacking out a trail from the jungle of piers, railroad tracks, highway ramps, factories and scrap heaps that ring Manhattan. By this fall, the Department of Parks and Recreation hopes to carve out (or in parts mark out) a 32-mile circuit that will take bikers from the Battery up the West Side, past the George Washington Bridge almost to the northern tip of Manhattan, then down the Harlem and East Rivers and back to the Battery.

The loop will not be seamless. There will remain significant detours onto city streets and a few staircases where riders will have to dismount and lug their bikes. But it will get the job done.

"Piecemeal it's always going to be," said Ruth W. Messinger, who describes herself as a "fierce bicyclist" and who as Manhattan borough president pushed for the circuit a decade ago. "But bikers are an intrepid lot, and, given these opportunities, they'll stick their neck out, do a little portage and get around the difficult spots."

A major spur for the loop has been the popularity of two West Side bike paths completed in the past few years, one that links the Battery and Riverside Park and the other, known as Cherry Walk, that parallels the West Side Highway from roughly 101st to 125th Street. The paths, used also by thousands of joggers, strollers and rollerbladers, allow bikers to savor the shimmering might of the Hudson and the daunting fortresses of Midtown for unbroken miles and have become one of the delights of a rejuvenated Manhattan.

In the next few months, a restored two-mile trail, along what was once a blue-blooded trotting track known as the Harlem River Speedway, will create a freewheeling stretch from Dyckman Street down to 155th Street. Patching will also begin soon on a rutted fragment of the Riverside Drive sidewalk that runs from just north of the George Washington Bridge up to Dyckman Street's western edge. Another short segment of parkland has been completed along the Harlem River north of 135th Street and still one more trail is being readied alongside the heliport and ferry terminal on the East Side below 34th Street.

Because there are gaps — most notoriously the gerrymander-like route between 125th Street and 145th Street on the West Side — signs calling attention to the New York City Greenway are being screwed onto lampposts and biker silhouettes are being painted on pavements to guide cyclists along trafficked streets.

Advocates like Transportation Alternatives and city officials hope the creation of a loop, however imperfect, will open opportunities for more people to commute by bicycle and for the continued invigoration of waterside neighborhoods. They also speak of the democratic mingling of races, classes and neighborhoods that a loop might encourage, something evident any weekend where Upper East Siders bike or jog up to 120th Street and those from Harlem and East Harlem make their way down.

"New York City grew up around its maritime history," said Joshua Laird, chief of planning for the Parks Department. "That era is now over and New Yorkers are beginning to discover that this is a city surrounded by water and they want to be at that waterfront."

There are plans to carve out more greenway so streets and their automobile traffic can be avoided altogether. Currently 54 percent of the island's waterfront is accessible by bicycle; that will increase to 65 percent by the fall, Mr. Laird said.

But bicycle advocates say the United Nations, concerned about security, has proven as difficult an obstacle to a full loop as it was to the Bush administration's Iraq war. The renovation of eight Harlem River bridges, which requires a construction staging area between 125th and 135th Streets, may block another connecting path for perhaps 10 years.

Noah Budnick, projects director for Transportation Alternatives, said that he was not pleased that the on-street sections would not be discrete blocked-off lanes but simply white markings on the ground that still expose bikers to traffic.

Cyclists have been pushing for a circuit of the island for decades. Ed Ravin, a 41-year-old member of the Five Boroughs Bicycle Club, has a bumper sticker from circa 1980 that calls for a "Bike Beltway Around Manhattan."

"The actual loop is mostly symbolic," said Mr. Ravin, who commutes by bike from his home in Riverdale, the Bronx, to his Midtown job as a computer programmer. "However, it does give peace of mind to many bicylists. For 9 out of 14 miles I can look at the Hudson River."

In the early 1990's, the Department of Planning drew a blueprint for 350 miles of city greenway that specifically called for a 32-mile Manhattan circuit, and state officials outlined a greenway from Manhattan to Albany that included Manhattan's West Side. Ms. Messinger's office spearheaded the improvement of some waterfront stretches.

"Every other American city that has a waterfront did a better job of discovering and profiting from its waterfront," she said recently.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose deputy for economic development, Daniel L. Doctoroff, is a bicycle enthusiast, breathed new life into the loop when he promised to complete it in his 2002 State of the City Address. He has allocated $4.5 million in the capital budget for completion of the greenway by the fall.

There are still negotiations between parks and transportation officials over where some on-street detours will be. Many residents frown on bike paths as hindrances to the inalienable right to double-park. But Tom Cocola, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, says a bike loop will become a reality.

"There's been a lot of attention to it, given the ambition and the beauty of it," he said. "It's going to be a great ride."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

January 12th, 2004, 11:31 AM
January 12, 2004


Rounding the Island, on Wheels


Urban biker's appropriately abrupt diary: begin tour by checking out familiar landmarks. The wild turkey dubbed Giuliani is still pecking around unharmed in the bushes up from the bike path on Riverside Drive. (Bird seems overfed by West Side liberals, and badly named — more resembling Ed Koch, as mayoral stares and prancings go.) Back on the bike, and zipping past the Amiable Child Memorial (5-year-old lad fell to his death in 1797, when New York was more rural than urban-wild). Soon shifting gears to curl down and around onto one of the modern wonders of Manhattan: the Waterfront Greenway bike path that circumvents the island by shoreline. Splendid. Most shocking, it is perfectly sign-marked; no way to miss a turn. Whoever heard of such consideration in New York? Must be a new and cunning biker's lobbyist at City Hall.

You don't need one of those Spider-Man designer costumes or racks of water bottles, as if traversing the Gobi. Scruffy is fine enough on a New York winter morning. "Watch it," works better as a caution to a pedestrian than the imperious "On your right!" that is standard elsewhere. The Hudson, Harlem and East Rivers ripple past, dark waters fiercely defining terra firma. The path unfolds north, east, south, the biker with a sense of pedaling upward into a simple, exhilarating city escape. "Surely nothing on earth of its kind can go beyond this show," Whitman said of his own Manhattan tour, and his summary works as well by bike as by boat.

Wheeling up to and under the George Washington Bridge, so high its traffic hum does not overwhelm the slapping sound of the river. Temptations abound: the Cloisters for a medieval detour? The great brownstone side streets of still another Harlem renaissance? The Bronx looms, salt of the city earth, half-finished as ever. The few forced veerings from the shore — down St. Nicholas Avenue, later dodging the United Nations — are a perfect respite: storefront bars can be found for cold beer or hot coffee. Studying passing faces on the sidewalk fuels the race back to more sights on the river.

Just across the water, there is beloved, beleaguered Queens, packed as ever with strivers. Green and stony Brooklyn glistens, its spirit arching like its bridge. Sea winds whirl round the jutting Battery, making the bike feel mortal-heavy; but then transcendent light at the sudden sight of distant pedestrians, small and still as architects' pin-people. They stare down on the island's trade center scars. The Hudson mercifully rushes on like time, escaping city history as much as explaining it to the laboring biker. Sights clash in review: the aircraft carrier ludicrously displaced at the peaceful midtown shore. The buckled and rusted skeletons of old terminals leaning wanly toward the river. They dodge extinction uptown, as dedicatedly as the biker.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Waterfront Development and the Manhattan Greenway (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=50)

March 17th, 2004, 11:17 AM
Why Not the Best for the Big Apple? (http://www.transalt.org/press/magazine/041Winter/02provocateur.html)

November 4th, 2004, 06:42 AM
November 4, 2004

The Bike Helmet as Riot Gear?


Cyclists in a monthly Critical Mass bike ride blocked traffic on West 23rd Street in Manhattan on Friday night.

Richard Moustache, of Maine, outside a Critical Mass party on East Houston Street. Many of those attending the party locked their bikes in a pile out front.

Laurie Williams, a mild-tempered graduate student with a tousled mane of curls capped by a bicycle helmet, straddled her neon-green mountain bike, surveyed the gathering crowd in Union Square last Friday night and wondered if she really belonged there.

"I love riding my bike, but it is not a political thing," she said as she warily eyed dozens of police officers with plastic cuffs stuffed into their pockets arrayed against hundreds of rambunctious cyclists in Halloween costumes. "It's exercise; it's transportation. I ride because it's an efficient way to get around."

Ms. Williams and about 1,000 other cyclists showed up last Friday night to ride in Critical Mass, a monthly bike ride that takes over the streets of Manhattan in a demonstration of bicycle power aimed at promoting nonpolluting forms of transportation.

But in recent months the rides have taken on a political tone, and the bicycle has emerged as an unlikely symbol of protest, setting up a clash between a group of cyclists bent on preserving the anarchic nature of the ride and officials in the Bloomberg administration, who have demonstrated little patience for disorder.

This clash has some riders worried that the aggressive tactics of Critical Mass - taking over city streets for a few hours a month - is hurting the cause of other cyclists as the police use tougher tactics to control the demonstrations.

"It should be about safety in numbers and better conditions for bikers," Ms. Williams said. "It isn't about politics."

Before the Republican National Convention hit town in August, few New Yorkers had ever heard of Critical Mass. It is a ride held in hundreds of cities across the globe, but it claims no organizers, though an environmental group called Time's Up! promotes it. It simply materializes once a month. There is no route, the people at the front of the ride decide where they want to go. Riders often block car traffic to allow the ride to proceed quickly, sometimes with the help of the police, who have typically tolerated the ride even if it does snarl car traffic.

The point of the ride, participants say, is to emphasize the benefits of cycling and to promote cyclist safety.

The rides took place in New York for several years with little incident, until August, when the ride on the eve of the Republican National Convention turned into a huge anti-Bush demonstration with 5,000 riders.

The police arrested more than 250 cyclists, and since then they and riders have been engaged in an increasingly tense battle over whether the ride can proceed without a permit. Dozens of cyclists have been arrested in two rides since August, most of them charged with disorderly conduct or traffic violations.

When five cyclists who had their bikes seized by the police in the September ride went to court to block the city from seizing bikes in October's ride, the city asked a federal judge for an injunction to stop the ride altogether. The judge barred the city from seizing bikes of people who were not charged with breaking the law and the request for an injunction was denied on technical grounds. But the central issue of whether the ride can proceed in the future is far from settled.

While bicycles are considered vehicles under the state vehicle and traffic laws, and riders are required to ride on the street and obey the same traffic laws as cars, the city has argued that because the ride disrupts other traffic it must have a permit. Because bicycles are permitted to ride on the street and Critical Mass is anarchic by nature, with no one claiming to organize it, people who ride in Critical Mass and promote it say they do not need a permit and, in any case, there is no organizer to apply for one.

In this legal tussle, the bicycle has emerged as an unlikely symbol of defiance in New York City, something many cyclists have mixed feelings about. The city has had a long and contentious relationship with bicyclists, who were viewed as a nuisance. Yet it is paradoxical that the fight over Critical Mass has emerged just as cycling is gaining widespread acceptance, particularly from City Hall.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has emphasized alternative forms of transportation, even buying a bicycle in preparation for the transit strike that never materialized. The city has more than quadrupled the number of bike lanes and paths since 1997, and data from the Department of Transportation indicate that the number of bikers has increased substantially.

A bike path looping Manhattan, so long desired by cyclists, has nearly become a reality, despite a few incomplete sections. Indeed, the fight over Critical Mass comes just as the act of riding a bike in the city, once viewed as borderline suicidal, has become, well, rather pedestrian.

"For every person that rides in Critical Mass there are 10,000 people who ride bicycles for fun and transportation in New York City," said Noah Budnick, projects director at Transportation Alternatives, a group that advocates cycling. "It is very much part of the mainstream."

"Critical Mass is a two-edged sword," Mr. Budnick continued. "On the one hand, it encourages bike riding and people feel really safe while riding in the mass. But on the other hand, it potentially paints bike riding in a very confrontational, not mainstream, sort of fringe light."

When the velocipede arrived in New York in the late 19th century, it set of a craze that spawned dozens of bicycle clubs and prompted the city to build the first urban bike path, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and running the length of Ocean Parkway. On opening day in 1895, it was mobbed with 10,000 riders, forcing the city to widen it.

But soon the automobile and later the subway won out over the bicycle as the best way to get around New York, and for much of the last century people who chose to ride bicycles in New York were seen either as quaint eccentrics, like George Plimpton and Murray Kempton, or as radical iconoclasts, like the aggressive bicycle messengers who rose to prominence in the go-go 1980's.

"Cycling was, and to some extent still is, seen as transgressive," said Charles Komanoff, a lifelong city cyclist who once ran Transportation Alternatives and is a staunch supporter of Critical Mass. "To get on a bike meant to become a kind of person that many people regarded as alien and even an affront to them."

No one embodies New York's schizophrenic relationship with bicycles better than Edward I. Koch. The transit strike in the spring of 1980 put thousands of new cyclists on the streets, and after a visit to China in which Mayor Koch was wowed by the sight of thousands of people plying the streets on bicycles, he ordered a bicycle lane installed on the Avenue of the Americas.

But cyclists universally rejected the lane, for various reasons, Mr. Komanoff said, which led the city to remove it and "left a bad taste in mouth of average New Yorkers."

"The attitude of most people was, 'what more do you people want?' " he said. " 'We gave you a bike lane and you rejected it.' "

The relationship further soured a year later, when a series of collisions between bicyclists and pedestrians left three people dead and one badly injured, Mr. Komanoff said. In the last few months, debates have raged over Critical Mass on Internet message boards popular with cyclists like MetaFilter and the discussion board for the New York Cycle Club.

Some riders say the rides hurt the image of cyclists and make drivers and pedestrians less likely to support cyclists' rights. Others argue that Critical Mass makes an important point about cyclists' rights to occupy space on the city's streets, echoing the Critical Mass mantra: "We are not blocking traffic, we are traffic."

On Friday night, few drivers and pedestrians seemed to agree. At stalled intersections, drivers fumed and walkers waited to cross, though some applauded the ride.

"Any chance of crossing the street tonight?" a woman screeched at a corner on Park Avenue near the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. "This is ridiculous."

City officials have said they tolerated the ride in past years because the disruption it caused was minimal. But the event has grown, said Gabriel Taussig, chief of the Administrative Law Division in the city's Law Department, and has become unmanageable. "We have never sought to stop the ride altogether," Mr. Taussig said. "But it clearly was an event that required a permit the past few months."

But many riders oppose getting a permit. Steven Faust, who has been riding a bicycle in New York City for 50 years and leads rides for the Five Borough Bicycle Club and rode in Critical Mass last month, said getting a permit would send the wrong message.

"Where does it end?" Mr. Faust asked. "If I want to ride with a dozen friends to a movie, will we need a permit? It is the principle. Cyclists have the right to use the streets, and we will continue to stand up for that."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company




November 16th, 2004, 07:34 AM
November 16, 2004

City Tries Again to Require Permit for Critical Mass Bike Ride


A struggle between the city and a group of bicyclists intensified yesterday, as the city asked a federal judge, for the second time in three weeks, to stop the cyclists from riding in a large group without a permit.

Lawyers for the city asked Judge William H. Pauley III of United States District Court in Manhattan to halt the Nov. 26 group bike ride, known as Critical Mass, unless the riders obtain a permit. The filing came just two weeks after Judge Pauley denied a similar request by the city and allowed cyclists to proceed with an Oct. 29 ride.

But that denial was based largely on timing. The city had not given the court or the plaintiffs, five bicyclists, adequate time to respond to the request, Judge Pauley wrote. The city's lawyers filed it just four days before the ride was to take place.

A complaint by the five cyclists, filed in October, contended that their constitutional rights and rights to due process were violated when their bicycles were seized.

The city also asked that Judge Pauley require the bikers to obtain a separate permit from the Parks and Recreation Department to gather at their usual starting point, Union Square Park in Manhattan.

Lawyers for the cyclists say they should not need a permit for the rides, which promote nonpolluting transportation and take place on the last Friday of each month. Bicycles, they say, have as much legal right to the road as cars. Participants in the rides say that they have no formal organization and that the routes are not planned.

"They're not just saying you need a permit to ride in the street," said Norman Siegel, one of the cyclists' lawyers. "They are now saying you now need a permit to even meet before riding in the street."

But lawyers for the city argue that the rides pose a safety hazard, in part because of the large numbers of riders who attend. In October, they numbered more than 1,000. The city's lawyers said that the riders have run red lights, ignored traffic rules and clogged roads.

In October, the police arrested more than 30 riders, a move cyclists have criticized.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly wrote in The Daily News last month that the cyclists used to obey traffic rules, but that around the time of the Republican National Convention, Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, the rides became disruptive.

The cyclists' behavior on the rides is "typically what occurs in a parade," said Gabriel Taussig, a lawyer for the city. "We're not saying they shouldn't be able to do that, but rather do it in a way that ensures everyone's safety is protected."

In yesterday's filing, a lawyer for the city, Sheryl R. Neufeld, wrote that if the request was too late to stop the Nov. 26 ride, the filing would apply to the group's December ride. The October ride, she wrote, made it "clear that the city is going to continue to face serious public safety problems during the upcoming Critical Mass rides."

The cyclists' lawyers have until Nov. 30 to respond to the city's filing, which would be too late to affect the November ride. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Dec. 8, Mr. Siegel said.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

November 22nd, 2004, 08:04 AM
Cycling In the City (http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/issueoftheweek/20041122/200/1189)

December 4th, 2004, 09:24 PM
December 5, 2004


A Critical Mess

The sight of hundreds or even thousands of bicycles on busy streets is something that sounds more like Beijing than New York, but on Manhattan's avenues, it has become a regular event. In monthly rides meant to promote healthful and nonpolluting commuting, cyclists have gathered and then pedaled for a few blocks en masse, often up Park Avenue from a parking lot at Union Square.

The ride, called Critical Mass, is part of a grass-roots effort that has taken hold in major American cities and hundreds of other cities worldwide. In recent months, though, what for six years had been a generally uneventful spin in New York City has drawn the ire of the police, who regard the bikers as a safety and security hazard and illegal to boot. The city has asked a federal court to halt the rides unless organizers get a permit, as they would for a parade. That could bring the rides to an unfortunate end.

Some cyclists have contributed to the showdown with unnecessarily aggressive behavior like blocking traffic and running red lights. Even so, the police seem to have come on awfully strong. Other cities, among them Chicago and San Francisco, have found ways to reconcile bikers and the police. But politics and increasingly frayed tempers have complicated matters in New York.

The turning point seems to have occurred before the Republican convention last summer, when regularly scheduled rides - on the last Friday of the month - took on overtones of a political protest. In July, some cyclists headed to the F.D.R. Drive, where bike riding is not allowed. At the end of August, just before the convention, Critical Mass attracted 5,000 riders. As part of a general crackdown on protests without permits, the police detained hundreds of riders - including, apparently, innocent bystanders. Since then, scores more Critical Mass cyclists have been arrested.

Norman Siegel, a prominent civil rights lawyer who is representing five riders whose bicycles were confiscated, agrees that Critical Mass riders should obey traffic laws. But he has reasonable concerns about what the police want. By petitioning to bar future rides by groups of even a few cyclists unless they have permits, he says, the city is seeking to pre-empt Critical Mass altogether.

Critical Mass has no organizers, and there's no way to know how many riders will participate in any given month. That's a problem if a permit to ride must be regularly obtained. The movement - which takes its name from a documentary film about cycling - spread from San Francisco in the early 1990's through the Internet and word of mouth. Various Web sites keep riders informed, but there is no hierarchy, and there's no formal leader of the pack. Critical Mass by its nature is no leaders and all followers, joined together by a love of cycling.

There is no law keeping bikes off the streets. The sudden appearance of thousands of riders obviously poses a challenge, but need not inconvenience others if riders do their part and obey traffic laws as they should. There are no doubt scofflaws among Critical Mass bikers, just as there are among car drivers. But the problem now is that instead of issuing summonses, the police have been arresting the cyclists, handcuffing and taking them away. That is not the best use of New York's finest.

In a city like New York, with heavy traffic congestion and overburdened mass transit, bicycles offer an alternative that ought to be encouraged. Bicycles do not create dangerous air emissions. They offer health benefits to the riders. And they're easier on the city's aging roads.

Past efforts to encourage commuter biking included the path on Sixth Avenue, a project of Mayor Ed Koch. Few people used it, many complained about it, and it was abandoned. But times are changing. As a way to promote cycling, Critical Mass has legs, in more ways than one. The city should work with riders to defuse their disagreement so the monthly rides can go on, in an orderly, lawful and safe way.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

December 4th, 2004, 09:41 PM
What exactly is the point that the monthly ride is trying to get across?

January 4th, 2005, 10:04 AM

Greenway Glitches

by Anne Schwartz
04 Jan 2005

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made the creation of a Manhattan greenway a goal of his administration. Within two years of taking office, he completed an interim bicycle and pedestrian route around the entire island. He has supported putting into place the citywide 350-mile greenway plan (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/bike/home.html), developed in 1993 by the Department of City Planning. But in Brooklyn, where the city is about to build one of the first sections of the trail envisioned along the downtown waterfront, the administration's current plans undermine the purpose of the greenway as a park space and a safe corridor for bicyclists and pedestrians.

All over the country, cities are creating landscaped bicycle and pedestrian paths (http://www.conservationfund.org/pdf/fact3.pdf) (In PDF Format) for the many benefits they bring, including reducing traffic congestion, encouraging exercise, increasing real estate values and softening the hard edge of the city. So far, New York City has built about 100 miles of greenway, helped by the availability of federal transportation funding for this purpose.

Still to be built is the proposed Brooklyn Waterfront Trail in northwest Brooklyn, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Sunset Park. It would meet an existing path along Bay Ridge and could potentially connect with greenways along Jamaica Bay.

The first section of the trail slated to be built goes through the Columbia Street district, a mixed residential and industrial neighborhood wedged between the piers and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Cut off from the rest of Brooklyn by the highway and connected to the working waterfront, it has the feel of a village and views of the Manhattan skyline. In a neighborhood only a few blocks wide, residents created four community gardens, which are now official city parks, and have been trying for a decade to get the city to put in the greenway through their neighborhood.

The city is finally putting a pedestrian/bicycle path through the area as part of a long-planned road reconstruction to better accommodate truck traffic to the piers. But the current design would leave the greenway with a hole in one section, where it eliminates the green - and the off-street path for bicyclists - in favor of widening the road.

For several blocks along Van Brunt Street, the city Department of Transportation plans to narrow an existing wide sidewalk and route bicyclists onto striped bike lanes on both sides of the street. To rejoin the greenway going north, riders would have to cross the street just before a blind turn that is being redesigned to allow trucks to pass at higher speeds.

Hundreds of residents have signed a petition to Bloomberg asking him to intervene in the impending reconstruction project and establish an interim greenway on the existing harbor-side sidewalk.

Residents believe that the greenway is being downgraded in favor of widening the road because adjoining neighborhoods, which are more populous and politically powerful, want to divert traffic from their streets. They note that the Columbia Street area already has 14 lanes of moving traffic. The Department of Transportation did not respond to numerous requests for comment.

Community Board 6, which stretches from the Red Hook and Columbia Street waterfront to Park Slope, approved the road reconstruction project. According to Craig Hammerman, the district manager, the roadwork was originally proposed 15 years ago to reduce the impact on the neighborhood of trucks going off the approved routes. "If we design the truck route properly, then we won't need to rely on enforcement down the line," he said. The project has since taken on two other elements - infrastructure work for the Third Water Tunnel and incorporating the Brooklyn Waterfront Trail. In the negotiations over the project, the

Department of Transportation agreed to turn over for a park a 100-foot site originally intended to divert trucks. "We believe the agency has gone as far as we can get them to go," Hammerman said.

Bicycle advocates credit the Department of Transportation with becoming more bicycle friendly in recent years. The agency has added 200 miles of bike lanes as well as bicycle crossings on all four East River bridges, one factor contributing to doubling of the number of people riding bicycles in the city over the past 20 years. But they say it has been less receptive to off-street greenways or even physically separated lanes, giving first priority to moving vehicular traffic through the city.

One example is on First and Second Avenues in Manhattan, where there are high volumes of traffic. The city chose not to put in a physically separated bike lane, "letting people fend for themselves in traffic," said Noah Budnick, projects director at the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives (http://www.transalt.org/). "In the Columbia Street area where you have a community that very much supports building the off-street path, it's harder to understand why the city and the Department of Transportation don't want to choose the safe alternative," he said.

Dave Lutz, a neighborhood resident and member of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Taskforce, an advocacy group, said that Van Brunt Street isn't the only place the city is putting a greenway along the road where there is space for it to go through a landscaped corridor. Lutz, who is also the director of the Neighborhood Open Space Coalition and one of the creators of the city's greenway plan, said, "As we paint those stripes on our streets and put greenway signs on those streets, we water down the term of what a greenway is. A greenway is a separate trail for pedestrians and bicyclists buffered by greenery."

The Overall Path

Because the land along the Brooklyn waterfront is controlled by so many different entities - including city agencies, the Port Authority, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and numerous private companies - piecing together a greenway promises to be a complicated and politically charged process.

The goal of greenway advocates is a 30-foot-wide, 14-mile-long landscaped off-street path along the waterfront. Such a trail would provide greenery and recreation for many neighborhoods that have very little public open space, as well as access to the borough's far-flung beaches and parks and its diverse neighborhoods. "It is as much a park space that you move through as a transportation corridor," said Robert Pirani, director of Environmental Programs at the Regional Plan Association (http://www.rpa.org/), an independent planning group for the tri-state area.

Several local organizations are beginning to create an overall framework for the trail, which ultimately would be implemented by various city and state agencies and private landowners. The office of Borough President Marty Markowitz was instrumental in getting grants for the work through the New York State Waterfront Revitalization Program.

One of these organizations is the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, Inc. (http://www.brooklyngreenway.org/), led by two former members of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Taskforce who split off from that group to take a more active role in planning and advocating for the overall path. Milton Puryear, director of planning for the initiative, said they believed that the way to "get around the DOT's refusal on Van Brunt Street and the quality we are after was to really communicate the whole vision and engage a much bigger population than the couple thousand people who live along the BQE."

Together with the Regional Plan Association, the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative has begun a six-month process of developing a route in Community Boards 2 and 6, from Red Hook to Newtown Creek in Greenpoint. The first public meeting was held in November. The planners will return with a conceptual plan at another public workshop on February 1.

In Community Board 7 in Sunset Park, the community-based organization UPROSE has trained neighborhood youths to lead a grassroots participation process to design a greenway through the largely Latino, Asian, and Arabic neighborhood. UPROSE helped block the construction of a power plant along the waterfront and is involved in a number of efforts to reduce pollution and increase greening in the neighborhood. The neighborhood has 35,000 young people, yet just a quarter-acre of parkland per thousand residents and almost no public access to the waterfront.

As the Brooklyn waterfront changes, there are many competing visions for how it should evolve. These range from preserving the working waterfront and encouraging water-borne transportation to current city proposals for housing, parks, and a cruise ship terminal. The city recently approved a zoning change in Red Hook to allow a controversial Ikea store to be built, and other big box stores may follow. These changes could provide opportunities for the creation of a green pathway, as well as obstacles.

Many of the projects proposed or in the works for the Brooklyn waterfront have the potential to increase automobile traffic unless there is an effort to develop alternatives. "Communities all across the country are trying to get automobile traffic off the waterfront so that the amenity value can benefit the community," said Pirani. "What is Brooklyn's waterfront edge going to be like? Is it going to be designed more for moving cars and trucks around the waterfront, or as more of a space for pedestrians and bicyclists and people being comfortable walking around it?"

Anne Schwartz is a freelance writer specializing in environmental issues. Previously, she was the editor of the Audubon Activist, a news journal for environmental action published by the National Audubon Society, and an editor at The New York Botanical Garden.

January 15th, 2005, 10:21 PM
January 16, 2005


Tend It Like Bentham?


MY brother and I bought our bikes from the Russian man who runs a secondhand stall in the flea market at 24th Street and the Avenue of the Americas. Many of the bikes there are of the Irish policeman, sit-up-and-beg variety, manufactured in the 60's and 70's, and it was this type we opted for.

Mine was a yellow Schwinn; his an all-black model without any identifying logo, though it did have elegant white tracery around the front fork and mudguards. The bikes cost less than the Kryptonite locks that, we were firmly advised, were necessary to keep them in our possession. "In the suburbs," we were told, "you can get away with something less strong. But in New York, forget about it."

The Kryptonite lock is, after the taxi, the signature splash of yellow on New York City's streets. It comes with a chain that reflects light in a dull rainbow, adding credibility to the idea that it might actually be made of Kryptonite. It is not heavy for its size; but it is very substantial. It knocks the paint off the bike when it is unwound from the seat post.

We soon got fed up with using the locks; they were too bothersome for short visits to shops or bars, and so we regularly left our bikes unchained. As it turned out, this did not increase the risk of theft by very much. Recent news items have revealed that the Kryptonite lock can be picked in a matter of seconds with nothing more than the plastic casing of a ballpoint pen. The company has offered to replace the faulty model, free of charge, with a new, improved version.

In place of securing the bikes to a fence or lamppost, we developed an alternative technique for deterring thieves. This was based on the 19th-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham's theory of the Panopticon. The Panopticon is a prison designed so that all inmates can be observed at any time without knowing they are being watched. In this scheme, actual surveillance is unnecessary; its mere possibility is what keeps the prisoner secure.

So it was with the bikes. We couldn't in practice keep an eye on them during various trips into stores and restaurants. But, we figured, left in a place where they might easily be observed, predators would steer clear. They were, after all, old bikes, and not worth much of a risk. The scheme seemed to work well enough.

Then, one day a few months ago, when we left a clothing store on Fifth Avenue, we discovered that my brother's bike had been stolen. Mine, also unlocked, remained propped against the shop window where I had left it. I do not want to suggest that my brother was asking for what happened beyond pointing out that it was he who had spent a long time trying on a beige zip-up jacket that appeared to be made from a byproduct of the petroleum industry, which, of course, remained unpurchased. Furthermore, his bike had been parked against the corner lamppost, some distance from the store entrance and, in the quiet early evening, clearly at the outer limits of any Benthamite theory of observance.

And so we trudged home, me wheeling the yellow Schwinn, he recalling ruefully the honest, reliable service the missing bike had provided. In the middle of his reverie, I spotted something that looked very much like his bike, chained to scaffolding on the other side of the street. We crossed to investigate.

It was his bike; the little scratch on the front fork confirmed it beyond doubt. The thief had evidently chained it up at what he or she thought a safe distance, for later collection. The thief's chain, needless to say, was Kryptonite.

We stood on the sidewalk wondering what to do next, casting furtive glances around in case the thief was still in the vicinity. Calling the police seemed like the most obvious option but one that might well require a lot of tedious "procedure." Not to mention the fact that my brother had no evidence that the bike was actually his.

We thought of hanging around until the thief came back. But this seemed an even less promising choice, with the possibility of a long wait followed by a confrontation involving abuse or even injury.

My brother is what some people might call abstracted. His girlfriend, who is Spanish, says that he lives with the flowers. It is more than likely that, had I not pointed it out to him, he would not have spotted his own bike as we were walking home that day. But behind his sometimes otherworldly demeanor is a keen intelligence. And having had the bike pointed out to him, he devised a scheme of great ingenuity for its return.

I WAS at the corner watching a police car disappear down Seventh Avenue when he called out to me. I trotted back to see what was up. "I've had an idea," he said. "Take the chain of your bike and put it on mine, next to the thief's." As I crouched on the sidewalk unfastening my lock, I could not help but marvel at the elegant simplicity of the plan. My brother meanwhile strode off to purchase some paper and a pen from a local store.

We left his bike and its two chains with a note stuck under the seat saying: "This is my bike. Take your chain off it or I will call the police." Then we headed home for dinner and a sound night's sleep.

When we were young, growing up outside Liverpool by the River Mersey, we would sometimes put down lay lines to catch fish and eels. We would wait for low tide and then go out to the water's edge, where we would secure a long fishing line between two wooden posts driven deep into the sand. The tide, which can rise and fall as much as 30 feet in Liverpool Bay, would soon cover our row of baited hooks. The voyage back to the line when the tide had once more receded was always tantalizing, full of expectation, trepidation, even, given the sort of unearthly creatures that might inhabit the turbid waters off Liverpool's coast.

So it was on the return journey the next morning to see what had happened to the bike. Unable to quell my curiosity, I rose early and, leaving Andy asleep, headed out on my own.

My heart quickened. The bike was still there. A quick inspection revealed that both the note and the thief's chain had been removed. I called Andy from a nearby phone box, and told him that the eagle had landed. "Oh," he replied in a confused early-morning torpor, "You mean Liverpool won their match?" (We are both fans of the Liverpool soccer team.) "No," I replied. "You've got your bike back."

The Panopticon technique is pretty well in ruins now. It took a further big knock the following weekend when my brother and I were sitting outside a French patisserie on Eighth Avenue. With my bike leaned against a lamppost not 10 feet away, a small boy climbed on it and would have made off had I not jumped up. When confronted with his brazen behavior, he merely replied that if I didn't want it stolen, I should have locked it up. "Well, maybe I'll just call the police," I snarled as menacingly as I could. The child mimicked my words in an infuriating singsong and sauntered off. I've never been terribly good at menace.

The yellow Schwinn is also out of service. The spot welding that held the back brake to the frame has fractured, and it is now adrift in space, quite useless. The certain cause of this is the repeated dragging over the brake assembly of a thick Kryptonite chain as it is wound and unwound around the seat post. Nothing can withstand Kryptonite, after all, not even spot welding.

Colin Robinson is the publisher of the New Press.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

August 26th, 2005, 08:18 PM
Free NYC Cyclists Campaign

New York cyclist arrest counter: 518 (as of Aug. 22, 2005)

Bicyclists in New York need your help. From wherever you are in the world, you can aid World Carfree Network member group Time's Up! in their struggle for the right to ride and promote bicycles. It only takes a few minutes to send a letter that could make the difference. Please join our campaign to demand an end to the arrests of cyclists in New York City.


Groups Call for End to New York City ‘Critical Mass’ Arrests
by Brendan Coyne

http://newstandardnews.net (http://newstandardnews.net/)

Aug 24 - Nearly a year after New York City police preemptively arrested throngs of bicyclists at the kick-off to protests against the Republican Party's National Convention in the Big Apple last year, officers are still rounding up and arresting riders, prompting protests from some groups and the initiation of a worldwide campaign to draw attention to the city's actions.

Yesterday, the World Carfree Network, a coalition of people and groups promoting alternatives to automobile transportation, announced that on August 27, it would initiate international efforts to end a crackdown on cyclists participating in community Critical Mass rides. August 27 marks the one-year anniversary of last year's pre-convention round-up in which police arrested hundreds of cyclists. Earthjustice, a US-based environmental law group, joined in support of the campaign.

Critical Mass is a loosely organized bike ride that typically takes place once a month in cities across the world. In New York, the riders gather on the last Friday of every month. The body of cyclists has been known to span several blocks at times, snarling traffic as the group rides in celebration their non-polluting mode of transport.

As part of its efforts, World Carfree Network is asking supporters to sign a letter demanding New York officials halt police interference with bike riders participating in Critical Mass rides. They are also demanding the police return confiscated bicycles and other property to the cyclists.

Over the last year, the New York City Police Department and other US law enforcement agencies have cracked down on Critical Mass rides, citing blocked traffic and other complications. Earlier this year, New York officials brought a lawsuit against a city-based environmental group, Time's Up, which they accuse of organizing the event.

Time's Up denies organizing the rides, though it does support them and other urban cycling as an alternative to automobiles, according to the organization's website. In July, the group issued a set of demands, including the immediate halt to arrests of bikers participating in mass rides and for the prosecution of motorists who strike and kill cyclists. In addition, the group is asking New York commit to educating drivers about bicyclists' rights and to adopt pro-biking policies citywide.

Cycling advocates claim the NYPD has arrested more than 500 critical mass riders in the past year.

© 2005 The NewStandard.

August 27th, 2005, 09:41 AM
Monthly Mass Bicycle Ride Leads to 49 Arrests in Manhattan
August 27, 2005

By JENNIFER 8. LEE (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=JENNIFER 8. LEE&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=JENNIFER 8. LEE&inline=nyt-per) AND MATTHEW SWEENEY


Forty-nine bicyclists were arrested last night in Manhattan at the monthly Critical Mass ride, the police department reported.

The rides are described by their organizers, the environmental advocacy group Time's Up!, as a demonstration to promote the use of transportation other than cars. The ride at Republican National Convention a year ago swelled to more than 5,000 riders, several hundred of whom were arrested. Since then, the rides have become a point of contention with the police.

Last night's arrests took place in at least four locations: Astor Place; Houston Street and Second Avenue; West 18th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues; and along West 34th Street. The captain who was overseeing arrests at Astor Place said the bicyclists were being charged with parading without a permit, disorderly conduct and obstructing traffic.

The Bloomberg administration says that the rides are large and not spontaneous, and thus require a permit. Lawyers for the city have requested an injunction against the rides. No ruling has been issued, but Time's Up! is in discussions with city lawyers.

The bicyclists, who have split into different starting points since the police confrontations began, began riding last night around 7:30. About 250 cyclists started in Union Square with 15 officers on scooters behind them. As that group moved through the city, officers from different directions converged on the group and bisected it, arresting bicyclists.

Time's Up! says that because the rides are demonstrations, they are subject to free-speech protections.

"People have a right to ride their bicycles on the street of New York," said Norman Siegel, a lawyer who represents the group. He is also a candidate for the city's public advocate.

"I'm calling on Mayor Bloomberg to intervene," Mr. Siegel said. "He has to tell the police department to chill."

August 27th, 2005, 04:53 PM
A spontaneous, unorganized 30-second, stationary duct taped-to-signpost ride.

August 27th, 2005, 08:09 PM
These are great ... I've been seeing these duct-taped bikes all around downtown the past few weeks.

Any idea who's behind them?

November 21st, 2005, 07:45 AM
Rise in bike deaths gives edge to clash over cycling in New York

Associated Press Writer

November 20, 2005, 10:31 AM EST

NEW YORK -- Jen Shao, the immigrant owner of a Chinatown souvenir shop, wasn't trying to make a political statement as she pedaled her bicycle through downtown Manhattan two months ago.

The 65-year-old woman biked, her family told reporters, because she found it easier than walking.

But her September death beneath the wheels of a tour bus was one of an increased number of biking fatalities this year, adding a melancholy edge to long-running tensions over the presence of bicycles on the city's crowded streets.

With a month left in the year, police records show 21 cyclists have died in traffic accidents in New York, up from 15 in all of 2004.

The number may just be a statistical anomaly, transportation officials said. Between 2000 and 2004, traffic accidents killed 82 cyclists in the city, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration _ an average of about 16 deaths per year.

This year's small spike has further angered a riding community already upset by what they perceive as an unfriendly view of bikers among some drivers and city officials.

Within weeks of Shao's death, a group of artists installed a tribute at the spot where she fell; a bicycle, painted white like a ghost, and a plaque inscribed with her name.

Kevin Caplicki, whose group Visual Resistance has created six "ghost bikes" this year to memorialize fallen cyclists, said they want people to rethink the American notion of the car as king.

"This form of transportation and the people who use it are really invisible," he said of the city's bicyclists.

The memorials are the work of some of the same cycling enthusiasts behind "Critical Mass," a once-a-month nighttime group bike ride through the city's canyon-like streets.

The rides _ held partly for fun, and partly to celebrate liberal, environmentalist ideals _ began 10 years ago. But the city's perception of it changed dramatically last year during the Republican National Convention.

Thousands of political activists temporarily swelled the ranks of the ride, and police responded with a crackdown. Hundreds of riders were arrested on charges of parading without a permit.

The rides have since shrunk to a few hundred bikes or less, but police action has continued. Dozens of arrests are now routine at the gatherings.

City officials also sued to stop the rides altogether, maintaining they are illegal without a permit. The cyclists won some early rounds in the litigation, but the case is still pending.

Lately, bicycle groups have complained that the crackdown was spreading.

Cyclists in Brooklyn griped that their bikes were confiscated en masse from spots near a subway station, allegedly for violating sidewalk clutter laws. And members of the New York Bike Messenger Association say police have conducted ticketing blitzes this fall, stopping and citing riders for minor infractions like not having a bell.

"For some reason, in the last year and a half the city has decided, 'That's enough' and now it's trying in every way possible to discourage cycling," said Bill DiPaola, executive director of the pro-bike group Time's Up.

A police spokesman did not respond to requests for an interview to discuss the department's interaction with cyclists.

Bike advocates enjoy a better relationship with the city's Department of Transportation, which in the past few years has done plenty to encourage cycling, including the creation of more than 100 miles of new bike lanes.

The most notable project included the city's new Hudson River greenway, allowing cyclists to travel unmolested by traffic for miles along the Manhattan waterfront.

Those steps contributed to a growing number of riders citywide. An annual survey recorded 16,292 bicyclists pedaling past a series of checkpoints during a 12-hour period in 2005, compared to 12,757 five years earlier.

In the early 1980s, the same surveys found between 6,000 and 7,000 bike trips, said the transportation department's bike program coordinator, Andrew Vesselinovitch.

Transportation officials, at the request of cycling groups, recently pledged a study of all city bike fatalities from the past decade in an attempt to determine whether some or all could have been prevented.

Vesselinovitch said planning for the study has already begun.

Bike advocates have also asked the city to more aggressively cite motorists for aggressive driving and commit to quicker implementation of a years-old master plan for more bike lanes and recreational pathways.

Despite its reputation for chaotic streets, New York City should be an ideal place for cyclists, said Noah Budnick, projects director for the group Transportation Alternatives. It is largely flat and has wide, one-way streets.

"The fact is, New Yorkers are going to ride," Budnick said. "New Yorkers love to ride, and there are a lot of characteristics of the city that make this a great place for riding."

Copyright © 2005, The Associated Press

November 21st, 2005, 08:43 AM
With a month left in the year, police records show 21 cyclists have died in traffic accidents in New York, up from 15 in all of 2004.

This year's small spike has further angered a riding community already upset by what they perceive as an unfriendly view of bikers among some drivers and city officials.

Kevin Caplicki, whose group Visual Resistance has created six "ghost bikes" this year to memorialize fallen cyclists, said they want people to rethink the American notion of the car as king.

"This form of transportation and the people who use it are really invisible," he said of the city's bicyclists.

Invisible? For sure. And when a driver makes a fast turn from the center lane you know the driver is thinking of nothing but getting where he wants to go as quickly as possible and others be damned.

Less cars in Manhattan would go a long way to making the city more bike-friendly: http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=72510&postcount=141

Bike advocates enjoy a better relationship with the city's Department of Transportation, which in the past few years has done plenty to encourage cycling, including the creation of more than 100 miles of new bike lanes.

Bike advocates have also asked the city to more aggressively cite motorists for aggressive driving and commit to quicker implementation of a years-old master plan for more bike lanes and recreational pathways.

Enforcement of existing traffic laws is the key.

Double parking and blocking bike lanes, thus forcing bike riders out of bike lanes, as well as drivers who speed and who make illegal turns & lane changes are the main problems facing bike riders.

November 21st, 2005, 09:51 AM
As a pedestrian, biker, and car driver. I have two observations:

Bikers have the same regard for pedestrians that drivers have for bikers.

All three groups frequently break the law at intersections. The frequency from lowest to highest:

November 21st, 2005, 11:02 AM
I saw a guy get pretty badly "doored" by a woman getting out of a taxi. Everyone nearby rushed over to see if he was okay. He was shaken and a little bruised but okay - then he laid into the woman, scolded her for not looking back for bikers before getting out of a cab like she's supposed to. She was in tears and kept saying she was sorry.

I ride bikes too, and I also take cabs, but I felt bad for her. Does anyone watch for bikes every time they get out of a cab? I admit I don't always think of that, though I'm sure I should. But as a frequent bike rider (I'm assuming he was, he had the pants) he should have known not to ride his bike between the curb and a cab pulled over with its lights blinking - a good chance that door would fly open. He got really pissed off when I pointed that out to him, but as far as I'm concerned they share the blame.

November 21st, 2005, 09:10 PM
I saw a female pedestrian get totaled by a biker while walking on the Brooklyn Bridge. I've seen a lot of close calls. Out-of-town pedestrians, in general, are oblivious to the bike lane / pedestrian lane set-up and the signs and markings are woefully inadequate.

