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Thread: Biking in New York City

  1. #16
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Monthly Mass Bicycle Ride Leads to 49 Arrests in Manhattan
    August 27, 2005

    By JENNIFER 8. LEE AND MATTHEW SWEENEY

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/27/ny...gewanted=print

    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."

  2. #17

    Default Solitary Ride

    A spontaneous, unorganized 30-second, stationary duct taped-to-signpost ride.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #18
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    These are great ... I've been seeing these duct-taped bikes all around downtown the past few weeks.

    Any idea who's behind them?

  4. #19

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    Rise in bike deaths gives edge to clash over cycling in New York

    By DAVID B. CARUSO
    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

  5. #20
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    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/sh...&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.

  6. #21

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    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:
    Drivers
    Bikers
    Pedestrians

  7. #22
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #23
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    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.

  9. #24
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    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.

  10. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYatKNIGHT
    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.

  11. #26
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    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!

  12. #27

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    I would never ride a bike in NYC. Just for the simple fact of this thread, accidents.

  13. #28
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    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).

  14. #29

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    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.

  15. #30
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azazello
    Anyone have recommendation for good bike repair shops?
    Bicycle Habitat on Lafayette north of Spring is excellent.

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