Saturday, November 11, 2006

Holy Rollers: the many sides of bicycling in New York

Ben McGrath in the New Yorker profiles Critical Mass a bit, some people who
are sick of bicyclists on the sidewalk, and more:

There's this interesting choice point, albeit a bit dramatic:

"Bernardin used to ride a bike,... Then, about ten years ago, he was riding
north on Sixth Avenue, "doing everything legal," he says, when another biker
came tearing around the corner, "illegally," at Twenty-second Street and
clipped him; he spilled, and barely missed having his head crushed by a
passing car.

The incident could be a Rorschach for civic activists. To a cycling
advocate, what's salient is the fact that Bernardin was nearly killed by an
automobile. Bernardin, however, saw two agents obeying the traffic
laws-himself and the car driver-and a third who, by flouting them,
introduced the element of danger."

I'm not sure this is much of a Rorschach: can this be seen as anything other than an asshole cyclist almost getting another cyclist seriously injured?

The article is a worthwhile look at the attitudes of those we might not encounter on a day to day basis.

I've often thought of curb cuts as a generally bad thing, and spent some cycling time trying to think of other alternatives that would be useful for wheelchairs, baby strollers and the like but prevent 15 mph cyclists from acting like idiots with the right of way. (A good rule: little old ladies over 80 get the right of way no matter WHERE they are!)

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