The messenger who bikes for a living is an iconic emblem of Manhattan. We New Yorkers have ample opportunities also for recreational, human-powered, two-wheeled sight-seeing, either by grabbing a Citi Bike or hiring a pedicab. Statistically speaking, the city also has a respectable share of biking commuters. But, honestly, we bike to work like an average American city.
The League of American Bicyclists releases occasional analytical reports on bicycle commuting in America. The latest, Where We Ride, puts New York City at number 17 in the list of America’s cities with the highest share of bicycle commuters. Ice-bound Minneapolis is third. However, due to our city’s large population, we rank first in terms of sheer number of biking commuters.
Riders are more vulnerable that drivers
Bicycle riding is growing steadily for many reasons ranging from the cardiorespiratory to the economic, cultural or environmental. For some, modes of transportation in general take on moral, political and even spiritual dimensions.
Here in New York as with many other cities, tensions have risen between car drivers and bicyclists. A recent memorial for a 20-year-old bike messenger killed by a truck driver, then the twelfth bike rider killed in the city this year, became an opportunity to express these many dimensions of a biking point of view.
Knowing the rules of the road helps everybody
Whether you’re a bicyclist or driver of a car, bus or delivery truck, knowing the rules for bicyclists and their interactions with other vehicles is critically important.
Tempers can flare between commuters using different modes of transportation when one breaks the rules or even when someone thinks they did. Honking or gesturing at somebody following their rules is not nice and can be dangerous. Remembering who is supposed to do what can help you predict what they are about to do, which can save lives. It might even keep you out of civil or criminal court.