It’s always a joy to be informed by an illegally passing motorist that the bike lane is on the right, when I am preparing to make a left turn.
Vehicular cycling in New York is about as much fun as vehicular driving looks to be. I dread the parts of my ride where it is the only safe option.
Toronto City Councillor Rob Ford, March 7, 2007:
What I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks. Sooner or later you’re going to get bitten… Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes. My heart bleeds for them when I hear someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, May 24, 2013:
I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine.
Today in disappointing bicycle shop experiences, I was told that yes my right pedal resists turning—not a good quality, for a pedal!—but sadly nothing can be done about its condition. Such is the state of Western technology.
Also maybe I keep the bicycle outside, which is Bad? No, I have not done this. It is probably why this bicycle is an impeccably clean and obviously babied toy—whose pedals I would like to turn freely. So that I can get my toes into the silly clips, if you must know.
Later I will go to another bicycle shop and repeat the exercise.
Have I told you about my plan to open a bicycle shop that simply carries out and charges for the work requested, instead of sending half their customers away and acting to the other half like they are doing a great personal favor?
Actually my plan is for someone else to do this, because it should be someone who knows how to repair bicycles. You can charge a lot more at such a shop. Put a sign outside that no repair jobs will be turned away, all will simply be given a price, take it or leave it. Everybody who’s been scoffed at in a bicycle shop (which is everybody who’s been in one) will flock to try this crazy experiment, credit cards in hand.
Riding downhill on the 9th Street bicycle lane in Brooklyn today around 12:30, I was traveling about the same speed as the B61, about a block ahead of it. I noticed that the bus driver was honking, over and over, once or twice a block all the way down the hill. Eventually I understood that the driver was blowing the horn each time he or she passed, and passed again, the same cyclists in the same bicycle lane. Finally, the bus driver passed and honked at me. Oh look, a bus! It was bus 5686.
While I’m sure your driver’s intentions are good, it is not helpful or safety-enhancing to “warn” cyclists with a horn honk when passing safely—quite the opposite. A seasoned cyclist will shrug off the piercing noise and do nothing, and that is the best case scenario. An inexperienced cyclist may be startled and look left—inadvertently moving into the vehicle’s path. Or they may retreat to the right—directly into an opening car door, which throws them left into the path of the bus. That’s what happened in Queens to Tskaka Cooke in June of this year, as I’m sure you’ll recall.
Please ask your drivers not to honk at cyclists and anyone else just going about their business on the street. Blasting the horn in routine situations makes them tense and dangerous, renders the horn useless as a signal of unusual danger, and surely isn’t appreciated by anyone who lives along your bus routes.
The next person to ask where “my” bicycle helmet is had better be wearing a hockey mask.
On the way home, while I was maneuvering around a private car stopped in the bicycle lane, I was passed unnervingly closely. By a backhoe. It’s scary because you don’t know where a big tractor ends. It’s all lumpy. You just hear that there is a large diesel engine right behind you and realize that its driver is going to “make that light” even if it means crushing you. With a backhoe.
I chose not to “make the light” myself.