Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to reduce traffic accidents is commendable, even if its name, “Vision Zero,” sounds like a cheesy 1980s sci-fi movie you’d see on the Starz network at two in the morning. The solutions he offers, including speed bumps, creating 20 mile-per-hour zones, and promoting bicycle safety, are vital to a populous city like New York. However, speaking as a law-abiding biker, I wish pedestrians would take some responsibility for themselves as well, because an awful lot of them seem to be afflicted with, well, zero vision.
I regularly ride throughout Manhattan, and cannot keep track of the number of idiots who step blindly off the curb and into the bicycle lanes. It’s as if they believe that by engaging in the original means of transportation, they’re entitled to play by their own set of traffic rules. Others will take the time to look, but only in the direction opposite of where the bikers are coming from. What possible explanation is there for such odd behavior? They can’t all be confused British tourists.
Many of these nitwits will up the danger ante by staring down at their smartphones. I never realized there were so many New Yorkers who are apparently so important, they’re willing to put their lives at risk in order not to miss a single message, text or tweet. It’s bad enough when they block foot traffic on the sidewalk to read about the OMG best grande latte a friend just drank. But stepping into a lane against the light when bikers have the right of way? That better be some grande latte, alright.
|I hate to say he had it coming...|
Actually, I don't.
When encountering these tunnel visioned-impaired folks, I often give a warning ring of my bell and a "friendly" shout of, “Wake up!” (That, by the way, is dependent on their sex, age, race, and whether they can chase me down and kick my ass.) Some of them let out a stunned gasp, as if suddenly remembering they aren’t alone in the big city. Others react angrily, like it’s my fault they’re putting their lives at risk by walking into traffic. But at least they can hear me. Many of these bozos close themselves away from the world by listening to music blasting through their souped-up headphones. Doctors warn that this habit can cause deafness. From my vantage point – from behind bicycle handlebars -- that’s the least of music fans’ problems.
|No matter where he rides,|
it's the wrong lane.
According to the New York Department of Transportation, commuter cycling has more than doubled in the last decade. Between commuters using Citi Bikes and those of us who ride our own, our numbers are growing and we aren’t going away -- no matter how many times Mr. Baldwin promises to move.