Biking in New York City

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Why do bicyclists ride on the sidewalk? Because they think they’re pedestrians. And in doing so they infuriate the real pedestrians, who deserve the sidewalk to themselves. And while the majority of bicyclists don’t ride on the sidewalk, most of them do happily sit right in the middle of the pedestrian crosswalk. There’s no culture in New York of bicyclists giving way to pedestrians, and of stopping behind the crosswalk where they’re meant to stop. Instead, when they want to cross the street they do exactly what they do when they’re walking, and go as far as they possibly can without being run over by traffic. In doing so, they can get in the way of dozens of people just trying to walk across the street — and indeed even get directly in the way of fellow bicyclists coming up a bike lane towards them. Bicyclists always seem to forget how long their bikes are: they block off a lot of space, if you’re trying to cross past them.

An excellent essay by Felix Salmon on the dance between cars, cyclists, and pedestrians and how cyclists are not always the victims that they are made out to be.

[Link to Biking in New York City]

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