November 21st, 2005, 11:25 PM
Re: Bikers v. Cabs

Cabs are NOT supposed to let people out where there is a car between them and the curb -- but they do it all the time. They are supposed to pull to the curb before letting out or picking up a fare.

Cab drivers also pay little to no attention to laws regarding turns, speed, crosswalks, bike lanes, etc.

November 22nd, 2005, 12:00 AM
I saw a guy get pretty badly "doored" by a woman getting out of a taxi.
When I was single and living in Brooklyn Heights, I would do laps in Prospect Park, and sometimes shoot down to Sheepshead to see my parents. Ocean Parkway service road was a good route back.

I stayed in the center or toward the left line of parked cars (the passenger side). One day, just as I was passing, a door flew open and the edge caught my knee. I didn't break stride, but left a little skin on the door. That's as close as I ever got to being doored.

November 22nd, 2005, 10:45 AM
Try blading.

Between all the above mentioned problems AND NYC's oh-so-stellar roadworks program (paving et all) it is a nightmare to blade around town some days!

I think cabbies, in general, should be required to follow the law more than any other driver on the road in NYC. They are the most prevalent and are guilty for most of the tie-ups and aggravation on the road.

So many people see these guys riding in the bike lane to make the left hand turn ahead of the others waiting for a light, or ride in the bus lane to get ahead that they start copying.

I feel bad for these guys, being that this is their living, but their lives should not be at the expense and risk of others.

Oh, also, I would like to see the number of accidents involving cars and bikes in the city! nevermind fatalities! How many cars strike bikes? How many door shots? This will give a better idea of bike safety in the city than fatalities!

November 22nd, 2005, 09:18 PM
I would never ride a bike in NYC. Just for the simple fact of this thread, accidents.

November 29th, 2005, 12:57 PM
If you're into biking then don't let accidents deter you, there are several bikeways removed from traffic that previous posts have indicated (Central Park and the Hudson River Park bikeway for example).

January 20th, 2006, 05:29 PM
Anyone have recommendation for good bike repair shops?

I don't, that's why I'm asking. Recently was told by a shop near me that $50 is their fee. Is this the going rate?

I plan to ride my bike more during this "winter" and need a serious tune-up. I'm willing to go to any borough, the greater service is.

January 21st, 2006, 09:21 AM
Anyone have recommendation for good bike repair shops?

Bicycle Habitat on Lafayette north of Spring is excellent.

January 23rd, 2006, 07:44 AM
A Ride Down Hysteria Lane

Do we want bikes to push against traffic or dignify it?

By Alec Appelbaum
Posted January 18, 2006

Traffic flattens many romantic views of New York. If our streets flow and pulse, why do braking cars grate our nerves from the Palisades down to Coney Island? And a related question: why is it so hard to get around on a bike? While future planning adjustments would rectify both weaknesses, bikers remain in a precarious mess. We can begin to see how as we approach the city's great bridges.

The Brooklyn Bridge, like many monumental sites around New York, serves thousands of citizens' practical purposes. Commuters and runners use it as an extended street. Tourists sometimes need a prompt to walk across it, not just stare at it. It connects downtown Brooklyn's plazas and boulevards to Lower Manhattan as a veiny network of little river-seeking streets. It's a gracious rush to flow between these hubs over a stretch of harbor views--that is, until your bike clangs into motorists, barriers, and manic bike messengers. And that's where sensible planning would help.

Noah Budnick, projects director for advocacy outfit Transportation Alternatives, suggests ways the city can buffer bikes without cramming them in gutters. For low cost, he argues, the city's Department of Transportation could dedicate "on-street greenways" like those found in Montreal midblocks or in spruced up material on Berlin curbs. This would help riders define the street's current--and get around faster. Imagine navigating errands or jaunting through scenic New York with a tailwind and no fear of car-door sideswipes.

Right now these types of excursions involve lots of stutter-stops. The standard local bike lane consists of a single stripe, narrow for riders and nettlesome to cars. Riders end up scraping each other. Budnick praises a wider bike lane on Hudson Street, on Manhattan's West Side. The bike lane is approximately five feet wide, with a white stripe buffer separating bikers and traffic by almost three feet. "Even though drivers can double-park, they don't," Budnick says. The wide stripe reminds them that cyclists need space too. A local community board recently asked the city's Department of Transportation to extend the buffer north a few miles to connect to Central Park.

The city can contemplate such changes in part because the federal government often covers 80 cents of every transportation dollar. But Budnick perceives a different calculus. He describes transportation bigwigs as "always thinking about space they're taking away from cars." Luckily, some planning committee members think more broadly. Since 2003, zoning revisions obliged commercial developers in industrial Queens and downtown Brooklyn to provide up to 400 square feet of indoor bike parking. (These zones have seen little new construction, but presumably that'll change.) In 2005, bump-causing iron plates vanished from the Williamsburg Bridge. And the new "on-street greenway" (it's asphalt) gives riders room to pass each other en route to the Brooklyn Bridge. This is progress.

But these are minor changes when what's really needed is a new bike-safe network. As pedestrian traffic swells in Midtown Manhattan and families clog sidewalks throughout gentrifying neighborhoods, bikers ought to find room on the street. More two-lane buffers along arteries to parks and shopping strips would make a huge difference. So would broader bike parking, which Transportation Alternatives wants the City Council to require in office buildings. For now, two-wheeled New Yorkers rely on ingenuity. "I know one person," says Budnick, "who persuaded the manager at the Empire State Building to let him bring his bike inside." Until political forces align, one aspect of the New York stereotype will propel biker's rights--perseverance.

Motorists, barriers, and fellow riders create dangerous conditions on New York City's bikepaths.
Photo Alec Appelbaum

Safer conditions for bicylists can be found within the on-street greenways in Montreal.
Courtesy Transportation Alternatives

Berlin provides well-marked bikeways for the city's riders.
Photo Aaron Naparstek

The asphalt-laden "greenway" provides safer access on to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Photo Alec Appelbaum

New York bicyclists need more bike lanes like this one that create buffer zones from traffic.
Courtesy Transportation Alternatives

January 23rd, 2006, 09:30 AM
"Even though drivers can double-park, they don't," Budnick says

Um, come down by Houston. See how many people aren't couble parking.

Including the US postal, UPS, DHL, Fed Ex, Fresh Direct, and just about any delivery boxcar that comes into the area.

It is nowhere NEAR as bad as midtown or some of the more crowded avenues, but saying it is not there is an acute case of selective vision.

January 24th, 2006, 12:53 AM
In my neighborhood, you get a ticket if you don't double park. :p

January 24th, 2006, 08:41 PM
Jersey City and Hudson County has taken steps on plans to put bike lanes similar to those in the pics on main throughfares throughout the city and county. About damm time!!!

February 26th, 2006, 10:24 AM
February 26, 2006

After Judge's Ruling, Fewer Are Arrested in Mass Bike Ride


Jessica Rechtschaffer, who believes she holds — or at least shares — the unofficial record as the bicycle rider most often arrested at the monthly group rides known as Critical Mass, thought she might be adding to her total Friday night when police officers stopped her near 28th Street and Eighth Avenue.

For nearly two years, arrests on minor charges — as opposed to summonses — have been among the tactics the police have used to crack down on the ride, which takes place on the last Friday of the month and which the authorities say blocks traffic and creates public hazards.

But two weeks ago, a state judge, rejecting the city's effort to quash the ride, advised the city and the riders to de-escalate their "rhetoric and conduct." On Friday night, in the first ride since the ruling, three people were arrested, far fewer than the 20 to 40 arrested at the many of the rides in the last year.

Among those not arrested, for a change, was Ms. Rechtschaffer. "They gave me a summons for running the red light at 28th Street and Eighth Avenue," she said. She has been arrested four times in the last two years, she said. Three of the cases were dropped, and she pleaded guilty in the other one.

A police spokeswoman said she did not know how many summonses were issued to riders Friday night, but said the charges against the three people arrested were disorderly conduct. The police apparently did not use a charge, parading without a permit, that judges have said was either unconstitutional or wrongly applied to the Critical Mass ride, said Gideon O. Oliver, a lawyer who has represented dozens of the riders.

Two riders serving as legal observers for the National Lawyers Guild were stopped by Assistant Chief Bruce H. Smolka and an aide. A videotape made by an observer shows that the riders, Adrienne Wheeler, 27, and Ethan Wolf, 26, rode the wrong direction up Broadway.

On the tape, Chief Smolka and his aide, who were not in police uniforms and did not appear to display badges, grabbed the riders as they crossed West 43rd Street. Ms. Wheeler fell to the pavement — after, she says, the chief grabbed the bike chain around her waist, though that moment was not captured on the tape.

Chief Smolka can be seen grasping the chain as she got up, and is heard saying they were riding the wrong way, before taking them to a police substation to be issued summonses.

* Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

February 26th, 2006, 12:44 PM
After Judge's Ruling, Fewer Are Arrested in Mass Bike Ride

... A police spokeswoman said she did not know how many summonses were issued to riders Friday night ...
Bicyclists were being issued summons right and left. I viewed at least 3 summons being given out right below my window.

Meanwhile taxis in my area are committing infractions all the time and I have NEVER -- in all the years I've lived here -- seen one taxi pulled over and given a summons.

February 26th, 2006, 01:20 PM
It seems that the procedure for prosecuting cyclists in Scotland is somewhat different ...


March 11th, 2006, 12:07 PM
A "bicycle safety film" from 1963, "ONE GOT FAT", narrated by the venerable Edward Everett Horton ...

About 15 minutes of weirdness ...

Is it an homage to "Wizard of Oz"?

Or a precursor to "Planet of the Apes" and, perhaps, even "E.T."??


Ahhhh, if only NYC cyclists would follow these simple rules.

The VID is here: http://www.fazed.org/video/embed/?id=79
This is a bike safety video (http://www.fazed.org/video/embed/?id=79) from 1963. It’s the sort of thing that if you watched it after taking a ten strip, you’d spend the rest of your life in a mental institute muttering about Phil Floogle and Trigby Fipps. They just don’t make safety videos like this anymore.

Some more stills:


March 11th, 2006, 12:13 PM
A cool bike VID of a bike excursion down Broadway to view the exhibition of Tom Otterness sculptures:

VID here: http://homepage.mac.com/trorb/BikeTV/iMovieTheater123.html
Outdoor Art (4 min)
Teresa goes by bike to bring us the fantasmagorical outdoor sculptures of Tom Otterness



March 11th, 2006, 01:21 PM
What exactly is the point that the monthly ride is trying to get across?

I think one point being made is cars choke up the streets and environment, and are given priority over bikes, pedestrians and just about every thing else. The monthly ride is a bit of "taking back the streets." Showing the car drivers what it's like to be inconvienced.

Bikers have the same regard for pedestrians that drivers have for bikers.
I bike frequently, and there are no innocent parties. How often I've nearly wiped out because some stupid pedestrian isn't paying any attention to where they step. They are especially vile on the Brooklyn Bridge, where despite the fact that half the walkway is reserved for bikes, walkers frequently appropriate our side and get indignant that we want to use our half of the walkway. I've been known to clip a little close to a pedesterian to make a point (I've never hit anyone). Maybe it's not nice, but it does get very old.

April 19th, 2006, 02:28 PM
Blessing of the Bicycles


When: 22 Apr 2006 (annual)

Where: Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: 9.30am

The Blessing of the Bicycles

Hundreds of cyclists aim to ensure safe pedalling by attending the somewhat eccentric Blessing of the Bicycles ceremony, held at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in Manhattan each spring.

Cathedral Dean, The Very Reverend Dr James Kowalski, offers the blessing to kick off a safe cycling season, sprinkling holy water over each bike in the process. This is followed by a moment of silence to remember those who have died in cycling accidents during the past year. Bike messengers, racers, commuters, recreational bikers and, of course, children, are all invited to this colorful service.

The event has been running since 1999 and adds to the cathedral's colourful collection of annual events and services, which include summer and winter solstice concerts as well as Halloween, Christmas, New Year and Easter happenings.

Related Information

Bike the Big Apple Website: http://bikethebigapple.com/ (http://bikethebigapple.com/)

Blessing of the Bikes Website: http://www.nycbicycleshow.com/blessing/index.html (http://www.nycbicycleshow.com/blessing/index.html)

June 17th, 2006, 07:28 PM
New York City's bike lanes, bike paths, & greenways plotted on a google map.

NYC Map:
http://www.nycbikemaps.com (http://www.nycbikemaps.com/)

June 28th, 2006, 03:14 AM
June 28, 2006
A Path Perfect for Cyclists, Except Where It Crosses Drivers' Paths

A cyclist and a jogger avoided a taxicab Tuesday on the Hudson River Park bike path at 38th Street, where a cyclist was fatally hit last week.

A cyclist on the path Tuesday passed by David Snetman, left, and Mark Stonehill, who were measuring the speed of southbound traffic on the West Side Highway at 37th Street. The posted limit is 35 miles per hour.

The Hudson River Park bike path is an experiment in urban planning and common self-restraint.

The path, a narrow ribbon of pavement that separates a teeming urban waterfront from the near constant din of a major highway, opened in 2001, giving cyclists their first unimpeded access from Lower Manhattan to Midtown. And the cyclists love it — it was crowded with spinning wheels and zipping 10-speeds at noon yesterday — making the Hudson River path one of the nation's busiest.

But for all the path's success, questions about its safety have loomed. Will cyclists who are given the luxury of an unimpeded, parklike environment put on the brakes to let vehicles pass? Will motorists, who routinely dart off the West Side Highway across the bike path, return the favor?

Those questions have taken on new urgency since Sunday, when Dr. Carl H. Nacht, a 56-year-old physician and bicycle enthusiast, died from injuries he sustained on Thursday when he was struck by a police vehicle as he rode along the path at 38th Street.

Yesterday, a cyclist riding the path from Chambers Street to 59th Street found several points of hazard, too commonly ignored by cyclists and drivers alike.

On Thursday, Dr. Nacht was struck by a police tow truck that turned into the Pier 76 impound lot from the West Side Highway, crossing the bike path.

The accident, resulting in the first fatality of a cyclist on the Hudson River path, underscores the risks to riders at more than a dozen intersections where trucks, buses, cabs and other vehicles make their way to riverfront businesses and institutions like the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and the Chelsea Piers sports complex.

"People with vehicles simply have to realize they are entering cyclists' territory," said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, a cyclists' advocacy group. Although his group, parks advocates and many transportation experts have praised the design of the Hudson River Path, Mr. White said the death of Dr. Nacht demonstrated a need for more precautions to protect cyclists from vehicles.

But the ride yesterday revealed another cause for concern. Despite traffic lights and signs at most hazardous intersections that warn cyclists of the danger of vehicles crossing the path, few of the cyclists abide by the rules.

"Almost everybody rides through the red lights," said Bill Durgin, 35, a photographer who stopped on his bike ride from a waterfront tennis court near Houston Street to his home on North Moore Street.

Nearby, at the entrance to Pier 40, a ramshackle parking garage at the foot of Houston Street, the state's Department of Transportation has constructed a "speed table" for cyclists. The device creates a slightly elevated speed bump for motorists driving over the bike path, but retains a level surface for cyclists.

The state, which designed the bike path, has also installed traffic lights at the Pier 40 entrance. As elsewhere along the path, the lights flash red and green images of bicycles, leaving no doubt who is ordered to stop.

But yesterday, almost nobody stopped unless a vehicle was about to cross. Streams of cyclists, young and old, fast and slow, blithely rode through on red.

"There are just too many other signals that tell cyclists they are no longer part of the street network, and they are in a park," Mr. White said. "That is a good thing. They should isolate the cyclists."

Mr. White's group, suspecting that the speed of vehicular traffic on the West Side Highway may be a culprit because it can force drivers to exit too abruptly across the bike path, dispatched researchers yesterday with radar speed guns.

He said the researchers measured southbound traffic at 37th Street, a block south of where Dr. Nacht was struck, where the posted limit is 35 miles per hour. About 40 percent of the vehicles surveyed were speeding, Mr. White said. The worst offenders, 13.5 percent of those recorded, were driving 40 miles per hour or faster.

Lisa Kuhner, a spokeswoman for the State Transportation Department, said yesterday that it was constantly exploring new safety measures for cyclists and motorists who cross paths on the bikeway, and was installing more speed tables, like the one at Pier 40, across from Gansevoort Street, at the 24th Street entrance to Chelsea Piers and at the 59th Street entrance to the Intrepid museum.

Cycling advocates said the Hudson River Park path had made a huge contribution to cycling in the city because it linked to a path in Riverside Park, allowing people to ride from the Battery far into the upper reaches of the West Side of Manhattan.

As a result, thousands of cyclists, who are drawn each day for exercise and recreation, are joined by growing numbers of commuters riding to Midtown or Lower Manhattan from the Upper West Side. The path is also used by Brooklyn residents who are willing to brave the Brooklyn Bridge and a slow slog across the congested streets near City Hall.

Yesterday, for a rider making the trip from Brooklyn, the Hudson River Park bike path north of Chambers Street appeared like a cyclist's paradise, seeming to whisper the phrase "faster, faster" as Lower Manhattan gave way to TriBeCa, SoHo and Greenwich Village.

But there were challenges ahead, even on an overcast Tuesday.

Near Little West 12th Street, construction along the path funneled cyclists into a narrow passage less than eight feet wide. Chain-link fencing and a working backhoe pressed in ominously on both sides.

At 22nd Street, the Chelsea Piers complex posed a hazardous turn, where cyclists must cut across a lane of traffic entering the complex.

At 37th Street, a stretch of nine blocks, extending to 46th Street, seemed the most hazardous. Eight intersections, all with traffic lights for cyclists, provided access across the path to a stream of buses, taxis and trucks bound for the city's tow pound, boat terminals and the Intrepid.

The congestion eased after 46th Street. Back near Houston Street, Mr. Durgin, the photographer, paused on his vintage Raleigh three-speed. He said he had been riding on the path about four times a week for three years. Cyclists' widespread disregard for stop signs is serious, he said, but the path itself is a valued addition to the city.

"I'm riding my bike a lot more simply because it is here," he said.


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

June 28th, 2006, 10:45 AM
A Path Perfect for Cyclists, Except Where It Crosses Drivers' Paths

... measuring the speed of southbound traffic on the West Side Highway at 37th Street. The posted limit is 35 miles per hour.

... researchers measured southbound traffic at 37th Street, a block south of where Dr. Nacht was struck, where the posted limit is 35 miles per hour. About 40 percent of the vehicles surveyed were speeding, Mr. White said. The worst offenders, 13.5 percent of those recorded, were driving 40 miles per hour or faster.

Drivers treat the WSH as if it were an isolated freeway. Coud this not be easily remedied by adjusting the stop lights to keep traffic at a reasonable, legal and steady pace?

June 28th, 2006, 11:23 AM
OMG!!! 40 in a 35 zone!!!!! The HORROR!!!!

I think it is a dual problem in that if you are biking, you really do not want to stop at all the traffic lights along the way. You look to see who is coming, and if there isn't anyone coming, you go.

this gets to be a problem when cyclists and bladers try to squeeze across when they see people waiting to make the turn or simply do not look.

At the same time, cars traveling on the highway try to make it through the short light so they are not stuck there for another 3 minutes waiting for the next one.

The 35 MPH speed limit has little, if anything to do with the accident. If the road itself crossed the path, then I can see where light speeders (ones who try to make the yellow) would be a problem, but unless you are in a really sweet sportster, no way in hell are you taking a corner at a light at 40.

July 19th, 2006, 10:06 AM
Perhaps the Mayor should also seek to require PERMITS for tourists who travel in packs of 3 or more and for those who travel on the sidewalks with more than one baby stroller side-by-side ...

Police Seek New Controls on Protesters and Bicyclists

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/19/nyregion/19demo.html)
July 19, 2006

The Police Department wants to require parade permits for bicyclists traveling in groups of 20 or more, and any bicyclists or walkers who take to the streets in groups of two or more and disobey traffic laws for things like parades, races or protests, according to a public notice filed with the city.

The department also wants to require a parade permit for groups of 35 or more protesters who restrict themselves to the sidewalk, officially clarifying a regulation that court rulings described as too vague, according to a police spokesman.

Taken together, the three new rules — which the department will discuss at a public hearing on Aug. 23, at 6 p.m. at police headquarters — would redefine the type of protest and the number of protesters allowed to demonstrate in New York City without first applying for approval from the Police Department.

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the new rules, if adopted, would “threaten to substantially restrict protests.”

Other critics of the department have questioned whether the police are authorized to make such changes without approval from the City Council, but Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, said the police commissioner had the authority under the City Charter to amend regulations concerning public safety.

Mr. Browne said that after recent court rulings found the department’s parade regulations too vague, the department moved to clarify them with these amendments. As a practical matter, he said, the department always believed it had the authority to make arrests under the existing regulations and often did.

“A permit effectively allows activities that would otherwise be illegal, such as disregarding traffic signals or blocking pedestrian traffic, to go forward with the police making accommodations such as the rerouting of pedestrian or vehicular traffic,” Mr. Browne said. “Nothing in the amendments changes the penalties.”

In its notice, the department said the rules were necessary for public safety.

“These amendments are intended to clarify the circumstances under which groups using city streets or sidewalks for purposes of assembly are required to obtain a permit,” the notice said.

“By clarifying the type of activity that constitutes a parade and is thus required to obtain a permit,” the notice said, “these rules are designed to protect the health and safety of participants in group events on the public streets and sidewalks and members of the public who find themselves in the vicinity of these events.”

Advocates for bicyclists and others said the two new rules for bicyclists appeared to stem from the department’s and the city’s continuing dispute with bicyclists over monthly Critical Mass rides around Manhattan. The rides are held on the last Friday evening of each month to advocate nonpolluting forms of transportation.

In the case of requiring two or more bicyclists or walkers to get a permit, the department is simply trying to prevent participants in public protests like Critical Mass from blocking traffic. Under the changed rules, the police would control traffic, as they do in customary parades. On Feb. 14, a judge suggested that the city consider changing its rules for what constitutes a parade or procession, a lawyer for the group, Norman Siegel, said yesterday.

That case is still pending, Mr. Siegel said.

Mr. Siegel questioned whether the department had the authority to change the definitions of when a parade permit is needed.

“My instinctive reaction is he cannot do this, it has to go to the City Council,” Mr. Siegel said, referring to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

Mr. Browne said the commissioner’s powers were clear. Notably, during the Republican National Convention in 2004, the police spontaneously allowed some protests to go ahead, on sidewalks or in the streets, even without march permits.

Mr. Siegel said that even if the police had the authority to change the rules, “it’s antithetical to the principles and values of the right to protest that New York is associated with. This is simply unacceptable.”

Some officials, including Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., said the police seemed to be within guidelines in amending the rules, which he said were considered part of internal rules the department can change, rather than administrative codes written by lawmakers.

In the court case, the city is claiming that bicyclists who ride together need a permit, while defendants say they encourage riders to ride together in small groups for safety, “until the city creates a safe bicycling infrastructure,” said Bill DiPaola, the director of Time’s Up, a nonprofit environmental group in the city.

In a previous case, Judge William H. Pauley III of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that bicyclists did not need a permit to ride in groups, said Mr. DiPaola, whose group provides legal support for Critical Mass participants.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

September 13th, 2006, 10:48 AM
September 13, 2006

City Hall Promises Major Increase in Bike Lanes on Streets

By WILLIAM NEUMAN (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=WILLIAM NEUMAN&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=WILLIAM NEUMAN&inline=nyt-per)

The Bloomberg administration plans to greatly increase the number of bicycle lanes after a city study showed that 225 cyclists died in accidents on city streets over the last 10 years, officials said yesterday.

While some motorists may grumble that bike lanes take up road space and add to congestion, the study suggests that the lanes actually work. Most of the bike deaths involved crashes with cars, trucks or buses, but only one of those involved a cyclist who was in a marked bike lane.

The city’s transportation commissioner, Iris Weinshall, said 200 additional miles of bike lanes were planned for the five boroughs over the next three years. The city now has about 220 miles of roadway designated for bikes, including paths set off from vehicle traffic by barriers, lanes painted on the street and routes indicated mainly by street signs.

“The data demonstrates cyclists need more safe places to ride,” Ms. Weinshall said.

The highest toll in the last 10 years was 40 in 1999 and the lowest 13 in 2001. Last year 24 cyclists were killed, according to the study, which compiled data from 1996 through 2005 and was conducted by several city agencies.

Despite the city’s frenetic pace and heavy traffic, the study found that riding a bicycle in New York City did not appear to be significantly more deadly than in the country as a whole.

Based on the city’s population, there were 2.8 bicycle deaths a year per million residents during the 10 years, slightly more than the 2.7-per-million rate nationwide.

“Simply encouraging more people to ride bikes is going to improve the safety of cyclists,” said Noah Budnick, a deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, a cycling advocacy group. He called the study and the bike lane expansion “unprecedented.”

“The more people bike, the more drivers become accustomed to looking for cyclists and to driving safely around them,” he said.

Nonetheless, there was some disagreement over how extensive the city’s network of bike lanes really is — and will be after the expansion — because of how the city calculates the mileage. If both sides of a one-mile strip of a two-way street have bike lanes, for example, the city counts it as two miles of bike lanes. Mr. Budnick said the city’s claim of 220 miles might be more properly counted as less than half that. The same could be expected to apply, he said, to much of the proposed new mileage.

The study revealed some intriguing trends. Men and boys accounted for 91 percent of the toll, or 199 fatalities. That was similar to data for the country as a whole, where male cyclists make up 89 percent of fatalities.

Thomas R. Frieden, the health commissioner, said the predominance of men and boys among the fatalities might reflect “a little bit more risk-taking behavior from males.”

Crashes with moving vehicles accounted for 207 of the deaths in the study. Among those, nearly a third involved trucks and buses, although they are only about 15 percent of the vehicles on city streets.

The trend was the opposite for taxis. Cyclists accustomed to cursing at cabs as the drivers dart through Midtown traffic might be surprised to learn that taxis accounted for only two of the vehicle-bike deaths, or 1 percent, although cabs make up 2 percent of registered vehicles in the city.

The study also reinforced the importance of wearing a bike helmet. It found that 74 percent of fatal accidents involved head injuries and that, in cases in which records on helmet use were kept, 97 percent of the riders who died were not wearing one.

The study found that cyclists’ ignoring traffic controls like lights and stop signs was one of the most common factors contributing to fatal accidents. Drivers not paying attention was another common factor.

The city plans to start an advertising campaign next spring to remind drivers and bike riders about safety.

Copyright 2006 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

September 13th, 2006, 10:55 AM
September 8 - 14, 2006

Pedalers and politicians get pumped about Houston Lanes

By Albert Amateau
Downtown Express

Elected officials and bicycle advocates created a temporary bike lane on W. Houston St. last week, protecting it from auto traffic with their own bodies in a demonstration demanding permanent bike lanes on the six-lane thoroughfare currently under reconstruction.

The Aug. 30 event, organized by a special Community Board 2 committee, took place between Mercer and Greene Sts., two blocks from where a bicyclist was killed on June 26 when a truck hit him. It was the third bicycle fatality on Houston St. in the previous 13 months.

While the Houston St. reconstruction, which began more than a year ago, calls for bike lanes between F.D.R. Dr. and Forsyth St., there are no designated bike lanes planned for the western two-thirds of the street notorious for accidents fatal to pedestrians as well as cyclists. Even on the eastern third of the project, the specific bike lanes have not yet been laid out.

Neighborhood advocates in Soho and Noho have long been frustrated in their demands for bike- and pedestrian-friendly features for the east-west artery whose reconstruction plans appear exclusively for the convenience of trucks and cars.

Last week, elected officials turned up in person or sent representatives to join demands for two-way bike lanes protected by physical barriers from speeding auto traffic.

“New York City needs to become a more bicycle-safe city and needs to begin it on Houston St.,” said City Councilmember Alan Gerson, who came to the event on his bike from his home a half-block north of W. Houston St.

Gerson, who has proposed creating a Bicycle Commission as a new city agency, recalled biking in Soho as a youngster, “when it was like an abandoned village.” He said the city must accommodate bicycles and pedestrians, as well as the increased motor traffic that came with the neighborhood changes. In addition to bike lanes, Gerson urged the elimination of the special left-turn bays planned for Houston St., which he said would make the street more dangerous for both cyclists and pedestrians.

Assemblymember Deborah Glick recalled the grassroots fight a generation ago that defeated Robert Moses’ proposal for a Lower Manhattan Expressway.

“We have to make sure Houston St. is not a Lower Manhattan Expressway,” she said. Glick said bike lanes are needed on Houston St. and she too called for elimination of left-turn bays, “which are designed to speed [car] traffic crossing Houston St.”

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer invoked the memory of the three cyclists killed on the street and called on the city to given pedestrians and cyclists the right of way on Houston St.

“It has become the highway of death,” Stringer said. “We don’t need another Queens Boulevard on Houston St.,” he added, referring to the notoriously dangerous Queens thoroughfare.

State Senator Martin Connor said bike lanes on Houston St. were a good idea.

“Let’s make Houston St. and the whole city safe for bicycles. It’s time to put people ahead of cars,” he said.

Bike riders, including several from Brooklyn who cycle across Houston St. to work in Manhattan and others active in the weekly Critical Mass bicycle actions, joined the Aug. 30 rally. Cyclists dressed as clowns were among the dozen bike riders who made the ceremonial ride along the half-block human barrier bike lane, with a pedicab bringing up the rear.

“I don’t bike on Houston St. anymore,” said Kate Mikuliak, an aide to Councilmember Rosie Mendez. “It’s too dangerous and I don’t like to pass those ghost bikes,” she added, referring to the white-painted bicycles that a group, Visual Resistance, has chained to curbside signposts at the sites of fatal accidents.

Ghost bikes along Houston St. include one at LaGuardia Pl., where Derek Lake, 23, of Brooklyn, lost his life on June 26 this year when a truck hit him; another at E. Houston and Elizabeth St. where Andrew Morgan lost his life on June 22, 2005, when his bike was hit by a truck, and one at E. Houston St. and Avenue A where Brandie Bailey was killed on May 8, 2005, when a garbage truck struck her.

Ian Dutton, a public member of Community Board 2 and prime mover of the board’s ad-hoc committee for Houston St. bike lanes, noted that the Department of City Planning’s 1997 Bicycle Master Plan developed with the Department of Transportation had designated Houston St. as a proposed bicycle route. This year, the New York City Cycling Map published by the City Planning and Transportation departments also has Houston St. marked as a bike route.

Planned but not yet laid our on the eastern third of Houston are 5-foot-wide bike lanes with buffers at least 3 feet high. But the reconstruction plans omit any indication of bike lanes on the western end of the street.

Phil Mouquinho, chairperson of the Community Board 2 Sidewalks Committee, called for Houston St. bike lanes and Elizabeth Gilmore, a C.B.2 Transportation Committee member, came to the rally from her home on 11th St. on her bike

Transportation Alternatives, which advocates for public transit and bicycle riders, noted that Houston St. is a logical bike route, linking several mixed-use neighborhoods and connecting East River Park with the Hudson River bikeway and walkway.

Charle Cafiero, a Noho Neighborhood Association member formerly on C.B. 2, recalled a long history of vain neighborhood pleas to make Houston St. safe for bicycles and pedestrians.

“I think you need a club and some baseball bats to make the Department of Transportation recognize how dangerous Houston St. has been for 20 years. Maybe the elected officials will help,” he said.

Last Wednesday, Soho and Noho residents and politicians lined part of W. Houston St., forming a symbolic safe bike lane, through which Councilmember Alan Gerson, left, led cyclists. From right: Borough President Scott Stringer, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Soho activist Ian Dutton and Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance.

news@downtownexpress.com (news@downtownexpress.com)

September 18th, 2006, 09:26 AM
The Bicycle Saboteur

Epidemic of carpet-tack attacks along the Hudson River paths.

NEW YORK MAGAZINE (http://newyorkmetro.com/news/intelligencer/21363/)
By Rebecca Milzoff

Someone’s been taking out the bikes in Riverside Park. The weapon: carpet tacks, sprinkled on the path with malicious, tire-bursting intent. Most reports of tack trouble come from the section of the greenway between 137th and 145th Streets, behind Riverbank State Park, but cyclists have reported tacks as far north as the George Washington Bridge at 181st. But it’s not clear that the attacks were limited to uptown — one victim told Ravin he didn’t notice his flat until he returned to Christopher Street from a ride up to Inwood.

“I’ve been a bicycle advocate since 1987,” says the Five Borough Bicycle Club’s Ed Ravin, “and I’ve never heard of vandalism on this scale.” Jamie Favaro, a homeless-outreach worker, usually bikes from her house in Chinatown to the George Washington Bridge bus station to get to work in Washington Heights. “I had seen all these people with flats and was like, ‘I’m so glad I have these fancy tires,’ and then all of a sudden, around 181st, I got one myself,” she says with a sigh. “It was so weird. It wasn’t till I got home that I saw it was this giant metal tack. It really ripped the tire open.”

The whodunit is the talk of the biking set. Riders “assume some biker just pissed someone off so they’re throwing tacks around the path,” says Hugh Ash of Metro Bicycles on 96th Street. He says that in the past week, he’s seen at least five or six tack victims per day. “The joke running around the bicycle community,” says Ravin, is that it’s the cop who organizes the police response to Critical Mass rides in the city. “It would be nice if they took those guys off Critical Mass duty and sent them down the greenway now and then,” he adds. However, Assistant Chief Michael Collins says the NYPD has received no complaints. “Cyclists haven’t thought of calling the police,” theorizes Ravin. “But this isn’t a littering problem, it’s sabotage.” City Parks rep Carli Smith says the department has received several reports of tacks in the past week and is monitoring the area. In the meantime, bike shops and cyclists alike are facing a quandary. “I hate it!” says Ozzie Perez, owner of Tread Bike Shop in Inwood. “Financially, it’s been great for us — we fixed more than 100 flats — but now people don’t want to go on the greenway uptown.”

Ravin warns that “to stay off the bike path is to give this guy a victory.”

Copyright © 2006, New York Magazine Holdings LLC

September 25th, 2006, 03:45 PM
September 24, 2006
Queasy Rider

PAUL FORD, a soft-spoken, sturdily built 32-year-old who works as an editor at Harper’s Magazine, sometimes describes his commute between his apartment in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and his office on Broadway near Bond Street as feeling “like a video game, except you can get killed.”

And in fact, watching Mr. Ford weave through the city’s traffic-clogged streets one recent morning, pedaling steadily atop his black and gray Fuji Sanibel cruiser, called to mind a two-wheeled, life-and-death version of the 80’s arcade game Frogger.

At 7:40 a.m., wearing jeans and a black T-shirt, Mr. Ford set out from his apartment near the Gowanus Canal and was soon moving briskly down Third Avenue in Boerum Hill. Mr. Ford is a physical presence on the road, a big guy atop a seven-speed bike, a shiny black helmet covering his short brown hair. But the motorists whizzing by pay him little mind.

Near Third Avenue and Douglass Street, he slowed and hugged the curb to avoid a delivery truck passing on his left. Pulling onto the street again, it was in the firm but cautious way a person might wade into a fast-moving river. Or, as Mr. Ford put it: “You’re fragile out here in traffic. Nothing bad comes from being paranoid.”

Mr. Ford is among an estimated 120,000 regular cyclists in New York, 40,000 of whom commute to work by bike. And increasingly, these cyclists are waging an ever more ferocious turf war with the city.

Like Mr. Ford, the majority of these commuters do daily battle on the city’s 6,000 miles of often jam-packed roadways. At the same time, a small number of cycling advocates lobby City Hall with almost religious fervor, seeking everything from more bike racks to legislation requiring office building owners to install storage space for bikes.

The most public lobbying efforts are the Critical Mass rides in Manhattan, consciousness-raising events that take place on the last Friday of every month — the next one is Friday — and resemble nothing so much as 1960’s political rallies. Before the most recent ride, a bleached-blond hipster preacher named Reverend Billy recited the First Amendment through a bullhorn. Later, police officers issued 65 moving violations and made one arrest.

Despite the obstacles, this may be an ideal moment for seeking a bike-friendlier New York. With issues like global warming and high gas prices at the forefront of public consciousness, many advocates say that after years of struggle, they finally have the political capital to make cycling a top priority in the city.

“This is absolutely a moment of opportunity,” said Walter Hook, executive director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, a New York-based organization that designs mass transit in developing countries. “The mayor stood up and took a bold stance and banned smoking. The next step is to stop the air pollution coming out of the tailpipe.”

The Path Less Traveled

Mr. Ford had left home early, hoping to beat the morning rush, but five minutes into his commute, cars were already lined up bumper to bumper at a red light on Third Avenue. Knifing through traffic, he hung a left onto Bergen Street in Boerum Hill, where he could enjoy a sliver of comfort in the form of a five-foot-wide bike lane, designated by two painted white lines. A few cyclists overtook him, pedaling furiously on expensive-looking machines.

Mr. Ford began biking to work two months ago because he wanted to lose weight but didn’t feel like going to the gym. While his legs and lungs are stronger now, he by no means regards his ride as a test run for the Tour de France. “I’m just a chubby guy on a bike,” he joked as he made a right onto Smith Street and scooted across Atlantic Avenue.

New York is arguably the most challenging city in the country in which to ride a bike. The streets are crowded, the pace is furious and danger lurks everywhere, from crater-size potholes to car doors that snap open. When Mr. Ford began biking to his office, he was filled with the sense that he was an irrelevancy to motorists, a moving abstraction. Even now, he feels dangerously exposed. “Everyone is your enemy,” he said. “You don’t want to get killed, and you don’t want to kill anyone.”

Mr. Ford has yet to suffer any injuries on his daily commute, but he is fatalistic. “It’s only a matter of time until I have one of those near-death experiences that everyone who bikes in the city has had,” he said.

According to the latest figures provided by the city, 109 cyclists were killed from 2000 through 2005. During the same period, there were 21,484 bicycle injuries recorded.

This June, in a grim reminder of the perils of urban cycling, three riders were killed in a three-week period. A 23-year-old aspiring filmmaker was pinned beneath a tractor-trailer on Houston Street in Manhattan on a weekday morning. A 41-year-old woman was hit by a truck on Rockaway Parkway in Brooklyn in the evening. And a 56-year-old doctor collided with a Police Department tow truck while taking a midnight ride on the Hudson River Greenway in Manhattan.

On June 29, in response to the deaths, about 75 cyclists staged a rally on the steps of City Hall. Standing in front of a “ghost bike” painted white to honor the fallen, Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, the advocacy group that organized the rally, described the city’s streets as “out of control.” A week later, Andrew Vesselinovitch, resigned as director of the Bicycle Program of the city’s Department of Transportation after five years in the job, saying he planned to return to school. In leaving his position, he criticized the Department of Transportation for not making New York safer for cyclists and for creating less than 20 miles of new bike lanes in the past two years.

The numbers seemed all the more striking given the fact that Chicago, with a population of nearly three million, announced a plan this year to put every resident within a half-mile of a bike path. And Chicago’s program seems paltry in comparison with that of Davis, Calif., a city of 60,000 that Bicycling magazine said “has cycling in its veins.” Among Davis’s features are a $7.4 million bike tunnel and a network of bike paths so comprehensive and safe that the city has eliminated its public school buses.

Shifting Gears

As Mr. Ford pedaled along Jay Street, cut across a traffic tie-up at Tillary Street and squeezed precariously through a two-foot gap between a delivery truck and a concrete barrier to get onto the Manhattan Bridge, it was clear that orchestrating the flow of traffic is much more challenging in a city like New York than in a laid-back college town like Davis.

By some measures, New York is doing reasonably well for a large city. In May, a bike lane was built along Eighth Avenue in Manhattan, and, more significant, in 2001 the Hudson River Greenway, an 11.5-mile stretch that runs from Inwood to Battery Park City, was completed. With as many as 10,000 cyclists on the busiest days, Transportation Alternatives says, it ranks as the nation’s busiest bike path.

Two weeks ago, the Department of Transportation announced a plan to build 200 more miles of bike lanes over the next three years, at a cost of nearly $9 million. That would bring the city’s total to more than 600 miles.

The Parks Department also has several projects under way toward its long-term goal of a greenway all along the waterfront in the five boroughs. Bike paths beside every mile of Manhattan waterfront may be completed as soon as the end of 2008, according to Carli Smith, a department spokeswoman.

And this year, Bicycling magazine ranked New York the country’s third-best city for cycling among cities with population of more than one million, just behind San Diego and Chicago.

“New York is by no means a laggard,” said Andy Clarke, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists, a lobbying group in Washington that issues an annual list of what it calls Bicycle Friendly Communities. “New York is better than Los Angeles, and certainly better than Houston or Dallas.”

But many advocates say the city is making progress too slowly and is not fully committed to bicycling.

“We did 100 miles of bike paths and lanes in the past five years,” said Mr. Vesselinovitch, the former director of the Bicycle Program. “I think we could have doubled it. At D.O.T., we would support bicycling as long as it didn’t interfere with anything else.”

Iris Weinshall, the transportation commissioner, declined to respond specifically to Mr. Vesselinovitch’s comments. “I don’t want to look back,” she said. “I want to look forward.” She then said the city had made progress over the past five years; she cited the Manhattan Bridge bike lane, which was refurbished in 2001 and is used by an average of 840 riders a day.

As Mr. Ford made his way across that lane the other day, isolated from traffic and free to finally experience what he described as “a closer sense of the city,” he was enjoying the one truly peaceful moment of his commute. Halfway through his ride, his pace slackened. The morning air was crisp. The view from the bridge, which took in the entire East Side of Manhattan, was breathtaking. The moment was tempered only by a quarter-mile uphill grade, which left him breathing hard.

“With the subway,” Mr. Ford said, “you’re literally in a tunnel. When I bike, I see faces. I see storefronts. I’ll stop to visit someone. I’m engaged in the city.”

Imagining Bike Heaven

Up to this point, Mr. Ford’s ride had been a journey of extremes. He had passed through a leafy neighborhood of brownstones in Boerum Hill, plunged into the traffic-clogged heart of Downtown Brooklyn and been cosseted high above the East River. Now, with a light sheen of sweat on his face, he cruised off the bridge onto Canal Street into the pedestrian bustle of Chinatown.

The one constant of Mr. Ford’s ride was the persistent feeling that he was carving out a space for himself as a biker on streets where in many cases no such space existed. Except for the Manhattan Bridge, he hadn’t been on a bike lane since Bergen Street. If he were the city’s bike czar, he would change this.

“Cars are here to stay,” he said. “I don’t expect New York City to become bike utopia. But more share-the-road signs would be great, more bike lanes, more places to lock your bike.” All in all, “a little more room here and there.”

The city’s plan to add 200 miles of bike lanes would undoubtedly create much more room for cyclists like Mr. Ford. The new lanes, from Claremont Village in the Bronx to Downtown Brooklyn, would be a sort of interstate highway system for bikes throughout the five boroughs. Responding to safety concerns, the city is also installing five miles of protected lanes, in which riders are shielded from car traffic by barriers like concrete curbs.

But while cycling advocates have applauded the idea of protected lanes, their goals are far more ambitious.

“We’d like to see bike facilities on all the major arterials in the five boroughs, like Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn and Houston Street,” said Mr. White, of Transportation Alternatives. “We’d also like to ban private vehicular traffic altogether on some streets.”

Mr. Hook, of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, heartily endorses the idea. “If you did something radical,’’ he said, “like taking Broadway out of the street grid and making it a greenway, not only would you create a north-south bike facility, but you would create a soul to the city and entirely change the feel of the place.”

When it was suggested that such a plan might produce havoc for Midtown drivers and stores relying on truck deliveries, Mr. Hook responded, “We could do what a hundred European cities do, which is allow trucks in during certain times of the day — say, between 8 and 10 a.m.”

But even more modest solutions far from Midtown can pit cyclists against nearly everybody else. That is the situation on Houston Street, which has become a prime point of contention between bike advocates and the Department of Transportation. The cyclists want a bike lane installed along Houston; the department, at least so far, has not concluded that this is a good idea.

In recent years, many cycling advocates have said that while the city officially supports biking, its decisions routinely favor drivers.

“When the city decides whether or not to put a bike lane on Houston Street, they think, ‘Well, we’re going to lose traffic volume,’ ” Mr. White said. “That’s the tradeoff that isn’t going our way, time and again.”

