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Tag Archives: bikes
I keep the greeting card version of the words in the video up at work at my desk. It inspired me when I left advertising to pursue something more meaningful, and I continue to believe in it. Beyond that, I admire Holstee for its commitment to beautiful, modern and sustainable design. Finally, I must add that one of the founders is hot. (Hi Dave!)
Watch and enjoy:
I love living on the West Side, a mere block from Riverside Park. When I want to go somewhere on the west side of Manhattan, or even Brooklyn, I can hop on my bike, avoid the traffic, and shoot down a pleasant, shrub-lined, paved path.
It’s a huge relief to not have buses roaring by a couple feet from my head. But things aren’t perfect. I often peevishly use my bell or shout at pedestrians veering into the center, or four people walking in a line, blithely clogging the whole path.
On the flip side, when I’m jogging on the same path, I always make sure to swivel my head and check before I ever cross. You never know when a bike will be shooting up from behind.
One jogger on a similar bike path in Dallas, for whatever reason, did not do that. She was struck by a bike, hit her head on the ground, and died a few days later.
Whose fault was the accident? Was it hers for wearing headphones and making a sharp turn? Was it the cyclists for speeding and not paying attention?
It seems like many times when there is an accident involving a cyclist, the blame gets placed everywhere except for where it belongs: the infrastructure.
When The New York Times reported on the wealthy financial manager who escaped a felony charge in a hit-and-run that left a cyclist seriously injured and in chronic pain, one commenter said:
Bicycles have no safety lighting , horns or directional signals. They routinely violate basic traffic rules such as passing on the right and stopping for red lights. The operators are unlicensed and there is no requirement for insurance despite the number of accidents that bicycles are involved in. Until these problems and others are corrected the bicycles will get no sympathy from me.
Meanwhile, a man who hit and killed a 14-year-old boy on a bike is suing the parents for failing to make him wear a helmet. This is a man who had previously been arrested for drunk driving four times.
And in New York a battle is brewing, pitting pedestrians against “rogue cyclists.” One one side are those who claims cyclists are “out of control,” hitting and killing innocent pedestrians who are just minding their business on city sidewalks.
On the other side are cyclists who say:
1. Please don’t confuse us with delivery boys. They are insane. And…
2. Maybe if you would look both ways before you stood four feet away from the curb so you can scamper across the street, we wouldn’t have to swerve around you.
Oh wait, there’s a third side. Car drivers resent having their driving space taken away for bike lanes.
There’s even a community of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn who successfully lobbied to have a new bike lane painted over, saying they were offended by the scantily clad hipster girls rolling through.
We can argue all day about who has the moral high ground here. I would prefer to say cyclists since we are using our own muscles to power us through the city, deftly maneuvering to avoid death from giant metal boxes with 250 horsepower under the hood. I know from experience how often bike lanes are blocked by idling delivery trucks and big sedans. But then again, I’ve salmoned my way down more than one block instead of looping back around to find a two way street. I’ve also run red lights (after looking both ways of course). I’ve even been almost run over by a delivery guy as I crossed the street. I stared him down as he ran that red light, waiting for him to swerve and feeling his plastic poncho slap my face he was so close.
What I’m trying to say is that no one can really claim the moral high ground here. We are all guilty of cutting corners, wandering into bike lanes while we chat on our cell phones, forgetting to look for both cars and bikes when checking the intersection, salmoning, running red lights, and wearing headphones while jogging.
The only way to resolve this problem is by taking the blame off of cyclists and pedestrians and even, stay with me here, car drivers, and placing it squarely where it belongs: poor infrastructure.
Not only do we need bike lanes and paths with concrete dividers to keep out car interlopers, we need jogging paths that are separate from commuter bike lanes. We need clearly marked routes that will take a cyclist from point A to point B without dangerous guess work and lane switching. I would never defend the money manager who never bothered to call the police after he mowed down that cyclist, but we wouldn’t even be having this conversation if there had been a protected bike path, maybe with some bushes and a median?
Better infrastructure benefits everyone, no matter what the protesters will tell you. When a car lane was eliminated in Brooklyn and replaced with a bike lane, pedestrian injuries dropped 54 percent.
When these things happen – when a pedestrian gets struck by a cyclist while walking in the bike lane, when a cyclist gets doored and killed, when you swerve to go around a “rogue cyclist,” remember to avoid blaming the driver, the pedestrian, or the cyclist. We are all doing the best we can, and we all make mistakes. Instead, demand that the city get going on safe, protected bike lanes that keep cyclists away from pedestrians, and vehicles away from cyclists. Then everyone will be happy.
Have you seen Downtown From Behind? Go go go, it’s adorable!
Whenever I get into it with someone about how amazing bicycles are, I always point to Denmark: the happiest country in the world and a mecca for bicycles. Check out this video:
PS: Thanks for paying me a visit, MyDenmarkTV.com!