24 March 2011

'Bikelash' hits the newstands

this week's New York Magazine cover
Read about the "newest urban culture war" sensation: BIKE LANES
... in this week's New York Magazine article {link} written by Matthew Shae.

Nicely titled 'Not Quite Copenhagen' sums up the host of issues surrounding one touchy topic in NYC well before the Bedford Avenue lanes were laid down (and then removed). From business associations lobbing against them back in the 80's -- to the reality that bike lanes calm traffic making streets safer while infuriating drivers who don't want to be slowed down. A conclusion the writer comes to is noteworthy:

The DOT can put in bike lanes by the thousands, but the more important transformation will be internal: We are going to have to learn to accept a decrease, however minuscule, in our individual freedoms. For bike lanes to really work, New Yorkers are going to have to learn to share.
Sharing can mean a lot of things. It can mean stopping a red light. Signaling when making a turn. Giving pedestrians the right of way. Using a rear and front light at dawn, dusk and night. Staying to the right hand side. Passing on the left. Using a bike bell. Ahh, I know - know it is not fair to compare one city with the next, but having cycled in Copenhagen, these behaviors are second nature and they are doing one fine job keeping their bike lanes. Sure NYC has a huge learning curve ahead, but I have to say that as of late I haven't been the only one waiting for the street light to turn green -- and it feels great.

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