Ms. Weinshall, the transportation commissioner, would be the first to agree that the issue is complicated. “You have to parcel out the real estate to all of these different users,” she said. “Does it make sense to put a bike lane along Houston Street? Would we have to widen the sidewalks? These are things you consider. Bike riding is not made for everybody.”

The Home Stretch

Just a couple of minutes from the front door of his office, Mr. Ford was poised on Chrystie Street, considering a wide, loping left turn onto Houston Street that would deliver him into one of the busiest roadways in the city. “Two months ago I was terrified to make this turn,” he said as he merged with traffic and headed west on Houston toward Broadway. “But now it’s no big deal. You get used to it.”

Still, not everyone is so intrepid. Even if the necessary infrastructure like widespread bike lanes were in place, there would remain the question of how many New Yorkers would commute by bike, given practical concerns like safety, weather and health issues.

“I’ll bet not one person out of 20 would think to ride a bike to work,” said Kenneth T. Jackson, a professor of history at Columbia University who for years has led a bike ride around the city for his students. The ride takes place after midnight, the time Mr. Jackson most feels safe navigating around the city.

There is another issue, even apart from safety, that has to do with how biking in the city is perceived. “We take pride in our use of mass transit and the fact that we walk,” Professor Jackson said, “but somehow cycling doesn’t complete the trinity. It doesn’t seem normal.”

In addition, there is no consensus on whether an increase in cyclists would do much to help improve the city’s environment. City Councilman John Liu, of Flushing, Queens, chairman of the Council’s Transportation Committee, argues that subways and buses are the answer. “The use of cycles has a place,’’ Mr. Liu said. “But it doesn’t come anywhere near the capability of mass transit in making our city greener.”

For Mr. Ford, however, biking to work offers him a satisfaction that riding the subway or a bus does not. “There’s something great about getting to work under my own mode of power,” he said.

After making a right on Lafayette Street and a left on Bond, Mr. Ford was finally in the home stretch of his commute. He pulled up to the door of his office, dismounted and peeled off his helmet, sweaty but contented. “The hardest part of my day is already over,” he said. His four-mile commute had taken 32 minutes, about as long as it would have taken him on the R train.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

October 7th, 2006, 02:04 PM
And the new ploy (although as a bike rider I think you gotta be nuts not to ride with a light / reflectors in this town) ...

Police initiative targets bicycle headlights

Downtown Express photos by Jefferson Siegel

A man who claimed he was not part of the Critical Mass ride is
issued a ticket for riding a bike without a headlight at
18th St. and Park Ave. S.

downtownexpress.com (http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_178/policeinitiativetarget.html)
By Jefferson Siegel
Volume 19 • Issue 21
October 6 - 12, 2006

Participating in last Friday’s Critical Mass wasn’t a bright idea if your bicycle didn’t have a headlight, as police collared anyone riding solely by the glow cast by streetlights.

Several hundred cyclists, including several small children in child seats, gathered in Union Square in the dusk on Sept. 29 for the monthly ride.


A woman is stopped and issued a ticket for riding without a headlight,
while the food deliveryman on the bike behind her, with no headlight,
was allowed to proceed without being issued a ticket.

One person watching in amazement was rider Renata Falzoni. Falzoni, who produces and hosts an outdoor show for ESPN/Brazil, was filming the evening for a segment of her show. She has participated in Critical Mass rides in her hometown of Sao Paulo, although she says they are much smaller, usually with only 40 to 50 riders.

“When you meet, making an effort for political rides of bikes, you get very few people in my town, unfortunately,” she lamented as she watched the sizeable crowd of bicyclists leave Union Square. “Everything is for cars” in Brazil, she added, “including respect.”

The ride, which usually kicks off around 7 p.m., has started later the past few months as police have tried to stop the procession just outside the park’s boundaries. In July, several riders were stopped right outside the north plaza. On the August ride, their progress was stopped a block away at Fifth Ave.

There was a palpable hesitancy last Friday night, and the ride didn’t start until just before 8 p.m. Several cyclists began pedaling south on Park Ave. S., only to be called back by other anxious riders and told of the crane collapse earlier on nearby Third Ave. and 13th St. The area had been closed to traffic and several cyclists voiced concern about proceeding into the area.

Instead, the ride turned up Park Ave. S. One block north, at 18th St., about 20 cyclists at the front of the ride just beat a line of motor-scooter police, who rode across 18th St., blocking the rest of the ride. Orders were given to stop any cyclists riding without a headlight. Immediately, 10 cyclists were stopped. As officers wrote out tickets, several advised the riders that the ticket was equivalent to one issued to a car with a broken headlight or taillight. Cyclists were told if they added a headlight to their bikes within 24 hours, they could apply to have the ticket dismissed.

Meanwhile, those at the back of the Mass saw the blockade and diverted to riding west on 17th St. A dozen were stopped at Broadway. Police sorted out the group, eventually telling those with headlights they could proceed while writing tickets to those without headlights.

Parsons student Robin Hastings stood by her bike as she waited to be issued a ticket.

“I got off the bike,” she recounted, “and started walking it onto the sidewalk to get out of traffic.” Nevertheless, Hastings was cited for riding without a headlight.

As is often the case, the ride splintered into several smaller groups that took different routes. Many concluded the ride at an after-party at the McCarren Park Pool in Williamsburg.

© 2006 Community Media, LLC

October 24th, 2006, 07:06 PM
Sign of the times at Houston / 2nd Avenue (lots of motor vehicle <> cyclist incidents along that stretch) ...


November 8th, 2006, 12:01 PM

The city’s bicycle zealots.

THE NEW YORKER (http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/061113fa_fact)
Issue of 2006-11-13

In the fall of 1971, two years after the Stonewall Rebellion, sixteen months after Kent State, and a couple of weeks after the prison riots at Attica, a few hundred bicyclists rode down Fifth Avenue and on to City Hall, demonstrating for the institution of dedicated bike lanes and bike racks. They called themselves Bike for a Better City. One rider held a sign that read, “The internal combustion engine is antiquated, obscene, and responsible for more deaths thru pollution and mayhem than even that great curse war.” A few taxi-drivers razzed the protesters, and at one point an infiltrator, concerned that there were greater causes in need of pursuing, joined the cyclists’ ranks, shouting, “People are being murdered and you protest bicycle lanes!”

Since 2000, according to a certain moral calculus, more than a hundred and twenty New York City bicyclists have been murdered—struck dead by automobiles—and another twenty thousand have been injured, by enemy car doors and steel-fortified taxicab fenders. Three were killed in the course of three weeks in June of this year, including one, Dr. Carl Nacht, who was felled by a police tow truck while riding with his wife along the Hudson River Greenway—an officially sanctioned bike path. Since 2004, about six hundred cyclists have been arrested while participating in monthly political-protest rides known as Critical Mass, most notably during the Republican National Convention, when scores were ensnared in nets, and later imprisoned, and their bikes were confiscated as “evidence.”

New York is by no means a bicycle haven, like Copenhagen or Amsterdam, or even San Francisco or Madison, Wisconsin, where cycling, despite hilly terrain, is three times as common as it is here. But a smaller proportion of New York residents own automobiles compared with any large city in the Western world, and the local bicycling movement now includes more than twenty groups, with names like Right of Way, FreeWheels, and Revolution Rickshaws, drawing inspiration from sources as varied as the French Situationist philosopher Guy Debord, the civil-rights leaders John Lewis and Hosea Williams, and the urban sociologist Jane Jacobs. Their aims are at once specific (mandating bike storage at office buildings) and all-encompassing: Revolution Rickshaws, for instance, seeks in effect to create an entire pedal-based economy, offering “eco-responsible execution in people-moving services,” “rapid urban cargo transport,” and “outdoor marketing promotions,” through the use of pedicabs, tricycle rigs capable of carrying a thousand pounds of freight, and towable billboards.

Their nominal constituency, the hundred and twenty thousand New Yorkers who ride bicycles every day, comprises three distinct types—commuters (book editors, say, wearing cargo pants), exercisers (lawyers in spandex), and messengers (streetwise minorities without health care)—whose agendas overlap only loosely. And, as with any growing movement, success has brought about factionalization. Roughly speaking, the bikers range, in their political leanings, from Hugo Chávez to Ned Lamont, and in methodology from anarchist street theatre to wonkish position papers. “I think a lot of people realize that this issue is really central to a lot of the dilemmas facing, you know, humanity right now,” Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said recently. “How are we going to deal with less oil? How are we going to make cities more sustainable, more livable?”

Transportation Alternatives, or T.A., represents the movement’s big tent, with more than five thousand members, a staff of Ivy League graduates, and numerous allies in city government, whom the staff lobbies to enact bike-friendly legislation and other traffic-reducing measures, like express bus service and congestion pricing. White, who is thirty-six, and boyishly affable, was born into a Mormon family, and didn’t discover the pleasures of the bike—“mankind’s greatest invention”—until college, in Madison. When he left for graduate school, in Montana, his parents, who were by then living in Illinois, shipped his belongings via UPS, and he rode his Cannondale touring bike fifteen hundred miles. He now owns four bikes, including a beater that he leaves on the street, attached to a lamppost or a parking meter. He has let his driver’s license expire.

“There’s this perception that we’re impeding the natural order of things,” White told me, over a beer at the bar beneath the T.A. office, on West Twenty-sixth Street. (His employees are forbidden from storing more than one bike at a time.) “It’s, like, ‘Get a car. Grow up. Men drive cars.’ You’re somehow a clown or a kid if you’re riding a bicycle.” The week before, the N.Y.P.D., in a move widely understood to target Critical Mass, had announced new “parade rules” requiring all groups of twenty or more bicyclists, or thirty-five or more pedestrians, to seek a permit before assembling. On cycling blogs, riders were trading stories of being stopped by plainclothes officers while crossing the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges, and charged with improbable offenses (in one case, for riding thirty-three m.p.h.—a pace faster than Lance Armstrong’s). Steve Dunleavy, the longtime Post columnist, had just weighed in, siding with the cops and referring to cyclists as a cult of “pedal punks” and “kamikaze bike bullies.” (In return, the blog commenters referred to Post readers as “large-vehicle driving meatheads,” and asked people to consider “the auto-centric character of their Pocono real-estate section.”)

In June, cycling advocates had lent their support to officials from the Department of Transportation who delivered a PowerPoint presentation to the largely black community board representing the neighborhoods of downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene, and Clinton Hill, on the merits of adding five miles of bike lanes through the area. The presentation met with resistance — one man called bikers “thugs on two wheels” — and the board voted not to endorse the proposal. “They see cyclists as part of the gentrification wave,” White said, almost apologetically. He lives in Park Slope.

“It’s the next big fight,” a biker who has been agitating to get cars permanently banned from the Central Park loop said recently. “I really think I’m doing God’s work.” He equated the current political moment with the nascent state of civil rights in the late nineteen-thirties. “Bicyclists are the niggers of New York,” he said.

Critical Mass, according to its participants, is not a group but a recurring event. “An organized coincidence,” one regular rider told me. “No, a disorganized coincidence—a ‘happening,’ a temporary reorganization of public space.” (The coincidence is international: more than three hundred cities on six continents experience similar events.) Locally, there is no acknowledged leadership, and therefore no specified route, much to the chagrin of the police, who, from an operational standpoint, at least, would prefer chaperoning to chasing. Only the date (the last Friday of every month), the time (7 P.M.), and the starting point (Union Square) are known, and although these minimal guidelines must have originated with a person, they have become ingrained in the collective cycling consciousness, like natural law.

Sometimes someone brings a trumpet and plays a fanfare, and the assembled riders, if inspired, will set off in one direction or another, spreading from the park and into the city grid, rendering each street they enter momentarily impervious to through traffic. But no one wants to go first, and the scene in the square can begin to seem like the main event, with people handing out flyers and pamphlets for associated causes (“The Essential Truth About 9-11,” “New York’s First and Only Solar-Powered Film Festival”).

In the months just before the Republican Convention, the number of participants in Critical Mass swelled into the thousands, but fear of being arrested and a kind of weariness—Paul White now views the event as “a puerile cat-and-mouse game with the cops”—have since shrunk the bike brigades. On the last Friday in July, shortly after the new parade rules had been announced, a few hundred people converged at the north end of Union Square, riding all manner of bikes: recumbent, collapsible, tall, small. Police vans and squad cars ringed the perimeter. Norman Siegel, the former executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, was on hand, likening Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s new restrictions to the Administration’s restrictions on the rights of detainees at Gitmo—dual emblems, he felt, of extralegal executive power. “The bikers have basically thumbed their noses at the P.D.,” Siegel said. “They’re generally representative of New Yorkers—zany, a little rebellious, irreverent.” A woman wearing an American flag, and not much else, rode her bike slowly toward a cluster of officers, and then doubled back. Others passed out buttons that read, “Please Don’t Arrest Me—This is my permit.” On closer examination, they were recycled pins made by the antiwar group United for Peace and Justice, with customized paper labels glued over “No Blood for Oil.”

Bill DiPaola, the founder of Time’s Up, an environmental organization that anchors the activist, theatrical wing of the cycling community, glanced around warily, sizing up the anti-insurgency forces. “We’re definitely seeing more cars with blacked-out windows,” he said. “We expect the usual hard-line unfriendliness.” He added, “When I say ‘we,’ I mean Time’s Up.” (DiPaola is one of four people named in a suit filed by the city to stop Time’s Up from promoting Critical Mass rides—arguing that they represent an official Critical Mass governing body.) Many protesters had armed themselves with recording equipment. “On this particular ride, there’s a lot of helmet cams,” DiPaola said. “I’d say there’s at least thirty-five video cameras here, probably close to sixty-five digital cameras, at least thirty legal observers, and ten lawyers.” He shrugged. “You know, there’s very few people riding their bikes here. Most of the people are here to document this time in history.”

The only guy in the crowd wearing a necktie turned out to be a lawyer, named Gideon Oliver, who said that he’d defended more than a hundred bikers who had been arrested in the past year and a half. He doesn’t own a bike himself. “I’m terrified to ride in the city,” he said.

A mustachioed police inspector named John Codiglia walked toward us. “Do you know if Jack Black is riding in this event?” he asked. “You see the gentleman with the gold mask over there?” He pointed to a short guy wearing a red-and-black cape, right out of “Nacho Libre.” “That’s Jack Black! I know it’s him.”

After Codiglia walked away, Oliver said, “He’s the good cop.” He pointed at a dozen or so helmeted officers perched on mopeds, forming a straight line along the eastern edge of the park, facing in. “The guys on scooters are the bad cops. I know so many of them from court. That one over there, he accused somebody of riding his bike with a hundred other people, ‘perpendicular in the roadway,’ blocking traffic. And I asked him on the stand, ‘What’s “perpendicular” mean?’ He was, like, ‘You got me.’ ”

I introduced myself to the masked man and asked his name. “NYMAAN,” he said, pointing to his cape, which was adorned with the words “New York Metro Anarchist Alliance.” He added, “I am an idea, not a person.” (His outfit advertised a Web site that features the heading “Notes from the global intifada.”) He rang the bell on his handlebar a couple of times, and began rolling his front tire back and forth. “You know what this means, right? I’m starting to get itchy.”

A tall, middle-aged man with a striking blond mane approached on foot.

“Hallelujah, the Devil!” he said, pointing at the caped biker. “I knew I’d meet the Devil eventually.”

“No, I’m NYMAAN,” the biker said.

The blond man was Bill Talen, a performance artist who goes by the name Reverend Billy and calls his congregation the Church of Stop Shopping. “One time, I was arrested at a Buy Nothing Day Parade,” he said, recalling a distant Friday evening. “We went in and exorcised a Starbucks cash register, and, sure enough, I got thrown in the holding tank at Fifty-fourth Street.

And the cops that arrested me were really upset that they were missing this.” He opened his arms and turned, as though surveying his parish. “And I felt their erotic love of harassing the bicyclists. It was like they couldn’t date their favorite girl.”

An associate of the Reverend’s, Michael O’Neill, the manager of the Church of Stop Shopping, soon joined the conversation. He, too, was on foot.

“Community isn’t recognized unless it’s mediated through monetary transactions,” he said. “And the idea of a leaderless community, my God, they don’t even speak that language. I think this is all a pretext for pork-barrel N.Y.P.D. expenditures.”

The sporadic jingling of bike bells gave way to a steady chime, which prompted the officers to start their engines, and the bicyclists began drifting out of the northwest corner of the park, along Seventeenth Street, followed by police scooters riding two by two. The deliberateness of the procession resembled a funeral cortege. “What this does, every month, every ride, every set of wheels on the road—we’re trying to change the values of the city,” O’Neill said.

The first bust occurred a block away, at the corner of Seventeenth and Fifth Avenue, where a young bearded man from Red Hook ignored a red light. As one of the detaining officers wrote a ticket, a blond woman who appeared to be in her forties observed that the cop’s scooter was parked in the bike lane. (Video footage later provided incontrovertible evidence that the cops had ridden their scooters across the sidewalk.) The woman was riding a child’s bike, with a yellow license plate attached to the rear that read, “Bicycling: A Quiet Statement Against Oil Wars.”

“You can go around it,” the cop said, sounding beleaguered. “You’ll fit.”

A block and a half south, the woman noticed another bike-lane obstruction, this time a taxi. Policing cops was becoming her thing, and she accosted another officer: “You’re supposed to give him a ticket.”

“What’s wrong? He’s just dropping off passengers.”

“It’s illegal to be in the bike lane,” she said.

“It’s illegal ?” he asked.

Matthew Roth, another of the Time’s Up defendants, arrived at the scene, walking his bike along the curb. “Did you cite it?” he asked the woman. “It’s 4-08, subsection E. Tell him to get out his R.C.N.Y.”—Rules of the City of New York. “There’s very little enforcement of traffic laws, because people don’t know what they are,” Roth said as he continued south on foot, using his palm to steady the seat of his bike. His knuckles bore the telltale scars of a New York City cycling career.

Tom Bernardin knows the traffic laws as well as anyone. In fact, he has often dreamed, while looking out his apartment window at midday, of sketching the intersection of Fourteenth Street and Seventh Avenue to document all the traffic violations he observes. “You know, like those line drawings from when you were a kid — ‘Circle everything that’s wrong with this picture,’ ” he says.

He has never encountered a Critical Mass rally (“I actually time my activities to avoid people as much as possible”), but he occasionally engages in his own kind of protest theatre, marching into a nearby noodle shop on Sixth Avenue to deliver what he calls “performance pieces,” in which he complains loudly about civic transgressions.

Several years ago, Bernardin, who works as a freelance tour guide, started an anti-noise group called FANNY (Friends Against Noisy New York), but lately he has concluded that the problem is intractable. “Noise is the bastard child of the environmental movement,” he says. His latest cause, which he announced in the winter, 2006, edition of the Greenwich Village Block Association News, is pedestrian safety, and by his reckoning the enemy is not S.U.V.s but Schwinns. “No doubt the most egregious assault on the lives of all New Yorkers in recent times is the relatively new phenomenon of sidewalk bicycling,” he wrote. “Remember the sidewalks before the Pooper Scooper law? ... Without the mayor, police commissioner, and media stepping up to the plate for this problem, perhaps, we all had better be prepared to continue to dodge these louts.”

Bernardin’s rant prompted a follow-up in the spring edition, entitled “Back to Bikes,” with many more Village residents weighing in. Ostensibly, the piece was about the “problem” of bicycles, like Paul White’s beater, that remain locked (or “leashed”) to public street furniture for extended periods, cluttering the neighborhood. “Every time I round the corner on to Morton Street, the first thing I see is the bikes everywhere, rather than the tulips and daffodils,” one man complained.

But others evidently perceived Manhattan bikes as akin to hybrid cars in Hollywood: conspicuous presumption. “They don’t care how what they do affects others and you’re not going to change their attitude,” one resident said of bikers. “They’re morally superior because they are not polluting the atmosphere.”

The hierarchy of urban piety is ever delicate. Still another Villager, a biking enthusiast, railed against the unctuousness of the anti-bike pedestrians. “I’m tired of joggers using the bike path, getting in the way,” he said. “They tell us to get off our bikes and jog because it’s more environmentally sensitive. To them bikes are manufactured things. The metals that go into them are mined. And there’s the plastic, too . . . made from oil.”

“The changes in the neighborhood are really disheartening,” Bernardin said late one recent Friday morning, when I met him in front of his building for a tour of local cycling offenses. I had come prepared for a long walk, but Bernardin, who has a white beard and was wearing an untucked polo shirt, jeans, sneakers, and shades, seemed to think that stepping the twenty or so yards to the corner of Fourteenth Street would more than suffice. “I’m really aware of my environment when I’m in public,” he said. “Between the front of the building and the curb”—he was suddenly distracted by the grating jangle of a passing motorcycle (“That’s illegal: straight pipes”)—“is a sacred space.”

As Bernardin sees it, the Village has become an extended college campus for text-messaging, iPod-impaired young professionals who can’t be bothered to cook or say hello in the elevator and the “hellions” who deliver them their takeout. Both groups share a habit of defiant, reckless bicycling that invades the sidewalk, threatening the elderly and the infirm. “They’re very self-righteous, and they’re angry,” he said of bicyclists. “But you know what?” He jabbed his index finger toward the sidewalk three times in succession, and said, “This ain’t broken.” Then he thrust his arm out toward the street: “Fix that. ” He stomped and pointed once more at the sidewalk. “But don’t break this.”

Bernardin used to ride a bike, while cataloguing bishop’s-crook lampposts (for the Friends of Cast-Iron Architecture) and freestanding clock faces. (He is the founder of Save America’s Clocks, an organization whose motto is “Non-working clocks betray the public trust and send out a message that nobody’s home.”) Then, about ten years ago, he was riding north on Sixth Avenue, “doing everything legal,” he says, when another biker came tearing around the corner, “illegally,” at Twenty-second Street and clipped him; he spilled, and barely missed having his head crushed by a passing car. The incident could be a Rorschach for civic activists. To a cycling advocate, what’s salient is the fact that Bernardin was nearly killed by an automobile.

Bernardin, however, saw two agents obeying the traffic laws—himself and the car driver—and a third who, by flouting them, introduced the element of danger.

“It sounds like a rattlesnake coming up behind you,” he said, as he scanned the intersection for bikes. “The chain: clickety-clack, clickety-clack. I find it so selfish. If you hook up a blood-pressure machine to me, you’ll see that it just spikes every time I hear that noise.” So far, however, he’d seen only potential victims: “See this person with a cane, that woman with a stroller?”

At last, a violator of the college-grad variety buzzed past us, disrupting the sacred space. “Bang! This guy right here,” Bernardin said. “And here’s another—the chicken guy.” An Asian man on a rickety five-speed with a big basket in front had emerged from Dirty Bird, a restaurant on Fourteenth Street, and begun riding east along the sidewalk, swerving to avoid a few pedestrians who, judging from the upward, indecisive tilt of their heads, seemed to be tourists. The light turned red as the chicken guy reached the corner; he hadn’t worked up enough speed to hazard a Frogger-like crossing, so he stopped short, his front tire nearly brushing up against a pair of teen-age girls. Bernardin stepped forward. “Do you know this is illegal?” he asked.

The man looked bewildered. The light changed, and he continued east in the crosswalk (which is also illegal), twice looking back over his shoulder at Bernardin, who had already moved on and begun reminiscing about his activist past. “I just have to be involved, doing stuff,” he said. “It makes me a happier person if I’m concerned and doing things.”

But the noise was getting to him. A bike swerved, causing a truck to brake (screech), and Bernardin’s shoulders pinched, just as an accordion bus stopped to disgorge passengers (hiss—beep! beep! beep!), amid the usual chorus of horns and sirens. “And don’t even get me started on cell phones,” he said. “For me”—he turned his palms up and mimicked the scales of justice—“it’s bubonic plague, cell phones, bubonic plague, cell phones.” At that moment, a cyclist, heading south on Seventh Avenue, passed by with his right hand held to his ear. “Course, then you see the real jerks—bicycling and talking on cell phones,” Bernardin said. “Who’s getting satisfaction out of that conversation?”

Pedestrians are sinners, too. On occasions when Bernardin has had to rent a car, he has noticed that the street “turns into a funnel,” owing not only to the jostling of the bikes, buses, and trucks but to all the impatient pedestrians “testing the waters,” as he put it. “Look at these jerks here,” he said, gesturing at the crosswalk, where pedestrians were edging out into street, waiting for the light to change. “I used to do that when I was a kid. I’m over that. I’ve learned to be a good pedestrian.”

Across the street, the deliveryman from Dirty Bird was returning. He rode west, in the crosswalk, and then up onto the curb once more. Bernardin lit a cigarette as he contemplated confronting the restaurant’s management, but, after inhaling deeply, thought better of it. “I don’t need another enemy in the neighborhood,” he said. He tossed his cigarette butt in the street and said that he planned to take a nap—with earplugs in, and the air-conditioning turned up. It was noon, and he’d been awake since five, when the garbage trucks began their daily rounds.

After a Critical Mass ride dissipates, the most committed riders often reassemble at 49 East Houston Street, where Time’s Up has its headquarters, to compile on-the-spot video replays and add to the dossier of police brutality. (In May, a cyclist suffered a broken collarbone after a collision with the door of a police car.) Peter Meitzler, who is the treasurer of the New York City Pedicab Owners’ Association, was among the twenty-seven people who received summonses during the July ride. “This is kind of like the empire’s last couple of gasps, coming after the bikers,” he said, while standing outside Time’s Up, waiting for Bill DiPaola to unlock the door. “A couple of more power failures and I think the complete paradigm’s going to change.”

Inside, where tires hung overhead, as in a mechanic’s garage, DiPaola led me to the refrigerator, which was covered with Polaroids of suspected undercover cops who’d been known to hang around biking events, as well as yellowing Times clips from a multipart series on domestic spying. (The most recent, from December 22, 2005, cited video evidence of covert N.Y.P.D. infiltration at a street vigil for a deceased cyclist.) A young man interrupted: “Where’s the beer hidden?”

DiPaola eyed him and hesitated. “Uh, in the bathroom,” he said. When the young man left, DiPaola turned to a Time’s Up volunteer, Liane Nikitovich (nom de guerre: Nikita), who had surrounded herself with cameras and was attending to all the arriving documentary footage. “Who is that guy?” he asked.

“I invited him,” Nikita said. “He’s a videographer.”

A large television was placed on the end of a long table, and video footage was fed through in a continuous loop. There was the woman wearing the American flag—it flew up behind her like a cape as she picked up speed, exposing her naked back. In the East Village, riders were chanting in cadence, “More bikes, less cars!” Back again at a busy midtown intersection: one group stopped at a red light, dismounted, and lifted their bikes above their heads like trophies.

DiPaola was smiling, and seemed fully at ease for the first time all night. “You see the look on the cops’ faces when people on the sidewalks cheer us?” he said. “They hate it.”

Studies have shown that the surest way to make biking safer is to make it more popular—to increase visibility and awareness among motorists. (“You’re like the Invisible Man out there,” a biker told me.) To make it popular, it must be seen as fun. But riding in heavy traffic, while obeying all lights and signs, is not fun.

Paul White has been working on a cyclists’ code of ethics for the members of Transportation Alternatives to sign, and, although he’s sensitive to complaints about scofflaw cyclists, he’s been very careful about the wording.

“It doesn’t say, ‘Stop at all red lights,’ ” he said. “Really, the heart of it is yielding to pedestrians. That’s a low-hanging fruit for us. They’re getting around under their own power, just like you.” He took a sip of beer. “Sure, they jaywalk. Sure, they’re oblivious sometimes. But, you know, give them a break.”

Of course, some people’s fun is another person’s nightmare. The completion of the thirteen-mile greenway along the Hudson has inspired a great many people—five thousand, on a good day—to ride their bikes. According to Michael Smith, a veteran city cyclist, the new riders tend to wear spandex and helmets and go very fast, with a great sense of purpose, on expensive machines. Smith is a member of Right of Way, an organization “dedicated to the overthrow of car tyranny.” On its Web site, he wrote, “Back when we were all fighting the cars on the street, I felt a certain sense of solidarity.

But now that we’ve got this dedicated — or sorta dedicated — space, I’m finding out that a lot of us are, well, assholes . . . just like that Guido in the S.U.V. who nearly killed you on Sixth Avenue last week.” Smith longed for a return of that “good, mutinous urban attitude” about cycling, where “we’d just laugh at the stoplights, and give the finger to the indignant, honking drivers. And we’d all feel like comrades or co-conspirators or something.” The “drivers on bikes,” as he called them, are really suburbanites in disguise. “Will they—please God!—move to ****ing Scarsdale as soon as their kids are born?”

A few weeks ago, local bike-shop proprietors began noticing an uptick in flat tires, and it emerged that vandals, evidently sharing Smith’s feelings about the would-be suburban speedsters, had been placing carpet tacks, like I.E.D.s, along the greenway between 137th Street and the George Washington Bridge.

Meanwhile, the Police Department, after withdrawing its initial parade restrictions in the face of public opposition, has announced a revised proposal that is not substantially different. (Transportation Alternatives sent out an e-mail bulletin to its members, contending that the department is “just playing with numbers.”) A hearing has been set for November 27th, and cyclists, under the auspices of the Assemble for Rights Coalition, are planning a group ride from Union Square to One Police Plaza.

Not long ago, Tom Bernardin went to see his old friend Margot Gayle, to whom he paid tribute in “The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook,” which he self-published in 1991, and in whose honor he defends the sidewalk. Gayle, at ninety-eight, is the last of the original preservationists; she helped bail Jane Jacobs out of jail, and led the fight to save the Jefferson Market Courthouse from demolition, putting together a committee that included E. E. Cummings and Lewis Mumford. For many years, she lived on West Ninth Street. She would walk a mile a day, dodging bikers and skateboarders and rollerbladers. (“She’d shake her cane at them,” Bernardin told me.) Now mostly deaf and confined to a wheelchair, Gayle has made a few concessions to the gentrified, Bloombergian city: she lives in a high-rise apartment building on the Upper East Side and visits Starbucks every day.

Bernardin arrived carrying a bouquet of flowers. The walls of the apartment were covered with plaques and tributes: “Intractable Foe of Vandals and Rapacious Developers,” “In Recognition of Successful Advocacy for Preservation,” a framed letter from Bill Clinton.

“Do you still ride your bicycle?” she asked him.

“No, I was hit,” he said. “I was on my bicycle, and another bicycle hit me and it knocked me down.”

She reflected on her younger days, when she, too, was a rider. “They were very useful, and people enjoyed their bicycles very much,” she said. “But too many automobiles—it’s dangerous now.”

Bernardin said that he thought the ramped indentations in the curb at corners were to blame. Gayle couldn’t make out what he was saying, so he wrote it on an index card: “I think curb cuts are the problem.”
She looked alarmed. “You do? Why?”

He made a wavy gesture with his hand, and said, “They go right up on the sidewalk.”

“But of course I like them, being in a wheelchair.”

“Well, that’s why they’re there,” he conceded. “That’s the good part of them.” (Sidewalk bicycling—the bane of the elderly and disabled—did not become epidemic until the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in 1990.)

Gayle complained some more about automobile traffic: “It spoils the air and endangers pedestrians and people with baby carriages.” They talked about Washington Square Park (“It’s all N.Y.U.—they just want it for themselves,” Bernardin said), and about the Yorkville clock, nearby, which Gayle had helped Bernardin restore. “I’m worried about that clock now,” she said.
“They’re building a big building a block away—excavating.”

Bernardin promised to check on it. As he was leaving, she handed him two postcards to mail on his way out. One read, “Save the Graving Dock,” and featured a picture of a dormant shipyard in Red Hook. The other called for preservation of the former Domino sugar refinery in Williamsburg.

“She is the role model of all time,” Bernardin said in the elevator. “She never took a cab.”

Copyright © CondéNet 2006

December 3rd, 2006, 08:07 AM
December 3, 2006

Drunken Driver Kills Rider on Bicycle Path, Police Say


A drunken driver mistakenly turned onto a Hudson River bike path in Manhattan and drove nearly a mile before killing a 22-year-old bicyclist Friday night, the police said yesterday.

The driver, Eugenio Cidron of East Fourth Street, left a party at the Chelsea Piers sports complex and drove his silver BMW down the bike path, hitting the cyclist, Eric Ng, around 9:40 p.m., according to the police.

Mr. Ng was hit near the intersection of West Street and Clarkson Street. The force of the impact mangled his bicycle and sent one of his sneakers into the air. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


Mr. Cidron, 27, was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment and driving while intoxicated, the authorities said. When reached by phone, Mr. Cidron declined to comment.

Mr. Ng was active in Time’s Up, a New York-based environmental group that promotes cycling as an alternative to driving. He was at least the second cyclist struck by a vehicle and killed this year on the path, a popular route for the city’s riders, and one that pedestrians and motor vehicles from several city departments also use.

In June, Dr. Carl H. Nacht, a 56-year-old physician, died after being struck by a police tow truck as he rode on his bicycle along the path near West 38th Street.

The path is intersected at many points by roadways that connect the West Side Highway to sites including the sports complex, a city waste transfer station and a police impound lot.

Mr. Cidron traveled south along a cobblestone access road after leaving a Chelsea Piers parking facility and apparently meant to turn onto the West Side Highway, park workers said yesterday morning.

But he cut his turn short and ended up on the bicycle path instead.
To do so, he had to drive over or around a narrow, three-foot plastic pylon mounted south of where the bike path intersects the Chelsea Piers access road. The park workers repaired the pylon yesterday.

It was the only physical barrier visible yesterday anywhere along the section of the path where Mr. Cidron had driven.

Though Mr. Cidron’s wrong turn appeared to be accidental, some cyclists who frequent the path — one of the quickest routes for cyclists to travel in Manhattan — say they have been dismayed at what they described as a recent increase in vehicles traveling along it.

“I have seen passenger cars, limousines, taxis and contractor’s vehicles including those of the Police, Sanitation and Parks Department,” said Philipp Rassmann, 38, a member of Time’s Up. He complained that the pylons placed along the path are often removed by workers and left on the side of the path.

Mr. Rassmann also said that the area around Chelsea Piers was especially dangerous because of an array of crisscrossing car, bus and taxi lanes with few signs.

Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, which advocates measures to make cycling safer, said that the bike path was one of the safest in the city, which sometimes “lulls people into a false sense of security.”

Mr. Ng was an avid biker and often participated in group bike rides known as Critical Mass, his friends said. Until recently, he rode an old bike handed down from his father, but in August he purchased a brand-new bike, painted it silver and blue, and named it Adeline.

Reached at home in East Brunswick, N.J., Mr. Ng’s father, Tony Ng, said he was “a great son” who had worked hard in school and found joy in his budding career as a teacher. He had recently graduated from the Department of Education’s teaching fellow program and had been substitute teaching at Automotive High School in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, while waiting for permanent placement, his friends said.

“He loved the kids. He had a rapport with them,” Tony Ng said.

The police said that Mr. Ng’s new bike had been equipped with reflectors, but that they could not tell if it had bike lights. Both are required by city law.
Mr. Ng’s father said he had installed the reflectors on his son’s new bike personally, and had urged him to wear a helmet — optional for riders 14 and over — when riding. The police said that Mr. Ng was not wearing a helmet when he was hit.

Mr. Ng graduated this year from New York University, where he majored in math, friends said. He lived with friends in Greenpoint.

“He was just a real joyous, smart, sweet, good person,” said Ryan Nuckle, 25, a friend and fellow cyclist. “He was always smiling, and I was always happy to see him.”

Cara Buckley contributed reporting.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

December 3rd, 2006, 10:24 AM
This is so sad ^^^ ...

The insertion of narrow metal bollards along the bikeway where it is crossed by roadways would seem a no-brainer.

Similarly, about two weeks ago I saw a clueless out-of-state driver drive pull right into Battery Park and continue driving along a pedestrian walkway until she had almost reached the point where the steps lead down to the waterfront promenade. Bollards at the sidewalk a few hundred yards back would have made such a drive impossible.

December 3rd, 2006, 11:36 AM
Immovable bollards might turn out to be a hazard to bikers. Kids use the bikeway.

There are only a few places where this sort of mistake would be an issue, and could be handled with more explicit signs identifying the bikeway as off-limits to motor vehicles. Once I saw someone with out-of-state plates turn into it at 43rd St, but he quickly realized that it was too narrow for cars, and backed up.

Anyone who got all the way to Clarkson St without realizing he was not on a city street was sufficiently impaired that it was likely he was going to cause an accident before he got home.

December 3rd, 2006, 08:29 PM
Good point.

The problem here is not so much the roadway but drunkdriving.

No matter how much you make the road safe, if someone decides to drink and drive, there's gonna be a disaster.

December 8th, 2006, 08:29 AM

Bike path terror

One would think bike paths are safer than city streets for bicycles. And one would hope a bike path that’s clearly separated from the street by a planted median with a low wall, such as the Hudson River bike path, would be even safer. But, tragically, just within the last five months, there have been two bicyclists killed on the Hudson River bike path.

The path is certainly safer than the city’s streets, but the recent tragedies make it obvious it is not safe. We understand why cyclists get little sympathy in this city – many often violate traffic laws, scaring and injuring pedestrians. There is no excuse for this behavior, but if the city committed to building the kind of biking systems common in European cities, it would not be a boon to safety, it would also have environmental benefits by reducing the amount of death.

The first bike path death, of Dr. Carl Nacht in June after being struck on the path at W. 36th St. by a tow truck from the Police Department tow pound, highlighted one problem with the path — that it’s not a bona fide greenway, since it’s intersected at numerous points by crossing car traffic.

When Eric Ng, 22, died last Friday, however, in a collision with a driver speeding down the Hudson River bike path after drinking at an office party at Chelsea Piers, it cast a spotlight on another extremely dangerous condition: The fact that cars can — and do — drive onto the bike path. And, according to reports, cars are doing so more frequently.

Construction of the Tribeca section of the Hudson River Park brings more vehicles across the path. And getting municipal uses to quickly leave the waterfront isn’t easy, as can be seen by the Sanitation garage on Gansevoort Peninsula. But now the waterfront is being reclaimed for parks and greenways and, for bikers at least, this dynamic is causing a dangerous conflict.

Raising new fears is what happened to Ng. We’re glad to hear the Hudson River Park Trust is working with other agencies and Transportation Alternatives to find some immediate solutions so that cars don’t ever get on this bike path again.

For certain, more markings and signage are needed. And perhaps some new barrier system is needed other than the bend-down yellow bollards located currently only at a few spots on the path. With more commercial uses planned for the waterfront at Pier 57 and possibly Pier 40 — bringing more drivers, attending more parties and functions where alcohol will be served — this serious situation must be addressed, quickly.

A safe Lower Manhattan connection from the Hudson to the East River path has been talked about for too long with little action. The East path has it’s own share of problems and city planners should look carefully at the West Side problems as they design the new East River waterfront Downtown.

It shouldn’t have taken deaths to prompt action, but it will be an even greater tragedy if inadequate solutions are proposed to prevent the next Eric Ng-type death.

Downtown Express is published by
Community Media LLC.
145 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10013

http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/8657/bikeway01cnp0.th.jpg (http://img171.imageshack.us/my.php?image=bikeway01cnp0.jpg)

A redesign to the bikeway was just completed at Gansevoort Penninsula. Previously, sanitation trucks turned right off RT 9A at Bloomfield St (the brown stone wall in the background). It tied up the roadway, and made it difficult for the truck driver to see north on the bikeway.

The turn was eliminated, the bikeway was curved to allow an exit ramp off RT 9A, and trucks are oriented perpendicular to the bikeway so the driver has a good view in each direction.

December 8th, 2006, 09:08 AM
Immovable bollards might turn out to be a hazard to bikers. Kids use the bikeway.

I would rather my kid hit a bollard than a car Zip.

You only have to space the bollards out at 6 feet or so, not like anything else. It is not designed to stop someone from breaking in or attacking, just to make it physically impossible to do it passively.

There are only a few places where this sort of mistake would be an issue, and could be handled with more explicit signs identifying the bikeway as off-limits to motor vehicles. Once I saw someone with out-of-state plates turn into it at 43rd St, but he quickly realized that it was too narrow for cars, and backed up.

I agree with that, but not completely. My wife is not a driver. I am trying to get her to practice to get her license, but she does not "see" 'Do Not Enter' signs and one way arrows. Signs in some of these locations, such as up by Chelsea, would also do little to stop incidents like Ng....

Anyone who got all the way to Clarkson St without realizing he was not on a city street was sufficiently impaired that it was likely he was going to cause an accident before he got home.

True, but I would have rather had him on a street and hitting another car than a cyclist. The car and passengers would have stood a better chance....

Also, I am in agreement with all the people siting municipal workers and other vehicles using the paths and whatnot. These should be ELIMINATED!!! There is NO reason to have that damn parks pickup truck driving around the walkways. They are just too lackadaisical about it. And cops? For guys that will use their lights to go through a red light they do not feel like waiting for, you really need bollards to prevent some of them from using the path as they see fit.....

And don't even get me started about the "bike lanes" across the city. I think they should be renamed "Hit a biker with your car door" lanes... :P

December 8th, 2006, 09:56 AM
I would rather my kid hit a bollard than a car Zip.
That's no answer.

If the guy was drunk enough to enter the bikeway, he was drunk enough to just ignore the traffic light that controls the intersection with the bikeway, and broadside a cyclist.

Drivers leaving the tow pound, while the light is red onto RT 9A, frequently cross the walkway and bikeway while waiting for the light.

December 8th, 2006, 10:38 AM
I'd be willing to bet that this most recent guy's little drive down the bikeway was less a mistake than a joy ride --

"Hey guys, this will be a blast!"

December 8th, 2006, 10:43 AM
What leads you to that conclusion.

And even if true, do you think impaired judgement would have anything to do with it?

December 8th, 2006, 11:13 AM
I'd be willing to bet that this most recent guy's little drive down the bikeway was less a mistake than a joy ride --

"Hey guys, this will be a blast!"

I see cars turn on to the Hudson river bike path all of the time. almost alway limos or taxis picking up or dropping someone off from the Circle Line area, Helicopter pads, and Chelsea piers. At night, if you dont know the area its easy to make a mistake.

As I use the paths twice a day, I cant complain, the paths are as safe as they can be, they beat the hell out of the streets. I had one collision with another biker near the garbage truck pier at 59th which was my fault (I was turning and checking out another biker's ass), although the hedges there are high and in summer its difficult to turn in and see oncoming bikes.

I did see cops ticketing a limo driver just north of the helicopter pads Wed. night for driving on the path.

Having a dedicated bike path does not alleviate a biker from being responsible and watching for traffic.

December 8th, 2006, 11:21 AM
What leads you to that conclusion.

And even if true, do you think impaired judgement would have anything to do with it?

Impaired judgment -- you bet.

Chelsea Piers to Clarkson is a heck of a long drive -- numerous opportunities to turn off the bike path and get back onto the Hiway along that stretch.

December 8th, 2006, 12:12 PM
Having a dedicated bike path does not alleviate a biker from being responsible and watching for traffic.

In the situation where Eric Ng was killed he was riding his bike north on the bike path after dark at 9:40 PM (per this article from nyunews.com (http://www.nyunews.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2006/12/04/4573be3035c66?in_archive=1)). The drunk driver was driving south on the bike path -- and hit Ng head-on near Clarkson Street.

Why didn't, as you suggest, Ng do the "responsible" thing and watch for that car driving in the dark on the "no cars allowed" bike path?

I would surmise that the drunken driver DID NOT have his lights on -- as it would be fairly hard to miss a pair of headlights approaching you on the bike path (this is another reason I surmise that the drunk driver was taking a joy ride down the bike path -- keep the lights off so he can minimize his chances of getting busted).

Excuse me if I sound angry -- this really saddens me -- and pisses me off that another seemingly exceptional and promising young man has been taken from this earth by stupid actions of an irresponsible person.

Also from nyunews.com (http://www.nyunews.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2006/12/08/457901346b98d?in_archive=1):

Friends honor Ng with one last bike ride

Memorial bike ride for teacher, activist to take place at WSP Saturday

by Alvin Chang
Features Editor
December 08, 2006

It’s a bike painted in white — a ghost bike — chained to a street sign on the West Side bike path near Clarkson Street. It will stand in memory of Eric Ng, a 22-year-old killed at that spot last weekend. But the plaque bolted above won’t read “RIP” — instead, it will read “Love & Rage.”

