Every time I hop the Central Park West bike lane, I have a close encounter with serious bodily harm or the possibility of becoming a statistic. While I realize it’s the mean streets of New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has attempted to make biking much more palatable by adding several bike lanes throughout the city.
In my book, if you’re a biker in NYC, your chances of getting into an accident are 100%. I’ve been in two: one with a taxi in Times Square and another with a fellow biker who was TEXTING! Hit and run, too — I was too doubled over in pain to chase after her and she’s lucky. It’d have been ugly if I caught up with her law-breaking self.
As a biker, nobody sees you and if they do, nobody wants you there. We are a nuisance to cars, who weave in and out of traffic, run yellow-to-red lights and act like traffic laws are simply ‘guidelines’. Taxis pull into the bike lane to pick up and let off customers, their door swinging open to nearly clip off my entire arm. Other bicyclists go the wrong way in the bike lane and, when confronted, get defensive and want to fight! Pedestrians who jay-walk in the middle of the block don’t look both ways when crossing the bike lane…an old man was spared his life today because I have quick reflexes. And those parked car doors cover the entire lane when they swing open at a moment’s notice, AARGH!
Some words of caution:
- Bike like nobody sees you. ‘Cause if they do, they don’t value your life like you do.
- Take your time. If you’re in a hurry, you’re roadkill.
- Drive defensively. Pay attention to detail and troubleshoot as you ride.
- Wear a helmet, reflectors, head & tail lights. Install a bell on your bike and use it often.
- Never come within 4 feet of a parked car…those doors are killers.
- Obey traffic laws and stop at red lights.
- Lose the attitude. Bikers have a bad reputation. Be in the minority and let’s make it the majority.
- Lose the headphones, seriously.