Field trip to NYC
October 1, 2015
So I’m attending a conference in NY on Friday, took the train down Thursday and spent the afternoon at the NY office, took Citibike to get there from Penn Station and then back again to the hotel. Most of my riding was on 8th and 9th Avenues, which have nice segregated bike lanes. I observed the following:
– sidewalks in NY are too small. Pedestrians regularly spilled over onto the bike lanes, and it’s because the sidewalks are crowded. Obviously the sidewalks need to be larger, because we cannot make pedestrians smaller, and they are the overwhelming majority here.
– no matter what anyone says, bicycles are not terrifying relative to cars. I didn’t see any pedestrians walking in the flow of traffic because the sidewalks were too small.
– salmoning is about 100x more common here than in Cambridge (MA). I see it there in-my-face about once a month, here, I’d say at least a dozen times in less than an hour of riding.
– in the places where the bike lanes were not segregated (by a line of parked cars) everything dissolved into nonsense. Cabs drove in the bike lane, bikes rode in the cab lane. The should rip it out and do it again.
– but where the lanes were segregated, it worked really well. It was quite comfortable, I did have to take care to not hit people on foot, but that’s not hard (I’m on a Citibike, not exactly racing along).
– cars driven in NY should have their horns removed. I know the horn law in this state, horns are only for safety, “the light is green but you’re not moving” is not a safety issue. Period. (Go ahead, try to argue the case that it is, make a fool of yourself. Stopped cars are the safest cars.)
I saw the arguing aftermath of a pedicab-bike collision — didn’t understand why on earth the guy on the bike was pressing the point because I saw nothing hurt and nothing broken, but he was. I blocked more than one NY taxi from making a right turn when it came into conflict with the bike lane. I saw one person on a bike who was trying to make a big deal about clearing pedestrians from the bike lane (“ha ha, she has got to be kidding…”).