“No resting in peace for this rock star,” Ng’s friend, Ryan Nuckel, wrote on the blog “Visual Resistance,” which is devoted to transforming and liberating public space. “I’ve been making ghost bikes for strangers for a year and a half. Eric’s is not the first that made me cry, but it’s the first that made me hurt.”

The NYU alumnus died after being hit by a drunken driver while riding his bike last Friday. In memory of Ng, friends will meet at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Washington Square Park for a memorial bike ride.

Ng was far more than a rock star. Friends say he was a dedicated activist, a passionate teacher and a loving friend.

“The world feels like it’s a different shape,” said Tessa Landreau-Grasmuck, Ng’s friend and a fellow ’06 graduate. “Things aren’t as right as they were when Eric was here.”

Ng was a part of the grassroots organization Time’s Up, which makes a concerted effort to keep cyclists safe while riding in the city. The group promotes biking as an environmentally friendly alternative. His death could have an impact on the movement’s ability to push legislation for cyclists’ safety, said Ng’s friend, Will Elkins, a 2006 NYU alumnus.

“I hate the idea of using his death to promote a cause, but it has a potential to impact the movement,” said Elkins, who volunteers for Transportation Alternatives, an organization fighting for better, safer ways to travel on foot and bike.

Along with his activist work, Ng had begun to pursue teaching. As a math instructor for one month at Brooklyn’s Automotive High School, he wanted to help students in the imperfect public school system, Landreau-Grasmuck said.

“He refused to give up on seniors in high school who couldn’t graduate without math class,” she said. “He wanted to empower students and make them feel like they had a chance when they were in the less-than-shitty public school system in New York City.”

When Landreau-Grasmuck asked Ng who his favorite student was, he would always say, “I love them all.”

“But I think he especially liked the ones who were bad because he thought they were like that because they were bored,” Landreau-Grasmuck said. “He could identify with them because they didn’t want to deal with formalities.
“He would go in everyday saying, ‘I’m here for you.’ He wasn’t there for the school board or the administrators. He was there for the kids.”

At NYU, Ng was involved in four different activist groups — Earth Matters, an environmentalist group; the Peace Coalition, an antiwar group; NYU Ink, a radical NYU newspaper; and Students for Social Equality. He would start up long conversations with people on the street, even with those who didn’t want to hear what he had to say.

Friends talked about this confidence and bravery as they remembered Ng. They talked about the time a robber put a gun to Ng’s head, and Ng responded by saying, “That’s not a real gun.”

“That’s, like, insane,” Elkins said. “Who would ever think of calling out someone on something like that? But it spoke to his bravery. He always said what was on his mind.”

There was a warmth at Wednesday’s funeral among many strangers who were connected by one thing: “They were affected by Eric,” Elkins said. “If you knew Eric, you could just say, ‘Oh yeah, you knew Eric, too?’ And you can smile because you know you have the same picture of him in your head because he was so real and genuine.”

“The things he did were directly from the heart,” Nuckel said. “He sincerely wanted to make the world better.”

With his voice trailing off, he added, “Yeah. He was the best. There’s no bad memory of Eric Ng in the world.”

A fellow biker pays her respects to NYU alumnus Eric Ng,
who died Friday night.


There will be a memorial bike ride for Ng Saturday at 1 p.m. Riders are invited to meet in Washington Square Park and they will ride to the site of Ng’s death on the West Side bike path near Clarkson St. Non-bikers are urged to meet up at 2:30 p.m. with the bikers at St. Mark’s Church. Ng’s friends ask that attendees bring flowers, especially sunflowers, sidewalk chalk or paint. A memorial service will be held after the ride with music and a slideshow. A party will be held later in the night.

© 2006 Washington Square News

December 8th, 2006, 12:18 PM
Eric Ng: Love & Rage (http://visualresistance.org/wordpress/2006/12/04/eric-ng-love-rage/)

Posted December 4th, 2006 by eliot

http://www.visualresistance.org/wordpress/images/eric_ng.jpg (http://www.visualresistance.org/wordpress/images/eric_ng.jpg)

I wish to God I didn’t have to write this: On Friday, December 1, Eric Ng was riding his bike up the West Side bike path. He was on his way from a show to a party — that was Eric, always busy, always seeing people — when a ****ing drunk driver ran him down. The driver had traveled at speed for over a mile on the bike path, ignoring dozens of exits, literally dozens of chances to return to the road. Dozens of choices. The car hit Eric with such force that his bike was crushed, he was thrown into the air, his tire and shoe landing fifty feet away. The horrific details are in the news (http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&q=%22eric+ng%22&btnG=Search+News), if you want them.

Eric. What can I even say? If you knew him, you know. I met Eric at NYU, four years ago. He was three years younger than me. Straight outta Jersey, a beautiful punk rock kid with a constant smile on a direct line from a big heart. A staccato laugh like a snare drum in a string section. A teddy bear with muscles. I remember his guitar, taped together & with a few screws missing, the one time we played music together: “Dude. I think we should play it faster.”

And now a phone call and a shock. Not Eric. I feel old too soon; Eric was 22 perfectly. A body full of honest energy and a face like contagious hope.


I’ve been making ghost bikes for strangers for a year and a half. Eric’s is not the first that made me cry, but it’s the first that made me hurt. A big group of Eric’s friends spent the weekend mourning, talking, and, finally, making. We made a ghost bike for him on Saturday and sunflowers on Sunday. Eric’s memorial plaque reads “Love & Rage” — no resting in peace for this rock star.

We are planning for a memorial ride this Saturday, December 9th, meeting at 1pm in Washington Square Park and then proceeding to the site of Eric’s death. Non-bikers can head straight to the site, on the West Side bike path near Clarkson St (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=west+st+%26+clarkson+st+nyc&ie=UTF8&z=15&om=1&iwloc=addr). Please bring flowers (especially sunflowers), sidewalk chalk, paint, whatever you want. There will also be a memorial service after the ride at 2:30pm at St. Mark’s Church with music and a slideshow, and a party at 8pm at Time’s Up, at 49 E. Houston St.

Thank you to everyone who has been e-mailing and to those strangers who have already placed signs and flowers at the site. Thank you for your kindness and your anger both. A lot of people have been talking about pressing for physical barriers against cars on the bike path and other infrastructure improvements to help prevent future deaths. This is a great idea, and people should not hesitate to contact local elected officials (http://www.nyccouncil.info/constituent/), and get in touch with Time’s Up (http://times-up.org/) and Transportation Alternatives (http://transalt.org/), who I know already are working along those lines.

Eric’s loss is a collective one; the sheer number of people who cared deeply for him is amazing. The depth of their pain is a mirror of the joy he brought to this world. That joy remains, pushed under but still there. If you ever had it, hold it.


December 8th, 2006, 12:23 PM
Eric Ng (http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2006/12/80243.html)


Eric was a loved member of the activist, bike, & punk communities in NYC.

December 9th, 2006, 09:29 AM
State Considering Car Barriers
After 2nd Death on Bike Path

nytimes.com (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/09/nyregion/09path.html)
December 9, 2006

State transportation officials said yesterday that they were considering installing concrete and steel posts to keep cars off a popular bicycle path along the Hudson River where two cyclists have been killed this year.

The most recent death occurred on Dec. 1 when, according to the police, a drunken driver hit and killed Eric Ng, 22, a cyclist who was riding on the bike path near the intersection of West and Clarkson Streets in Greenwich Village. The police said the driver, Eugenio Cidron, drove his BMW along the path for nearly a mile, apparently after going over or around a flexible plastic pylon, which was the only barrier to vehicles.

Adam Levine, a spokesman for the State Transportation Department, which controls the bike path, said the agency was looking at ways to improve safety on the path and was likely to replace the plastic pylons with permanent steel posts with concrete bases, known as bollards, at major intersections and other places where drivers could accidentally enter the bikeway.

“This is something we’re looking at accelerating,” Mr. Levine said.

The bike path, also used by joggers, pedestrians and in-line skaters, runs along Hudson River Park. It has a double yellow line down the middle, and in many places it is wide enough to be mistaken by drivers sometimes as a street parallel to West Street.

The Hudson River Park Trust, which maintains the bike path, has convened a task force of bicycling advocacy groups and city and state agencies, including the Transportation Department, to consider the problem. Mr. Levine said the department would await the task force’s recommendations, but he said the bollards were a likely remedy.

The other cyclist to die on the path this year was Dr. Carl H. Nacht, 56. According to the police, he collided with a police tow truck that was turning off 12th Avenue into an impound lot at 38th Street.

Mr. Cidron, who struck Mr. Ng, was charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, the authorities said.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

January 26th, 2007, 05:04 PM
January 26, 2007

Critical Mass gets 'free ride' in B'klyn

By Justin Rocket Silverman
amNew York Staff Writer

Cyclists who pedal into Union Square for Friday's Critical Mass ride will likely be met by a large force of police officers in squad cars and on motor scooters. And If the ride is like others over the last three years, some riders will be arrested and ticketed for taking part in a monthly event the city has deemed illegal and dangerous.

Yet just two weeks ago, a similar group of cyclists gathered outside Prospect Park for the Brooklyn Critical Mass ride. A similar force of police were also on hand. But that is where the similarities end.

"We're not going to go with you guys tonight," a police officer said as the ride got underway on Jan. 12. "Have a good time."

And with that the bikers rode off in a pack, running red lights and blocking traffic in the way Critical Mass rides worldwide do. The way that has resulted in hundreds of arrests in the Manhattan rides.

"The police have a very different attitude in Brooklyn," says Barbara Ross, a volunteer with Time's Up, a bicycle advocacy group. "The police in Brooklyn tell us they are there to support us. They are always joking with us, and telling us to be careful if we do the Manhattan ride."

Indeed, participants in this month's Brooklyn Critical Mass said officers sometimes even ride alongside the cyclists, helping them block traffic and keeping the bikers safe. Tickets and arrests are virtually unheard of in the Brooklyn ride, even though the traffic laws are the same in both boroughs.

"Cyclists in Brooklyn work in cooperation with the police," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. "We have said many times that if the organizers in Manhattan cooperated with us -- for example advised us of the route -- we would accommodate the rides by safely closing intersections as they passed."

Cyclists disagree with Browne's assertion, pointing out that since there is never any pre-determined route for the Critical Mass rides, it would be impossible to advise police of the route.

Other cyclists offered another rationale for the difference in law enforcement styles between the two rides.

"Manhattan is much more politicized," said the rider, who asked his name be withheld. "There you have the whole legacy of the RNC protests. You also have more traffic. Basically, what it comes down to, is that no one gives a damn what happens in Brooklyn."

Neither the NYPD nor Time's Up were able to provide exact figures on the number of those arrested or ticketed during Manhattan Critical Mass rides.

But both noted that the number of arrests has declined significantly in recent months.


Copyright 2007 AM New York

April 29th, 2007, 07:09 AM
April 29, 2007



Multimedia (http://www.nytimes.com/packages/khtml/2007/04/26/nyregion/thecity/20070429_FIXIES_FEATURE.html)


WHEN is a bicycle not like other bicycles? To begin with, when it has no brakes, or at least no visible brakes, or possibly just a front brake. That means you can’t ride this bike very well on your first try, and certainly not very gracefully, easily or safely.

The rear cog is bolted directly to the hub, so that whenever the vehicle is in motion, the pedals go around, making coasting impossible. This bike doesn’t have a shift lever or extra sprockets, and the chain is shorter and wider than on traditional bikes.

There are no fenders, and the rear wheels are probably bolted onto the frame to deter theft. You slow down by reversing the pedals, or skidding, or doing a skip stop. And that’s just the beginning of the differences between your run-of-the-mill 10-speed and a track bike, or fixed-gear bike — fixie for short — as it is also known.

Many fixed-gear adherents contend that their bikes are the ultimate and all others are pretenders. And these fixed-gear zealots are a growing presence on the streets of New York. Perceived by some as nuisances, or as troublesome, anarchist Dumpster-diving punks who happen to ride bikes, they are occasionally reviled, but they are also the subject of curiosity and interest. Just as die-hard skateboarders 15 years ago stood on the cusp of providing a new lifestyle, so the fixed-gear bike culture could be the tip of something that nobody can accurately predict but something that is huge.

Riders of fixed-gear bikes are as diverse as bike riders in general. Messengers are big fixie aficionados, but more and more fixed-gear bikes are being ridden by nonmessengers, most conspicuously the kind of younger people to whom the term “hipster” applies and who emanate from certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn. You see these riders weaving in and out of traffic without stopping, balancing on the pedals at a stoplight and in the process infuriating pedestrians and drivers alike.

In Williamsburg and points south of Grand Street, these bikes are legion. But they are fast gaining popularity, not just in those bastions of trend followers, and not just among 22-year-olds. Fixed-gear bikes are being ridden all over New York, by messengers, racers, lawyers, accountants and college professors — a diverse and not necessarily youthful cross section of the city’s population. They’re being ridden by people who work in sandwich shops and don’t know or care about gear ratios and bike history, and by people who have been racing these bikes for years in places like the Kissena Velodrome in Flushing, Queens, with its banked, elliptical track. They’re ridden by militant vegans who are virtual encyclopedias of arcane bicycle history, by thrill-seeking members of renegade bike gangs like Black Label, by shopgirls, street racers, Critical Mass riders, your aunt.

There’s also the phenomenon of city riders returning to fixed-gear biking’s roots and getting back to the track, entering races like the Cyclehawk Velo City Tour, to be held at the Kissena Velodrome on May 6.

These disparate riders represent a rainbow coalition, a movement that’s about bikes as part of a way of life, as an identity. Although fixed-gear bikes can be seen as a trendy accessory, they also allow a mild form of rebellion against what many of these bike riders see as a wasteful and insipid way of life. Fixed-gear riders embrace the contrary notion of taking a different route.

“We own the streets,” the spray-painted stencil reads. Not really, but fixed-gear riders are, in a benign way, promoting an alternative to accepted norms.

Anarchy in Motion

So what’s the big deal? It’s just a bike, right? On some level, yes. Two wheels, a chain, a cog, a seat and handlebars. But in the way that one of Marcel Breuer’s vintage Wassily chairs is just a chair that costs $10,000, the top fixed-gear bikes are just custom-made bikes that cost 10 times as much as a regular factory-made bicycle. The pinnacle of two-wheeled transport, they are beautiful objects with simple, clean, stripped-down lines that make them look fast even when they’re standing still.

“They’re the prettiest bikes out there,” said Gina Scardino, owner of King Kog, a store on Hope Street in Williamsburg that sells only fixed-gear bikes. Indeed they are, with a modernist blending of form and function and a look that matches what they’re made for, which is going really fast on a banked velodrome track.

But the question arises: Especially in this city, isn’t it insane to ride a bike that you can’t easily stop? By riding a bike that’s meant to be raced around a special track on the chaotic streets of New York, aren’t you risking life and limb?

It doesn’t make sense. But that may be the appeal, and has been ever since the bikes appeared on the scene more than a century ago.

Fixed-gear bikes have a rich past. Before the invention of the derailleur, the device that made multiple gears a reality, fixed-gears were the racing bike. The original Madison Square Garden, built in 1879 at 26th Street and Madison Avenue, was built for a velodrome. Races testing speed and endurance drew huge crowds, with the top riders among the sports stars of their day.

The bike races at Madison Square Garden were all the rage around the turn of the last century. A velodrome circuit flourished around the country, with the best racers earning $100,000 to $150,000 a year at a time when carpenters were lucky to make $5,000. And all this was happening on the forerunners of the bikes being ridden today.

Johnny Coast’s Coast Cycles sits at the end of a desolate cul-de-sac in the heart of Bushwick, Brooklyn, near the Myrtle Avenue stop on the J, M and Z lines. Mr. Coast, a 31-year-old with dreadlocks down to the small of his back, is a former squatter and current member of Black Label.

Coast Cycles is not your typical bike store stocked with rows of three-speeds and road bikes, along with locks, water bottles and other doodads. It is an old-fashioned, one-person workshop where chickens wander in from the yard. Here, Mr. Coast builds two or three custom-framed bicycles a month, most of them fixed-gears, “tailored to suit a body’s dimensions, to an individual’s geometry and affording the maximum of comfort, design and style,” as he put it in an e-mail message.

Mr. Coast, who works surrounded by Bridgeport lathes, jigs and blueprints, is a believer in fixies as a metaphorical extension of a squatters’ lifestyle that connotes, as he puts it, “living a certain way, subsisting on recycling, not wasting, finding liberation, freedom as a revolutionary act, like in a Hakim Bey sense, primitivist, spiritualist anarchism.”

He laughs at the absurdity of a brand like Mountain Dew approaching Black Label with an offer of sponsorship, as he says happened last year, and is wary of exploitation of the fixed-gear bike culture by corporations that have little to do with biking. “I saw what happened to skateboarding and surfing and punk,” Mr. Coast said grimly.

Look, Ma, No Brakes

The dangers of a small world getting bigger were vividly illustrated a few months ago when a hipster wearing square-frame glasses wandered into King Kog. The store, which sells fixed-gear bikes starting around $800 and going up to the thousands, also carries Jason Chaste’s Fortynine Sixteen clothing line, named for a gear ratio, and high-end parts like Sugino cranks, Izumi chains, and Dura-Ace and Ciocc frames.

“Um, I’m looking for a track bike,” the visitor said.

“What’s your price range?” Ms. Scardino asked.

“Three hundred dollars,” the visitor replied.

“Hmmm, you might want to try Craigslist or eBay,” she suggested gently.

When Ms. Scardino asked the visitor how he planned to use the bike, he answered, “I’m just going to be cruising around.”

You got the sense that this wasn’t the place for him, but also that he might come back one day. As he put it when he left: “I like your shop. It’s neat.”

At Bike Kill, an annual racing event sponsored by Black Label and held in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, nobody seemed worried about the issue of fixed-gear biking becoming too popular; everybody was having too much fun.

Vehicles used in the event, held on a blustery autumn day near the Samuel C. Barnes Elementary School, included tall bikes (two frames on top of each other with a seat about six feet off the ground), bikes with metal rollers as front wheels, tiny bikes and BMX bikes (little single-gear bikes used for tricks) and, of course, fixed-gear bikes.

Stopping on a Prayer

Mr. Coast was there, along with members of Black Label’s Minneapolis and Reno, Nev., chapters and members of other biker groups like C.H.U.N.K. 666, which has footholds in Brooklyn and Portland, Ore.; the Rat Patrol, from Chicago; Dead Baby, from Seattle; and the Skidmarxxx, from Austin, Tex. A lot of unwashed dreads, denim, leather and facial tattoos were in evidence, along with a carnivalesque assortment of voodoo top hats, orange jumpsuits, bunny ears, Mexican wrestling masks and a Pee-wee Herman doppelgänger waving from his Schwinn cruiser.

There were copious drinking, including a contest to see who could ride around in a circle while drinking a six-pack fastest, and the “Blind Skull” event, in which riders wearing big foam skulls over their heads pedaled until they fell over or ran into somebody.

Toward 8 p.m. the drunken tall-bike jousting began, with knights of both sexes armed with padded plastic “spears.” The only dissonant note occurred when a cassock-wearing interloper on Rollerblades with a motor attached was expelled by a Black Label member. “Get your motor out of here!” the biker yelled.

That’s the cardinal rule. No motors. For environmental reasons. Or practical ones, recalling the West Indian messengers who pioneered urban fixed-gear riding in the 1980s, bringing their ingenuity to New York from the islands, where bikes that didn’t have much of anything on them to steal were a decided advantage.

But pinning down what constitutes the fixed-gear movement gets complicated. After all, what does the insanity of Bike Kill have to do with someone like “Fast” Eddie Williams, who runs the bicycle-themed Nayako Gallery in Bedford-Stuyvesant, has published a book of photographs of messengers and competes in Alley Cat and Monster Track street races?

Mr. Williams’s scene is the messenger scene, in which he has been a participant since the early 1980s, when he first encountered the West Indian messengers hanging out at Washington Square Park. “I saw them riding,” he said. “I liked how they maneuvered, stopped at a red light and didn’t step down. And I thought, ‘How do they do that?’ ”

Mr. Williams got a Matsuri, a fast fixed-gear bike, and started working as a messenger. Twenty-five years later, he’s still at it, looking incredibly fit and younger than his 43 years. “Track bikes are not made for street,” he conceded, “and sometimes I need a hope and a prayer to stop short.” But he rhapsodized about their charms. “It’s like playing chess,” he said. “You think out your moves from a block away.”

John Campo, the salty-tongued director of the racing program at the Kissena Velodrome, is another fixie aficionado. As with Mr. Williams, the fixed-gear lifestyle seems to be a healthy one; Mr. Campo looks at least 15 years younger than his 60. Biking isn’t his profession — he’s a jazz musician who has played with Miles Davis, among others — but it is undeniably his passion.

Mr. Campo missed out on the glory days of the Kissena Velodrome, but he tells tales about the father of Vinny Vella, the actor who plays Jimmy Petrille on “The Sopranos,” racing at Madison Square Garden to win enough money to buy a scale for the pushcart he sold fish from, then earning enough to open a fish store on Elizabeth Street. Mr. Campo remembers all the Polish, German and Italian bike clubs, and he remembers Lou Maltese, a member of the Century Road Club who held many cycling records, including the 100-mile national record in a race from Union City, N.J., to Philadelphia.

‘A Zen Thing’

Far from worrying about fixed-gear bikes getting too popular, Mr. Campo yearns for them to return to the their prominence of a century ago, and he welcomes street riders to Kissena. “These kids are lovely,” he said. “They come; they win, lose or draw; they have a great time. This is an American spirit thing, to be free, to do what you want to do and express yourself in your own medium, like surfing or skating.”

Surfing and skating are mentioned a lot in relation to fixed-gear bikes. Something about these activities prefigures much of what is going on today in the bike community. Surfing 50 years ago and skating 25 years ago were small, below-the-radar pursuits with their own rituals and secret codes and vernacular. Now they’re billion-dollar industries, popular the world over. And in the opinion of many aficionados, a little bit of soul was lost along the way.

Bicycling is obviously different; there are more bikes than cars in the world, and bikes have a longer popular history, not to mention the fact that fixed-gear bikes predate “regular” bikes. But something about the trajectories of surfing and skating from unexamined, semi-underground secret societies to blown-out cheesy “sports” could forecast the future of the fixed-gear bike.

Surfing and skating retained some of their rebelliousness, in part because of the varied, unpredictable demographic of who is involved: 5-year-olds and 80-year-olds of both sexes, doctors and garbage collectors, law-abiding citizens and criminals. That makes the skating or surfing “movement” hard to locate exactly, just like the amorphous bike movement.

Johnny Coast. Gina Scardino. Fast Eddie. John Campo. The menagerie at Bike Kill. It’s a broad swath. The group also includes people like Toni Germanotta, a 42-year-old owner of an art studio that serves the apparel industry. “When you’re on a fixed gear,” said Ms. Germanotta, who works in the garment district, “it gives you a higher skill level. You have to be constantly aware, always watching the road. You don’t just ride, and it feels a little crazy.”

And it includes Kyle Fay, a designer for Urban Outfitters who is a relatively new convert. “You take the blame if you get hit,” he said. “It’s self-reliance, being responsible for yourself. It might sound kind of corny, but it’s a Zen thing, being one with the bike.”

And it includes Alex Escamilla, a 23-year-old book artist from Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

“I had a couple of friends who made fun of me for riding one because it was trendy,” Ms. Escamilla said. “But the problem with looking at bike riding as a trend is that you lose sight of everything that is positive about bikes. You know, the renewable energy source, exercise, convenience, saving money, saving time, community, seeing the city in a whole new way, blah blah blah.”

Besides, she added: “Track bikes are fun. And they’re beautiful.”

Jocko Weyland is the author of “The Answer Is Never: A Skateboarder’s History of the World.”

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

June 29th, 2007, 06:01 AM
See post.

Trial of driver who killed cyclist is delayed

The trial of Eugenio Cidron, 27, charged with vehicular manslaughter and D.W.I. in the Dec. 1, 2006, death of cyclist Eric Ng, 22, on the West Side Highway bike path, has been postponed for the fifth time. On June 20, a N.Y. Supreme Court judge delayed the start of the trial to Aug. 1. Cidron is still out on a $50,000 bail bond.

Barbara Ross, a volunteer with Time’s Up!, a cycling-environmental group, said Ng also volunteered with the organization.

“He was in the cycling community,” Ross said. “He was involved in a lot of organizations. The part that strikes me is the fact that when a cyclist is killed, there’s never enforcement, there’s never an investigation, never a ticket issued. The only exception is when alcohol is involved.”

Ross said she finds the continual delays of the case to be “really disappointing.”

Cidron reportedly was drinking at Chelsea Piers before driving a few miles down the bike path, hitting Ng near Clarkson St. His brother told the New York Post last year that Cidron was “distraught” by the accident and “he couldn’t believe what happened.”

Brendan Chao, Cidron’s attorney, said he’s still waiting for prosecution documents and it’s “standard” for cases to be delayed when they’re in discovery.

—Jennifer Milne


July 8th, 2007, 11:18 AM
This is cool and worth checking out ...

The New York Bike-Share Project

An exhibition at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, NYC

Jul 7 2007 - Jul 11 2007


A summer charette produced by the Forum for Urban Design (http://www.forumforurbandesign.org/) and Storefront For Art and Architecture (http://www.storefrontnews.org/exhib_dete.php?exID=133)

www.nybikeshare.org (http://www.nybikeshare.org)



July 8th, 2007, 01:06 PM
About those fixed gears bikes, I'm a courier up here in Boston, and while about half of my coworkers use them, our dispatcher (who was a courier for 10+ years) hates 'em for what they do to your knees. And knowing how there are those days where I go home with pain down there after riding my freewheel, I'm inclined to stay far away from track bikes.

As one of my coworkers said: "I hate having knees."

July 10th, 2007, 12:14 AM
Lets not declare the Hudson Bike lane unsafe because one drunk driver killed somebody. The key word is DRUNK. If he was not impaired we would most likely not discussing this issue right now....Having said that, I am extremely cautious every time I have to cross it to enter or exit a Pier. Often I find the bikers not paying attention to their signal making it challenging for cars that have the green light to cross it....

July 10th, 2007, 01:34 PM
In This Case, It’s O.K. to Take a Bike That’s Not Yours

Casey Kelbaugh for The New York Times
Gina Strambi borrowed a bike for a brief trip Monday, participating in a test
of a free bike-sharing program similar to ones in European cities.

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/10/nyregion/10bike.html)
July 10, 2007

Daniel Su and Adrian Garcia usually spend their lunch break going for a walk, then grabbing a bite to eat. But yesterday they tried something different, made possible because they went for a ride using someone else’s bicycles.

The two men took advantage of an experimental bicycle-sharing program meant to show New Yorkers that biking can be a viable transportation alternative to expand their lunch horizon.

Mr. Su and Mr. Garcia had read about the bicycle project online. And since both work a few blocks from Storefront for Art and Architecture, a nonprofit SoHo gallery that is the experimental project’s host, they decided to give it a try, and headed to Union Square for lunch.

The five-day project is sponsored by the Forum for Urban Design, a group of architects, designers and planners, and by the gallery, near Kenmare Street and Cleveland Place. Twenty bicycles are available free, for up to 30 minutes, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until tomorrow. Bicycles can be returned to the gallery or dropped off at other nearby sites like Washington Square Park and Tompkins Square Park.

Displays at the gallery describe eight European cities, including Barcelona, Spain, and Lyon, France, where bicycle-share programs have thrived. The project is designed to gather data on the viability of such a program in New York.

David Haskell, executive director of the Forum for Urban Design, said, “This is our attempt to imagine bike sharing in New York City.”

“A ride-share program would reduce the dependency on automobiles. It would be a great alternative to subways and bus services — and a lot cheaper for the city,” he said.

“The bikes are definitely a better alternative than subways or buses,” Mr. Garcia, the lunchtime rider, said. “I know I would take advantage of the bike program if it existed.”

Mr. Haskell was in Paris on vacation in April and saw how such a program was shaping up there. Once the Paris program gets under way, in a few days, there will be more than 10,000 bikes available at 750 stations around the city.

New York City officials, who are aware of Mr. Haskell’s goals, are trying to determine if a ride-share program would work.

“We are studying it with interest,” said Molly Gordy, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Transportation. “The big questions for us are how to combat theft and vandalism, which are two problems prevalent in New York.” Borrowers in the test program have to leave credit card information. Ms. Gordy has been closely following the progress of a bike-share program in San Francisco. Similar programs are being considered in Portland, Ore., Chicago and Washington, where it may begin as early as September.

Caroline Samponaro, a bicycle- campaign coordinator at Transportation Alternatives — a nonprofit New York City group that advocates bicycling, walking and public transit as alternatives to driving — believes a bike-share program would benefit not only New Yorkers but also tourists.

“A bike-share program is exciting and interesting,” she said. “It’s one piece of the larger puzzle: nonpolluting transportation. This is a way people can use bicycles. Potentially, it could deal with overcrowded buses, subways, and the number of cars on the streets.”

Barbara Held lives in Barcelona but is from Buffalo, Minn. She lived in New York before moving to Spain 15 years ago. Ms. Held stopped by the SoHo art gallery to visit friends. She did not need to test the program because she participates in the one in Barcelona. She had her bike card in her purse. It was the size of a credit card. An image of a red bicycle with the word Bicing, the name of Barcelona’s program, is on the front of the card. Barcelona started its program in March with 1,500 bicycles and 100 stations.

“The city didn’t think it would take off,” Ms. Held said. “But the program is so popular. People ride the red bikes all the time.”

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

July 31st, 2007, 12:00 AM
I have a spontaneous interest in cycling lately. I'm going Sunday to bike in Central Park, I'm pumped! When I move to BK I want to get my own bike to ride around in Prospect Park.

August 16th, 2007, 12:17 PM
City Still Sending Mixed Signals on Bike Parking (http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/08/16/city-still-sending-mix-signals-on-bike-parking/)

A tipster sent us these photos of the City's new indoor bicycle parking facility at 280 Broadway (http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/08/07/city-building-opens-new-indoor-bike-parking-facility/). A couple of months ago cyclists who work for the City suddenly found themselves and their bikes turned away from their office buildings (http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/07/25/city-govt-office-cracks-down-on-indoor-bike-parking/), leaving few options aside from locking up to street signs and unprotected outdoor racks. This new facility, free to any City employee with a valid ID, should help commuters who work near City Hall.
Despite the new space at 280 Broadway, and promises of more to come (http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/08/01/city-says-it-is-now-making-space-for-employee-bikes/), Streetsblog got word that a cycling commuter at the Health Department was recently escorted from the building by security and told to park elsewhere. Stay tuned.

August 19th, 2007, 06:06 AM
August 19, 2007

New York Up Close

Hue and Cry



SOME years ago, a Park Avenue socialite named Mrs. Austin Hancock thought it would be nice to organize a series of boat cruises up the Hudson and transplant to New York the gaiety of the Mississippi River soirées of her youth. She arranged this with Daniel McAllister, a local sea captain, who agreed to provide one of his steamboats for the festivities.

But as the first sailing date approached, Mrs. Hancock informed the captain that there would be one more thing: For the cruise to conjure the authentic Mississippi spirit, the boat — had she forgotten to mention it? — would have to be painted pink.

That was in 1933. The coverage in The New York Times included two articles, one outlining the ensuing dispute and another announcing that on the first cruise, in a compromise, only the boat’s stack would be painted pink; partygoers could vote on whether they wanted more pink on future trips.

New Yorkers have been arguing about color ever since. In June, for instance, a new residential building on West 11th Street in the West Village, designed by the artist Julian Schnabel, became controversial not just for whether its color was reasonable but also for what the color actually was. Because the surface is mottled, the 17-story structure seems to fall somewhere between pink and bright red. A similarly conspicuous color showed up last month in Brooklyn Heights, where residents watched city work crews paint the full width of the bike lane on an eight-block stretch of Henry Street an experimental hue: bright green. Reactions were strong.

“I despise it,” complained Mary Kavanagh, a women’s clothing designer who was sitting on a stone bench along Henry Street, tearing ads out of a copy of Vanity Fair. “It’s a very historical neighborhood. It’s a travesty.”

A neighbor didn’t share her feelings. “I don’t mind them,” said George Davis, who lives on Henry Street. “I like that they’re trying to do things. It’s good to have some imagination.”

In 2001, the city’s Transportation Department tested a light blue bike lane in Downtown Brooklyn and found that in terms of making the lane sufficiently visible to cyclists and drivers alike, it did the trick. But at the urging of the Federal Highway Administration, the department has forgone blue for the Brooklyn Heights bike lane and decided to experiment with green, echoing a growing national movement to make green the official bike lane color.

Other streets are getting paint jobs, too. Last week, in an experiment in making bus lanes more visible, the city laid down coats of terra-cotta-colored paint on bus lanes along part East 57th Street, and it will soon do the same for lanes on Fordham Road in the Bronx.

After the Second Avenue subway finally rolls, it also may eventually bring a new color. The Web site of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority shows a T — the letter tentatively chosen to denote the new line — sitting in a circle of turquoise. (According to Jeremy Soffin, a spokesman, the agency has not yet chosen a permanent color for the circle.)

The choice is of special interest to Lynne Lambert, whose New York City Subway Line is an official licensed maker of subway-themed merchandise. Whatever color is chosen will make its way onto T-shirts, hats and other items Ms. Lambert produces, and she said she would be happy to see the choice on the transportation authority’s Web site become permanent.

“Turquoise is very in right now,” she said, “though I’m not sure if it will be by the time the T train comes out.”

Though debates over color may be fervent, the stakes are often less than earthshaking.

Case in point: A town house on West 101st Street near West End Avenue is painted an eye-catching lilac. At night, changing colored lights from the second-floor windows transform the building into a beacon of color on the sleepy street.

The owner is Paul Gregory, who runs his business, Focus Lighting, on the first floor and lives upstairs. The building was painted lilac when Mr. Gregory bought the house in 1990, and he has since received a mix of compliments and complaints, expressed, on occasion, in notes slipped under his door.

“Some people love it and think it’s great and exciting, and others don’t because it’s not traditional,” Mr. Gregory said. “You know, it’s the color of a house. It’s not critical to the free world.”

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

August 19th, 2007, 01:47 PM
Anybody ever see the painted lane above? Does it keep drivers out?

August 20th, 2007, 08:34 PM
Cyclists Throwing Selves Under Cars in Brooklyn (http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/08/20/cyclists-throwing-selves-under-cars-in-brooklyn/)

The Daily News reports that more cyclists are getting hit by cars (http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/brooklyn/2007/08/20/2007-08-20_bruise_cruise_for_cyclists.html) in Williamsburg and Greenpoint -- an increase of 38 percent and 188 percent, respectively, over last year.
While Transportation Alternatives cites dangerous conditions created by the lack of bike lanes, the News draws a different conclusion:

[T]he numbers don't lie. Stats show that in most incidents, bicycles are to blame.
Out of 29 bicycle accidents in the 94th Precinct during May, June and July this year, the cyclist was found at fault in 17.

Numbers don't lie? Traffic policing can be awfully subjective, particularly in a precinct that has made its bias perfectly (http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/06/26/94th-precinct-to-cyclists-obey-traffic-rules/)clear (http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/06/28/breaking-news-94th-precinct-clipping-bikes-on-bedford-ave/) as of late.

August 22nd, 2007, 01:17 PM
^ I don't know, NYDoc. Like I said before, I'm a courier up in Boston and I'm around tons of people who are on their bikes for hours upon hours each day, and so many bikers ignore just about every vehicular law there is, let alone blink at a stop sign or red light. It really wouldn't surprise me one bit to find out that these numbers don't, in fact, lie.

August 24th, 2007, 06:42 PM
Survey Finds That Buffered Bike Lanes Are Better (http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/08/24/survey-finds-that-buffered-bike-lanes-are-better/)

A buffered section of Manhattan's 8th Avenue bike lane.

Bike lanes that separate bicyclists from motor vehicle traffic (http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/01/02/the-case-for-physically-separated-bike-lanes/) are safer and encourage more bicycling, according to a recent survey by Transportation Alternatives. The survey of 147 cyclists was conducted along the 8th Avenue bike lane in Manhattan, one of the few bike paths to integrate both “buffered” and “unbuffered” segments.

Transportation Alternatives found (http://www.transalt.org/press/releases/070803bikelanes.html):

Buffered bike lanes are are perceived as being safer than conventional lanes.
52% of respondents feel safe in buffered lanes, versus only 21% in conventional bike lanes. Conventional bike lanes are more dangerous than buffered lanes -- 44% of respondents find the conventional lanes dangerous or intolerable, versus only 19% of respondents surveyed on buffered lanes.
Buffered or not, bike lanes encourage more bicycling.
Seven out of ten cyclists use 8th Avenue more often since the lane was installed.Despite its recent commitment to install more than 200 miles of new bike lanes (http://www.streetsblog.org/2006/09/12/city-announces-bike-safety-improvements/) throughout New York City by 2009, the Dept. of Transportation does not routinely buffer lanes along heavily trafficked roadways. Most of the bike lanes along Manhattan’s 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th Avenues, for example, are not buffered.

On the other hand, bike-friendly European cities routinely stripe buffers and build barriers to separate cyclists from traffic and reduce the amount of street space available to motor vehicles. The City of London has even established a set of detailed Cycling Design Standards (http://www.streetsblog.org/2006/11/13/londons-cycling-design-standards-a-model-for-nyc/) to help planners and engineers determine when and where to implement different bike lane designs.

New York City, it seems, could use a similar set of guidelines.

Filed by Aaron Naparstek (http://www.streetsblog.org/author/aaron/) under Transportation Policy (http://www.streetsblog.org/category/issues-campaigns/transportation-policy/), Urban Design (http://www.streetsblog.org/category/issues-campaigns/urban-design/), Bicycling (http://www.streetsblog.org/category/issues-campaigns/bicycling/)

August 24th, 2007, 06:42 PM
Ich bin ein Bicyclist (http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/08/24/ich-bin-ein-bicyclist/)

In a report for CBSnews.com (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/08/22/world/main3193674.shtml) on Berlin, Germany's booming bike culture, Christine Lagorio expresses shock at the sheer number of bikes she saw in Berlin (http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/07/02/berlins-bicycle-boom/) and the way in which motorists and cyclists share the road "gracefully." This, she says, is something she has never experienced in her home town of New York City.

In this city where less than half of residents own a car, bicycles are not only in vogue; over the past two decades it has become downright common to ride one every day. They are chained to every pole or knob on every major thoroughfare. They crowd apartment building lobbies. They dominate the flow of traffic in intersections. Bicyclists have power in numbers; a major fantasy of U.S. cyclists has come to pass in Berlin: cars yield to bikes.
Lagorio, who rides a bike in Brooklyn, thinks of Manhattan as a "death trap" for cyclists. She wonders what exactly makes Berlin and New York so different:
"The biggest difference riding in Berlin is that the drivers know what to look out for. There's no right on red here, so the drivers wait for the pedestrians and the bicyclists to pass at every intersection before going, " says Wolf Schroen, an avid cyclist and expat who moved to Germany seven years ago from bike-friendly Austin, Texas.
“Some are just shocked at the amount of other bikers on the roads – that riding is so casual here,” he said.
In Berlin, the city has taken action and its philosophy seems to be "build it and they will come." Two years ago, city officials pledged to work toward bikes comprising 15 percent of the city's traffic by the year 2010. After devoting 2.5 million Euros last year to expanding on the bike lane system, the goal isn't far off. The city already has 80 kilometers of bike lanes in the streets and 50 kilometers of lanes on sidewalks. Recent numbers showed that cycling has doubled in the past decade, and now the city's 400,000 riders each day account for 12 percent of total street traffic, according to the green-living blog Treehugger (http://www.treehugger.com/).
Photo: bisschenbissig/Flickr (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/08/22/world/main3193674.shtml)

August 25th, 2007, 01:54 PM
If the congestion charge goes into effect and reduces the number of cars, maybe there will be room for a few more bike lanes.

September 8th, 2007, 01:57 AM
Anybody ever see the painted lane above? Does it keep drivers out?

I have seen it, they are pretty recent.. It feels like it is a sidewalk or something, like a part of the roadway you are not supposed to be in... I think they are a good idea but I wonder what kind of paint the city is using.. Some painted roadways can be very slippery when wet..

September 8th, 2007, 02:01 AM
The city can try to do all it can to make biking safe but it is ultimately up to the bikers themselves..They must obey the vehicular rules of the road..

September 8th, 2007, 03:39 AM
The city can try to do all it can to make biking safe but it is ultimately up to the bikers themselves..They must obey the vehicular rules of the road..
I watch the bikers on the Times Square Web cams and amazed that they can ignore traffic and pedestrian lights. The biggest shock to me was to see them cycling the wrong way, against the traffic, up Broadway and 7th. Av.

September 8th, 2007, 11:21 AM
Come on MC --

One of the biggest hazards to cyclists in NYC are cab drivers who pull over where ever the hell they want with no signal or notice -- and often right in front of someone on a bike.

Another major hazard are passengers swinging open cab doors into the lane of bike traffic.

Both of the above are the major reasons (add a thrid: theft) why I no longer use my bike as a means of transport -- it's just for fun and exercise these days

September 11th, 2007, 12:50 PM
Add to that the way car drivers bully bikers into pulling over to the side of the road--even when there is no room--so they don't have to switch lanes to zoom by. Don't even try taking the left lane (on a road with no bike path such as Riverside Dr.) when you want to make a left turn if you're afraid of getting honked at, insulted, and your intelligence questioned.

But yeah, I got cut off by a cab pulling to the side the other day. What a jerk.

October 21st, 2007, 04:50 PM
New 9th Ave bike lane - buffered by safety zone and parking lane.

Painted safety zone contains parking signs and muni-meters. Street segments with left-turn cross streets have reduced parking spaces. A more permanent configuration is planned.

http://img86.imageshack.us/img86/4133/9thbikelane01mi5.th.jpg (http://img86.imageshack.us/my.php?image=9thbikelane01mi5.jpg) http://img86.imageshack.us/img86/6326/9thbikelane02tw2.th.jpg (http://img86.imageshack.us/my.php?image=9thbikelane02tw2.jpg) http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/5692/9thbikelane03wc9.th.jpg (http://img266.imageshack.us/my.php?image=9thbikelane03wc9.jpg)

NYC DOT presentation (http://home2.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/9thavecomp.pdf)

Cycling Gains Ground in NYC

By KAREN MATTHEWS – Oct 7, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City, with its convoys of cabs, miles of subway track, fleets of fume-belching trucks and hordes of harried commuters, is a long way from Davis, Calif., with a University of California campus and not much else.

But the concrete jungle and the college town were both honored recently by the League of American Bicyclists for bike friendliness.

New York City's bronze medal from the Washington-based bike group represents an endorsement for the city's efforts under Mayor Michael Bloomberg to promote cycling for a cleaner environment and a healthier populace.

"The way we think about transportation and how we use our limited street space is changing," said Janette Sadik-Khan, the city's transportation commissioner.

The city is installing 400 to 500 bike racks a year and plans to have more than 400 miles of bike lanes and paths by 2009. There will then be 1 mile of bike lane for every 10 miles of road; the ratio is now 1 to 15. In San Francisco, it's 1 to 7.

In Brooklyn's hipster-heavy Williamsburg section, the city reduced the space for car parking in favor of bike parking — a first — when it widened the sidewalk to fit nine new bike racks over the summer.

"It's better because people used to chain their bikes to trees and house gates," said Pedro Pulido, an architect who parked his bike at one of the new racks last week.

A seven-block length of Manhattan's Ninth Avenue is now being remade into the city's most bicycle-oriented stretch of roadway ever, with a bike lane separated from car traffic by a paved buffer zone and a lane of parked cars.

Bloomberg also has proposed legislation to make it easier to bike to work by requiring commercial buildings to provide bicycle parking.

"According to surveys the number one reason why people who want to bike don't is that they can't park their bikes indoors," said Noah Budnick, deputy director of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. "You just can't park your bike on the street all day in New York."

If theft is the No. 1 challenge facing New York cyclists, safety is No. 2.

