Everyone who knows me has heard my spiel against maverick bicyclists. After having been run down by a biker a year ago, I am no fan of two wheelers or bike lanes. I spend too much time at physical therapy and on anti-inflammatories to feel generous... and because the policeman who took the citation the night of the accident was ready to go home, I never had the thrill of personally reprimanding the cyclist or getting any help. And this culprit was speeding through a stop light, going north on Broadway... in a bus lane. Imagine that. Still, I try to be open, but from my observations, no matter how hard riders pretend to try stopping at red lights, they rarely do... the temptation to slide on through just too great.
We don't live in Holland. This isn't an easy breezy pastoral village where one hops on his bike to get a loaf of bread. This is jet stream NYC where taxis and trucks struggle for dominance over walkers and baby carriages. It is dangerous now to just cross the road, made even more so with these absurdly confusing bike lanes. One friend told me that no matter how hard she looks both ways, invariably someone will appear out of nowhere, shooting up the bike lane, as if materialized from ether, and missing her head by a hair. (She's petite)
Last night, crossing on 18th Street on my walk light, looking ahead, I suddenly felt handlebars and the rim of a bike at my right hip. Yes, I had looked down at my phone for a second, but I was walking on my light. This cyclist, a messenger from Haru Restaurant, started to scream at me like I was in the wrong. He was supposed to be waiting for the light to change, instead of racing through. He had to have seen me walking, but he didn't care; not even after he hit me.
I remember growing up and spending summers in Atlantic City where the familiar cry of the rickshaw riders "Watch the Chair, Watch the Chair," was as much a part of the soundscape as the seagull's cries. If the city continues on insisting that bike lanes are good for New York despite the strewn bodies, can't they at least pass an ordinance where bikers have to sing out a similar shanty... just to give pedestrians a a fighting chance?