Something I was posting about on my Facebook page last year frequently was the futility and assinine over idealism and unrealistic quality of putting bike lanes all over Manhattan and it's boroughs. Although I am quite Green and believe in conserving Mother Earth(as a Pagan, that's very important to me), I am also very realistic and know that Manhattan and it's boroughs were NOT designed with bikes in mind.
Many years ago when I first moved here, I decided to get more exercise by riding a bike. It took me exactly 15 minutes of bike riding in the East Village to discover why this was impractical and dangerous. The streets are narrow and filled with drivers of unknown origin from various countries where there exists narry a street sign or driving rule. Manhattan is a place where frenzied business and commerce take place all day every day, and due to nightlife the traffic at night is even more congested sometimes than during the day. Nobody has time for you or your bike. It's just a simple fact of life in Manhattan and the boroughs.
I was shocked when I drove to Manhattan one day and saw that there were new bike lanes all over Brooklyn and the East Village. I remember thinking about how this would lead to bikers being hit by cars and even joked about it. What really made me mad, however, was the smug, anti-car attitude of the hipster bike riding class. It was as though they thought they could convert the whole city to being green and riding bikes by hating cars, and trying to act shitty to people who owned cars. That attitude is not going to get far at all because the people who own cars in Manhattan, Brooklyn, etc mostly own them because they OWN A BUSINESS. It's not because they just "feel like taking a ride". Hipsters will never be able to stop people from car ownership in NYC for that reason. To me such short sightedness was too stupid for words. And not only that, people would be mowed down in great numbers because of the bike lanes.
I wonder if the person or group responsible for pushing through the ridiculous bike lanes is going to reimburse the pain, suffering and lost time from work of the silly kids who took a chance and used the bike lanes and were hit, like this one:
HELL ON WHEELS
The article is peppered with statements like "James Paz remembers something inhuman slamming into his bike". No Shit, Sherlock. That would be a car. Or how about a classic "...when that four wheeled monster bulldozed her body." Four wheeled monster. Wow. The attempt to get people to hate cars sounds pretty ridiculous. Nobody is going to believe cars are "inhuman", "four wheeled monsters", etc. Especially if they need them to get to and from work.
Then, the article tries to punish "cops who don't try to find hit and run drivers who hit people in the bike lanes". Well it doesn't take a genius to figure out that cops along with everybody else think the bike lane idea is ridiculous for Manhattan. The only people who don't? Hipsters who are mainly college students, who mostly don't work or own a business yet!!!
Pushing the bike lanes has cut down on the amount of people who can drive and park in the areas where they were put, hurting business and the economy there further(If customers can't park, they won't go.)It is out of the question for most people to ride in a New York winter with snow and ice all over the place. And it is downright dangerous. Bike couriers are a bold breed of human, sleek with very quick reflexes and top of the line bikes. A dumb kid from Iowa on a gearless bike? That's a sitting duck, hit and run fodder. You might as well put a target on your back.
So you move to Manhattan from wherever. You think everybody should go Green, give up their cars and buy a bike. You decide to "set the example" for the rest of the oil wasting, atmosphere polluting anachronists you live in NYC with(99.999% of people, in other words EVERYBODY ELSE EXCEPT YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS.) You get your gearless bike to fit in with your hipster friends, get on it, and hit the road. You ignore the speeding cars, reckless drivers and narrow streets ALL AROUND YOU, because YOU ARE ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF THE GREEN MOVEMENT AND YOU ARE GOING TO CLEAN UP NYC AND SHOW EVERYBODY ELSE HOW IT'S DONE. After all, they JUST put in bike lanes, so it's safe, right? Suddenly, a car turns you and your bike into roadkill. As they're peeling you up off the road with a spatula, you start blaming EVERYBODY ELSE- right? It's the COP'S fault. It's the DRIVER'S fault. No, dumbass- it's YOUR FAULT. Everybody Knows that Manhattan is no place to ride a bike, unless you are close to Olympic status with a racing bike. It's not changing for you or anybody.