According to the city health department and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 2.8 bike deaths per million people annually in New York City, compared with 2.7 deaths nationally — a not particularly bad ranking.

But potholes and aggressive drivers can make it feel more dangerous.

"You have to always be alert," said Barbara Ross, who bikes to work and volunteers with Time's Up!, an environmental group that promotes a group bike ride called Critical Mass. Ross said she was once "doored" by a parked car — a term used to describe when the passenger door flying open without a thought for bikes.

"You can't just ride," she said. "Because no one's going to be looking for you."

A study conducted last year by the city health and transportation departments found that 3,500 cyclists were injured by cars between 1996 and 2003 and 225 were killed.

Following up on its analysis, the city announced a $1 million public service ad campaign last month to remind drivers and bike riders to watch out for each other. The city also is promoting safety by giving out thousands of free bike helmets, which are required for children and for bike messengers and delivery workers.

It was the city's commitment to study bike crashes and prevent them that persuaded the League of American Bicyclists to bestow its bronze medal. (Davis, which has an old-fashioned bike on its city seal, is the only platinum-level community. Another college town, Palo Alto, Calif., is gold.)

Andy Clarke, executive director of the league, called New York's 2006 survey "the most extensive study that we know of" into bike accidents.

Transportation Alternatives says there are 130,000 bicyclists on the road in New York City's five boroughs daily. Because New York is the nation's largest city at 8 million, that's more total cyclists than any other U.S. city can claim.

But according to Census figures, just 0.5 percent of New Yorkers ride bikes to work. That compares to 2 percent in Seattle and San Francisco and a whopping 34 percent in Copenhagen. How much higher could New York push its number of bike commuters?

"We can certainly do better," said Sadik-Khan, who visited Copenhagen a few months ago to study the Danish city's bike-promoting policies.

If there are obstacles, there are also advantages to New York for cyclists. It's flat, it's relatively temperate and you can bring your bike on the subway. Thousands of bike messengers and Chinese food deliverymen weave through gridlock Manhattan traffic daily.

"It's the fastest mode of transportation," said Sarinya Srisakul, vice president of the New York Bike Messenger Association, noting that it can take half an hour to traverse 10 midtown blocks by car but just five minutes on a bike.

Sadik-Khan, who often bikes to work, said cycling not only reduces air pollution but also is "a great competitive sport" that is gaining ground with "the hedge fund crowd."

"The line I've been using," she said, "is, 'Bike is the new golf.'"

October 24th, 2007, 05:00 PM
Anybody ever see the painted lane above? Does it keep drivers out?

I've seen it, I'm in that hood. But haven't ridden my bike along there enough to say whether it works. I have ridden my bike around NYC enough to be very skeptical it COULD work. Come on! NYC drivers can't even be courteous enough not to block the box and that's in their self-interest. Bikes are an even lower priority.

October 24th, 2007, 05:06 PM
^ I don't know, NYDoc. Like I said before, I'm a courier up in Boston and I'm around tons of people who are on their bikes for hours upon hours each day, and so many bikers ignore just about every vehicular law there is, let alone blink at a stop sign or red light. It really wouldn't surprise me one bit to find out that these numbers don't, in fact, lie.

Well, the numbers may not lie, but the headline does. Just because 58% of the accidents surveyed are bikers' fault doesn't mean 42% is a stellar record for drivers.

October 27th, 2007, 02:51 PM
I continuously cut off, almost hit by a-hole bike messengers. I would like to see a seperation in statistics for regular riders and messengers who take it right to the edge.

October 27th, 2007, 03:49 PM
I'd say, based on my observations, delivery & messengers are often the worst. When I see bikers behaving inappropriately (riding on sidewalks, against traffic, too fast, not yeilding courteously), they are usually messengers or delivery people. Most people who are just biking for transportation or exercise seem to be courteous.

There was an interesting discussing of biking in NYC on NPR (Lopate? Leherer? I forget). An advocate pointed out that all traffic laws were written for cars. I thought it's probably time to write specific bike laws, (for example, red lights are stop & yield right-of-way, as opposed to assuming bicyclists must wait for a green).

December 22nd, 2007, 01:45 PM
Ghost Bikes memorials (http://www.ghostbikes.org/)

January 15th, 2008, 02:59 PM
I am planning a bike trip from Boston to Washington, DC this summer. I have a few questions about the bike path along the Hudson, and I thought that someone on this list my have recent experience that they could share.

We will be coming from Van Cortlandt Park to Midtown for a couple days, and then back up to the GW to continure our trip through New Jersey.

Here are my specific questions:

1. Is the Henry Hudson Bridge passable by bicycle or is it currently closed to bikes? Will it be open in July of 2008? Any advice about the Broadway Bridge as an alternative?

2. Has the road next to the Amtrak tracks been paved or do we need to use the Henry Hudson Parkway sidepath between Dyckman and 181st?

3. Is there now a continuous path from 145th to 125th near the North River Treatment plant? The ariel photos show what looks like a path next to the railroad tracks from 145th to 135th and a parking lot from 135th to 125th. I understand that there has been a new development called Harlem Piers under construction there. Is that complete now or will it be by July 2008?

4. Has the path between about 93rd and 83rd been completed, or is it still diverted to the other side of the Parkway there?

5. What is the status of the area about 59th near the Trump development?

6. Which pathway on the GW is open and likely to be open in July 2008?

Thanks for your help!

January 15th, 2008, 04:18 PM
3. Is there now a continuous path from 145th to 125th near the North River Treatment plant? The ariel photos show what looks like a path next to the railroad tracks from 145th to 135th and a parking lot from 135th to 125th. I understand that there has been a new development called Harlem Piers under construction there. Is that complete now or will it be by July 2008?

4. Has the path between about 93rd and 83rd been completed, or is it still diverted to the other side of the Parkway there?

5. What is the status of the area about 59th near the Trump development?


I love to bike the West Side (and did so last week) so I can answer a few of these.

Riverside Park (from 156th to 58th st.) is very bicycle friendly. I would check out the detailed maps on http://www.riversideparkfund.org/visit/Park-Map/?c=Park-Map. There are continuous bike paths for the length of the park (including past the treatment plant).

If Harlem Piers is still under construction when you ride, there will likely be a temporary bike/jogger path near the old one with appropriate signage. South of that, it's clear sailing all the way to Battery Park City.

From 83rd to 93rd, people typically ride along a wide path called the Serpentine Promenade, which is set back from the river's edge. So while it can be interpreted as being "diverted to the other side of the parkway", IMO it the best and most scenic way to go.

Phase IV of Riverside Park South (at 59th) should be open this summer. Either way, it does not effect the permanent bikepath, which runs behind the park (going underneath the elevated highway).

Hope this helps. As a former resident of Boston, I'd be interested if you could post here on how the trip ends up.

April 9th, 2008, 07:45 AM
Union Square
Skinny Wheels and Others Get a Roof Over Their Heads

Published: April 6, 2008

LIKE a newly appointed C.E.O., a 53-year-old bike messenger named Robert Tellado has suddenly found himself in possession of a prime parking spot.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/04/06/nyregion/shelter650.jpgJoe Fornabaio for The New York Times
A cantilevered roof and even an instruction sheet.

“I used to have to chain my bike to scaffolding over there,” Mr. Tellado said a few days ago as he stood near Union Square, preparing to head out on another delivery run. “But look at me now. I’ve got this beautiful new bike shelter.”

Mr. Tellado was referring to an elaborate contraption with silver supports and a cantilevered roof that protects bikes from rain and snow. The structure is at Broadway and East 17th Street, and it is one of only four quietly erected around the city late last year. They were created by Cemusa, a Spanish design firm that is also building bus stands and public toilets for the city.

Each new shelter accommodates eight bikes, and the city’s Department of Transportation plans to have a total of 37 such shelters installed — not so many, given that an estimated 120,000 regular cyclists live in the five boroughs. But if they are well received, said Ted Timbers, a Transportation Department spokesman, “we will certainly look to add more in the future.”

For Mr. Tellado, who works for a company with offices just down the block, the new shelter was a windfall. Now, when he visits his dispatcher, his most essential possession can generally be stored somewhere safe and legal. On this afternoon, six bikes sat locked to the racks of the shelter, which have individual iron humps meant to accommodate one bike on each side.

“I’ll be back in 15 minutes,” Mr. Tellado announced as he tossed a bag across his shoulder. Before riding off, he added: “I watched this thing being built. When I was realized what they were doing, I was, like, ‘Whoa. Nice.’ ”

Another user of the bike shelter that day was Hilda Marmolejo-Pérez, an art therapy student at Pratt Institute. She had parked her black Marin Novato, which resembles a mountain bike with skinny tires, at the shelter near Union Square while she visited a doctor in the area.

Ms. Marmolejo-Pérez said that she found the racks of the new shelter much easier to use than the city’s smaller and more prevalent m-shaped racks, which are intended to hold four bicycles apiece.

“I just never know what to do with those,” Ms. Marmolejo-Pérez said. “But look right here,” she added, pointing to a diagram titled “How to Park to This Bicycle Rack.” “There’s a little instruction that shows you exactly how the bikes are supposed to go.”

Copyright 2008 The New York Times.

April 26th, 2008, 05:31 AM
Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Paco Abraham Turns Duane Reade on to Bike Racks (http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/04/24/paco-abraham-turns-duane-reade-on-to-bike-racks/)


Yesterday DOT announced it is seeking submissions for the first ever bike-friendly business awards (http://bikemonthnyc.org/bfb). This being the week of Earth Day, a few bike-positive firms have come to our attention recently -- Macy's (http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/04/23/macys-leave-the-car-at-home/), W Hotels (http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/04/22/concierge-id-like-a-bike-please/), J Crew (http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/04/21/bike-riding-still-in-vogue/) -- but the most substantial business-led effort to improve the city's cycling environment this year may have come from Duane Reade. The omnipresent drugstore chain has asked the city to install bike racks at all its New York locations -- 150 in Manhattan plus dozens more in the outer boroughs.

Okay, this doesn't quite match the awards criteria, which are more about providing a welcome environment for employees who commute by bike, but it is a very public-spirited step that deserves major kudos. The request is the largest ever received by the CityRacks program (http://nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bikerack.shtml) -- "by a comfortable margin" -- said DOT spokesman Ted Timbers. And the story behind the Duane Reade bike racks suggests another award -- one for individual activism.
Duane Reade's request was prompted by none other than Streetsblog reader and frequent commenter Dave "Paco" Abraham.


Paco (above), a television producer for Sharp Entertainment, describes himself as the kind of person who asks everyone in the office to use the other side of the printer paper. About a year and a half ago, he started commuting by bike on a regular basis, from his apartment in Cobble Hill to his workplace in Chelsea. The experience gave him a new perspective on the city. "That got me thinking about all the little details that help a biker out," he said.

He had already been in touch with Duane Reade about waste-reducing measures like providing cloth totes instead of plastic bags, and the idea for bike racks seemed like a natural progression. About six months ago, he made his pitch.

"Every corner has a Duane Reade or Starbucks," he said. "If every one of them had a bike rack, then that’s more for everyone to use. Cyclists and Duane Reade would benefit. A messenger can just run in for chapstick or bottle of water or whatever they need. Or a guy in a suit can get his deodorant right before going to work. No one has to hunt for a place to park their bike." (See the full text of his email pitch below.)

His contact at Duane Reade was very receptive to the idea. "When we heard Dave’s proposal we thought it was a great idea to give our customers easier access to an environmentally friendly means of transportation," said Lauren Purdo, marketing manager at Duane Reade. "Adding the convenience of bike racks, if that helps cyclists gain better access to our store, then we’re happy to provide that."

While the racks will come at no cost to Duane Reade -- DOT's CityRacks program handles the installation -- the company could easily have made an excuse about "sidewalk clutter" or some other perceived risk, and dismissed the idea. Instead, they embraced the notion of a rack in front of every location.

Duane Reade's bulk request now gets mixed in with CityRacks' general installation list. Each store site will be evaluated, and DOT will install the racks over the course of the next six to nine months, according to their press office.

Asked whether he had any advice for other bike advocates who want to float a proposition to the private sector, Paco said a well-thought-out phone call can be enough to get the ball rolling. "If people have good ideas, it never hurts to reach out to a company," he said. "Definitely be persistent about it... It's not like I had a brilliant idea, it's just a little thing that could make a bigger difference."

"If you think out both sides of it, try to see it from their eyes," he added. "Either they may want to do good, or they may see a business opportunity." Here's how Paco made his case in an email to Duane Reade:

a. the Cityracks program of the NYC department of Transportation provides free sidewalk bike racks upon request. Just as Duane Reade is known for having a Chase ATM at every location, perhaps wherever street logistics allow, there could also be a bike rack.
b. a bike rack in front of every Duane Reade means a commitment to the growing community of urban cyclists in NYC
c. a bike rack in front of each location also implies more pedestrian traffic and therefore is likely to bring more customers. If you have to stand in front of a Duane Reade just to lock up your bike, you'll be more inclined to run in and grab whatever quick items needed, or perhaps do a substantial shopping and throw purchases in the duane reade tote bag which goes in your bike basket. it appeals to the messenger who needs chapstick for his windburned lips, or the business suit biker who needs deodorant before heading into a shareholders meeting.
Photos: Bikes - Paco Abraham; Paco - Jenny Wiese


© 2008 The Open Planning Project.

May 1st, 2008, 01:32 PM

Time Out NY has posted 4 great bike routes in the city (2 Manhattan, 1 Queens, 1 Brooklyn) as part of a biking insert in the latest issue.

You can check them out here:


May 1st, 2008, 03:34 PM
Greenway Along Brooklyn Waterfront Begins To Take Shape
Cycling Tour From Greenpoint to Red Hook Will Give Preview
By Amy Crawford
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, published online 04-30-2008

BROOKLYN — When his daughter, Jordan, was 10, Milton Puryear bought her a bicycle. The pair rode across the Brooklyn Bridge and through Manhattan, to ride along the bike path in Hudson River Park. It would be the first and last time.

“It was too stressful,” Milton Puryear recalled. Jordan is 17 now, he said, and “she’s never ridden her bike in New York City since.”

Puryear grew up in Washington, D.C., where the streets were a little friendlier.

“You could take your bike out of the garage and ride in the street,” he said. “Not that many kids in New York have a bike. When I was a kid, most kids had a bike.”

Puryear moved to Brooklyn in 1978, and over the years he has watched the Brooklyn waterfront change, its once busy warehouses and docks falling into disuse. It would be great, he thought, if the blighted shoreline could be used by local residents for strolling, jogging and riding a bike.

Today, Puryear is vice chairman and director of planning for the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, which is organizing the construction of a landscaped pedestrian and bicycle route that will eventually stretch from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint.

Though most of the greenway is still in the planning phase, the Greenway Initiative is offering cyclists a preview of the route between Greenpoint and Red Hook, as guides lead a 10-mile ride this Saturday morning.

‘Great Waterfront Views’

“What they’re going to see is the route and some great waterfront views,” said Puryear. “But they won’t see anything built.”

The Greenway Initiative has organized an annual preview ride since 2003, but this year, the landscaped route is a little closer to becoming a reality. The first segment will be built along Columbia Street in Cobble Hill, and Puryear expects half a mile to be completed this summer. Community Board 1, representing Williamsburg and Greenpoint, just approved the project at its April meeting, and designers will begin work on the five-mile stretch in Northern Brooklyn this summer. Old warehouses are now being demolished for the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, through which part of the Greenway will also run. “The overall picture is that we’re moving into design,” said Puryear. “We’re hoping that we can get five miles constructed within the next two years. When you’re coordinating with multiple agencies,” he added, “it can take years.”

Funding Is Key

Funding, Puryear said, is another challenge.

So far, Rep. Nydia Velázquez, whose district includes most of the future greenway, “has done most of the heavy lifting,” said Puryear. Velázquez, who has called Brooklyn’s shoreline “one of the greatest waterfronts in the nation,” secured $6.6 million in federal funding for the Red Hook, Navy Yard and Greenpoint sections and $8 million for the Sunset Park section.

“She’s definitely been dedicated to the greenway,” said Gail O’Connor, a spokesperson for Velázquez. While this is an excellent start, said Puryear, the entire greenway could cost as much as $50 million. Borough President Marty Markowitz has sponsored planning money from New York state, but the initiative still needs construction funds. Puryear also plans to approach City Council members Letitia James and David Yassky for funding. Meanwhile, private donations support the initiative’s operating expenses.

Noah Budnick, projects director for Transportation Alternatives, said the cycling and pedestrian advocacy group was doing whatever it could to support the Greenway Initiative. Budnick said the greenway would enable more people to commute to work, which is especially important in areas that are far from the subway.

“In Greenpoint, Red Hook, even in DUMBO, transit access is very much lacking,” Budnick said. “People are happy to have the prospect of a safe, car-free bike route.”

Budnick, who bikes the six miles from his home in Bedford-Stuyvesant to his office in Chelsea every day, has a personal stake in making bicycling to work safer. In 2005, he was badly injured when his bicycle hit a pothole on Sands Street, near the off ramp for the Manhattan Bridge bike path. But, poorly maintained roads are not the only hazard cyclists have to contend with in New York, he said. Beware of (Some) Drivers

“There are drivers who speed, cars parked in bike lanes, lawlessness. New York drivers aren’t looking for cyclists,” he said.

Eventually, Budnick hopes there will be protected bike paths branching off from the completed greenway, taking cyclists safely into neighborhoods and to parks, transit and the East River bridges. Though the greenway is still a long way off, Brooklyn cyclists are already looking forward to it.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Thomas Kim, who owns Verrazano Bicycles in Bay Ridge. Kim, who bikes a mile to work every day, said that more of his customers would commute by bike if they had a route that was safe from traffic.

Phil Cabbad, who owns R & A Cycles in Park Slope, agreed that biking in Brooklyn could sometimes be tough.

“Cars don’t even look at bikes,” Cabbad said.


(Funny, I more often have a beef with pedestrians than cars. Just the other day, a woman was standing in the middle of the bike lane on Bleeker st. We played chicken, and as she stepped back on the curb--where pedestrians belong--she cursed me. As though I had done something wrong by not swerving into the car lane, which was filled with speeding cabs, so as to respect HER "right" to stand in the the designated bike lane.)

May 3rd, 2008, 06:06 AM
May 2, 2008

5 Boroughs by Bike This Weekend

Photograph from the Bike New York/5 Boro Bike tour


The 5 Boro Bike Tour is this Sunday (http://home2.nyc.gov/html/sports/html/bike_new_york.html), the one day of the year where 30,000 cyclists will have total right of way throughout New York City. The tour begins in Battery Park and ends in Staten Island after winding 42 miles throughout New York. In addition to the approximately 30,000 riders, The 5 Boro Bike Tour happens with the help of about 1,500 volunteers. Video and photos of last year's event can be seen at Bike NY's site here (http://www.bikenewyork.org/rides/fbbt/photo_gallery.html).

There will be major street closings to accommodate the tour, so driving in the city is probably not the best idea Sunday. There is a schedule (http://onlytheblogknowsbrooklyn.typepad.com/only_the_blog_knows_brook/2008/05/five-boro-bike.html), however, so plan accordingly. There's a photo contest associated with the tour, although organizers request that picture takers pull over before snapping their pics. Past winning entries are viewable here (http://www.bikenewyork.org/rides/fbbt/photo_contest.html).

And while Sunday is devoted to bikes, it would be negligent to not mention Saturday's Great Saunter (http://www.shorewalkers.org/great.html). Organized by Shorewalkers--a group whose purpose is to highlight the waterfronts of NYC--the Great Saunter is a 32-mile walk around the perimeter of Manhattan Island. Ambitious New Yorkers will no doubt be participating in both events.

By Dave Hogarty (http://gothamist.com/staff.php#nyc_daveh) in Arts and Events (http://gothamist.com/arts_and_events/)

2003-2008 Gothamist LLC (http://www.gothamistllc.com/). All rights reserved

The Benniest
May 3rd, 2008, 09:19 AM
Very cool. Thanks for this Brian. :cool:

May 4th, 2008, 05:44 AM
Bike Lanes, Intended for Safety, Become Traffic Battlegrounds

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/05/04/nyregion/04bike.span.jpg Robert Stolarik for The New York Times
A delivery truck double-parked in a bike lane on East Ninth Street. Drivers often ignore regulations that forbid blocking the lanes.

By COLIN MOYNIHAN (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/colin_moynihan/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: May 4, 2008

James Frederick was in Manhattan cycling west in the Prince Street bike lane on a recent morning when a green Ford parked in the lane forced him to swerve into the narrow roadway where cars and vans were rushing past.


“It’s kind of scary because the cars next to you just keep going,” said Mr. Frederick, 49, a messenger who lives in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. “The city just put this lane in a few months ago, but it’s not respected by drivers.”

On streets clogged by pollution-emitting cars, buses and trucks, New York City’s quest to establish reasonably safe cycling paths by adding to its roughly 300 miles of bicycle lanes has been welcomed by cyclists. But the lanes are often battlegrounds between cyclists and drivers who seem undeterred by the clearly demarcated paths.

Although city regulations forbid cars from blocking bike lanes — a violation that carries a $115 fine — those rules are routinely ignored by drivers who use the lanes as parking spots, loading zones and places to pick up passengers. Such maneuvers have enraged cyclists who say they are unlawful, rude and dangerous.

Some bicyclists have resorted to inventive means to discourage the incursions. On a recent weeknight, nine men and women rode their bikes through the West Village on an outing — unsanctioned by the city — intended to make the lanes more prominent.

At a bike lane on Hudson Street near Christopher Street, one rider placed a cardboard stencil on the pavement, and others covered it with white spray paint. When they lifted the stencil an image of an automobile bisected by a diagonal line was left behind.

“I want to remind drivers that it is not all right to be in bike lanes,” said Barbara Ross, 44, a human resources manager, who lives on the Lower East Side and has been a volunteer for Times Up!, an environmental group that promotes nonpolluting transportation. “A lot of drivers don’t think twice about parking in a bike lane because no one tells them not to.”

Over the next two hours, the bicyclists roamed north, creating a variety of painted images including ones in the shape of a bicycle with a heart and the words “love lane.”

While painting messages on public streets is illegal, Ms. Ross and her companions said that they meant their markings as a service. Most bike lanes in New York are separated from cars only by stripes of white paint, they said, and additional reminders are likely to help cyclists and, maybe, yield more respect from drivers.

The city has also been examining bike lanes with an eye toward improvements. The Transportation Department has widened some bike lanes and added painted buffer zones to further separate vehicles from bikes. Some bike lanes in Brooklyn and Manhattan have been painted green to make them more visible.

And in a report last month, the department announced that it was continuing a project begun in 2006 to add 200 miles of bike lanes to city streets over three years. That plan would also create lanes that connect highly trafficked roads and lead to popular destinations, like parks and bridges. Agency officials said that 110 of those 200 miles would be finished by the end of June.

“We believe that a connected network of bicycle lanes throughout the city increases safety, comfort and mobility for cyclists,” the transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, said in a statement.
While talk of bike lanes might seem a recent development in a city not always regarded as being bike-friendly, New York was home to the country’s first bike path, in 1894 — along Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn connecting Prospect Park and Coney Island, according the Transportation Department’s Web site.

In 1970, Mayor John V. Lindsay (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/john_v_lindsay/index.html?inline=nyt-per) joined about 1,000 people in a bike ride down Fifth Avenue sponsored by a group campaigning for bike lanes. But his support for the group waned and the campaign essentially fizzled.

Ten years later, Mayor Edward I. Koch (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/edward_i_koch/index.html?inline=nyt-per) became frustrated when bike lanes that he had built on main thoroughfares like Fifth Avenue and Broadway, which were separated from motor vehicles by asphalt islands, were criticized by drivers and pedestrians and, even worse, ignored by many cyclists. As a result, he ordered that the islands be removed.

But Mr. Koch’s idea to create a barrier between bikes and cars was revived last year when the city built a special lane on Ninth Avenue, from 16th to 23rd Streets, in which a line of parking spaces separates a bike lane from three vehicular lanes. Cyclists have generally praised the project, but many complain that vehicles still routinely stop in other lanes around the city.

In response, some cyclists have handed out fake but realistic-looking summonses to drivers in bike lanes, leading at times to arguments. Others said they have slapped stickers on cars that look like those pasted on vehicles that fail to make way for the Sanitation Department street sweepers.

One cyclist has started a Web site, nyc.mybikelane.com (http://nyc.mybikelane.com/), where people can post photographs of motor vehicles in bike lanes. Photos have shown livery sedans, armored cars, city vehicles and newspaper delivery trucks.
Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the Police Department, said that there had been a significant increase over the last year in summonses issued to drivers for double parking and moving violations, and for standing in areas, including bike lanes, where that is not permitted.

“Motorists who park or stand in bike lanes can expect to be ticketed,” he said.

And what might the nighttime campaign to give some bike paths greater prominence yield? A visit the next day to some bike lanes in Lower Manhattan found several cars and trucks standing or parked on the paths.

On Second Avenue, Lynn Roman, a 42-year-old construction company employee, sat behind the wheel of a gray Toyota Land Cruiser just north of St. Mark’s Place.

Ms. Roman said she planned to be there only briefly while a passenger ran an errand but added that she rarely paid attention to bike lanes.

“I have other things on my mind,” she said. “This is the city. Bike lanes belong in parks.”

A few moments later, Jon Weiner, 34, a sound engineer from TriBeCa who was riding a BMX bike, said he had come to expect a cavalier attitude from drivers in bike lanes.

“A lot of them don’t seem to have any idea that they’re doing it,” he said. “And if they do they don’t care.”


Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

The Benniest
May 10th, 2008, 10:53 PM
The New York Daily News has released some pictures of last weekends Five Boro Bike Tour:

Riders made their way along East 138th Street in the Bronx as part of the Five Boro Bike Tour.

A pair of riders approach the Third Avenue Bridge as they prepare to leave the Bronx for Manhattan.

Two other riders stop for a break along Third Avenue before joining their fellow riders in crossing the bridge.

Five Boro Bike Tour riders cross the Third Avenue Bridge.

Some 30,000 riders made the trek, including a trip over the Third Avenue Bridge.

The Third Avenue Bridge is part of a 42-mile course around
New York City.

The 42-mile tour also led riders through Bay Ridge on the Belt Parkway.

The riders travel through Bay Ridge on the Belt Parkway,
with a view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the distance.

Copyright 2008 New York Daily News

May 21st, 2008, 10:06 PM
I am considering buying a bike, mostly to ride on the paths along the Hudson. I am woefully ignorant however. Any suggestions on a decent bike? What should I be looking for and at what price range?


May 25th, 2008, 08:02 PM
Ok, so I have done some research and I THINK I have decided on a bike.

Can anyone comment on the TREK 7.5 FX hybrid? http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/2008/road/fx/75fx/

I test road a bunch of bikes this week and this one felt real good. Great ride which I am told is the result of the carbon forks. Light weigh, shifts well good speed and acceleration and handles superbly at least based on my very limited experience.

Comments appreciated.

The Benniest
May 27th, 2008, 04:55 PM
Regarding the 5 Boro Bike Tour (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=229242&postcount=105), here is a short film from Streetsblog:


"Tour de Brooklyn" :D

May 28th, 2008, 07:43 AM
hi nyc bikers,
i have a question-- i'm thinking about buying a folding bike to commute from brooklyn to manhattan. does anyone use one for this kind of commute? especially on a bridge? just wondering if they'll hold up. I'm looking into downtube (http://www.downtube.com) bikes, but i'm not sure which one would be best. Any advice on these (http://www.downtube.com/ss-index.html) or other varieties would be greatly appreciated :-)

May 29th, 2008, 04:14 PM
May 29, 2008, 3:47 pm

Some Reasons the Bike Always Wins

By Jennifer 8. Lee (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/author/jlee/)

A commuting race between a bicyclist, a driver and a subway rider ends in a victory for the bicyclist (Photo courtesy Transportation Alternatives)

A bicyclist, a driver and a subway rider walked into a bar.

No, actually they didn’t. The three actually raced from Fort Greene to Union Square during today’s morning commute to see who got there fastest in 7th Annual Great NYC Commuter Race, (http://www.transalt.org/newsroom/releases/2320) held by Transportation Alternatives (http://www.transalt.org/) (essentially an anti-car lobbying group) (http://www.transalt.org/about). Think of it as a more modest version of a planes, trains and automobiles race (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9506E2DB113AF930A25750C0A9679C8B 63) between New York and Washington.

The race started at 7:40 a.m. at Connecticut Muffin, 423 Myrtle Avenue, at Clinton Avenue, Brooklyn, and finished at the corner of 14th Street and Union Square East.

The results: bicyclist wins at 16.5 minutes; the driver gets in at 22 minutes; and the subway rider transit was last with 29 minutes. That’s an intriguing result. (We’d thought the subway would have come earlier than the car given morning traffic.)

“New Yorkers care about the environment, but what New Yorkers really care about is their time,” said Wiley Norvell, the spokesman. “For a huge number of New Yorkers, bicycle commuting is the fastest way to get to work. If you have more than one train for your commute. Chances are a bicycle is going to get there faster.”

But then City Room learned something that raised eyebrows.

“The bicyclist has always won,” Mr. Norvell said.

As in seven out of seven times? It was like one of those to-good-to-be-true records like when a dictator of a developing nation wins election with like 95 percent of the vote (http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/03/01/7396/) (or multinational banks publicly report suspiciously clustered borrowing rates (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121200703762027135.html?mod=hpp_us_pageone)).

Mr. Norvell tried to explain the bike’s dominance. “It’s the fastest way between any two points in New York City,” he said.

That seemed a bit of an aggressive claim. What about from the far flung corners of Flushing, Queens? Biking from way out there didn’t seem like it would be practical compared to an express train.

“You could hypothetically speaking, find a faster transit commute, like from one side of the Long Island Rail Road to the other,” he said, but he tried to argue again that the bike was the fastest — in general. “The average New York City commute is 45 minutes. It’s the longest commute of anyone in the United States. The average bicycle commute in New York City is 30 minutes.”

This City Room reporter, who has taken a few statistics courses in her time, pointed out that while this may be true, it does not necessarily mean the bike is faster. (After all, people who live closer may simply prefer to bike. There are all kinds of biases that could explain that statistic. The Department of Transportation’s not-particularly-scientific annual bicycle survey from 2007 (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/transportation/td_bike_survey_results.shtml) shows a dead zone in Queens in terms of bicycle commuting (http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/05/10/where-do-nyc-bike-commuters-come-from/)).

That’s true, Mr. Norvell conceded.

So how is the contest route chosen? Do they vary the type of routes? Mr. Norvell said the race is generally from another borough into Manhattan, paralleling most commuters’ routes. The last two race routes were from Williamsburg to Bellevue Hospital and from Juniors on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to Columbus Circle. At which point City Room pointed out, it seems like the only other borough in Transportation Alternative’s world is Brooklyn. (Not so, he said before that, they had used points in Queens for the starting line. And next year they might move it out of Brooklyn). Either way, we perceive an anti-Queens bias despite the fact that the Queens population is 2.2 million, about comparable to Brooklyn’s 2.4 million.

There were also some other factors in the race to consider: it was a sidewalk-to-sidewalk race, meaning that the bicyclist did not have to lock up the bike and the driver did not have to look for parking — which is biased against straphangers.

Anyway, Mr. Norvell finally acknowledged, “The purpose was to showcase the time competitiveness of the bicycle.”

Right, that’s what we thought.


Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

May 31st, 2008, 10:01 PM
The bike lanes on 9th Avenue:


Trees too!!!

June 1st, 2008, 07:50 AM
And less parking at the curb !!! http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/images/icons/icon14.gif

June 20th, 2008, 10:30 AM

Friday, June 20, 2008

Join our free bicycle rental program today! Bike Around Downtown makes it so easy for you and your family to bike clear around Lower Manhattan's greenway and beyond.

It's simple to register, reserve and ride! Just click on the link below to get started. Registrants must be 18 years of age or older and adults can reserve for a child. Children's bikes as well as tagalongs, wagons and bayseats are available free of charge.

Once you register, reserved bicycles may be picked up at Bike and Roll NYC, located at the South Street Seaport, under the FDR Drive at Fulton and South Streets.

There are 30 free bicycles available for each of the sessions below:

Monday through Friday:
• 9:00am-11:00am
• 11:30am-2:00pm
• 4:00pm-7:00pm

Saturday and Sunday:
• 9:00am-1:00pm
• 2:00pm-7:00pm


Bicycles are available on a first-come, first-served basis/ Pre-registration is required.

Pre-register (http://www.bikearounddowntown.com/) and join the program now http://www.downtownny.com/images/bikearound/arrow.gif (http://www.bikearounddowntown.com/)

Once you have pre-registered and received your welcome email, you can then reserve (http://www.bikearounddowntown.com/Login.aspx?object=res) a bicycle http://www.downtownny.com/images/bikearound/arrow.gif (http://www.bikearounddowntown.com/Login.aspx?object=res)

For the New York City Department of Transportation information on bicycle parking, maps and safety: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bikemain.shtml (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bikemain.shtml)

Bike Around Downtown is a program of the Alliance for Downtown New York with support from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

© 2008 Alliance for Downtown New York.

August 2nd, 2008, 09:22 PM
And pedestrians wonder why bikers show them no mercy...
After what I witnessed and became a part of tonight,
I can give you one good reason....
They're A$$ wipes :mad:
Tonight on the bike path I was involved in an accident- a pile up if you will,
because of 7 clueless, arrogant pedestrians.
These dips were meandering down the bike path,
(even though the river front walkway is open).
Without any warning they all stopped, started spreading out, across the whole path,
and without looking around them backing up into the oncoming hordes!
As I was forced to stop, a roller bladder (:mad:) tried to
go around me- forced to stop as well.
As these dips continued their backward blockade (to get a better look at a building across the street),
two bikers in the opposite lane (veering to miss these wipes) collided into one another-
then into the roller bladder- me and the pile up began:eek:
These idiots just stood there like deer in headlights- not asking
if anybody was hurt, not offering a helping hand- no concern at all.
One actually had the nerve to get pissy cause he almost got hit!:cool: If only he had;)!
Luckily I walked away with some minor bruises on my arm- I know I will be feeling them in the morning!
If you don't have wheels: KEEP THE EFF OFF THE BIKE PATH!
It's not a sidewalk, it was built for BIKES!
Ohhh yeah...keep the pedicabs OFF THE PATH!!! They're slow, wide, and get in everyone's way!
end of rant!:o

The Benniest
August 3rd, 2008, 10:31 AM
Wow.....I hope you yelled at them scumonkey! :rolleyes: :p

I recently bought a bike here and would be furious if someone did that around here. Of course, what's there to look at here?! Corn?! :D

August 8th, 2008, 11:30 AM

Bikers don’t walk a 1/2 mile in pedestrian’s shoes

By Julie Shapiro

It was an unusual sight for the pedestrian walkway along West St.: A man in business clothes and a helmet with sweat pouring down his face ran alongside his bike. He gripped the handlebars as he ran, and every few steps he hopped a foot onto one pedal, coasting for several yards.

Joel, 46, was late for work at the World Financial Center. He could have jumped on his bike and ridden the rest of the way — which would have been easier and faster — but he was obeying the neon orange signs posted at intervals along the walkway: “Cyclists Must Dismount and Walk Bikes.”

“It’s dangerous to fly through here,” he said, catching his breath. “I have kids, and if I were pushing my kids through here on a stroller, I’d be concerned.”

Joel, who did not want to give his last name, was exiting the pedestrian tunnel in front of the Goldman Sachs construction between Murray and Vesey Sts. The dimly lit tunnel is only about 7 feet wide, barely enough space for three people to walk comfortably side by side.

Cyclists are supposed to dismount and walk their bikes from Chambers St. all the way down to Albany St., including the tunnel, a distance of about half a mile, but few obey the rule. On a recent morning, dozens of cyclists — including commuters, delivery people and recreational bikers — ignored the dismount rule and sped past pedestrians. Few of them slowed down. In 45 minutes, Joel was the only one who walked his bike through the tunnel. Pedestrians say the speeding cyclists make the path dangerous, and it’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt.

Daisy Melendez, 27, said a cyclist came within inches of hitting her baby stroller several days ago.

“They don’t slow down,” she said. “They go so fast…. They shouldn’t permit bikes at all here.”

The State Department of Transportation put the dismount rule into effect last fall because the Route 9A reconstruction narrowed the bike path in some areas and combined it with the pedestrian walkway in others. The high volume of pedestrian traffic and the surrounding construction convinced State D.O.T. to force bikers to dismount, said Adam Levine, an agency spokesperson.

The dismount policy will last until December 2009, Levine said.

The State D.O.T. considered diverting cyclists to a path along North End Ave. or along the Battery Park City esplanade, which would have allowed people to stay on their bikes. But North End Ave. had too much construction, particularly the towers Milstein Properties is building at Sites 23 and 24, Levine said, and the esplanade was too crowded with pedestrians to add commuter bikes to the mix, said Leticia Remauro, spokesperson for the Battery Park City Authority.

“The esplanade was never designed to be a thoroughfare,” Remauro said. “It was always designed to be passive recreation space.”

State D.O.T. has flaggers at intersections along West St. to direct traffic and tell cyclists to dismount, Levine said. But their first priority is to ensure the smooth flow of vehicular traffic, and they will only enforce the dismount rule if they have time, Levine said. Since the flaggers have to stay posted at the intersections, they don’t enforce the rule on the path itself.

State D.O.T. has no plans to add more flaggers, Levine said. State and City D.O.T. are working on a new enforcement solution, said Judy Norinsky, Community Board 1’s community liaison.

But getting cyclists to walk their bikes for a half mile takes more than just telling them to do so.

“I tell them to get off, but they don’t listen,” said a woman who was directing traffic at Murray and West Sts. on a recent morning. “I can’t make them get off. I tell them please, but they don’t want to.”

The flagger, who did not want to give her name, was working for Tishman Construction, the contractor on the Goldman site. Richard Kielar, a Tishman spokesperson, said Tishman staff is not required to enforce the D.O.T.’s rule.

“The flag person was just trying to be helpful,” he said.

One cyclist who decided to stay on her bike was Jenny Lager, in her 40s, who recently pedaled along the pedestrian path on her way to work. When she passes through the Goldman Sachs tunnel, she removes her sunglasses to watch for pedestrians, but walking her bike would make her commute from Chelsea to lower Broadway too long, she said.

“It’s too much of an inconvenience,” she said of dismounting. “You’re in enough control that you’re not going to hit anybody. Everyone is careful.”

Lager said she goes more slowly through the tunnel and calls out to pedestrians so they know to move to the side.

“It’s annoying when they come through,” said Pat Zaccoli, 53, who was walking to work in the World Financial Center. “They should get off…. If two people are walking, it can be a problem.”

It can also be dangerous: Tom Goodkind, a C.B. 1 member, saw a bike hit a woman in the leg last Saturday. He said the woman stopped a group of five cyclists as they zoomed through the Goldman tunnel at over 15 miles per hour, and she told the cyclists they needed to dismount. The cyclists started yelling at the woman, and one of them intentionally ran his bike into her, leaving a mark on her white pants, Goodkind said.

The woman screamed for security, and a guard with Tishman asked if she wanted an ambulance, but the woman limped away, Goodkind said.

Ruth Ohman, another community board member, agreed that the cyclists make the path dangerous.

“I have had close calls,” Ohman said. “It was scary…. The cyclists pay no attention.”

Ohman grew up in southern California, where all cyclists registered for licenses at age 12. She thinks New York needs a licensing system, and she wants to see the police issue tickets to cyclists who break rules.

Dennis Graff, a steamfitter on the Goldman site, thinks pedestrians are overreacting.

“What do you want, a four-lane highway?” he asked as he left the site recently. “People are crybabies.”

Then he hunched over, imitating a little old lady, and called out in a creaking voice to the cyclists on the path: “You’re going too fast, sonny!”

The cyclists ignored him.


Cyclists are supposed to dismount and walk their bikes from Chambers St. all the way down to Albany St., including the tunnel, a distance of about half a mile,Not correct. The bikeway and walkway are still separated from Chambers to Murray, and again from the Wintergarden to Liberty. The bikeway segment in front of the WFC is often blocked by tourists who think they get a better view of the WTC site by moving six feet closer.

August 8th, 2008, 12:43 PM

Correct. The tunnel and the area immediately in front of what I think is the Goldman Sachs building (sidewalk around a turn) are the areas of most congestion and potential collision. It is tough to ask bikers to dismount even for that stretch but the peds have a legitimate beef on this one.

August 8th, 2008, 01:11 PM
Easy solution?


You put those ribs in there and it makes everything except expensive mountain bikes uncmfortable to ride through at speed.

Caltrops might work also, but they are a pain to maintain. ;)

August 8th, 2008, 01:13 PM
Wow. I ride my bike 11miles to work.... all off road. Me, myself, and I. Have not seen another rider yet. It's lonely here in North Houston. :(


August 8th, 2008, 01:40 PM
Easy solution?


You put those ribs in there and it makes everything except expensive mountain bikes uncmfortable to ride through at speed.

Caltrops might work also, but they are a pain to maintain. ;)

Better solution would be to finish off the bike route.

August 8th, 2008, 04:53 PM
You mean to Re-Finish the bike path (as it was already finished before they tore it up)!
That won't work until they finish off the HRP so there will be no excuse for peds on the bike path,
or bikes on the walk way. Then maybe they will start writing out tickets to dweebs walking the BP,
the way they already do to bikers on the foot path.

August 8th, 2008, 09:07 PM
^^ what he said.

August 9th, 2008, 10:23 AM
last time I was through there the dismount area started at least as far south as Liberty Street and continued north past Goldman Sachs.

Cyclists should realize if we don't make some smart decisions and police ourselves then others will push for policing us by rules and force.

For a cyclist in that tunnel to say "You’re in enough control that you’re not going to hit anybody" is somewhat ludicrous. Pedestrians shouldn't have to be looking over their shoulder and watching every move & step over that 1/2 mile stretch.

Perhaps the cyclists on that stretch should jump onto the West Side Hiway and travel with the rest of the moving vehicles if they're so hellbent on riding rather than dismounting.

August 11th, 2008, 09:04 AM
Sorry SM, I did not thnik it was a construction merge, I thought it was more of a space squish that made the two share the same passage for a bit (there are areas up a bit north on the bike path that squeeze you down to single file. Kind of hard to blade with bikers there).

Anywho, I thought this was a permanent problem....

August 19th, 2008, 05:27 PM
August 19, 2008, 4:54 pm

New Bike Racks, Courtesy of David Byrne

By Sewell Chan (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/author/schan/)

The city has installed nine new bike racks designed by the musician David Byrne of Talking Heads. Each rack has an evocative name. Top row, left to right: MoMA, Olde Times Square and Villager. Middle row, left to right: Coffee Cup, Wall Street and Ladies’ Mile. Bottom row, left to right: Hipster, Chelsea and Jersey. (Photos: New York City Department of Transportation)

New York City’s bicycle racks have suddenly become much more hip and colorful.

The city’s Department of Transportation, in partnership with the art gallery PaceWildenstein, announced today that it had installed nine temporary bike racks designed by the musician and biking enthusiast David Byrne (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/david_byrne/index.html).

The nine racks — in shiny red, black and silver — are intended to promote bicycling, which has been a main emphasis of the current transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan. That emphasis includes Summer Streets (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/summerstreets/html/home/home.shtml), the program to close off a 6.9-mile north-south route for six hours on three consecutive Saturdays (this Saturday is the last day); the Cityracks (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bikerack.shtml) program, which provides free sidewalk racks for short-term bike parking; and a design competition (http://nycityracks.wordpress.com/) for newer, sleeker racks.

Not only was Mr. Byrne, of Talking Heads (http://www.talking-heads.net/), a judge in that competition, but he also decided to submit his own designs (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/09/arts/design/09bike.html).

“It was important to me that these new racks be the same thickness and material as the existing racks—to help identify them as practical bike racks and not just modern art,” Mr. Byrne said. “The locations about as perfect as one could imagine — Wall Street for the dollar sign and Bergdorf’s for the giant high heel!”

