Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Be Visible & Predictable"

Alex has a great post about biking in the city today. These two points in particular are very important for anyone riding in NYC who might only have experience say, riding when they were a kid or riding in a city like Portland. with more bike lanes.

I see this a lot. A cyclist is riding down the street and cars or busses come up behind them, so they move over really far to the right almost on top of the parked cars and weave in and out of the spaces between the parked cars. This is REALLY REALLY dangerous. You need to ride in a straight line, continue on your course and let the car figure out how to move around you. You have just as much right to be on the street as they do, and it's much safer if you remain predictable.

Thanks for writing this so well Alex!

"3. stop being ms. nice gal
oh, you are so polite. always ducking out of the way at the produce section, letting someone else get their grapes. that is truly admirable. seriously. however, i'm going to ask you to get comfortable with the thought that someone might think you are being rude and taking up too much space. they might even tell you to "use the bike lane" where there is none or to "get off the road". grab your helmet, find a mirror, and say, "i will ride a straight line." look yourself in the eyes. imagine horns blaring. "i will ride a straight line." thatta' gal.

you might think that by weaving in and out of parked cars or by riding really close to parked cars that you are being nice to those cars and trucks. however, we experienced bicyclists have one wish for you: "be visible and predictable." riding in and out of parked cars makes you hard to see and unpredictable. see those parked cars? move three feet away and ride straight ahead. keep going.

4. ignore the horns
cta bus drivers are trained to give a friendly toot of the horn to let bicyclists know that the bus is approaching. do not freak out. they will pass you safely as long as you are predictable. other drivers do this too: "i'm passing you and i'm nervous, so i'm going to let you know that i'm here." and then there's the loud, prolonged horn. yep, that is ima irritated. she wants you to get the hell outta' her way. do not start weaving. do not start freaking. stay your course. other cars will soon let her pass."


I can't stress enough that if we want cars to obey the traffic laws and not race through red lights, we need to do the same. I beg those of you riding in New York to do five things:

1. Stop at all red lights and wait until they change.
2. Stop at all stop signs and look both ways.
3. Always ride the correct direction in a lane or street.
4. Ride in a straight line and outside of the door zone.
5. Watch for and yield to pedestrians.

Here's what NYC DOT has to say about riding in traffic.

1 comment:

aLex said...

thanks for the love, michael. have a good day. tell the velorbis crew that i said hello.