Manhattan Cycling Scene

I couldn’t be happier with my decision to lug my bike to Manhattan last weekend. While it meant cabbing it to the Toronto airport instead of biking down (having had already boxed the bike), it allowed me an access to the city that I’ve not had on previous trips. I had previously spent many nights in both Midtown and the Lower East Side, but hadn’t really escaped except for a few station to station subway trips to a few of New York’s many sights. By bike, I was able to cover a much greater part of the area and get a much better sense for how Manhattan fits together.

Broadway Bike Lane and Light

One piece that has certainly changed since my last visit is the bike lane applications that run all over the downtown area. Painted lanes as well as a great dedicated lane down broadway that integrates cycling-specific traffic lights, and many pedestrian zones created with paint and street furnishings are a few of the experiences I was able to take in. I especially thought the bike traffic lights were a great application to consider for University Ave here in Toronto. With the pilot project going down the middle, turning both left and right needs to be addressed so that cyclists can safely turn onto the streets between and including Wellesley and Richmond.  Hopefully making this stretch on University complete will include such an idea.

NYC Bike Light

Hudson River Greenway was a great ride as well and went past some great uses of public space. From cute patio restaurants, a basketball court beneath a raised expressway, and 100 different ways New Yorkers and visitors were taking respite from the city along the river, the Greenway is a really nice space. Further south, the High Line makes for another great urban park space along Manhattan’s West Side. My favorite thing about cycling in New York is the way that traffic just plain works….for everyone not in a car.

I’m not saying it’s pretty, but the way pedestrians, bikes, cars, police, buses, and pedicabs all function with equal urgency and manage to move around each other is awesome to be a part of. I can’t imagine seeing a pedestrian or cyclist being pulled over nearly as often as in other places. There seems to be an understanding that cars are the only dangerous predators on the road (when used irresponsibly) and that any seemingly courageous or stupid risk taken by pedestrian or cyclist rests entirely on their shoulders, and with that full burden of responsibility is the suggestion that slowing anyone else down on their way, assisted by the system of lights and police direction, will result in some reaction by everyone who would be inconvenienced. New York simply functions through a mix of peer pressure and urban planning. The general public feels a responsibility to uphold its own set of rules for moving through the city and it takes only a minute to be absorbed into the shared knowledge on what those rules are and how they work.

Highline Park

Rides since March 20, 2010

To Audrey’s and Back: 05/02/2010 Rooftop at Audrey’s

To NYC ING DIRECT Cafe and Back: 05/03/2010 To the Cafe

The Roosevelt Hotel to Tech Space on 28th: The Roosevelt to Tech Space

Scarpetta to Ace Hotel to The Roosevelt: Scarpetta to Ace Hotel

Total KM Ridden: 352.4
Total $ Saved: $165
Curent Savings: $0 – 5 Burough Bike Tour ($165)

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2 Responses to “Manhattan Cycling Scene”

  1. Jamie Says:

    I’d love to lug my bike out to nyc… very cool

  2. Separated Bike Lanes Now! « Savings Cycle Says:

    […] few minutes looking at this site, you’ll remember posts like Special Lanes Need Enforcement, Manhattan Cycling Scene, and A Dandytime and My First Bike Box – all of which deal with smarter, more efficient, and […]

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