Eight of the new racks were installed in Manhattan, with the other in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

“By bringing attractive yet functional sculptures to our streets, we are elevating the profile of cycling, and we believe that more and more people will begin to think about cycling as a mode of transportation, and not just a mode of recreation,” Ms. Sadik-Khan said in a statement. “Regular bike riders have an eagle eye for our current bike racks but these nine installations will capture the attention of all New Yorkers.”

The nine racks will be removed about 11 months from now; they were made of durable materials but are intended as temporary public art, not a permanent installation. The department explained:

These new racks will be easy to distinguish from the city’s other 5,000 bike racks, but were constructed with steel with a powder coat to resemble the square tubing from which the current racks are made. Additionally, they will bear identifying plaques. DOT is also developing marketing concepts for the racks, including a bike route map to guide cyclists to tour all nine.

The names and locations of the nine racks follow:

The Jersey: Northwest corner of Ninth Avenue and 39th Street, near the Lincoln Tunnel
The MoMA: South side of West 54th Street, east of the Avenue of the Americas
The Ladies’ Mile: West side of Fifth Avenue, north of 57th Street (in front of Bergdorf’s)
The Chelsea: In front of 530 West 25th Street, east of 11th Avenue (in front of PaceWildenstein Gallery)
The Hipster: West side of Bedford Avenue, near North Sixth Street, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
The Olde Times Square: South side of West 44th Street, west of Seventh Avenue
The Villager: In front of 536 La Guardia Place, between West Third and Bleecker Streets
The Wall Street: North side of 82 Wall Street, west of Water Street
The Coffee Cup: West side of Amsterdam Avenue, between West 110th and 111th Streets

Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

August 19th, 2008, 05:49 PM
Those are ugly and impractical bike racks.

Toronto has the best and they can be easily retrofitted to parking meters and signposts.


August 19th, 2008, 05:55 PM

Those are ugly, and this is not?

August 19th, 2008, 06:06 PM
Those are ugly and impractical bike racks.Not...They are temporary art installations which double as bike racks ;)
Where is the art in your example, no creativity at all?
Even Arlington Va. did it better better than the one you posted- and same design!

August 19th, 2008, 10:02 PM
I don't see how the Arlington ones are better than those of Toronto.
Toronto's are adaptable to existing posts which are not just bolted into the pavement. The design in the Arlington ones also reduces the usable area of the ring. They might look pretty, but they aren't practical. Toronto has a simple and elegant solution that works with existing infrastructure and isn't something that you can steal the whole thing with just a socket wrench.

Note: I have actually used the Toronto ones.

August 20th, 2008, 12:36 AM
Got news for you...
the caption that went with my photo example said:
"The city of Arlington, VA first experimented by replacing
the tops of old meters with lacquered steel bicycle icons"
I also believe that the icon just gives you that much more (not less)
to attach to AND, it sure is a lot easier on the eyes than that
proletariat designed version you posted...
I know which one I'd rather see on the street ;)

note: I've actually used the ones in Arlington

August 20th, 2008, 11:06 AM
How can you beat Mudflap Tammy?

August 20th, 2008, 11:22 AM
Wouldn't it be something if the cyclists on this forum posted photos of their bikes at each of Mr Byrne's racks????? hint, hint. :):D:eek::confused::(:mad::o:rolleyes::cool::p;)

August 20th, 2008, 01:30 PM
I think the Byrne racks are very nice, but impractical. that $ one has almost nowhere you can actually loop a lock to! (just between the two ||).

Anyway, I think the ones for Toronto are practical and not an eyesore, but they are not attractive either. The Arlington ones have a bit more to them, but they still strike me as utilitarian rather than artistic. Pleasant not eye-catching.

Bike racks just need to be at convenient locations WHERE THERE IS ROOM FOR THEM, and where a jostle from a passerby will not send the bikes sliding to the ground where pedestriand need to walk over or around.

Hooks with a latch crossbar might work the best for most standard bicycles, but people might get themselves impaled on one... :rolleyes:...

September 30th, 2008, 06:46 PM
September 30, 2008, 4:49 pm

10 Finalists Picked in Bike-Rack Contest

By Sewell Chan (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/author/schan/)

One of these 10 finalists will become the official city bike rack design. Top row, left to right: Next Phase Studios of Boston; Andrew Lang and Henry Dobbs of London; Federico Otero of Lima, Peru. Middle row, left to right: Stephen Jaklitsch Architects of Manhattan; Jeff Miller and Andrea Ruggiero of Manhattan; Baroni & Valeriani Architects of Florence, Italy; Ian Mahaffy and Maarten De Greeve of Copenhagen, Denmark. Bottom row, left to right: Ignacio Cocchini of Astoria, Queens; Francis Anthony Bitonti/FADarch of Brooklyn; Open Thread Design of Brooklyn.

Updated, 6:30 p.m. |

After reviewing more than 200 entries from 24 states and 26 countries, a six-member design jury on Tuesday named 10 finalists in the CityRacks Design Competition (http://nycityracks.wordpress.com/) to create new, better-looking bicycle parking racks.

The winner will be announced on Oct. 24 during National Design Week (http://www.cooperhewitt.org/NDW/), an event sponsored by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (http://www.cooperhewitt.org/).
The city’s Department of Transportation has announced the goal of doubling bicycle commuting by 2015, and expanded bike-parking facilities are part of that plan. There are 5,000 or so CityRacks, which were first designed 10 years ago. As new racks are added — the goal is 1,000 per year — they will reflect the new design.

“These finalists each demonstrate an understanding of how bike parking in New York City can be attractive, functional and secure,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner. “From among these intriguing designs, the competition jury will identify the one that best meets the city’s needs for usable bike parking that will also generate greater interest in bicycle use in the city.”

Ten prototypes of the finalists’ designs have been installed at Astor Place, near “Alamo (The Cube),” the sculpture by Bernard Rosenthal that sits at Astor Place, mounted on a corner. Duplicates of the prototypes will also be installed at various places around the city, including the front of Borough Hall and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Queens, Fordham Plaza in the Bronx, the New-York Historical Society in Manhattan, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The competition jury will select first-, second- and third-place winners next month. The first-place winner will receive an additional $10,000 prize; in exchange for the prize, the top winner will be required to transfer intellectual property rights to the design to the city.

Two firms — RSVP Architecture Studio in Brooklyn and Jessica Lee and Anthony Lau of London — won a related competition to design indoor racks for office and apartment buildings.

The CityRacks Design Competition (http://nycityracks.wordpress.com/) asked designers across the world to participate, noting that “the city’s new bus stop shelters, newsstands, sheltered bike parking structures and public toilets serve as an exemplar of what the city seeks in street furniture meant to withstand the rigors of New York City sidewalks.”

The six-member jury included Ms. Sadik-Khan, the transportation commissioner; First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris; the artist and musician David Byrne (http://journal.davidbyrne.com/), who has designed nine bike racks of his own (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/19/new-bike-racks-courtesy-of-david-byrne/) in a separate, private effort;

Duncan Jackson, principal of BillingsJacksonDesign, which created the current bus-shelter design; Ellen Lupton, curator of contemporary design at the Cooper-Hewitt; and Craig Nevill-Manning, New York engineering director at Google.


Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

September 30th, 2008, 08:41 PM
They should pick 3 or 4 different designs. Too much same-same matchy-matchy design is going in all over the City. Corporate-think rules and it's getting tiresome.

And they'd better pick one where the bikes don't all end up lying flat on the sidewalk -- which seems to be the case for 1/2 of locked up bikes in NYC.

September 30th, 2008, 08:42 PM
^ agreed

October 1st, 2008, 01:36 PM
Same here.

They should do these things by neighbohood. The ones with more corporate sidewalk space (park avenue?) shoould be bigger, while ones on more crowded, older streets, like the flatiron or possibly even SoHo, should be a bit more industrial looking (Toronto or Arlington).

You don't wear the same pair of socks with everything, street "accessories" should be the same. Match where you are.

Maybe that was a flaw in the contest rules. Maybe the rules should have been looking for a SERIES of bike racks for various neighborhoods.....

So you can pick A, B or C all from the same design firm, or mix-and-match if you are so inclined.....

October 1st, 2008, 04:24 PM
TriBeCa have their own.


Article HERE (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=254547&postcount=90)

October 21st, 2008, 11:48 AM

The Tease Is Over: Greenway Link Delivers Delayed Gratification

by Ben Fried (http://www.streetsblog.org/author/ben-fried/) on October 21, 2008
We received two reports last night that the West Harlem Piers bike path -- a critical link in the Hudson River Greenway -- is finally open after several months of puzzling delay (http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/10/10/eyes-on-the-street-hudson-greenway-link-still-a-big-tease/). (NYCEDC informed Streetsblog last week that the hold up was indeed due to problems securing materials for a safety rail (http://www.columbiaspectator.com/node/55599).) Now the construction fence is down, and, as you can see in these (http://picasaweb.google.com/nycpaula01/WestHarlemPiersPark#5259586515715379378) photos (http://picasaweb.google.com/nycpaula01/WestHarlemPiersPark#5259586469632817778) from reader Paula Froke, cyclists are enjoying the unbroken stretch of greenway.
Streetsblogger Urbanis cheers the end of a long wait:

After raising a stink about it a few weeks ago, I was amazed to discover on my ride home this evening that the West Harlem Piers bike path was open -- yes, all the fencing was removed, and I sailed free and clear along the new bike path all the way to 135th Street, where it connects with the existing bike path running around Riverbank State Park. Not having to brave ten blocks of traffic on Riverside Drive was a dream.
More piers pics (http://picasaweb.google.com/nycpaula01/WestHarlemPiersPark#) from Paula after the jump.

November 22nd, 2008, 12:07 AM
http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/817/bike01cm0.th.jpg (http://img227.imageshack.us/my.php?image=bike01cm0.jpg) http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/3047/bike02qq9.th.jpg (http://img227.imageshack.us/my.php?image=bike02qq9.jpg)

http://www.downtownexpress.com/inside_dt_logo.gif (http://www.downtownexpress.com/index.html)

Lane isn’t ‘grand,’ cry some in Little Italy and Soho

Cyclists pedaling in the new, protected Grand St. bike lane near Lafayette St
on the “border” between Soho and Little Italy

A truck parked in the new bike lane between Centre and Baxter Sts
forced a cyclist onto the sidewalk on Monday, below.

Downtown Express photos by Jefferson Siegel

By Jefferson Siegel

A new, green-hued bike lane traversing Soho, Chinatown and Little Italy has many storeowners seeing red, fearful the lane’s presence will hurt business and create a dangerous situation.

Less than a month ago, the Department of Transportation installed the new lane along Grand St. between Varick and Chrystie Sts., using a design that physically separates the bike lane from traffic with a row of parked cars.

“It sounds like a good idea, but on this street, in particular, there’s not enough room,” said Ernest Rossi, owner of E. Rossi Co. Outside the door of Rossi’s longtime business lies 34-foot-wide Grand St., sporting a 5-foot-wide, green bike lane; a 3-foot-wide, painted buffer area; an 8-foot wide lane of parked cars; a 10-foot-wide lane of traffic, and a second lane of parking on the street’s opposite side.

Rossi said the north side of the street, where a simpler bike lane used to be, will soon be used for commercial parking.

“It will make the street even narrower,” he said. “A fire truck or an ambulance won’t be able to get through.”

On the block between Centre and Baxter Sts., a tractor-trailer from Quebec parked on the green-marked bike lane as workers from a corner store rushed up to the big rig to unload furniture.

“What can I do?” the driver asked. A cyclist was forced to pedal up onto the sidewalk to bypass the truck, which was clogging the designated lane.

Several business owners said they supported bike lanes, but all echoed Rossi’s belief that their narrow street was not conducive to one.

Ernest Lepore, president of the century-old Ferrara cafe and pastry shop, is himself a cyclist.

“I’ve been riding my bicycle in from Brooklyn since I was 16, so I’m for a bike lane,” Lepore said while sitting at a table in his popular shop. The tantalizing smell of baked goods did little to soothe his displeasure.

“Grand St. is an emergency thoroughfare,” Lepore continued. “Last week two fire trucks couldn’t make the turn,” onto Mott St., a fact several other business owners confirmed. “There’s no provision for cabs, tour buses, fire trucks or ambulances.” The cafe owner said deliveries to his establishment are now scheduled for before 11 a.m. daily because of the street congestion, which he said is caused by the new bike lane.

His sister, Adeline, noted the drop in business.

“There used to be 42 tour busses a day, now they’re down to 35,” she said. “Little Italy is now ‘Little, Little Italy.’ The bike lane prevents people from getting here.” The two said business was off 25 percent since the new lane was installed.

“This could be the demise of Little Italy,” Ernest said, adding, “I question how many more cyclists we’re going to create with this new bike lane.”

D.O.T. presented the lane proposal to Community Boards 2 and 3 in July. The agency told the boards Grand St. was a “popular cross-town bicycle route” and an essential bicycle network link to the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.

Before the bike lane was installed, several dozen concerned local business owners held a meeting with Councilmember Alan Gerson to express their opposition to the special, protected lane.

Ian Dutton, vice chairperson of C.B. 2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, said the board had sought input from the business community.

“The only formal communication the community board has received on the matter was a letter of support from a commercial building owner on Grand St.,” Dutton said.

“The design was initially made with the input of both the Sanitation and Fire departments, so their initial concerns should have been addressed,” Dutton said of local shopkeepers. “It’s possible, however, that illegal parking has been impacting the success of the design, and we may be asking for changes to further discourage illegal parking and accommodate parking needs.”

At midday on Monday there were few cyclists on Grand St., but one bike messenger rushed down the center of the traffic lane.

“I hate it,” Doug D., of Brooklyn, said of the green lane while pausing long enough to radio his dispatcher.

“The bike lane’s designed for people who ride their bikes slowly,” he complained. He pointed to another obstruction, a ladder standing in the lane leaning against a building scaffolding.

“It’s the small things, like the pedestrians that don’t follow the rules,” Doug said as nearby a man pushed a cart through the lane. “I prefer dealing with cars,” he added before pedaling off.

Leonard Altabet, manager of Manhattan Grand Optical near Mott St., worried about the lane’s potential impact on local businesses in the economic downturn.

“Little Italy is tourists,” he said. “It’s going to kill the tourist industry.” Altabet complained that tour buses have difficulty making it through the newly narrowed traffic lane. He believed siting the lane on a less commercial and wider street, like Kenmare St. two blocks to the north, would have made more sense.

John Fratta, president of the Little Italy Restoration Association, is concerned about the effect on the community’s “viability.” At a meeting with D.O.T. and the community board, Fratta said the street should have been left the way it was, and that the old unprotected bike lane on the north side of the street should not have been replaced with the protected lane on the south side of the street.

“D.O.T.’s response was, the harder we make it for cars to drive in New York, the less cars will come to New York,” Fratta said. He said his group and several others are considering filing an Article 78 proceeding, a lawsuit used to challenge decisions by government agencies.

“It’s like Transportation Alternatives is running the New York City Department of Transportation,” Fratta continued. “We’re not against the bike lane, but you can’t disrupt our whole traffic pattern for a bike lane.”

Wiley Norvell, a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives — an advocacy group for cycling, pedestrians and public transit — stressed the need for replacing the old bike lane with the new, safer version.

“As installed a couple years ago, the Grand St. bike lane was problematic,” Norvell said. “All that congestion and double-parking rendered it all but unusable.”

“This new design is exciting, because it gives good physical protection to bicyclists, without taking up a lot of real estate. This is a route used by many Williamsburg Bridge commuters, and the city’s first protected cross-town route, so it’s going to get a lot of use,” he added.

D.O.T. said the new bike lane is a pilot project. By the end of this month, Muni Meters for commercial parking will have been installed on the street’s north side, at which time the agency will start monitoring traffic developments.

“Grand St. was and remains a one-lane street from Varick St. to Chrystie St., aided by new turning lanes at key intersections,” D.O.T. spokesperson Seth Solomonow said in an e-mailed statement.

“Again, this project is not complete,” Solomonow said. “Once it is, we expect there may be a few weeks’ adjustment as the community and motorists get used to the changes, and we will make additional changes as necessary in consultation with the community.”

As 5 p.m. approached, several bike commuters pedaled down the lane on their way home. One of them was Lower East Side resident Michael Ondruska, who commutes by bike to his work near Battery Park and mountain bikes on the weekends.

“On Spring St., nine times out of 10, there are cars parked in the bike lane,” he observed. “This one is better because it’s got the parking median. It gives you insulation from moving traffic.”

Ondruska noted that while businesses and the “commercial aspect” are vital components of the city, residents are, too, and just as important as the first two.

“You have to be respectful to all three,” he said. “I use my bike to go to work, and I’d like it to be a little safer.”

Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance community organization, said he supported a bike lane on Houston St. — not on Grand St.

“Bike lanes in the right place are a benefit, but this is the wrong place,” he said. “A protected bike lane might work on a five-lane thoroughfare like Ninth Ave., but Grand St. is not the right place.”

Soho residents charge that the new lane accommodating cyclists is making it difficult for them to unload their automobiles after shopping trips.

In September 2006, the Bloomberg administration announced plans to install 200 miles of new bike lanes by June 2009. As of now, 140 miles of new bike lanes have been added.

© 2008 Community Media, LLC

December 6th, 2008, 04:46 AM
Crikey! Being a full-time pedestrian, I generally hate cyclists since a lot of them apparently think pedestrians are a sub-species unworthy of any respect or consideration. However, this story swayed me...a little.

Bikes and the city: An unsexy tale

By Dara Lehon

I am one of an estimated 131,000 group of people who ride a bicycle in New York City. Sometimes I’ll ride 3.4 miles to work; other times I’ll ride 70 miles to the beach and back.

This past year, I’ve accumulated new scars doing so: one on my shoulder, two on my hands, and one on my right elbow. At some point, my ribs were bruised so badly I couldn’t stand straight, and for a while my hands my hands tingled because I had damaged a nerve.

But my most recent tale of woe is one for humanity as a whole. See, I almost died after a van knocked me off of my bike, then dragged me up Third Ave. And, while I was getting medical attention, someone stole my vintage bike.

It went something like this: while peacefully pedaling up Third Ave. to work, a big white van à la O.J. Simpson somehow managed to hook its broken mirror onto my bike. It dragged me about three feet on my side — half on my bike; the other half on the road. Eventually, I managed to break free and to avoid the FedEx truck double parked to my right — while also, thankfully, avoiding the van’s wheels — which were all-too-close to my head and other body parts. I was tossed to the side, near a bus stop. The contents of my bag were splattered in the street. I landed half on my knees, half on my side.

This is 29th St. at 8:40 a.m. Good Samaritans stood above me, cell phones in hand, asking whether or not I was okay and if I needed to call 911. I was a little frazzled. But I thought I was fine.

“I just need to get to work,” I said. I wiggled my body parts, shook my head a little, and assessed that I would live. At least, I thought, I wasn’t a ghost bike.

I grabbed some of my scattered items and hobbled over to the bus stop, where Gene, the driver, met me. He was apologetic. He felt badly. He was nervous. I felt bad that he felt bad. But my body was starting to feel worse.

Gene said he, too, was trying to avoid an even larger truck to his left. It’s entirely possible. The streets present a daily battle for anyone who uses them — cars, pedestrians, cyclists, pigeons alike. The problem was that he decided it was better to edge me out instead of crashing his bosses’ van.

So now I’m a little ticked about the fall and about being late for work, and my left elbow and knee are starting to hurt. But I remain calm — certainly calmer than the time I got up and expletives I never knew flew out of my mouth on Avenue C after a woman pulled over without looking, driving straight into me and landing me, oh, under the car, and in a gutter.

At this point, I’m mostly — perhaps adrenaline-driven — concerned that I needed to get to my office (my organization works in India, and it’d been a busy few days). But, as the pain in my limbs got stronger, I decided it was a good idea to call 911. Just in case.

Now a note about my bike, which had been picked up and placed on the side by one of the good Samaritans: It’s a classic burgundy San Remo Bianchi. It was a gift that had had some work done — with some brilliant blue handlebar tape and some new wheels. It’s a special, special bike, which makes me happy to ride. It’s sturdy, and cool, and awesome. And, it seemed to have withstood the accident well — much better than my racing bike, which would have cracked immediately upon collision.

Also note that I keep my huge Kryptonite lock on my bike. The chain makes the bike much heavier than it needs to be. But I’ve told myself that it was worth the investment both in weight and dollars.

So the ambulance came fairly quickly — along with the fire department. Once in the ambulance, I laughed off the pain (that adrenaline again) with the relatively young, amicable E.M.T. guys. Together, we discovered more and more scrapes and bruises and aches; we talked about my cool bike and my reconstructed knee; about the fact that they first thought I was Sarah Jessica Parker (clearly they didn’t notice that I’m about four times her size).

As we’re cutting through my stockings to find another abrasion, a shady looking character wearing a cap pops up his head in the (closed) back window of the ambulance. He sees me being treated and sleuths away. We look at each other curiously. I’m a little hazy, but I ask about my bike, which was outside — in the bus stop — between the ambulance, the van that hit me, and the FedEx truck. I’m glad I had grabbed my belongings inside the ambulance.

“The bike’s okay,” says Bryan, a stocky, built-looking E.M.T. with Ray Ban shades.

Indeed, I see my Bianchi through the ambulance window. It’s fine. After all, it’s perfectly manicured Murray Hill. It’s morning. But, it had been a while, and 45 minutes after the ambulance had arrived, the police were still M.I.A.

The E.M.T.s radio the call again, and Bryan goes outside to check on the bike — and for the cops. Bike’s there. Cops aren’t.

Minutes later, as I’m filling out more forms, Bryan throws open the ambulance doors. He’s visibly pissed. I look outside.

Cops still M.I.A. My bike is gone. GONE.

Now, I cuss. A lot.

It’s enough that I’m physically beat up. Now, I’m morally wounded. And I don’t care how much of an urban jungle we are, this is like picking a wallet off a nearly-dead guy while he’s still breathing.

Now, I know that people have their bikes stolen in this city everyday. It’s why I bought my heavy, $100 bike lock and why I don’t ever park my fancy bike on the street. And although I’ve been hit — and pissed off — more than once, I still advocate biking in the city wholeheartedly. It’s great that the cycling community is growing daily, that we expect 200 miles of bike lanes by the end of 2009, that showers will be required in buildings, and that, cool new bike racks are popping up all over the place.

And I hope someday we can be like Amsterdam or Copenhagen where you can leave your bike — unlocked no less — and return to it.

But after all my near-misses, and too many scars, this was it.

I am reminded of my city of yore: When I was growing up Downtown, I threw down my umbrella during a temper tantrum on Grand St. Minutes later, someone ran by, and stole it. That was the early ’80s and it was on the Lower East Side. Not Murray Hill, 9 a.m., 2008.

Now, I want sympathy for my — and countless other cyclists’ — pains. But mostly, I want vindication (and my bike back). Because here’s the best part: I hobbled over to say goodbye to Gene, who apologized again, and wished me well. When I told him about my bike being stolen, he was so outraged that he couldn’t look me in the eye.

Then, he pointed to his windshield. A big orange letter was tucked beneath his wipers. He had gotten a parking ticket when he stepped out of his van to check on me.


December 9th, 2008, 01:42 PM
Brooklyn Heights Blog:

City Councilmember David Yassky is sponsoring legislation that he says will assist New Yorkers in reducing their carbon footprints. His Bikes in Buildings Bill would require employers to allow their employees to bring bikes to their workplaces. You can sign a petition supporting this bill at his website here: http://www.councilmemberyassky.com/petition/bikes/


December 31st, 2008, 04:09 PM
http://www.downtownexpress.com/inside_dt_logo.gif (http://www.downtownexpress.com/index.html)

Downtowners debate D.O.T.’s grand bike plans

By Josh Rogers

The bike revolution will not be televised, but it’s likely to wind up on YouTube with many, many comments from Downtowners.

The city’s Dept. of Transportation has moved aggressively to expand cycling lanes throughout the city and the changes have inspired critics and supporters to post comments frequently in the blogosphere. The new protected lane on Grand St. is seen by some as a nightmare, and others as a golden experiment providing an opportunity to expand the safer lanes to narrower streets around the city. The critics also say Grand is another example of D.O.T. pushing forward with plans despite community opposition.

Councilmember Alan Gerson of Lower Manhattan says the initials could just as well stand for the “Dept. of Tyranny,” and that whether it is bike lanes, intransigence on adding traffic lights, or ignoring small businesses, every neighborhood in his district has complaints about the agency.

“They’re undermining their good programs with plans that generate so much raw anger,” Gerson said in a telephone interview. “I have never seen so much anger at one department from so many different people on so many different issues.”

He joined a rally a week ago outside the D.O.T.’s Downtown office in which the Chatham Sq. traffic plan, the lack of traffic lights at the intersections of Greenwich and Duane Sts. and Houston and Wooster Sts., the bike lane on Grand St. and the one through a narrow pedestrian area in City Hall Park were among the projects that drew protest.

But the agency, which has been resistant to explaining its positions at length and refused interview requests for this article, also has its strong defenders who rave about the new plans implemented by Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Charles Komanoff, a cycling advocate and transportation analyst, came to the rally to support D.O.T., although the Tribecan thinks the agency is wrong on the Greenwich St. light.

As the crowd of a few dozen chanted “whose streets, our streets,” Komanoff mockingly said “cars’ streets” instead.

“The tyranny is the tyranny of the automobile,” Komanoff said later. “For God’s sakes, give the [Grand St.] bike lane six months or a year. If it’s found wanting, make some changes.”

Ian Dutton, vice chairperson of Community Board 2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, agreed.

“Finally we have an administration that says we can’t continue to force as many cars as possible into our neighborhoods,” he said. He agrees with Gerson and others who want a bike lane on wider Houston St., but he said the push to get one came too late in the street’s reconstruction planning, and Grand St. is much safer.

He said lanes like Grand can be done much cheaper than the protected Ninth Ave. bike lane which has concrete barriers and special traffic lights. Dutton said the department continues to monitor Grand St. and make adjustments.

Pak Lew, who owns Lendy Electric Equipment Supply on Grand St., said he saw officials from the Fire and Transportation Department’s two weeks ago testing whether fire trucks had enough room to turn onto Grand St. Lew said his understanding is that a few parking spots near the curbs will be removed to make more room for emergency vehicle turns, and Gerson said he has heard the same thing from the city.

“It’s outrageous D.O.T. would make changes in street configuration without a thorough analysis and testing,” Gerson said of the changes that were made two months ago. “That’s outrageous and crazy.”

Seth Solomonow, a D.O.T. spokesperson, in a prepared statement, acknowledged that the department made unspecified changes to the lane after meeting with the F.D.N.Y., and said there are no plans for any more adjustments.

The bike lane is intended to help make the city more green, but ironically, it may also be encouraging a few more people to drive to work. Lew said some of his employees are taking advantage of the new free, all-day parking that acts as a shield for cyclists.

“Some of my workers come in early to park,” he said. “They never came so early before.”

Lew said the bike lane is hurting business because non-commercial drivers have trouble finding parking. There are benefits, though, beyond a more punctual staff. He said many of his customers are contractors and have an easier time finding parking with their commercial vehicles.

Many of his fellow merchants would like to see the lane go away, but Lew said he could live with it as long as there are more adjustments made, such as putting metered parking on the south side of the street to make it more accessible to customers. He thinks a few more spots should be taken away so large vehicles have more room to make turns.

“A lot of [parked] cars are getting hit, especially at the tail end,” he said.

On three recent visits to the street on a Saturday and two weekdays, there were several instances of large vehicles having trouble making the turn and drivers turning behind parked cars they mistakenly thought were just stuck in traffic.

Many people said the street was never plowed after last week’s snow storm — adding insult to injury to the lane’s opponents who wonder why a lane was set aside if it will be closed during most of a storm-riddled winter.

The city’s Sanitation Dept. referred the matter to D.O.T. Solomonow in his statement, said Sanitation has special equipment to plow the lanes, but he did not explain why it was not done on Grand.

Lew, the business owner, attended community board and other meetings on the new lane since the summer, but he said many of his friends on the street which intersects Chinatown, Little Italy and Soho were in the dark. Many Chinese merchants don’t speak English.

Lew pulled out a D.O.T. PowerPoint on the subject and asked “You tell me, is there any Chinese in there — any Italian?” He showed a one-page sheet on the plan written in Chinese, but he said the agency has not responded to his requests to translate the more detailed PowerPoint.

One of the debates within the Grand St. community is whether there used to be two lanes of traffic or one. Lew explained the confusion.

“It was a semi- two-lane situation — there was room for breakdowns,” he said. By setting the precise amount of space needed for drivers, parkers, and cyclists, it means that any mishap leads to congestion problems, he added.

Cycling advocates say the problem with the old one-and-a-half lanes of traffic was cars were always jockeying for position, and now things are less chaotic.

“Grand St. was congested in 1890,” said Wiley Norvell, a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives. “It was congested two months ago and it will be congested tomorrow, but its orderliness and safety has pretty dramatically improved.”

D.O.T. says that since 2003, there have been an average of 23 significant accidents and more than 14 pedestrians injured a year on Grand St., and a total of 23 bicycle accidents over the entire period.

But Sean Sweeney, leader of the Soho Alliance, said, “we have a transportation commissioner who is a Robert Moses in a skirt. Where Moses destroyed communities wholesale, this commissioner is doing it piece by piece. We want oversight and input.”

He said cyclists who feel unsafe should “move back to the suburbs…I’m a cyclist and I don’t need it. It lulls you into a false sense of security.”

Sweeney said he bikes on occasion. Conversely, Dutton, the cycling advocate from C.B. 2, said he drives on occasion and Grand St. is now better for cars.

“I feel like it’s a much less stressful street,” Dutton said. “I can see pedestrians better [when I drive].”

The plan did pass Board 2 overwhelmingly, but Sweeney, also a member of the board, said it was because the Transportation Committee “is controlled lock, stock and barrel by Transportation Alternatives.”

Dutton, the committee’s vice chairperson, said he is a member of the advocacy group but he and his colleagues on the board are responding to decades of traffic problems on the block.

He rejects the notion that bike lanes hurt businesses, saying many pedal to run their errands. He remembers hearing from businesses worried about D.O.T.’s Summer Streets program. The August event closed nearly 7 miles of streets three Saturday mornings to allow bikers and pedestrians to go from Lower Manhattan to Central Park via Lafayette St. and Park Ave. without worrying about motor vehicles.

“There is a mentality that cars are king, that cars are key to commerce, which I think is false,” Dutton said. “When Summer Streets came up businesses said ‘what am I going to do without a traffic jam outside and instead have tens of thousands of people walking in front of it?’”

Still D.O.T. was criticized for unveiling the plan less than two months before it was to start and after it was a fait accompli. After making a presentation at a sparsely attended Community Board 1 meeting in mid-June, D.O.T. officials requested Downtown Express hold the story for another week, so as to not step on the big public announcement. The paper denied the request.

Komanoff said the agency could show “a little more sensitivity” because it allows critics to nitpick and block the larger important goals of limiting the need for cars. “Without fundamental change,” he said “the losers are going to be pedestrians and cyclists and in the log run, the economy.”

With reporting
by Jefferson Siegel

March 10th, 2009, 10:01 AM
Mark Your Calendars!


NY POST (http://www.nypost.com/seven/03102009/news/regionalnews/naked_bike_buffs_158869.htm)
March 10, 2009

As if spandex didn't already leave too little to the imagination, hordes of cyclists plan to ride through Central Park in the buff on June 20.

The event is part of the World Naked Bike Ride, which began this week in Australia.

Participants are encouraged to go "as bare as you dare" in protest of the world's dependence on oil and in celebration of the human form.

The ride, which started in 2004, has led to several arrests over the years, but in general, the lack of clothing was barely noticed by authorities.

Copyright 2009 NYP Holdings, Inc.

March 11th, 2009, 12:24 PM
I am sorry, but that is either gross, or painful, or both!!!!

Lets face it, the naked part has nothing to do with a protest against oil, it is just a bunch of organizers who want to either see some flesh or show it off (or both).

Humans are such horny buggers.

April 11th, 2009, 07:37 PM
New Battery park bike loop.

DOWNTOWN EXPRESS (http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_311/batterypark.html)

April 23rd, 2009, 06:03 AM
I bike in Paris everyday. I'm planning to visit New York with a bike.

Deos anyone have an experience of both city?

I already know this NY, but my memory is short so I have a few question :

How long does it take to ride from Central Park to Wall Street?

From, let's say, Hudson River Park to Queensboro Bridge?

How is the on-street bicycle network today?

Do you know any friendly hotel for bikers?


May 30th, 2009, 08:32 AM



August 16th, 2009, 08:40 AM
Cyclists, pedestrians and cars clash
over biking boom in New York City

By Carrie Melago

Sunday, August 16th 2009, 4:00 AM

The number of city bike riders jumped by 35% in a year — making some wonder if New York is big enough for 8 million people, a couple of million cars and about 185,000 cyclists.

Avid cyclists see themselves as the healthy, green, cheap future of transportation.

City officials agree, completing 200 miles of bike lanes in three years, adding bike racks and shelters and pushing employers to provide bike parking.

But with the number of cyclists exploding — increasing 35% between 2007 and 2008 —many pedestrians and motorists say it's getting awfully crowded out there.

"When I, as a retired woman, walk these streets, I have fear of my safety that I will be hit by these riders and get knocked down," said Marjorie Levine, 62, who has been pushing for more regulations.

The landscape of city streets has changed dramatically under Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who bikes to work from her West Village home and has won cheers for her pro-cycling policy.

On July 8, the city marked the completion of a three-year, $8 million project that brought the total miles of street lanes to 420, and Sadik-Khan declared New York the "bicycling capital of the United States."

Sadik-Khan believes promoting cycling is part of a larger effort to "create a greener, more mobile New York City."

If the city's population grows by a million people by 2030, as experts predict, cycling will be necessary to alleviate the strain on the roads and subways, she said.

City officials, expecting the number of bike commuters to triple by 2020, plan to create 50 miles of bike lanes a year going forward, reaching 1,800 by 2030.

"We've got in place a robust, safe citywide bike network that gets people where they want to go without getting off the network," she said.

Not everyone agrees.

A Hunter College study found that cyclists in midtown flagrantly disobeyed traffic laws, with 37% zooming through red lights, less than a third wearing helmets and nearly 75% failing to use head and tail lights in the evening.

And city figures show bicycles struck and killed 11 pedestrians from 1996 to 2005. No statistics are kept on non-fatal crashes.

Cycling enthusiasts and activists insist that so-called kamikaze bikers — those who run red lights, cycle on the sidewalk, ride the wrong way on streets and break other rules — are not representative of the cycling population as a whole.

Statistics certainly show cars are far and away more deadly than bikes, with vehicles mowing down 136 pedestrians in 2007 alone.

And, of course, cyclists are on the losing end of most collisions.

Some 225 cyclists were hit and killed by cars in the city from 1996 to 2005, while another 3,462 suffered serious injuries in crashes with motor vehicles.

Asif Rahman, 22, was struck by a truck and killed along Queens Blvd. in February 2008. His family described him as a poet, a photographer and a hip hop artist who loved cycling.

His mother, Lizi, has made it her mission to have a bike lane installed along Queens Blvd.

"I can't stop wondering, are they waiting for some more bicyclists to die on this road? Will they make a bike lane after that?" she said.

Bike advocates like Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, acknowledged that a lot of bad bike habits have grown out of years of cycling on hostile streets.

And with so many new cyclists hitting the pavement, Norvell said it's time to embrace what Sadik-Khan calls a "triangle of respect." That means large vehicles yield to the smaller ones - and cyclists yield to pedestrians.

"We still have a really 'me first' culture on the street, whether you are a pedestrian, a driver or a big rig," Norvell said.

"The problem is that some of those 'me's' weigh tons and others weigh 110 pounds."

To that end, the city's "Look" campaign has run TV ads encouraging motorists to look out for their two-wheeled counterparts.

And Norvell's group has created a "Biking Rules" handbook that spells out cyclists' rights — and obligations.

Calling itself "a new street code," the handbook reminds cyclists, "We'll have to give respect in order to get it in return."


Is biking safe in NYC? Victims on
both sides weigh in on debate

By Carrie Melago

Sunday, August 16th 2009, 4:00 AM

Nancy Gruskin lost her husband May 1, days after a bicycle delivery man struck him as he crossed a street near his midtown office.

The cyclist, going the wrong way down a one-way street, knocked 50-year-old Stuart Gruskin off his feet on April 28, sending him to the ground and causing a head injury that killed him.

Despite the tragedy that left her twin 12-year-olds without a dad, Nancy Gruskin doesn't begrudge cyclists their space on the streets.

"The serious bikers are not the ones that are causing the problems," she said. "It's the ones that don't care, that feel like they can do anything they want."

The day the city completed 200 miles of bike lanes, Nancy Gruskin filed a $20 million suit against the catering company that employed the delivery man.

It also bothers her that the cyclist isn't facing any criminal charges. "I know that he didn't wake up that day and say, 'You know what? I'm going to mow down somebody,'" Gruskin said. "But the fact is that he was reckless and he was careless."

She also plans to set up a foundation in memory of her husband to advocate for better enforcement of existing bicycle regulations and possible new laws.

Judy Houchins understands more than most New Yorkers the dangers faced by cyclists — and caused by them.

A city cyclist for decades, Houchins was struck by a truck about eight years ago near Gramercy Park. She suffered only scrapes and bruises but her bike was totalled — and she has barely cycled in the city since.

The 76-year-old, a pianist and organ player who does book indexing, finds herself on the other side of the handlebars, dodging bikes as she walks around the city.

"They really are just cutting in and out of pedestrians on the street, you can't always zig zag as fast as you once did," she said.

She's been bumped numerous times and makes a point of telling rogue cyclists that they are breaking the rules.

"Sometimes they curse me out, like who am I to tell them that? And other times they actually get in the street and ride," she said.

Still, Houchins supports cycling, as long as bikers are responsible. "It's the greatest thing -- no pollution, exercise and you can get anywhere you want to," she said.

There were no protected bike lanes or public awareness campaigns when Morgen Regan began cycling to work 30 years ago.

A dressmaker who works in Chelsea, Regan learned to love cycling while living in Amsterdam in the '70s. When she returned to New York, she found the streets far less friendly.

"I wouldn't have thought a helmet was sufficient protection," she said. "I would have needed body armor."

Wearing a pair of orange espadrilles and a helmet with a sticker that reads "cowgirl," Regan rides her bike to work from Fort Greene and over the Manhattan Bridge.

Her husband, Robert, a contractor, also cycles to work most days, saying, "It's just like breathing."

Morgen Regan says all of the changes that the city has made in recent years are "fantastic" and create more awareness from motorists.

"There is an enhanced consciousness among drivers," she said. "If they aren't always cheerful, they at least know we are here."

August 18th, 2009, 01:52 AM



You're starting to show your age, Merry!

August 18th, 2009, 05:08 AM
^ LOL, I suppose I asked for that!

Lou's got quite a few years on me, but he's not bad for 67 ;).

August 19th, 2009, 08:55 AM
The articles hit right on.

Pedicabs, bike messengers, and immigrant delivery are the ones I see ignoring the rules the most. Consequestially (and in order) they are the most annoying and bear the most responsibility for what they are doing.

Bike cabs are either bikes or cars and should follow one set of rules or another. Either stop at reds, stay in lane/etc, or stick to the side of the road like bikes are supposed to.

They know what they have to do and when they don't follow the rules they are pretty bad.

More dangerous are the messengers. They will ignore traffic signals, oncoming traffic and pedestrians if they see a gap. And a few will take it to you if you challange them on it. Some should be locked up.

Immigrant delivery? I feel bad for these guys, but they are still breaking the rules. Riding the wrong way, not obeying signals, ridingon sidewalks. They are just trying to earn enough to live by, and many do not mean any harm or malace, but they seem oblivious to the rules of the road.

They will never attend classes as many either do not have the money or the time, and some are just (as I have described them) illegal.

There are several bottom lines here, but one of them is simple. Yes we need more bike lanes, but cyclists in the city should start following the rules.

August 23rd, 2009, 05:00 PM
I do not think that Pedicabs belong in a bike lane.

August 28th, 2009, 07:20 AM
Grand St. bike lane is a hell on wheels, local seniors say


During a press conference at Mott and Grand Sts.
at which critics of the new bike lane said it is underused,
a number of cyclists passed by, including the woman above.
A motorized hand truck, at left, was also using the lane,
easing sidewalk congestion.

By Lincoln Anderson

Charging the Grand St. bicycle lane is endangering both seniors’ safety and local stores’ and restaurants’ survival, Chinatown residents and merchants joined Councilmember Alan Gerson at Mott and Grand Sts. last Friday, calling for modifications to the new-style lane. Gerson also said the Department of Transportation must do more community outreach and consultation before installing new bike lanes.

According to Gerson and Project Open Door, which provides social services at 168 Grand St. for Chinatown seniors, two months ago a senior from the organization was knocked unconscious on Grand St. by a cyclist who didn’t stop for a red light.

On the other hand, the lane’s critics also contend it is underused. One local merchant claimed he had stood at the intersection for two hours but seen only five bikes go by on the bike lane. Yet right as he said this, one bicycle was passing by and within 30 seconds, another two came along.

Gerson said the seniors dislike that the parking lane on the street’s south side has been moved several feet out into the street to create a protected bike lane by the curb. Having the parking by the curb provided a protected area for seniors, he said.

Gerson accused D.O.T. of “pitting local residents against bicyclists — and this is so unnecessary,” adding, “There’s no question there’s been an increase in crashes between people and bikes since the lane came in.”

The lane should detour onto Kenmare St. between Lafayette St. and Bowery, as proposed by the Little Italy Merchants Association, Gerson said.

However, the councilmember was challenged at the press conference by several young bike-friendly journalists, one of whom was reporting for Streetsblog. Caroline Samponaro, director of bicycle advocacy for Transportation Alternatives, also pulled up on her bike and debated the councilmember. The pro-bike bloggers and Samponaro said that, according to D.O.T., accidents have decreased on the street by 30 percent since the protected lane’s installation.

Samponaro added that she had attended four Community Board 2 meetings at which the bike lane had been discussed prior to its implementation, and that residents’ and merchants’ suggestions had been incorporated into the design. She demanded to know why Gerson didn’t think the community board process was a sufficient community process.

“The community board supports this project,” she stated.

Gerson countered, “They support it with modifications.” He said he intends to introduce a bill to require greater community involvement before any streetscape changes, such as adding bike lanes — or “what happened on Broadway with the bump-outs and the Rutgers St. configuration.”

Gerson said the bill would require “adequate notice, a comment period and a post-implementation review period.”

Afterward Samponaro said of Gerson, “He should be called out for using community process as a front. Ultimately, this is a safer street because of what they’ve done here.”

Grand St. in Chinatown and Little Italy has traditionally been a “market street,” Gerson noted. After the press conference, a Little Italy merchant who didn’t give his name said he supports the bike lane, but changes are needed to help local merchants. Noting that the parked cars in the buffer lane currently can stay there 18 hours a day, he said there should be a two-hour limit. Also, parking should be allowed on Grand St.’s north side at night instead of having no parking there, he said.

“You can’t ‘X’ cars out of the city,” he said. “You need cars for people to come in.”

The lane traverses C.B. 2 as well as C.B. 3. Jo Hamilton, C.B. 2 chairperson, said she looks forward to having a dialogue with Gerson about the issue.

“In general, Community Board 2 has been very supportive of D.O.T.’s efforts to create a safe biking culture in the city,” she said.


September 1st, 2009, 02:30 PM
September 1, 2009

A Summer Quest Covers All of the City’s Bike Paths

By J. David Goodman (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/author/j-david-goodman/)

Photographs by J. David Goodman/The New York Times Paul Kronenberg riding from Brooklyn over the Manhattan Bridge last Wednesday.

Comfortable in the shock-absorbing seat of his $120 Huffy mountain bike, Paul Kronenberg ascended the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge last Wednesday at a leisurely pace. The sight of the river far below reminded him of another, more terror-inducing ride he had recently made over the Marine Parkway Bridge. It was May — early in his seemingly quixotic, summer-long quest to ride all the bike paths in the city — and the low rail and open views had set off his fear of heights.

“I didn’t have the feeling of enclosure,” he remembered. “I just saw the ocean.”

Two months and half a dozen crumbling bike maps later, he bagged his last bit of path: sixth-tenths of a mile along Chrystie Street in Manhattan.

