During my MBA summer internship 5 years ago I got into the habit of biking into work. I find getting to work with my legs as the engine liberating and relaxing. Plus starting the day with a 3 - 5 mile easy bike ride tends to stabilize my blood sugars. That habit continued through my time in San Francisco and for the past 2.5 years in NY. To this day I find riding a folding bike in NYC the single best form of transportation this city has to offer (my Cervelo is saved for real riding).
But the liberating feeling I have found through biking into work is starting to get replaced by rage. There have been several news articles over the past few months discussing the hypocrisy of driver v cyclist laws, including this excellent piece from the NY Times. However, I still find riding down the middle of 5th avenue during rush hour traffic "safer" than riding in NYC bike lanes.
Both our former Mayor Bloomberg and current Mayor DeBlasso have made instituting bike lanes across the city a big priority and they deserve huge kudos for that. Lacking, however, is the basic education of pedestrians that bike lanes are not an extension of the sidewalk and demand the same respect as the regular part of the road.
Today I hit my boiling point. For three consecutive streets I had to tell 3 people to get out of the middle of the bike lane. The first two were mid 20s women, texting on their cell phones, head down, walking and stopping directly in the middle of the bike lane while the "don't walk" symbol was in the cross walk. The third was a middle aged d*ck who starred at me as he lit his cigarette in the middle of the bike lane smack in the center between 9th and 8th street who had the audacity to tell me to "shut up," when I said, "dude a little heads up here." A little over a month ago I was also t-boned by a 10 or 11 year old girl who decided it was a good idea to sprint from between cars directly into my front wheel, I told the Mother she was lucky I wasn't a car.
NYers consider themselves the smartest people on the planet, I should know I'm one of them. So I find it impossible to believe that NYers fail to comprehend that this huge neon green painted lane on the street is not, in fact, an extension of the sidewalk. Biking to work shouldn't be like navigating a Bosnian land mine field, it should be a great experience that has the same protection and rights as driving to work. Alot needs to be done to educate pedestrians otherwise there is going to be a civil war in the bike lanes of NY with a whole bunch of charging rhinos hitting into people on cell phones.