A New Hope for the Future

For the past year, I've been hoping to inspire more people to integrate riding bicycles for their commutes and daily lives. Nothing gives me for fulfillment than learning how bikes have made people’s lives a little happier, a little easier, and a little more efficient.

Now, there is a new hope. As much as infrastructure plays a crucial role in the future of biking in NYC, I hope the cycling community begins taking more responsibility for their own safety and that of others. 

The tragic death of Jill Tarlov last week has raised several questions and concerns. One such question being - how can we possibly improve on an already strained relationship between pedestrians and cyclists? Many advocacy groups have worked diligently in campaigns to make NYC streets safer for us. They are doing a fantastic job, but after a grievous incident like this - do we still want to boast our newly promoted “America’s Best City for Cycling” title? Last week’s sad news was very sobering.

No matter where your opinion lies - the truth is against Jason Marshall’s statement about what happened that day, marked as “an unavoidable accident.” Unavoidable?! I’m sorry, but any accident caused by data aficionados who challenge themselves to shed a few seconds off of personal records in a congested location, like Central Park, is absolutely avoidable.

I will not entertain Andrea Peyser’s disgusting NY Post article. I won’t touch the NYPD's gung-ho response and bringing down the hammer on cyclists that weekend handing out an insane amount of summons. In the end, it’s all too little...too late.

We may never know the full story on what exactly happened that day. We need not to point the finger at each other, pedestrians, infrastructure, the NYPD, apps like Strava, or daily publications. We, as people, tend to wait for a tragedy to occur in order to produce a change in the way we do things. Regrettably, any future changes would come from the expense of this poor woman’s life. My sincerest condolences to the Wittman and Tarlov family.

I commute by bike into Manhattan almost every day and know a little too well how pedestrians blindly step into the bike lane, cross in the middle of the street, or walk during a green light for traffic. As much as I would like to ride fast at times, I always consider their safety as much as my own. We are all still learning how to co-exist.

During a ride around Prospect Park yesterday, patrol cars were very present in regulating and supervising cyclists. Everyone seemed to respect one another. Cyclists yielded to red lights and pedestrians. In return, we would occasionally receive a warm nod or a thumbs up as a gesture of appreciation.

The need for change is not so much a question about bike lanes etc (even though it obviously helps). It’s our attitude. The responsibility of safety should fall upon ourselves first before anything else and it’s time to start accepting it.

For tips on bike safety, please go to the NYC DOT page.

Ride safe everyone.

- Bike Your City

 

Sources: 
NY Times, Streetsblog NYC, NY Post, Bike Snob NYC