Mr. Kronenberg holding his brown book of route mileage and a 2009 bike route map.

In the process, Mr. Kronenberg, 65, seems to have become the first New Yorker to ride all the city’s bike paths. He is certainly one of its most widely traveled new path fans.

Mr. Kronenberg, who is prone to digressions on existential angst and the eventual prospect of his own demise, attributed his self-reported accomplishment to a desire for affirmation. “I have this uniqueness drive,” he said.

Indeed, before beginning his summer rides, Mr. Kronenberg was known for his longstanding deep relationship with another part of the city’s transportation infrastructure: the subway. As a devoted rail fan, he immersed himself in trains, going so far as to create a life-size model of a motorman’s cab in his Sheepshead Bay apartment.

It was on the subway that he saw an advertisement for Bike Month that promoted 620-plus miles of paths crisscrossing the city, and he thought about riding them all. “That clicked in my head that it’d be something to do,” said Mr. Kronenberg, a “semiretired” calculus tutor. “I’ve always kind of kept track of mileage.”

From that spark, Mr. Kronenberg said he set out nearly every day, rain or shine, with a 2009 bike map and a small brown notebook to record his routes tucked under his belt. Whether from a genuine desire to redefine himself — “the rail fans got to me” — or by a calculated effort to wrangle more attention from the news media — “to prove that I exist” — he tracked his progress, which eventually filled five notebooks, periodically transferring them to his computer.

The mileage tallies — for example, 2.98 miles westbound along Emmons Avenue on May 19, his first day — reveal that while he is clearly obsessive, Mr. Kronenberg was not obsessed with the project, usually riding 5 to 10 miles a day. He said he still found time for his near-daily subway trip to Zabar’s on the Upper West Side for rugelach and rotisserie chicken.

He said riding through the Bronx was toughest — “the 167th Street hill is a real killer” — if only because the paths in Staten Island mercifully avoid the borough’s bigger hills, and he accurately pointed out that though the city’s 2009 bike map shows a solid line running north from Central Park to 155th Street along Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, the lane has yet to be painted. (The local community board in Harlem unexpectedly voted it down this summer.)

Now something of a recreational expert, he posted a simple Web site last week dissecting what he deems the dangerous Jay Street approach to the Manhattan Bridge.

Mr. Kronenberg refused to say he had covered “every inch” of paths and lanes, despite clocking more than 670 miles, 50 more than the official number, because, he said, some small sections were tricky to navigate or included paths in multiple places, such as along a section of Cross Bay Boulevard, which connects Howard Beach to the Rockaways.

“For about a mile or so, the green path and red path run parallel to each other,” he said, looking at the map and describing an older path on the sidewalk and a newer path in each direction on the street. He rode each, he said, in both directions.

He also admitted to missing a few sections, like one along 12th Avenue between 125th and 135th Streets, near the Fairway grocery store.

While Mr. Kronenberg mostly keeps to himself on the bike paths, he said he tried to engage in jokey discussion online, as he had previously done with fans of the subway. “I don’t take myself seriously, but I find a lot of the cyclists do,” he said. “I have found that quite a few avid cyclists have a similar intensity and humorlessness as many rail fans.”

But, he added, the bike is less boring than the subway and provides more of a release for his existential thoughts: “The physical activity of it has probably kept me from becoming clinically depressed. I don’t do it for the exercise, but it’s a very free kind of thing. There’s a simplicity to the bike that’s very appealing.”

Mr. Kronenberg in a lane along Chrystie Street in Manhattan.

Copyright 2009 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)


September 12th, 2009, 02:59 AM
Merchants roll out complaints against Eighth Ave. bike lane

By Will Glovinsky

On one recent day last month a cyclist cruised northward past 11th St. along a major downtown avenue. His pace was leisurely, his manner relaxed. He did not swerve to avoid any jutting car doors or constantly jerk his head back to look out for taxis.

He didn’t have to. He was riding on Eighth Ave.’s new “cycle track” protected bike lane, and a buffer zone of parked cars stood between him and the afternoon traffic.

Across the sidewalk, however, Vincent Kim peered out at the lane from behind the counter of Imperial Vinters, a wine and liquor store on 11th St.

“I don’t like it,” Kim said, shrugging. “It’s good for bikers, but you lose parking, and deliveries are hard. The delivery truck has been ticketed for unloading in the lane.”

The fine was $115, paid by the delivery company.

Over the last two years Eighth and Ninth Aves. have received protected bike lanes, a design previously untested in American cities, which provides a dedicated lane for cyclists that is separated from traffic by parked cars. The design also uses a slew of innovations, such as sidewalk-island “pedestrian refuges,” left-turn lanes and bike-specific traffic signals to defuse intersection conflicts. With their novel lanes, Eighth and Ninth Aves. are acting as petri dishes in the city’s experiment to make bicycles a mainstay of the urban commute while chipping away at the dominance of cars.

“The lanes set a new standard for physical separateness,” said Wiley Norvell, a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives, a bikers’ advocacy group that championed the design.

But as cyclists rejoice over the new lanes, merchants like Kim whose shops line the bike path are less enthused.

“It’s not a boon to business,” said James Waits, owner of House of Cards and Curiosities on Eighth Ave. at 12th St.

Tony Juliano, director of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, said that both he and the merchants he represents “completely understand the need to reduce vehicular traffic,” but remain concerned about the potential adverse effects on business.

He noted that when the Ninth Ave. lane opened, some merchants reported 20-to-30 percent drops in business. Juliano said no such reports had come in from Eighth Ave., but said that other features could still hinder businesses.

On the other hand, bike enthusiasts argue that the lanes should increase business for adjacent shops.

One cyclist, Rashad, who paused for a few minutes to talk as he cycled the Eighth Ave. lane, said that it should bring new business to shopkeepers.

“Whatever falls on the lane — I go to those stores,” he said.

None of the merchants interviewed for this article said that they would directly link any decline in business to the bike path, though some said it was difficult to untangle the impact of the bike lane from the general economic downturn.

Or, as Waits put it: “It’s sort of like standing on the deck of a boat during a storm and wondering if you’ve wet your pants.”

Other problems are easier to discern. The design has cost the west side of Eighth Ave. quite a few parking spaces due to the left-turn lanes and pedestrian refuges, and, of course, delivery trucks must contend with a lack of loading space and an increase of tickets for standing.

One shop, though, seems perfectly suited to the new lane. Organic Avenue, a naturalist-lifestyle store between Jane and Horatio Sts. that distributes vegan raw food and organic clothing, uses a bike service to deliver its products, thereby integrating its organic approach into transportation and, incidentally, introducing a new use for the bike lane.

Alexandra Chavez, a clerk at Organic Avenue, added that the bike lane offers a new way for customers to reach the store.

“People get off their bikes and come in,” she said.

But, at least for now, Organic Avenue remains an exception to the standard business model, and Juliano of G.V.C.C.C. said that he wishes the Department of Transportation were more amenable to the needs of the business community. He said he was happy that businesses were alerted and consulted regarding the Eighth Ave. lane, but remained disappointed by the large “footprint” of the lane.

“I wish the D.O.T. could examine alternatives that aren’t as wide,” he said, referring to the generous 10 feet allotted to the bike lane. “It changes the character of the street.”

When told of this complaint, Norvell of Transportation Alternatives conceded that the lanes were rather wide, but said that the width was mandated by the Department of Sanitation, which needs enough space to send a street sweeper down the lane.

“Other cities have small street sweepers,” he said. “New York doesn’t.”

Norvell explained that the Eighth Ave. and Ninth Ave. lanes were purposely overbuilt in the same way the Brooklyn Bridge was overbuilt to err on the side of caution.

“These lanes are the first of their kind, and they were over-designed to be extra safe,” he said. “There’s a learning curve with streets like this. It takes a few years for people to use this in a confident and predictable way.”


September 23rd, 2009, 05:34 AM
Turn Broadway into a bike-only thoroughfare? Sure, why not? :eek:

September 22, 2009

Concepts Run Wild at Dutch-American Bike Slam

By Sean Patrick Farrell

New Amsterdam Bike Slam Under one conception put forward at the New Amsterdam Bike Slam, Broadway would be turned into a bike path.

It was Saturday night in the meatpacking district. The velvet ropes were out; a rumbling bass pulsed out of every club.

Well, nearly every club. At Cielo, which says on its Web site that it is “purpose-built for dancing with a centrally located sunken dance floor,” no one was shaking it. Instead, a rapt crowd, many of them sitting on the purpose-built dance floor, watched two teams of Dutch and American designers make pleas for their plans to improve bicycle riding in New York City. A slow-turning disco ball cast speckled light across the audience, but all eyes were on a pair of monitors on a stage and Team Amsterdam’s presenter.

“You think that’s enough greenways?” Michael Mandiberg, a Brooklyn-based artist and designer, asked the crowd as he pulled up a map of Manhattan, its West Side and East Side bike paths highlighted.

Mr. Mandiberg and 11 other designers, architects, planners and bike thinkers from the United States and the Netherlands were in the final competition stage of the New Amsterdam Bike Slam (http://newamsterdambikeslam.org/about.html).

An artist’s rendering of an idea for a bicycle freeway
that might run underneath existing elevated highways.
Riders would not have to stop for lights, cross-traffic or rain.

As a part of New York’s all things Dutch celebration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s arrival, the Bike Slam, a four-day conference that was part infrastructure symposium and part reality television show competition, was held Sept. 9-12. New York City’s Transportation Alternatives (http://www.transalt.org/), the pedestrian and cyclist advocacy group, and Amsterdam’s Velo Mondial (http://www.velomondial.net/) were the hosts.

After days of touring the city on bikes and brainstorming to create a vision to spur a million more cyclists onto New York’s streets, the two teams were coming into the final stretch and pitching their plans. Anything — cost, infrastructure and political battles be damned — seemed fair game.

Mr. Mandiberg hit another button on his laptop, and a new greenway lit up in the center of the island. “How about one up the middle?” The crowd responded with hoots and cheers. “Broadway is the obvious choice,” he said. Turn Broadway into a bike-only thoroughfare? Sure, why not?

Mr. Mandiberg ran through another series of possible improvement for the city’s cyclists; a glass cube with interior space for bike parking at 1 Centre Street. He called for lockers and showers at the Municipal Building for commuting city workers.

The D.J. spun Queen’s “Bicycle Race” during an interlude. Then it was back to business.

Team New York took the stage (each team had three Dutch and three American members.)

Ineke Spapé, a Dutch traffic and urban designer, made a similar plea for a Broadway reduced to bikes and buses only.

Her call to turn Governors Island into a bike training center where everyone, police officers and cabbies included, would have to take a cycling test, was met with big applause.

Then it was on to the young. Early indoctrination is key to the Dutch cycling ethos. Children get bike education in schools, according to Team Amsterdam’s Wendy Schipper, a sustainability project manager for the Department of Infrastructure, Traffic and Transportation for the city of Amsterdam. “They get a diploma when they graduate,” she explained.

Ms. Schipper’s team wondered whether New Yorkers might someday allow their children to be led to school as a big “bike posse.” Envision an adult cyclist “bus driver” leading a group of schoolchildren on bikes to and from class.

Both teams were appalled by the lack of safety at the off ramp from the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. Team New York called for a Budnick Bikeway style (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/11/four-years-after-crash-a-cyclist-paves-a-legacy/) lane, raised and separated from traffic, that might connect all the way to Lafayette Street.

But Team Amsterdam had more tricks up its sleeves. How about bicycle freeways? asked Carmen Trudell, a New York architect and City University professor. Imagine a bicycle speedway running under the shadow of Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, a rain-free place for athletic cyclists out on training rides or those who just are not going to go at a “Dutch pace.”

The idea helped cinch the victory for Team Amsterdam in impressing the judges, who included a professor of Sustainable Processes at Portland State and Renaud Dutreil, the chairman of the North American unit of the luxury and fashion conglomerate LVMH and a noted Dutch bike enthusiast.

Florent Morellet, a guest judge who is a former restaurateur and a member of the transportation committee of New York City Community Board 2, applauded the idea of a bike freeway. “It’s not that far-fetched,” he said, “for people like me who go live downtown and need to go uptown fast. If a bicycle stops at every light, it becomes so slow it isn’t worth it.”

Shin-pei Tsay, the deputy director of Transportation Alternatives and a Bike Slam organizer, praised the ideas generated by the participants. She was struck by a Dutch idea for bicycle ferries, which could help inspire new cyclists by overcoming the daunting length and hills of the city’s bridges.

Ms. Tsay said Transportation Alternatives staff members would be traveling to Amsterdam this fall to continue to learn from the city and might stage a repeat of the Bike Slam there.

The members of the winning team from Saturday’s event was awarded bragging rights and their very own Dutch bikes. No word on whether they would be allowed on the bike freeway.


September 24th, 2009, 11:10 PM
Put the brakes on rogue bicycle riding

By Jack Brown

Residents are increasingly concerned about the epidemic of scofflaw cycling plaguing the city’s streets and sidewalks. The prevailing anarchy creates an ongoing sense of jeopardy for many that deprives us of peace of mind and jacks up the stress level in an already high-stress environment.

The Coalition Against Rogue Riding (CARR) was formed by a number of neighborhood organizations — including the Greenwich Village Block Associations and Soho Alliance — to focus on calming the streets and sidewalks through better traffic management. CARR advocates an increase of an evenhanded enforcement of the vehicular laws.

In May the results a rigorous study conducted in April by the departments of sociology and urban affairs of Hunter College was issued. “Biking Behavior in Midtown” observed 5,275 cyclists at 45 intersections between 14th St. and 59th Sts. and First and Tenth Aves. It was found that nearly 38 percent of observed cyclists did not stop at red lights. Nearly a third did not use a designated bike lane. More than 17 percent were either riding the wrong way, or at various times both with and against traffic.

This hard data gives a representative portrait of what causes the sense of anarchy. However, it does not portray the multitude of hits and nears misses that have gone unreported over the years and that activate the adrenalin of the fight-or-flight mechanism and challenge peace of mind. It does not indicate the deaths. Professor Peter Tuckel is the principal investigator. To locate the study, go to the blog site “Commuter Outrage” and find “Academic Study,” where a direct link can be found.

On June 18, after addressing the Village Alliance (Eighth St.) business improvement district, featured speaker Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the Department of Transportation, was given a copy of the study. Despite a D.O.T. representative’s assurance that the department would have a response to the study by the next day, none was forthcoming. Previously, in a phone message, an agency representative said that “enforcement” was the responsibility of the Police Department.

On July 19, the New York Daily News ran a piece about the death of Stuart Gruskin. Gruskin was a well-liked senior V.P. of Valuation Research. He grew up in New York and was a graduate of N.Y.U. Stern School of Business. On April 28 he was knocked down by a delivery rider cycling the wrong way on W. 43rd St. Three days later he died in Weill Cornell Hospital of head trauma. The bike had no brakes. The rider wore no helmet. The bike was without horn or bell. Rogue rider Alfredo Geraldo was hit with three violations. No criminal charges were filed. Geraldo has disappeared.

A $20 million lawsuit has been filed against the Call Cuisine Catering Company. Gruskin’s widow says that businesses that offer incentives for rush delivery bear a big responsibility. She says that the lawsuit is filed to draw attention to the need for regulation, responsibility and bicycle safety. The Gruskin family is also establishing a foundation to address this problem. Ironically, the suit was filed on July 8. This was the day that Commissioner Sadik-Khan declared that New York was the “bike capital of the world” after completing 200 miles of bike lanes.

The traffic safety department of the Manhattan South police command, which encompasses the area of the study, was informed of the findings. A plan was developed with Manhattan South precinct chiefs for a “sustained step-up in an evenhanded enforcement” of the vehicular laws. After two weeks, there were no measurable results.

Chief James Tuller was recently promoted from Manhattan South to head Transportation at One Police Plaza headquarters. CARR provided a copy of the Hunter College study. A request was communicated to Chief Tuller that he take the Gruskin tragedy into account and declare rogue riding a “quality of life” issue and “refocus” enforcement of the vehicular laws throughout the five boroughs. The response from Chief Tuller’s office was a suggestion that CARR work through Manhattan South.

The offices of state Senator Liz Krueger, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and Councilmember Jessica Lappin responded to CARR’s request for action. Kavanagh and Krueger undertook the revision of S7851, which had been introduced in 2002 by Krueger. The Vicarious Liability Bill makes a business owner financially responsible for the actions of a delievery agent.

Councilmember Lappin is the chief sponsor of Intro No. 624, a similar bill that has been in limbo in the Transportation Committee, headed by Councilmember John Liu. Liu and Speaker Christine Quinn are responsible for bringing it to the floor for a hearing. If a version of this bill had been law and enforced, the tragic death of Stuart Gruskin might have been avoided.

There are places, such as Denmark and Berlin, where cycling is a well-established, lawful way of life. Transportation Alternatives — the pedestrian and bicycle advocacy organization that has promoted bike lanes, bike racks, indoor parking and other amenities — says it wants to double the number of commuter cyclists, currently 185,000, according to T.A., in the next two years. D.O.T.’s focus is on the establishment of bike lanes, which are causing controversy, and encouraging people to lounge in lawn chairs in Times Square. The neglect of enforcement toward a standard of traffic safety seriously calls the priorities of this administration into question.

The elderly are virtually housebound. Parents of young children are deeply concerned for their safety. Animal companions are in peril. The atmosphere of the sidewalks and streets resembles the Coney Island boardwalk carnival live-target paintball game “Shoot The Freak” — and we, the people, are the freak. It is a version of homegrown terrorism.

In a recent paper, “A Mayoral Directive,” Transportation Alternatives calls for the establishment of an “Office of Traffic Safety” by December 2010. Given the ongoing crisis, such an office would be appropriate. However, CARR recommends, in the near term, that the “moving violations unit” be restarted. This would not require legislation. The resulting enforcement would require will, commitment and common decency.

Jack Brown is a founder of Coalition Against Rogue Riding and a former owner of The Hi Ho Cyclery bike shop, at 165 Avenue A.


September 29th, 2009, 06:27 AM
VOTE: Ban Bikes on Brooklyn Bridge Walkway, Move Them to Car Level?

mysticchildz's Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mysticchildz/2581792593/)

Author Robert Sullivan (http://gothamist.com/tags/robertsullivan), who writes provocative bicycling op-ed pieces (http://gothamist.com/2009/03/08/some_better-biking-in-nyc_suggestio.php) for the Times when he's not writing about rats and the American Revolution, has a suggestion (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/opinion/27sullivan.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss) to solve the ongoing tension between cyclists and pedestrians on the Brooklyn Bridge walkway. He proposes that the city ban bicycles entirely from the walkway, and shift them down to the motor vehicle roadways by creating physically protected bike lanes.

Should Brooklyn Bridge bicyclists be banned from the walkway and relocated down to the car level?

Should Brooklyn Bridge bicyclists be banned from the walkway and relocated down to the car level? (http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/2050225/)

It's a bold idea, and surely one that would be welcomed by pedestrians tired of being terrorized by speeding cyclists.

But will bike riders feel ghettoized? Last time Sullivan tried to arrange detente between cyclists and pedestrians, a classic flame war (http://gothamist.com/2009/03/08/some_better-biking-in-nyc_suggestio.php) reliably ensued (http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/03/09/for-cyclists-its-a-pr-war-out-there). This time, let's try weighing the merits of Sullivan's proposal by direct democracy.


September 29th, 2009, 09:06 AM
One day last year on the BB, we were talking about how crowded the walkway had become, and how it would only get worse.

One idea was to build a bikeway on top of the superstructure over one of the roadways. Agreed it would be aesthetically distasteful, but something has to be done.

A bike lane on the roadway would probably mean eliminating one traffic lane. The existing three lanes are already very narrow; I don't think you can squeeze them any further.

The horizontal stays aren't original to the bridge. The BRT trains stopped running in 1944, and the trolleys moved inward and used the BRT tracks. By the 1950s, the trolley service ended, the tracks were removed, and vehicle roadway became 3 lanes. During this time, new stays were installed.

Roebling's original design called for the upper promenade to be used by both pedestrians and bicyclists.

September 29th, 2009, 10:14 AM
The pedestrians who refuse to walk in the pedestrian-designated area are the problem here, not the bicyclists.

September 29th, 2009, 02:43 PM
Sometimes its impossible not to walk into the bike lane. When there are big groups of tourists or slow walking people you have to overtake them in the bike lane. Sometimes its a must to get that perfect photo of midtown.

September 29th, 2009, 04:09 PM
In those ^ cases (both understandable) I hope you look both ways and always give the cyclist the right of way.

September 29th, 2009, 04:13 PM
Of course. The problem isn't the pedestrians in general just the few, probably alot of them tourists, who don't understand the lanes.

September 29th, 2009, 06:18 PM
In those ^ cases (both understandable) I hope you look both ways and always give the cyclist the right of way.In uncontrolled situations, the pedestrian has the right of way over the cyclist.

Tourists especially wander on the wrong side at the center, where everyone wants a be in a photo with the ESB in the background.

But some cyclists treat the walkway as if it were empty. No matter how crowded it is, they want everyone to get out of the way so they can zoom by at 15 mph. Sometimes you just have to eat it and slow down. Maybe even stop and say "Excuse me."

September 29th, 2009, 09:02 PM
Hardly "uncontrolled" when a pedestrian unannounced walks into the bike lane -- they're just walking about agape with no mind to what's going on.

Perhaps there should be "Greeters" at either end of the Bridge telling folks (in many languages) to "Walk on the South Side" :confused:

September 29th, 2009, 09:12 PM
Wouldn't make any difference...
There are plenty of signs along the Hudson River Park
that clearly state "NO PEDESTRIANS" on the bike path,
and they point out (even with pictogram's) the correct
path that joggers and walkers should take!
I bet there are still 3-4 joggers/walkers clogging the
bike path for every cyclist :mad:

September 29th, 2009, 10:02 PM
Hardly "uncontrolled"Uncontrolled means not controlled by a signal. Under normal conditions, the Hudson River Park bikeway is controlled. Pedestrians aren't allowed on it. If they are, they're breaking the law. The crosswalks are controlled by signal; both pedestrians and cyclists are required to stop at red.

A walkway/bikeway with a line down the middle like on the BB is shared space. You see such signs posted on the Hudson River Park whenever the bikeway is temporarily used by both cyclists and pedestrians. Besides an advisory, the signs are a legal CYA.

Another factor is that pedestrians on a bridge are a more mixed group than cyclists. There may be small children who don't realize the danger. Not too many 6 year olds ride a bike across the BB.

September 29th, 2009, 11:35 PM
I stand corrected.

Erect little stanchions with a rope running up the middle of the BB to separate the different uses?

September 30th, 2009, 09:56 AM
I don't think the problem is separation. There just isn't enough room anymore.

I don't know when it changed, but when I lived near the bridge, I biked to work. The line didn't separate bikes from pedestrians, just direction. There wasn't much traffic on the bridge, and basically everyone stayed to the right.

September 30th, 2009, 10:26 AM
I like the idea of giving bikers an elevated lane, as Zippy suggested. Would it really impact the aesthetics?


September 30th, 2009, 01:40 PM
Depends on how wlevated we are talking about. Too low and you are making teh pedestrians walk in a tunnel. Also, whoever is on bottom does not get a good shot of the bridge, cables and towers... How is that solved? Maybe an under-slung bridge for bikers? (hangers?)

October 2nd, 2009, 10:38 PM
Prospect Park West to Get Bike Lane


On the heels of the two-way protected bike lane in progress on Kent Street, the Department of Transportation is getting ready to install a similar bike lane along Prospect Park West, a recent post by Transportation Alternatives reminds us. (The Brooklyn Paper had a story on the project last April).

The path will provide 1.8 miles of bike lane between Union Street and Bartel Pritchard Square, intended to provide a safe biking route as well as calm automobile traffic.

The DOT report (PDF) says that Prospect Park West "traffic volume does not warrant three travel lanes" and this one-way road is prone to speeding and reckless driving. The new path is part of New York City's 1997 Bicycle Master Plan. You can check out an elevation plan from when we first covered the topic.

New York's Best Bike Lane (http://www.transalt.org/files/newsroom/streetbeat/2009/Oct/1001.html#brooklyns_best) [Transportation Alternatives]
The New York City Bicycle Master Plan (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/bike/mp.shtml) [DOT]


October 3rd, 2009, 09:17 AM
The Street View: D.C. Envy


By Kristi Cameron

Friday, October 2, 2009 10:51 am

I’ve suddenly developed a mild case of urban envy of…Washington, D.C. That’s right, as of today the not-exactly-progressive town has something New York is sorely lacking: a bike station. Funded by the District and the U.S. Department of Transportation and built by Mobis/Bikestation (http://www.mobisinc.com/), the 1,600-square-foot facility offers secure parking for 130 bikes, a changing room, lockers, rentals, and repairs. An annual membership costs $100, or you can buy a daily pass for a buck.

Cities like Seattle, Santa Barbara, and Long Beach, California, (where Mobis/Bikestation is based) have already had success with these facilities, but the D.C. station is the first of its kind on the East Coast.

Which raises an important question: How useful is a bike station sans showers during warm, humid eastern summers? Perhaps I should reserve my jealousy for Chicago, whose McDonald’s Cycle Center (http://www.chicagobikestation.com/) offers showers and towel service. I could get used to the name.


October 12th, 2009, 03:03 PM
October 12, 2009, 12:01 pm

Bike Lanes Provoke Fervent Responses

By The New York Times (http://wirednewyork.com/author/the-new-york-times/)

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/10/09/nyregion/09complaint.jpgTina Fineberg for The New York
Times Bike lanes are proliferating, and so are opinions of their value and usefulness.

Given the city’s ever increasing number of bike lanes, the two perspectives offered in last week’s Complaint Box (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/complaint-box-on-your-left/) elicited more than a hundred reader responses. Some agreed with Robert Sawyer, who criticized the lanes for taking up precious urban real estate while failing to create a sense of boundaries, while other bikers echoed the concerns of Leah Daskalakis Casner, who complained that encroaching pedestrians have made bike lanes into obstacle courses. Some readers testified to fatal or nearly deadly bike-pedestrian collisions experienced by themselves or family members (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/complaint-box-on-your-left/#comment-539671).

Others contrasted New York’s bicycling culture unfavorably with that of European cities like Copenhagen (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/complaint-box-on-your-left/?apage=1#comment-538415), while still others argued that New York is still more bicycle-friendly than other American cities (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/complaint-box-on-your-left/?apage=2#comment-538915) (not to mention Middle Eastern ones (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/complaint-box-on-your-left/?apage=2#comment-538915)).

However, the consensus was that the streets could be improved if everyone — pedestrians, drivers and bikers — could be more courteous to one another.

The comments below appear as submitted, typos and all.

A Two-Way Street

As in most cases the truth lies somewhere between these two pieces. Ms. Casner seems to be a responsible rider, and Mr. Sawyer points out the less than idyllic side of bike lanes.
My experience is, of course, empirical. Several years ago I was struck by a cyclist not using a bike lane where one was available. By coincidence an ederly neighbor of mine was struck a few weeks later under similar circumstances. Both riders sped away. I wound up with some stitches on my face, my neighbor suffered a broken arm.
Since then, I’ve been more conscious of the behavior of cyclists. Sadly, most do not use the available bike lanes, most do not obey trafic signals and stop signs and many drive against traffic. The social contract is a “two way street” . I’ve kept my half of the bargain, and I believe Ms. Casner has also. Other of her fellow cyclists simply have not.

— Posted by Anthony N (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/complaint-box-on-your-left/#comment-538355)

Oblivious Pedestrians

As a bicycle commuter, I will say that bike riders have no choice but to be hyper-alert — we are so well-aware of the many dangers. Not so for pedestrians, who all too often are oblivious to everything going on around them (not just in the streets: ever bump into someone who stopped dead in the middle of a sidewalk?). I do think things are getting better - the more bikers there are, the more people are used to us & begin to keep an eye out for us. I really do see fewer cars parking in our lanes. If only pedestrians would be more willing to share the pavement. Step back! One foot! Please! It makes all the difference to riders if you let us have our lanes, & not very much to you at all. One foot! I can’t help but believe that many of the pedestrians who complain about bike riders were crossing against the green & not looking (since they didn’t hear a car engine). If I have to choose (please, no!) between hitting a car & hitting a person who stepped in front of me … well, sorry jay-walker.

— Posted by MM (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/complaint-box-on-your-left/?apage=4#comment-539473)

Everyman for Himself

Last fall I finally broke down and bought a bike to get myself around, particularly on the weekends when the 7 train frequently skips my stop. I thought it would alleviate some transit stress. I wear a helmet, obey traffic laws (which drives my husband crazy when we’re riding together) and have a bell. On one of my first solo rides I was struck by a car, while IN the bike lane, by a driver who was too impatient to make his right turn.
On the ground, stunned but unhurt, I looked up to find the large male driver exiting the car and screaming at me. His car was completely unharmed, he was at fault, and I was scratched up but apparently in his mind I deserved a lecture in the middle of the street. I was so frightened that he was going to kick me that I hopped up and on my slightly bent bike and rode away. No pedestrians offered assistance, no other drivers stopped to help, and I know now that it truly is every man for him/herself. Now I scream at cars turning into me, verbally assault drivers parked in the bike lane, and generally kick and scream my way through the streets, trying to stay alive while riding.
So much for alleviating transit stress.

— Posted by LM (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/complaint-box-on-your-left/?apage=2#comment-538595)

Understand the Hierarchy

As a runner, biker and, yes, driver, all in NYC, I am empathetic to each level of the hierarchy, while I also take pride in my current form of transportation.
As a jogger I feel empowered - drivers are supposed to stop for me, and I can jay-walk when the coast is clear. The only place where runners are the odd-ones out is on the Brooklyn Bridge: There is a biker lane and a tourist lane. The runners have to dodge each, at their peril.
As a biker I feel like a car with privileges - while I don’t ride on the sidewalks, other rules are broken as I avoid cars and yield to runners. It’s the clueless pedestrians who annoy me the most.
In my car I am always aware of the runners and bikers. I never cut off a biker when I turn, and I let runners cross in front of my green light so as not to interrupt their pace. My experience running and biking has made me more tolerant towards other runners and bikers…although, no matter what transportation I use, I have zero tolerance for aggressive, careless drivers. While bikers and runners can surely cause injuries, cars are certainly deadly weapons the way they are handled in NYC.

— Posted by Michael (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/complaint-box-on-your-left/?apage=1#comment-538471)

Impact on Small Businesses

Separate bike lanes like the ones on 8th ave, 9th ave, or the new one on Allen Street end up creating much more traffic then there was originally. The return is not worth the sacrifice. No more than a dozen bicyclists ride in these lanes on average per hour, while tens, if not hundreds of vehicles would have used that lane. On Grand street trucks have no where to pull over to make deliveries, and these bike lanes kill small businesses. Period.
Many bikers end up riding in car lanes anyway, and if the mayor wants more revenue he should start giving these people tickets. Plus too often I see bikers run through red lights, give them tickets too.
The fact of the matter is New York is not Paris or London, it is NEW YORK CITY, and some things just don’t work here. If mayor Bloomberg truly cared about what neighborhood residents felt he would consult them before sending the DOT in to reorganize a major thoroughfare.

— Posted by Andrew M (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/complaint-box-on-your-left/?apage=1#comment-538401)

Getting Doored

Bike lanes in NY are and have always been a stupid idea.
In a city where nobody - neither trucks, nor cars (especially taxis), nor motorcyclists, nor bicyclists, nor pedestrians - consistently obeys traffic laws, trying to fence cyclists into narrow lanes eliminates their only protection - their agility and ability to rapidly move to avoid all of the above-mentioned other users of the road.
Since it is a forgone conclusion that New Yorkers will not obey most traffic laws (look at photos and films of New York streets one hundred or more years ago - looks familiar, no?), adding yet another regulation that is sure to be ignored, not just by cyclists, but by their adversaries as well, borders on the insane.
When I was a messenger back in the eighties, the city installed bike lanes with little curbs that trapped riders into them. Nobody with any sense rode in them, because they were right next to parked cars, and astronomically increased one’s chances of getting “doored.” It was clear then, as I assume it still is now, that the safest position for a cyclist was between two lanes of moving traffic, as moving vehicles cannot change direction abruptly, do not open their doors, and do not have pedestrians darting between them without warning. When the day comes that I move back to New York (and sooner or later I will), look for me between two trucks in the leftmost two lanes of any given avenue - and don’t curse at me when I pass close to you as you cross an avenue against the light, just be grateful I’m not a delivery truck with a protruding sideview mirror.

— Posted by Eric, Maine (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/complaint-box-on-your-left/?apage=2#comment-538643)


Copyright 2009 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

February 18th, 2010, 03:28 AM
Bike Lanes have been proposed for AMSTERDAM AND COLUMBUS AVENUES (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=316542&postcount=141)

February 20th, 2010, 07:19 PM
Its AMAZING how oblivious people are to whats around them. Bike lanes, cars, construction sites...I see it every day. I think they just don't care, probably because they think they can sue if anything happens?

February 22nd, 2010, 12:52 PM
I'm not so sure bike lanes are a good idea. Seems to me, they promote neither safety nor civility.

February 23rd, 2010, 05:01 PM
February 23, 2010, 2:13 pm

You Can Park Your Bike, but at What Price?

By J. DAVID GOODMAN (http://wirednewyork.com/author/j-david-goodman/)

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/02/22/nyregion/23spokes-park2-sub2.jpgPhotographs by J. David Goodman/The New York Times
Bike rates posted alongside those for four-wheeled vehicles at a garage in Washington Heights.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/blogs_v3/cityroom/cr_spokes.gif (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/category/spokes/)

When the city adopted a new law to allow bicycle access to office buildings (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/29/council-bill-requires-buildings-to-let-bikes-in/) — under certain conditions — advocates celebrated the move as a positive — if imperfect — step toward even greater bicycle commuting.

But amid the discussion of the pros and cons (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/realestate/commercial/09bike.html) of having bikes in freight elevators, cubicles or the lobbies of buildings, another law requiring parking garages to make space for bikes quietly went into effect. Across the city, a new line — or often, a new sign — has appeared to list the rates charged for daily or monthly bicycle parkers.

The law (http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=451994&GUID=90CDCDB0-69D0-42BE-9F3E-B192C8163542&Search=780&Options=ID) affects 885 parking garages, which must provide one bike space for every 10 cars up to 200 spaces, and then one bike for every 100 car spaces above 200. The Department of Consumer Affairs has been inspecting lots around the city to see that they are both accepting bikes and providing the required racks.

Bicycles Only (http://twitter.com/BicyclesOnly), an anonymous bike enthusiast and Midtown office worker, was one rider keen on taking advantage of the new spaces in a garage downstairs from his office. “I had checked it years before and they didn’t accept bikes,” he said in a phone interview.

But when he checked again in November, shortly after the new law went into force, there were still no spots for bikes.

After a complaint to the Department of Consumer Affairs revealed that the garage had been inspected (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bicyclesonly/4257091602) and found not to be in violation, he returned with a camera to document his experience (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bicyclesonly/4258142613).

“I’ve used cameras in that way before,” he said, mostly in connection with traffic difficulties while biking his son to school (http://www.youtube.com/user/lfreedman500).

In this case, the tactic worked: the department reinspected the garage, finding a violation on the second try. “I have to hand it to them, now they’re really taking note,” he said of the department. “They seem to really want to do their job here and make sure the garages comply.”

Space on these outdoor racks in Midtown cost $50 a month.

But his real agenda, he added, is to make sure the bicycle racks are added, which would physically replace some car spots. That way the garage owners will be forced to reckon with unrented bike parking spots and to compete on price. For the moment, there is little incentive not to charge a high rate for bike parking, since scaring away such customers means more spaces for cars.

As a result, rates vary wildly. Even in a small stretch of Midtown canvassed on Monday, there seemed to be no consistency in the pricing. An Icon Parking garage on 40th Street off Broadway advertised $6.43 for up to 24 hours or a monthly rate of $68.89 before sales tax. (Parking tax may not be charged on human-powered vehicles; instead, the standard sales tax of 8.875 percent applies, according to the city’s Department of Finance.)

Two blocks away, Central Parking on 38th Street posted rates of $175 per month or $15 for the day — nearly twice the cost of a monthly MetroCard.

Over on Ninth Avenue and 38th, an outdoor Edison Park Fast lot took bikes for $5 a day and $50 for the month.

Part of the problem: the spaces have not yet proved popular with cyclists. None of the lots visited Monday had rented a single monthly bike space.

At the outdoor lot, the employees seemed genuinely excited by interest from a potential customer. “You would be the first one,” a manager said. “We just put in at the end of last month.”

So far, the rack has been a great storage spot — for a snow blower, some salt and the trash.

Follow Spokes on twitter, twitter.com/spokesnyt (http://twitter.com/spokesnyt), where links to the column will appear along with other bike-related tweets.


Copyright 2010 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

April 9th, 2010, 12:49 AM
I stand corrected.

Erect little stanchions with a rope running up the middle of the BB to separate the different uses?

An accident waiting to happen. Several, in fact. Putting any obstruction in the bike lane will lead to a bad crash, sooner than later.

I've been biking up and down the west side since for years. In addition to clueless pedestrians, you also have clueless cyclists. In fact, as the city becomes more bike-accessible, you get more and more casual cyclists who are about as bad as pedestrians when it comes to situational awareness. Because of them I don't ride in Central Park any more.

April 9th, 2010, 10:37 AM
An accident waiting to happen. Several, in fact. Putting any obstruction in the bike lane will lead to a bad crash, sooner than later.

The separators would not be IN the bike lane, but at the edge.

April 9th, 2010, 11:13 AM
While I think something is needed Loft, I can see where he is coming from.

If you put a rope up, you incresase the likelyness of someone getting caught up on it. Also any other more substantial barrier would take up valuable space, so this is not an easy solution.

The only thing I can think of is a way to double-deck it or undersling it (I have not looked under the walkway) to get a more utilitarian "bike route" and a more sightseeing pedestrian route on top.

April 9th, 2010, 02:10 PM
The separators would not be IN the bike lane, but at the edge.

Doesn't matter: an obstruction is an obstruction. And, with the steadily increasing number of increasingly unsteady casual cyclists, any obstruction is an accident waiting to happen.

I actually don't know if there is a solution at the moment. The completion of construction on the downtown parts of the pedestrian and landscaped parts of the Hudson River Park will alleviate some of the pedestrian crowding, but the larger issue is 1) many people just don't care if it's a bike path and 2) many tourists don't know it's a bike-only path. That's one of the issues with the Brooklyn Bridge: there's almost no signage.

April 9th, 2010, 04:33 PM
How is a slim stanchion at the edge of the bike path (down the middle of the boardwalk, where the line is painted that is supposed to separate bikers from walkers) any more of a so-called "obstruction" than the full metal structure of the bridge on the north edge of the bike path? It's simply a delineation of the already allocated bike space and wouldn't be taking space away from where bike riders are supposed to rule. Such a slim railing would certainly be less in the way of a biker than a guy from Italy moving into the bike lane to take a photo.

April 10th, 2010, 09:38 PM
How is a slim stanchion at the edge of the bike path (down the middle of the boardwalk, where the line is painted that is supposed to separate bikers from walkers) any more of a so-called "obstruction" than the full metal structure of the bridge on the north edge of the bike path? It's simply a delineation of the already allocated bike space and wouldn't be taking space away from where bike riders are supposed to rule. Such a slim railing would certainly be less in the way of a biker than a guy from Italy moving into the bike lane to take a photo.

If you're talking about a line of stanchions which run down the divider between bike path and pedestrian path--which I assumed--then it's an obvious obstacle. If you're talking about one stanchion at the beginning of the path, then it isn't an obstacle. But it won't work.

I don't mean to be the voice of doom on this, but I don't think there's any kind of obstacle short of a wall which will keep pedestrians off the bike path so long as the bike path and the pedestrian areas are coincident. The only thing which would really stop it would be the NYPD ticketing pedestrians.

All that said, I would love to be proved wrong.

April 10th, 2010, 09:48 PM
The only thing which would really stop it would be the NYPD ticketing pedestrians.Why not...I'd welcome it, after all- At the HRP they ticket cyclist if
we even put so much as one tire on the pedestrian side while still sitting on our bike ($75.00).
Meanwhile joggers and gawkers are running amok all over the bike path, with complete disregard to the signs banning all pedestrians.

April 12th, 2010, 07:58 AM
How is a slim stanchion at the edge of the bike path (down the middle of the boardwalk, where the line is painted that is supposed to separate bikers from walkers) any more of a so-called "obstruction" than the full metal structure of the bridge on the north edge of the bike path? It's simply a delineation of the already allocated bike space and wouldn't be taking space away from where bike riders are supposed to rule. Such a slim railing would certainly be less in the way of a biker than a guy from Italy moving into the bike lane to take a photo.

Are you being serious?

A rope divider can be easily caught up apon, hopped over by pedestrians, and cause a major problem.

When you make it more substantial people respect it more.

Now, how would it take up more room if it was a metal guard? Why do you need 12 feet (13 on curves) for a car lane when the car is only 6-7 feet wide? Why do people shy away from the center barrier even though they are nowhere near hitting it?

Same goes for bikes, put in a barrier, even 6 inches thick, and you are taking away about a foot (3 " for 1/2 the barrier, 9+ inches for avoidance) of bike lane.

Physically it is only 3", mentally it is much more.

April 12th, 2010, 09:37 AM
Are you being serious?

A rope divider can be easily caught up apon, hopped over by pedestrians, and cause a major problem.

You made up the part about the rope :cool: which I never suggested.

How about a laser line that burns when crossed?

April 12th, 2010, 11:24 AM
My bad, when you used "stanchion" then contrasted it with "metal structure" I thought you were saying that these stanchions were just the posts to support the rope between them:


Not as a complete metal guard rail system, which would fall under the comments I had later in my post.....

April 12th, 2010, 04:23 PM
You made up the part about the rope :cool: which I never suggested.

How about a laser line that burns when crossed?

I've floated the idea of tasering gawking pedestrians and throwing them into the river, but my lawyer informs me there may be a legal gray area there.

Truth be told, I think an enormous difference could be made with a simple addition: much better signage. There's more information on the streets about where you can and can't park than were you can and can't walk. It's the main issue I have stopped riding over the Brooklyn Bridge: pedestrians have no way of knowing which side is for which without being yelled at by cyclists. The only signage is painted on the walkways, and it's so faded as to be illegible.

July 18th, 2010, 01:37 AM
Spokes | Hauling Cargo, No Car Necessary


When Lela Rose needs to take her two children to school or pick up a bag of potting soil or transport a large chair, she doesn’t grab the keys to the family vehicle. Instead, she hops aboard her cargo-hauling tricycle.

“It’s literally a car,” said Ms. Rose, a fashion designer who regularly commutes on the trike in heels and a dress from her home in TriBeCa to her office in the fashion district. She says the machine has changed her life.

“I figured out the key to New York,” she said. “It’s a trike that hauls your stuff.”

Ms. Rose is one of a small but growing number of New Yorkers who are using bicycles and tricycles not only as personal transportation but also as near replacements for cars, taxis or the subway to carry children, pets, groceries, lazy spouses and more up and down the city’s new bike lanes.




Ms. Rose’s ride, a Worksman Cycles industrial trike, was customized by George Bliss, an owner of Hudson Urban Bicycles, a bike shop in the West Village. Mr. Bliss lengthened the frame and added a hand-built cargo and seating cab that looks a bit like a miniature sleigh from a Currier and Ives print, albeit one that comes with a roll-bar and custom upholstery.

“They’re really bespoke objects,” said Mr. Bliss. The customized trikes cost about $3,000 all told, about average for these vehicles.

Since building Ms. Rose’s tricycle about five years ago, Mr. Bliss and his shop have made more than a dozen more, including one for the actress Kate Winslet.

“Ten years ago I would never have thought it would be the glamour moms who would be my customers,” said Mr. Bliss, who previously built cargo trikes for gardeners, sculptors and other handymen who wanted to haul their gear with human power.

Another fan of cargo bikes is Peter Hoffman, the chef and owner of BackForty and Savoy restaurants, who can often be spotted at the farmers’ market in Union Square astride his blue cargo bicycle; unlike Ms. Rose’s vehicle, it is Dutch-style, with the cargo area in the front. Mr. Hoffman had the platform enlarged to accommodate restaurant supplies.
“I’ve moved eight cases of wine” at a time, he said. “I took my kids to school on it for over 12 years.”

