Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So what?

Midtown Cyclists Routinely Break Law.
So do pedestrians.
So do cars.

The traffic laws should be different for bikes.

And I don't want to live in a place where pedestrians (or bikes) wait for the walk sign when so cars are coming.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I posted the following in the New York Times comment section, not that i think it will do much good:

I commute on bike from southern Brooklyn to lower Manhattan 3 or 4 days a week. A bike is different than a car and a bike is different than a pedestrian and sane and rational rules and behavior should reflect these differences. Pedestrian safety should be paramount, followed by cyclists followed by cars and other large vehicles. Bike commuting should be encouraged as a green and healthy activity and in order to do so, you have to recognize that bikes are not cars and should not be following the same rules as cars. Otherwise, biking becomes both more dangerous and impractical.

There is good bike behavior and then there is bad bike behavior. In most instances bikes should be yielding to pedestrians, bikers should wear helmets, other than for a safety reason, bikers should not go the wrong way on a street and bikers again other than for an immediate safety reason, should not be riding on the sidewalk.

However, bikes should be following different rules at red lights and stop signs. Basically red lights and stop signs should be be treated as yield signs for bikes and the bikes should yield if required. Yielding is both safer for all involved and more practical.

Everyday on my commute I see a few, and the operative word is few, bikers who are careless and rude on their bikes. The biggest problems tend to be from food delivery bikers. I also see a few cars and other larger vehicles who are extremely careless and much more dangerous given the size of their vehicles. Most drivers, even those in a rush (most New Yorkers), are actually fairly polite to bikes, as long as they see the bikes and the bikes are acting in a reasonable manner. However, there seems to be an unwritten rule for cars and especially certain trucks, that bike lanes are excellent places to double park or to pull over into to take or make a phone call.

The solution to these issues is not indiscriminate enforcement of vehicular laws against bikers. That would have a very negative consequence of discouraging what I would call a more normal bike commuter, whose numbers are increasing in number and reduce the bikers to only the riskier messenger and delivery types. What we need is more mutual respect among pedestrians, bikers and vehicles and sensible modifications to the laws to recognize that a bike is not a car. A yield law would accomplish this.