WRITTEN BY CHRISTINE NIEVES
At some point during the summer I came to the conclusion that I really can’t stand bicyclists.
It happened one morning on my way to work.
The light changed, I had the right of way and a man on a bike took a sharp turn from around the corner and without stopping almost hit me.
No apology, no excuse me, he just went on his merry way.
The entire summer I observed people riding their bikes. Zigzagging through the streets while cars waited impatiently behind them, going against traffic, riding on sidewalks, speeding through red lights and just barely missing pedestrians as they crossed the street, ultimately risking their lives and putting other people in danger.
It may seem ridiculous to some, but these reckless riders really are dangerous.
This summer, a tourist was struck in Central Park by a reckless cyclist and as a result broke his pelvic bone and fractured his hip.
The victim Richard Bernstein, who is a lawyer and also happens to be blind, is in the process of filing a federal lawsuit against the City of New York.
Bernstein said that he is seeking safety changes, not money. If these cyclists followed the laws, this wouldn’t be an issue.
Technical administrative assistant, Lauren Bertolotti, doesn’t mind the cyclists but said, “You definitely have to keep a look out for cyclists because they won’t stop for pedestrians a lot of the time.”
But, according to the law, they have to.
As stated in the Vehicle and Traffic Law of New York State “Bicyclists are granted all the rights and are subject to all of the duties of the driver of a motor vehicle.”
The traffic laws of New York City read, “The provisions of NYC traffic rules are applicable to bicycles and their operators.”
The DMV adds, “The law requires that bicyclists ride with the traffic. The main cause of accidents is bicyclists that ride against traffic. The bicyclists that move with traffic also prevent interference with the flow of traffic and pedestrians.”
Either these riders don’t realize they’re breaking traffic laws or they just don’t care.
Senior Natalia Rak has encountered these reckless riders on her daily commute to school. Rak said, “Many bicyclists don’t pay attention to pedestrians. They’re worse than taxi cabs. They speed and don’t follow traffic rules… Sometimes it’s hard to see them among all the cars.”
In the past three years, The Department of Transportation has built over 200 bike-lane miles in all five boroughs and with those bike lanes have come a new mass of unruly bike riders.
“I think the bike lanes are an inconvenience for drivers,” admitted Senior Alyssa Mazzoli, who drives to SFC.
Mazzoli added, “I’ve been cut off a couple of times by cyclists. One time this man riding a bike actually hit my car and flew over the other side of my car, he was going so fast that he couldn’t stop when I was making a turn.”
In March, New York City will be adding to the growing cycling problem, the new bike share program.
“Citi Bike is a self-service system that provides members with easy access to a network of thousands of bicycles. Pick up a bike close to home or work, ride, then return it to any of the hundreds of stations to be located throughout the city.”
There will be 7,000 bikes at 420 stations across the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
This could be great for the environment and the economy.
I’m already envisioning what this program will look like months down the line. Regular folks who don’t regularly ride are going to rent a bike and ride it straight into traffic.
Mazzoli said, “A lot of tourists might want to try it out just for something to do… and we already have enough traffic in New York as it is.”
Cycling is great cardio and can have a positive influence on the enviornment. However, when riding on the streets of a busy city like New York, safety comes first.