Mr. Hoffman will probably soon be joined by others. Two shops that carry Dutch cargo bikes and trikes have recently opened in the city. One, Rolling Orange in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, sells a dozen styles, from small models that can carry an apple box-worth of gear to behemoths that can move 100 to 200 pounds, according to Christine Brinkhorst, the shop manager.

Ms. Brinkhorst acknowledged that the bikes were not inexpensive. “But it will save money in the long run,” she said, adding that the bikes were low maintenance and could be stored outside because they were treated to prevent rust.

The other new shop, Adeline Adeline, in TriBeCa, carries a short and a long Dutch cargo bike. Kansas Waugh, who bikes to his job at an ad agency in TriBeCa, recently ordered the long version. He said he and his wife wanted to be able to carry their 21-month-old daughter as well as any abandoned furniture or garage sale bargains they found in their Red Hook neighborhood.

“You’ll go slow — you’re not going to beat cars,” Mr. Waugh said. But he loves his machine.

“It’s empowering,” he said.

Children like them, too.

“My kids would much rather go on the bike than the car,” said Kelly Craig, whose daughters call her cargo trike “Rosie, the taxi bike.” It’s pink with silver upholstery, colors the girls picked out.

Ms. Craig, a model and stunt actress, said she once loved the thrill of dodging buses on her conventional bike. But now she has found the trike to be a calming force.
“When I’m on Rosie, with cars it’s a totally different experience,” she said. “Cars clear, even when I don’t have kids in the back. People make jokes, asking if ‘I can have a ride.’ People smile, whether I have the kids or not. If I have the kids, forget about it.”


July 18th, 2010, 11:21 AM
My next door neighbor uses one of those. It takes up half the hallway outside our doors :mad:

July 18th, 2010, 01:12 PM
Sounds like it needs a trip down the stairs, or call the fire dept.

July 18th, 2010, 01:23 PM
It's the least of the problems with the new neighbor. Their lease is up soon (un-regulated) and they've gotten on the wrong side of the landlord, so this too will pass.

July 25th, 2010, 12:53 PM
Tall Bikes Make Manhattan's Stressed-Out Drivers Smile

Friends Jonathan Aquino, Brian Espaillat and Xavier Feliz, aim to bring good vibes with their bike creations.

DNAinfo.com (http://dnainfo.com/20100724/washington-heights-inwood/tall-bikes-make-manhattans-stressedout-drivers-smile)
By Carla Zanoni
July 24, 2010

UPPER MANHATTAN — Making drivers stuck in Manhattan's traffic snarl-ups smile is a tall order, but Jonathan Aquino has the vehicle to do it.

The artist's seven-foot bicycle is entertaining street-goers in Washington Heights and Inwood.

“I see people who look sad who just start smiling when they see me — and it feels good,” said Aquino, 19.

“The purpose of this bike is to make people laugh, make them smile.”

The bike is one of three he and two friends made out of recycled materials as part of their business venture, MTDE (Make The Difference Entertainment). The company's mission is simply to make people smile.

Partners Xavier Feliz, 26, sketched the plan for the bike while Brian Espaillat, 22, welded the parts together. Aquino came up with the business platform.

The trio aims to sell custom bikes through internet orders and will soon be selling t-shirts with silkscreened photographs of Aquino riding the bike.

Far from being a new feature on uptown streets, Aquino and Feliz say they regularly speak to old-timers in the neighborhood who say similar bikes used to be ridden in the area during the '70s and '80s, and as far back as the early 1900s (http://www.cardcow.com/235275/really-tall-bicycle-transportation-bicycles/).


Big biker Jonathan Aquino takes his tall bike out for a spin at Anne Loftus Park in Inwood ...


mr messer
July 25th, 2010, 01:38 PM
Biking in NYC can be very dangerous (http://sleepny.lefora.com/2010/05/03/times-square-cyclist-accident/). But the most dangerous are the pedicabs. (http://sleepny.lefora.com/2009/10/07/should-pedicabs-be-on-the-road-in-manhattan)

If you are a tourist in NYC be very wary of getting on one of the pedicabs. Yes they look very cute and fun but being hamburger in a meatgrinder of bus and garbage truck is not fun in fact being hamburger could be the end of your life as a person.

July 25th, 2010, 02:57 PM
There's a whole thread about pedicabs.

July 25th, 2010, 03:54 PM
Spam for the NecroForum.

mr messer
July 25th, 2010, 05:48 PM
Those pedicabs are too uncertain and dangerous for the modern traveler. I have seen the safer ones in India! If you like to live life and not be hamburger necroed, then pedicabs are not for you amigos.

July 26th, 2010, 07:41 AM
You missed the point MM.

IOW, go to the Pedicab Thread and post there.

August 15th, 2010, 05:25 AM

Cyclists Can't Ride Across Henry Hudson Bridge Despite Millions Spent on Bike Path Renovation

August 11, 2010

By Carla Zanoni

Cyclists will have to hop off their bikes if they want to use the lower level of the Henry Hudson Bridge to cross boroughs.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_08_R7863_Cyclists_Cant_Ride_on_ Henry_Hudson_Bridge.jpg
Cycling/Pedestrian pathway along the lower level of the Henry Hudson Bridge. (Flickr/Emilio Guerra)

INWOOD — Despite a recently completed $86 million renovation (http://dnainfo.com/20100624/washington-heights-inwood/henry-hudson-bridge-lower-ramp-reopen-friday) — $8.8 million of which was put toward overhauling a bicycle and pedestrian path — cyclists still have to dismount and walk their bikes across the Henry Hudson Bridge.

A publicized 2008 MTA plan for the renovation included “a bicycle path spanning the full length of the lower level roadway.”

But since completion of the project, riders have been greeted by a sign commanding them to walk their bikes across the bridge because the MTA prohibits bike riding on paths narrower than 10 feet, transportation site Streetsblog (http://www.streetsblog.org/2010/08/05/henry-hudson-bridge-walkway-re-opens-with-a-cycling-ban/) first reported.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_lrgimage_2010_08_R3634_Copy_of_Henry_Hudson_ Bridge_to_Reopen.jpg
The new lower level reopened to the public
on June 25, but still requires cyclists to disembark
their bikes in order to cross.

“I thought it would be a great way to get to Riverdale, but was frustrated that I had to walk,” said 38-year-old Molly Hivens, a Washington Heights cyclist who found that at the end of the three-year project in June, she couldn't use the bridge as originally promised.

Despite the bike-riding ban, the MTA still considers the walkway a bike path, and notes that cyclists are not barred from crossing the new pedestrian path.

“Cyclists simply must dismount and walk their bikes while on the bridge as a safety measure," said MTA spokeswoman Joyce Mulvaney.

Mulvaney said the transportation agency has no plans to widen the pathway or to make new accommodations for cyclists, explaining that the agency’s priority is first and foremost for toll-paying motorists.

“The primary function of the bridge is to carry vehicular traffic,” she said. “And we cannot remove capacity for toll-paying customers in order to better serve cyclists."


August 15th, 2010, 02:38 PM
Despite the bike-riding ban, the MTA still considers the walkway a bike path, and notes that cyclists are not barred from crossing the new pedestrian path.

“Cyclists simply must dismount and walk their bikes while on the bridge as a safety measure," said MTA spokeswoman Joyce Mulvaney.

Then it ISN'T a BIKE path.

When you have to walk your bike, it is a PEDESTRIAN path.

August 15th, 2010, 10:35 PM
People complain about the trains the MTA runs, they forget they are also screwing up the bridges too. Seriously, they could have taken 6 inches out of those roadways and everything would be fine. It's not like this bridge is an Interstate or anything.

August 16th, 2010, 10:30 AM
“Cyclists simply must dismount and walk their bikes while on the bridge as a safety measure," said MTA spokeswoman Joyce Mulvaney.

What a moron.

August 16th, 2010, 11:41 AM
Then it ISN'T a BIKE path.Change the signs. Call it a Portageway.

August 16th, 2010, 11:42 AM
they forget they are also screwing up the bridges too.And their real estate assets.

August 16th, 2010, 01:33 PM
They like to keep their assets to themselves, TYVM! [/snooty]

September 19th, 2010, 03:10 AM
Spokes | The Cyclist-Pedestrian Wars


VICTIM A biker knocked down Thomas Bernardin.

(http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/category/spokes/)For as long as there have been cyclists in the city, there have been pedestrians who have viewed them as a dangerous menace.

First, there were the “scorchers,” a breed of fast riders from the turn of the last century, decried by carriage drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists.

Much more recently, there have been the delivery guys — they are almost all guys — who ride on the sidewalk, the commuters who run red lights and the two-wheeled “salmon” who roll against the flow of traffic, all fueling the perception that there is a dangerous culture of lawlessness among at least some of the city’s bike riders.

“Right now, the bikes are running amok,” said Jack Brown of the Coalition Against Rogue Riding, a group formed last year. “It’s a flesh-and-bone-versus-metal issue, a too-many-close-calls-to-mention issue.”

Mr. Brown, who owned the Hi Ho Cyclery, a now-defunct bike shop on Avenue A, in the 1980s, acknowledges that “a bike does have a certain romantic quality to it,” but he sees scofflaw riders as “maniacal” and “narcissistic.”

Conflicts between riders and pedestrians have flared up across the city, but the most sustained objections to bad bike behavior have been in Manhattan. Cyclists who disobey traffic laws are the No. 1 complaint among residents of the Upper East Side, according to the police.

“It’s gotten worse,” said Bette Dewing, a local newspaper columnist. “I have a strong feeling that there’s too many bicycles.”

Nobody seems to keep reliable data on bicycle-pedestrian crashes, though two researchers at Hunter College analyzed data from 100 hospital emergency rooms across the nation and found evidence of at least 38,000 such collisions between 1980 and 2009 (about 38,000 people die in car accidents each year). The researchers, Peter Tuckel and William Milezarski, found no discernible change over the nearly 30-year period studied.

Nancy Gruskin, a music educator in Westfield, N.J., started an organization to promote safe streets for pedestrians in memory of her husband, Stuart, who was killed last year in a collision with a cyclist riding the wrong way on a Midtown street.

“I understand that what happened to Stuart is very rare,” Ms. Gruskin said. “However, the potential is obviously so great.”

Ms. Gruskin and the Hunter researchers were scheduled to meet on Monday with Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner, to urge her to track bicycle-pedestrian accidents more carefully.

Through the first half of this year, the police issued 15,957 tickets to cyclists across the city, 13,632 of them for riding on the sidewalk. Critics like Ms. Dewing believe that is a small fraction of the violations, and urge more aggressive enforcement.

That has been tried before. In 1996, the city raised fines to $100 from $40 for riding on the sidewalk, after a City Council member was punched in the face by a cyclist whom he told to get off the sidewalk. But to those who say they still encounter cyclists on the sidewalk daily, the heftier penalty appears not to have had the desired effect.

Thomas Bernardin, a tour guide who was knocked down by a rider on the sidewalk outside his West Village apartment in 2007, blames the curb cuts. Such ramps at many New York intersections, required by federal law since the 1970s to allow wheelchairs to easily roll onto sidewalks, also make it easier for cyclists to weave smoothly from street to sidewalk.

Another approach would focus on restaurants whose deliverers ride bikes the wrong way or on the sidewalk in their haste. A bill pending in the State Legislature would make a restaurant — not its riders — liable for violations.

Just as in the 1890s, pedestrians are not the only ones complaining. “If you’re riding the wrong way down the street, that’s always going to be dangerous for any bicyclists coming toward you,” Felix Salmon, a blogger and a regular rider, wrote this month on his blog on Reuters.com. “What justifies salmoning?” he asked, referring to wrong-way riding.


Randy Cohen, a bicycle rider who writes The Ethicist column for The New York Times Magazine, said the only solution was peer pressure. “I believe it is a duty of every cyclist to speak up — gently, nonconfrontationally — in such situations,” Mr. Cohen said. “To simply keep silent isn’t courtesy; it’s dangerous passivity.”


September 19th, 2010, 08:45 AM
List of folks who need to speak up to get us on the right track:

1) Ethical Cyclists

2) Mainstream Muslims

September 20th, 2010, 01:47 PM
found evidence of at least 38,000 such collisions between 1980 and 2009 (about 38,000 people die in car accidents each year).

What do these two things have to do with each other?

September 24th, 2010, 07:45 AM
\/ From the comments:

That's a cute baby.
Looks like a little buddha.I don't think it looks like a real baby :eek: (no disrespect intended).

Now Babies Blocking Bike Lanes, Too

Via Felix Salmon's Twitter (http://twitter.com/felixsalmon/status/25343678584)

Just last week some inconsiderate jerk was caught blocking a bike lane (http://gothamist.com/2010/09/20/now_boats_are_blocking_bike_lanes_t.php) with his boat, now somebody else is doing it with a baby. Or the baby is doing it with its body? While it's true this is the cutest li'l bike lane block ever, just because it's adorable doesn't make it safe. And setting aside the danger posed to cyclists who might swerve out into traffic to avoid this cuddly little obstacle, there's also the terrifying risk that the infant is learning that bike riders are second class citizens who don't deserve their own space on our city's traffic infrastructure. And just because the child's immature, vertically-challenged dad is standing nearby DOESN'T MAKE IT OKAY.

The photo was taken by Reuters blogger Felix Salmon, who dubbed it "Still life with bike lane and baby." You may recall that Salmon recently wrote "A Unified Theory of New York Biking (http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/09/03/a-unified-theory-of-new-york-biking/)," examining the friction between cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians. He concluded that "bicyclists aren’t like pedestrians: we’re much faster, we can’t stop quickly, we can’t navigate as adroitly, and it takes a lot of effort to slow down and speed up again." And if you pedestrians think we're going to hit the brakes just because you're willing to sacrifice your newborn child, well... try us.


October 13th, 2010, 11:15 PM
The city's best bikeway.

http://img121.imageshack.us/img121/5657/hrp24.th.jpg (http://img121.imageshack.us/i/hrp24.jpg/)

October 21st, 2010, 07:03 PM
Police Records Detail Large Presence at Critical Mass Rides

NY TIMES (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/20/police-records-detail-large-presence-at-critical-mass-rides/#more-234343)
October 20, 2010

Cyclists and advocates connected to the monthly rides known as Critical Mass have long charged the police with responding to the unsanctioned events with a display of force far out of proportion to the number of riders or their potential danger to the public.

These charges and countercharges have led riders and the New York Police Department to face off in court on numerous occasions, including a federal lawsuit that the city settled with riders on Monday (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/nyregion/19critical.html?_r=1) for nearly $1 million.

In the course of that suit, internal documents (http://www.scribd.com/full/39755495?access_key=key-fzetd1sma0ig7cngoeh) (see also below) surfaced that outline police preparations for Critical Mass and offer the fullest picture yet of the magnitude of those monthly mobilizations. They show that from 2004 to 2006, the department regularly authorized overtime for hundreds of officers, gathered scores of scooters and sent up helicopters on several occasions over the streets of downtown Manhattan “to combat illegal activity associated with the Critical Mass bicycle ride from Union Square Park.”

Two days before a ride in October 2004, for instance, the response plan included 547 officers, 81 sergeants, 29 lieutenants and a dozen captains. To track the fast-moving ride, the department employed a helicopter and more than 100 scooters and bicycles. Some of the officers were organized into arrest teams, according to the documents, which outline preparations for mass arrests that included 20 buses “to transport prisoners and property.”

The documents — known as detail requests, signed by Assistant Chief Bruce H. Smolka and corresponding to rides from October 2004 to February 2006 — show that the department also sought the involvement of its organized crime unit and advice from its deputy commissioner for counterterrorism.

Cycling advocates said that the documents proved how the police responded to a mouse — in this case, what the documents call an “unstructured event” that “draws several hundreds of riders” — with a elephant-size trap. City Room has made several requests for comment from the police and will update when the department responds.

While the suit did not reveal documents from before October 2004, a video posted this month by Time’s Up (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPBSwWT9AOk&feature=player_embedded), the bike advocacy group closely associated with the rides, depicts a vastly different relationship between riders and police in May 1999. On at least that occasion, officers can be seen pedaling bicycles with the Critical Mass group as well as holding traffic so the ride could pass through intersections unimpeded.


Those more cordial times appear to have stopped abruptly after the Republican National Convention in 2004, when protesters clashed with the police during Critical Mass. From that point, the department began to step up its response significantly, according to the documents and interviews with Critical Mass participants.

Once the new response plan was drafted in late 2004, it remained largely the same each month, though it was scaled back as participation in Critical Mass declined. That would have been standard procedure for a regularly scheduled event. “Basically you go on past practice,” said Jon Shane, professor of police policy and practice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former Newark police officer. “You pull out last year’s parade plan.”

While the documents do not include the costs associated with the response, its vast scope and repeated deployment raised questions about how much money the department spent over that time to issue moving violations and quality-of-life citations to cyclists. The cost of such repeated operations probably dwarfed Monday’s settlements, which totaled $965,000, Professor Shane said.

“Trust me, it adds up really fast,” he said. “When we used to look at parade expenditures at various community events, it skyrockets really fast.”

A 2006 cost analysis by Time’s Up and Charles Komanoff, the former head of Transportation Alternatives, estimated that the department spent roughly $1.3 million between August 2004 and September 2006 to police Critical Mass. Mr. Komanoff, who has seen some of the police detail documents that emerged recently, said that they confirmed his methodology and his findings.

The size of the operation steadily diminished as the reported number of cyclists participating in Critical Mass dropped off. When cyclists gathered in Union Square on Feb. 24, 2006, the department prepared just 78 officers, with a police helicopter on standby. Currently, the rides attract no more than a few dozen cyclists.

“I think they show the Police Department going from very small details of officer assigned to assist the rides to these huge details designed to make mass arrests and send the message that people shouldn’t be participating in the rides,” said Gideon Oliver, a lawyer for the cyclists in the recently settled federal suit. “It’s not every detail request that the Police Department assigns mass arrest teams.”

Colin Moynihan contributed reporting.

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

October 21st, 2010, 07:06 PM
HALLOWEEN CRITICAL MASS (http://times-up.org/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=95&cntnt01origid=15&cntnt01returnid=114)

FRIDAY October 29, 2010
7:00 pm at Union Sq Park North

Grab a bike, and your scariest costume, and get ready to ride through the streets screaming on the Halloween Critical Mass

October 22nd, 2010, 08:00 AM
They should know it is easier to accomodate than to confront, especially for something as innocuous as this.

October 29th, 2010, 02:12 PM
A law that's good enough for bike messengers & food delivery folks applies equally to all ..

4-Year-Olds Sued After Midtown Bicycle Accident

DNA Info (http://www.dnainfo.com/20101029/midtown/4yearolds-sued-after-midtown-bicycle-accident)
By Olivia Scheck
DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
October 29, 2010

MANHATTAN — A Manhattan judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit against a four-year-old Midtown East girl accused of "negligent" operation of her bicycle, resulting in severe injury to an elderly woman.

"Defendant-movant correctly notes that infants under the age of four are conclusively presumed incapable of negligence," Supreme Court Justice Paul Wooten wrote in his Oct. 1 decision. "Juliet Breitman, however, was over the age of four at the time of the subject incident."

The circumstances of the unusual court case began in April of last year, when Breitman and another four-year-old, Jacob Kohn, were allegedly racing their bicycles on a sidewalk near their East 52nd Street homes, according to the complaint. As the children rode, under the supervision of their mothers Dana Breitman and Rachel Kohn, they struck an 87-year-old pedestrian, the complaint said.

The pedestrian, Claire Menagh, suffered severe injuries and died after surgery a few weeks later, according to court documents.

Now, the woman's estate is suing the children and their mothers, claiming the "defendants were negligent in the operation and control of their bicycles."

Lawyers for the Breitmans asked the judge to dismiss the charges against her, arguing that a child her age was incapable of negligence. But Judge Wooten denied the motion, and said the relevant precedent only applied to children younger than four. He could not dismiss the case because Breitman was four years and nine months old at the time of the incident.

As such, the judge ordered the children and their mothers to appear for a preliminary conference in December.

Copyright © 2009 - 2010 Digital Network Associates dba DNAinfo.com.

October 29th, 2010, 04:33 PM
^WOW! That's an incredible story. Until about halfway down I thought the woman had eventually recovered. The parents of children that young, to me, are entirely responsible (irresponsible in this case). I understand the judge must follow the precedent, but the parents are culpable for this. Racing on a city sidewalk? My mom would have whacked us for that. I can't believe the age is 4 years old! Incomprehensible to me. The pic that Merry posted a few above this gets my blood boiling too. Another pic that falls under the heading: WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH THESE PEOPLE?

October 30th, 2010, 08:57 PM
Didn't know she died actually of natural causes a few months later, but still naming the child in the suit is asinine.

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/10/30/2010-10-30_nyc_attorney_suing_fouryearolds_parents_in_bicy cle_accident_that_led_to_elderly_.html

October 30th, 2010, 08:58 PM
Absurd. I agree that parents should be held a lot more responsible for the actions of their children in public, but this was a 4-year-old, for goodness sake. How many 4-year-olds are "responsible"? Sure, teach them as best you can about interacting with others, but their play is innocent and should be treasured. It doesn't last long these days.

Reflecting on a Lawsuit Against a 4-Year-Old


That children under the age of 5 make it through the day, more often than not, without grievous bodily injury is something of a miracle, one of the many that present themselves to people once they become parents. But even young children have an instinct for self-preservation, which is why I find it even more mystifying how rarely those creatures — stick-wielding, stone-chucking, body-flinging — actually harm others.

The inevitable close calls leave even watchful parents in a guilty cold sweat, praying in gratitude to whatever playground deity intervened before push turned to shove-that-preschooler-right-off-the-slide.

And then, every once in a while, the magic of close calls fails. The stick meets eye, the sled careens into shins — or, as happened in April 2009 on East 52nd Street, a 4-year-old on training wheels collides with a woman using a walker. That woman, Claire Menagh, broke her hip (and, several months later, died of unrelated causes, at age 87). Her estate sued not only the two mothers whose 4-year-olds had been riding their bicycles on the sidewalk, but the children as well, for negligence.

This month, a judge ruled that the case against the 4-year-old girl involved could proceed (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/nyregion/29young.html) (the family of the boy named in the suit did not file a motion for dismissal). Reading the judge’s ruling — which cites cases dating to 1928, and suggests that a 4-year-old could be held to the standard of some mythical “reasonable child” of that age — I kept flashing back to images from my college-era art history class: medieval baby Jesus, looking more like miniature adult Jesus, a representation of children as small adults so outdated as to seem almost incomprehensible through the lens of modernity.

Even as we expect our children to be ever more precocious — bilingual before kindergarten; too old at 4 for picture books, thank you; capable of showing us around our iPhones — somehow we never expect them to be ever more adult; certainly not so adult as to be potentially liable for negligence. One of my own 4-year-old twin sons not only believes Batman lives and breathes, but assumes he will someday grow up to be Batman.

I have little fantasy that he is “reasonably” anything in particular when it comes to his judgment.

On Friday, parents and others in the neighborhood where the accident occurred shook their heads at the absurdity of suing someone so young, even as they acknowledged that the sidewalk was, as Meg Chamberlin, who lives on the block, put it, “a gray zone.”

In the condensed spaces of New York, where bedrooms double as playrooms and kitchens as home offices, the sidewalk is both throughway and backyard, which city officials recognize: it is indeed legal for children 12 and younger to ride bikes on the sidewalk. One resident of the apartment complex, who said she did not want to be quoted because of tensions there, said the community had long been divided between parents and nonparents over issues like how late children could play in the back of the building and how loudly.

Ms. Chamberlin, a mother of children ages 3 and 5, said the lawsuit had only heightened her own sensitivities about how she parents in the city.

“You don’t want to be superhovering parents,” she said; but she no longer feels she can take the chance that her child will veer unexpectedly into those shared spaces. Caught up in conversation, Ms. Chamberlin did not notice that an older woman and her companion had halted, blocked in their path by her stroller. “Excuse me,” the older woman said loudly, at which point Ms. Chamberlin hastily stepped aside, pulling the stroller. Resolution reached; lawsuit avoided.

The sheer density of New York — all that crowding, all those eyes — is what makes parenting often feel like a hotly contested performance. “On playgrounds, I mostly spend my time having imaginary arguments with other parents who are secretly judging me,” the singer Jonathan Coulton, a Brooklyn parent, recently posted on Twitter (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/twitter/index.html?inline=nyt-org).

Self-consciously, a mother or father intervenes in children’s disputes at the risk of being deemed a helicopter parent; or maybe that parent does not hover, indulging in a rare moment of conversation, or God forbid, a complete train of thought, at the risk of being judged a bad caregiver — or, worse, having a child sued for negligence.

At MacArthur Park on East 49th Street, the closest playground to where the accident occurred, a yellow ribbon had been strung around the gate on Friday, with a surprisingly lawyerly caveat: Enter at Your Own Risk. The ribbon had a Halloween twist — spooky images in black were printed there as well — but it seemed, that day, appropriate for any playground at any time of year. Young children, so fragile, so tender, can also be a menace, a force of nature, like a tornado — and wholly unpredictable, like tornadoes.

Accidents happen; we all try not to get carried away.


October 31st, 2010, 01:46 AM
This wasn't a mere accident. Racing bikes on the sidewalk? Of course the parent is ultimately responsible, but the age of 4 is the legal line for responsibility -- has been for ages.

October 31st, 2010, 03:10 AM
...the age of 4 is the legal line for responsibility -- has been for ages.

Doesn't make it right or any less ridiculous.

This wasn't a mere accident. Racing bikes on the sidewalk? ...

The parents shouldn't have allowed them to race their bikes on the sidewalk. They were the ones being irresponsible, not the children. Sue them...if one must.

October 31st, 2010, 11:59 AM
OK, but let's be clear on what is taking place in this instance, which is not a decision in the matter but simply a judicial ruling on a motion at the beginning of the case, pre-trial. It involves [complicated] tort law and the legal definition of mental capacity as it pertains to age and the presumptive incapability of negligence:

Citing cases dating back as far as 1928, a judge has ruled that a young girl accused of running down an elderly woman while racing a bicycle with training wheels on a Manhattan sidewalk two years ago can be sued for negligence.

The ruling by the judge, Justice Paul Wooten of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, did not find that the girl was liable, but merely permitted a lawsuit brought against her, another boy and their parents to move forward.

A comment from a legal type, at another forum:

This looks like a ploy to up the ante to force an insurer to settle.

The family of the deceased wants policy limits, and by suing the kid, they're putting more pressure on the kid's parents to demand the insurance company settle within policy limits.

It looks and feels like a tactic to force settlement, rather than one calculated to up the total judgment that might be obtained. The parents are going to get hit for liability. Without seeing their insurance policy, we can't know what the back story is on this filing against the kid, but we can be certain it is better for the deceased's family to keep the kid as a party defendant.

This is the kind of ruling that often leads to a settlement, because the parents of the child will now be leaning on their own insurer to settle the case, to stop it now.

In this 1979 Pennsylvania case (http://h2odev.law.harvard.edu/cases/224) the argument is in regard to the responsibility of negligence concerning a 7-year old v. a 5-year old:

... a cause of action in trespass for injuries to the minor-plaintiff, six years and two weeks old at the time of the accident, caused by the negligent swinging of a wooden stick by the minor-defendant, five years and seven months old at the time. The court granted summary judgment on the ground that the minor-defendant was under the age of seven years and, therefore, conclusively presumed incapable of negligence. Appellants contend that a minor of over five years of age is capable of actionable negligence ...

Given the laws of the US it seems that the age is different state by state.

Apparently Catholics set the "age of reason" at seven.

So ... if folks don't like the NYS definition of "four years" then at what age does / should personhood begin, legal-wise?

November 1st, 2010, 08:10 AM
Loft, it depends on what the crime was.

Swinging a stick at a smaller kid is something they KNOW will cause harm, even at 5. I do not know why a deliberate hostile act is determined as incapable of cognizant propriety but racing down a sidewalk at 4.75 is considered somehow a malignant negligent act.

There should be a counter-suit for pain and suffering of the children and all the psychological scars that these poor poor children will have for the rest of their lives because of these mean mean RELATIVES OF A DEAD WOMAN and their aggressive attempts at ruining the lives of their parents.

In all seriousness, this is ludicrous.

November 1st, 2010, 10:25 AM
Apparently Catholics set the "age of reason" at seven.

So ... if folks don't like the NYS definition of "four years" then at what age does / should personhood begin, legal-wise?

Let's leave Catholics out of it.

And let's leave the children, and their ages, out of it in the context of responsibility, culpability, negligence, etc.

The insurance angle seems plausible, but the law is an ass for what it allows regarding children being defendants. It's underhand and allows for opportunism (gee, that's unusual :rolleyes:). And, anyway, what credibility can it have if the age is different from state to state :confused:.

Let common sense prevail, not mindlessly protracted and "complicated" legal process.

Chill out, Lofter :cool:.

In all seriousness, this is ludicrous.

Thank you.

November 1st, 2010, 11:05 AM
From the much of the reaction I've read in news items about this story, the purpose and scope of the judge's ruling has been misinterpreted.

Loft, it depends on what the crime was.This is not a criminal case. It's a civil action. Huge difference.

And let's leave the children, and their ages, out of it in the context of responsibility, culpability, negligence, etc.The ruling said nothing of culpability. It was based on Breitman's lawyer filing a motion with the court to have the case dismissed. He offered as evidence the girl's birth certificate, showing she was 4 years-9 months old at the time of the accident.

The Supreme Court judge, citing other cases, noted that the law considers children under four years old incapable of negligence. However, there is no bright-line rule for children over four years old. He also noted that the lawyer presented no evidence supporting his claim other than a birth certificate.

Since there is no rule covering 4 years-9 months, the judge denied the lawyer's motion, and allowed the case to move forward. He made no ruling on actual negligence in the particular case.

November 1st, 2010, 11:13 AM
And, anyway, what credibility can it have if the age is different from state to state :confused:.It's common for laws to vary among states.

Also, not having a bright-line rule over a certain age is a good idea. That way, age and circumstance aren't subject to an arbitrary universal dividing line, and can be determined on a case-by-case basis.

November 1st, 2010, 11:52 AM
From the much of the reaction I've read in news items about this story, the purpose and scope of the judge's ruling has been misinterpreted.

This is not a criminal case. It's a civil action. Huge difference.

I know. I am not questioning the ruling or the judge's, well, judgment. What I am questioning is the application of Civil Law and how something as petty and vindictive as this could seriously be tried in court to waste all of our time and money.

This was not two 12 year olds scratching on her rail when they collided, broke her hip, sent her to the infirmary where she died. this is two 4+ year olds racing down the street being KIDS and smacking into an old lady. NOT commendable, but certainly not justifiable in a lawsuit (by any other means of judgment OTHER than the law itself).

Geez, next thing you know Ralphie's grandkids will be suing Red Ryder.

November 1st, 2010, 12:25 PM
I know. I am not questioning the ruling or the judge's, well, judgment.Yes, you are. See below.
What I am questioning is the application of Civil Law and how something as petty and vindictive as this could seriously be tried in court to waste all of our time and money.

November 1st, 2010, 12:38 PM
FindLaw on negligence and liability (http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2010/10/can-a-four-year-old-be-sued-for-negligence.html)

November 2nd, 2010, 06:02 AM
It's common for laws to vary among states.

Yes, I know. We only have 7 states and territories in Oz and they're all different legally in one way or another :rolleyes:.

Also, not having a bright-line rule over a certain age is a good idea. That way, age and circumstance aren't subject to an arbitrary universal dividing line, and can be determined on a case-by-case basis.

4 years is too young IMO. I just had the thought that children could perhaps be deemed responsible in one state and irresponsible in another in the eyes of the law and found it quite comical (i.e. laughable/ludicrous). Either they're responsible or they're not.

November 2nd, 2010, 08:07 AM
Yes, you are. See below.

No I am not.

Questioning the application of civil law is not the questioning of the judge and his ruling on it. His decision was one based on something I do not believe in, but it is what is in effect.

Therefore Zipmeister, I question the law, NOT the judges application thereof.

November 2nd, 2010, 08:40 AM
First you question the application of civil law (the judge's decision), then you change your mind and question the law (beyond the judge's decision).

So where would you draw the bright-line? So far, you've ranged between 4 and 12 year olds. Remember, by law, anyone below that line is off-the hook.

I noticed the word responsible being used. In no case are children being held legally responsible. That falls on their legal guardian.

November 3rd, 2010, 08:54 AM
If you want to argue semantics Zip, fine.

I will state it again in Tarzan English:

Me think Judge know law.
Me think law is stupid.

That's it. No more, no less.

November 3rd, 2010, 09:35 AM
Semantics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantics) is all we have on this forum to know what someone means.

Even Tarzan had no trouble being understood.

November 3rd, 2010, 12:27 PM
He was a swinger.

November 3rd, 2010, 01:02 PM
Now that it's been established, as lofter pointed out, that the lawsuit is simply allowed, it will be interesting to see what the judge actually does with that part of the lawsuit.

I can't say with certainty what the age of reason-of knowing safety from danger, right from wrong-actually is. I just know I relied on my parents to tell me & boy, they absolutely did, though we weren't joined at the hip all the time.

I've read that the child was 4 years & 9 mos at the time it happened. I think what will happen is, he will use what is called a reasonableness test. Found out about that term from a lawyer I consulted a few years ago. So while under the written, existing law, the suit is permitted, he will most likely determine that it was unreasonable to expect that a child that age can be aware that their actions would cause injury, severe or not, to anyone. That's why it would be up to the parent/guardian to guide them.

The age of 7 does make a big difference, & everyone knows we can't keep children under the umbrella of impunity til they're 18. This case is a definitive example of why these things should be determined on a case by case basis. It would have been entirely different, to me at least, if a child the same age had taken a bat or some other kind of object that could be used as a weapon, & assaulted someone like they see done on their fave cartoons. I hope the judge can see that clearly in this case.

Most of us can say that if something like that happened to us, our first animal instinct would be to want revenge. That's why reason has to take over.

November 3rd, 2010, 01:15 PM
Right now both sides are positioning to give themselves whatever advantage they can attain so that their settlement options are strengthened. The case will be settled by the insurance companies before it ever goes to trial. And that settlement will be sealed with a non-disclosure clause. So we'll probably never know about the legal determination regarding the negligence of the 4 year + 9 month old in this case.

November 3rd, 2010, 01:24 PM
Now that it's been established, as lofter pointed out, that the lawsuit is simply allowed, it will be interesting to see what the judge actually does with that part of the lawsuit.

A thorough opinion on this case by law professor Jonathan Turley. (http://jonathanturley.org/2010/10/29/tykes-on-bikes-new-york-court-finds-toddler-can-be-held-for-tort-damages/) Also a reprint of the judge's decision, which directs:

ORDERED that counsel are directed to appear for a preliminary conference in Room 320, 80 Centre Street, on December 8, 2010, at 11:00 A.M.

November 3rd, 2010, 01:37 PM
From the article in regard to a case in another state where the cut off age is 7-years old:

That is a quite different approach than New York — a critical three year difference for parents before capacity kicks in for their children.

As might be expected, NY kids develop sooner!

November 3rd, 2010, 04:41 PM
Especially in a case like this, 7 certainly sounds more reasonable. Big difference though, between an uncontrollable brat raising hell at a restaurant, waiting room, place of worship, etc., & being reprimanded for it, than a child who, otherwise disciplined, intelligent, mature for their age, having a momentary lapse of "reason" & being sued for it. So, we'll wait for December 8 to see what the final outcome is.

November 4th, 2010, 12:46 PM
Regardless of the outcome, the one thing is for sure.

Lawyers will be earning money.

Lawyers and insurance agents.

November 5th, 2010, 07:39 AM
There would be a case for lawyers even if the child wasn't involved in the suit. The parents are named in the claim; otherwise there would be no determination of responsibility.

So, we'll wait for December 8 to see what the final outcome is. At the pretrial hearing, the judge can allow the entire matter to proceed to trial, throw out the part relating to the child's negligence, or advise the parties to work out a settlement.

November 5th, 2010, 08:56 PM
There would be a case for lawyers even if the child wasn't involved in the suit. The parents are named in the claim; otherwise there would be no determination of responsibility.

At the pretrial hearing, the judge can allow the entire matter to proceed to trial, throw out the part relating to the child's negligence, or advise the parties to work out a settlement.

The final outcome regarding the child's responsibilty I meant. Seems to me the law of the age of reason/responsibility are there simply to have a frame of reference from which to work, because I don't think there would be any case out there where any judge in any given state would strictly adhere to that state's law regarding a child.

As far as the plaintiffs, I don't understand their thinking; They already know there will be a payout regarding this. Everyone knows that. They don't need a booster shot by suing the kid. It just feels like out of their pain/anger that a small part of them wants the kid punished, however insignificant the kid may see it. i.e.; Mommy has to give that lady a lot of money? Ok. What time is dinner?

November 23rd, 2010, 05:23 AM
Expansion of Bike Lanes in City Brings Backlash


Taking the bicycle lane on Ninth Avenue. New York has added 250 miles of bicycle-only
lanes in the past four years, but not everyone is pleased.

Over the last four years, the streets of New York City have undergone a transformation: More than 250 miles of traffic lanes dedicated for bicycles have been created, and several laws intended to promote cycling have been passed.

The efforts by the Bloomberg administration have placed the city at the forefront of a national trend to make bicycling viable and safe even in the most urban of settings. Yet over the last year, a backlash has taken hold.

Bowing to vocal opposition from drivers and elected officials, the city last week began removing a 2.35-mile painted bike lane along Father Capodanno Boulevard on Staten Island. In Manhattan, a community board held a special hearing this month for business owners to vent about problems posed by a new protected bicycle lane on Columbus Avenue — in particular, the removal of parking spaces and the difficulty of getting truck deliveries.

In Brooklyn, new bicycle lanes have led to unusual scenes of friction. Along Prospect Park West, opponents protested last month alongside supporters of the lanes. And last year, painted paths along Bedford and Kent Avenues in Williamsburg caused disagreement between cyclists and Hasidim. The lane on Bedford Avenue was later removed.

So far, the opposition to the city’s agenda on bicycles has far less organization and passion than the bicycling advocates, but it is gaining increased attention.

The City Council will hold a hearing on bicycling on Dec. 9 to address balancing the needs of cyclists with those of other road users, said Councilman James Vacca, the chairman of the Transportation Committee. The hearing will also look at how well the Transportation Department has worked with community boards to review large-scale road changes.

Police and transportation officials, meanwhile, have begun a crackdown on bicycle-related traffic violations amid complaints from some pedestrians.

Surging bike ridership has created a simmering cultural conflict between competing notions of urban transportation. Many New Yorkers object to bicycle lanes as sudden, drastic changes to their coveted concrete front yards.

“He’s taking away my rights as a driver,” Leslie Sicklick, 45, said of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Ms. Sicklick, a dog walker and substitute teacher, grew up driving with her father around the Lower East Side, where she still lives.

She organized a protest in the East Village last month, and she and at least two groups of opponents are planning new rallies against local bicycle lanes. They have discussed joining up for one large protest, though none has been planned.

Cycling advocates have taken notice. They have begun to mobilize more — seeking to undercut any antibicycle rally by their own presence — and have increased pressure on city officials to continue the pro-bicycle agenda. On Nov. 10, for example, advocates and bike riders massed in front of City Hall to protest the Transportation Department’s decision to scale back on parking-protected lanes along First and Second Avenues.

“It’s easy to focus on some of the conflict and friction,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, a bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group that has seen its influence grow under the Bloomberg administration. “But that’s always going to happen when you’re changing the geometry of something as dear as the asphalt. It takes some adjustment, and we’re definitely in that adjustment phase.”

There have been no independent polls of New Yorkers’ attitudes on bicycle lanes, though online surveys have proliferated in recent weeks. One such survey, focused on Prospect Park West in Brooklyn and sponsored by the City Council members representing Park Slope, has received thousands of submissions. “It’s a study period — that’s how D.O.T. put it,” one of those members, Councilman Brad Lander, said. Results should be ready before January, when the department is likely to reach a conclusion on whether the Prospect Park West lane has been a success.

New York has a long relationship with the bicycle, with the first bike path in the country running along Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn as early as 1894.

Interest in better bike infrastructure was revived under Mayor John V. Lindsay in the 1970s. The first separated bike lanes, similar to those that now exist on sections of Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Manhattan, were installed by Mayor Edward I. Koch in 1980 on Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue — though they were quickly removed amid fierce opposition.

“What we did was on such a small scale,” Mr. Koch said recently. “What’s being done now is on such a large scale.”

Along with pedestrian plazas and new express bus service lanes, improved bicycle infrastructure is part of a city effort to rebalance the mix of cyclists, pedestrians and cars on the streets. Slowed motor traffic — “traffic calming” — is one of the department’s goals for new bike lanes, to the annoyance of many drivers.

The Transportation Department has responded to criticism by pointing to accident data showing a correlation between new lanes and increased pedestrian safety. Fatal crashes have decreased on streets with new lanes, according to the department.

“The record speaks for itself: Injuries have dropped, dramatically, for everyone on streets where bike lanes have been installed,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, the transportation commissioner.

The department pointed to the support lanes have found from community boards across the city, many of which have explicitly requested new bike lanes — along Prospect Park West, for example — in part because of safety concerns.

Outside the city, bikes have begun creeping into political battles this year. The Republican nominee for governor of Colorado, Dan Maes, wondered during the primary whether bicycles were part of a plot to ruin cities.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who lost his bid for re-election in Washington, found himself painted as out of touch with residents, in part because of his connection to new bike paths.

In New York, the biggest challenge yet could come along Prospect Park West, where some residents are fighting to eliminate the 1.8-mile, two-way strip of green paint delineating a new bike lane.

Norman Steisel, a former sanitation commissioner and deputy mayor, admitted that he never noticed the proliferation of bicycle lanes, until he got stuck in traffic near his Brooklyn home over the summer.

“I was shocked; I thought there had been a big accident,” Mr. Steisel said of a back-up on Carroll Street that he later attributed to a new bike lane. “I guess I wasn’t paying attention.”

Mr. Steisel was among opponents who staged a protest on Oct. 21, but they were outnumbered more than three to one by supporters.

“We don’t want to be out here having to advocate for something that’s already done,” said Eric McClure, who lives in Park Slope. “But here we are.”

More Bicycle Lanes (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/22/nyregion/bikemaps-graphic.html?ref=nyregion)

Bike Lanes, 1894 to Now (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/22/nyregion/20101122-bike-timeline.html?ref=nyregion)


November 23rd, 2010, 07:59 AM
"Rights as a driver", that is rich.

And how do bike lanes violate Hasidism?

I can understand the difficulty ion things like deliveries. The city has to function, but it sound s like a bunch of people, in one of the biggest cities in the world, is annoyed because they cannot own 3 cars and park all of them for free.

November 23rd, 2010, 08:48 AM
As far as the Hasidim issue, the article for some reason didn't elaborate. Maybe there's a synagogue right there?

The elimination of parking spaces & ability for trucks to deliver I can understand. Don't really know how they'll resolve that. But I've noticed a considerable difference from years ago with the amount of bikes in the city. I think it's a good idea to encourage it in an increasingly populous city, but the business owners' needs can't be ignored either. I hope they're not using 2nd world cities' penchant for bike use as a model. Apples & oranges.

November 23rd, 2010, 10:34 AM
The stretches of fishing line strung above the streets and sidewalks, meant to delineate some arcane religious code, could be termed visually disagreeable.

But I won't go there.

November 23rd, 2010, 01:06 PM
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C06E2DD103CF931A35755C0A9669C8B 63&scp=1&sq=%22Symbolic+Line+Divides+Jews+in+Borough+Park.% 22&st=nyt

Think I get it. However the article suggests it's between the different sects of Judaism & not them & non-Jews. Plus, it's 20 feet in the air.
Also, unless someone pointed out the line to me, I'd never know it was there.

November 23rd, 2010, 06:23 PM
What I find interesting about the bike lanes is their utter emptiness.

November 23rd, 2010, 08:04 PM
They should be a little narrower.