Thursday, May 13, 2010

Braking for the Law

This is a great op-ed in the NY Times. Chris Raschka talks about what has changed in the past 10 years on NYC streets in regards to cycling. It has changed so much so, that the new environment gives Chris the idea it might just be better to stop at the red lights and wait.

Ten years ago, riding a bicycle through the streets of New York was still considered outlandish behavior at best, and possibly insane. At the time, I viewed this with chagrin, but also complacency. I biked everywhere.

Like a goat in a cattle drive, I was jostled by a delivery van on Ninth Avenue, went over my handlebars because of an out-of-town driver on Seventh, and was casually bumped into by a limousine driver on Sixth who stopped and got out to see if I had damaged his side-view mirror, while I lay unattended on the sidewalk.

But in the last few years, bicycling has become an accepted and much safer way to get around the city. Bike lanes abound, putting cars, trucks and vans at least a couple of feet farther from me. On the many paths along the rivers I can find breezy quiet and truly fresh air.

Perhaps looking for a new challenge, I’ve been attempting something unexpected in New York City bike-riding behavior: I stop for red lights.

Is the tide changing enough for cyclist to start following the rules? Or is Chris just showing his excitement for the new changes through his new found behavior?

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