The streets of New York City are slowly beginning to remind me of an old Si-Fi movie where zombies aimlessly roamed the countryside preying on living human beings. The difference is that in real life NYC these zombies are riding bikes while preying on humans- pedestrians, that is.
Libertarian political satirist P.J. O’Rourke recently penned a thought provoking article on wsj.com titled Dear Urban Cyclist: Go Play in Traffic. I initially found this story through a link on The Evil Conservative website. I happen to wholeheartedly share Mr. O’Rourke’s views on the ever expanding role that these two-wheeled menaces play in current big city life.
Read Mr. O’Rourke’s article here.
In a city full of entitlements, NYC’s bike riders seem to have moved to the top of the pecking order. As Mr. O’Rourke points out, NYC has been painted silly with bike lanes over the past several years. Many of these bike lanes have narrowed the ever shrinking driving lanes for motorists, as well as eliminating more of the already endangered species known as NYC parking spaces. On an industrial stretch of road that runs through my Northwestern Queens neighborhood, one whole side of the street is now a no-parking zone due to the installation of a bike lane. Again, this is an industrial area (warehouses, etc.) where many people thankfully still have jobs. These stupid bike lanes have now made it that much harder for hundreds of people to come to work. Oh that’s right; I guess they should ride their bikes to work. Question: Do they make snow tires or tire chains for bikes now?
Before I go any further, I want to say that I’m in no way against the use of bicycles for recreational/sports use. Bike riding is a great family activity for suburban dwellers, as well as a very challenging competitive sport. I too have enjoyed riding on bike trails and in parks. My problem with bikes is their irresponsible and often dangerous use in urban settings, and with the green movement which they have come to represent. In other words, it’s the rider, not the bicycle.
I can’t really speak for the rest of the country, or even the rest of NY State, but the main problem with bike lanes in the five boroughs of NYC is the fact that bike riders rarely if ever use them. Instead, bike riders seem to believe they’re exempt from most of the traffic and pedestrian laws that the rest of us have to follow. They ride on busy sidewalks. They ride the wrong way on one-way streets. They rarely stop for red lights or on stop signs (except when there’s an imminent danger to their own safety). And, they take up precious space on crowded subway cars while paying the same fare as single riders! Basically, bikes have free run of the entire city.
The most dangerous of these transgressions is riding up on busy sidewalks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come within inches of being struck by some a-hole on a bike while just walking on the sidewalk minding my business. One step to the left or one step to the right can land you in the intensive care unit when a moron on a bike is bearing down on you from behind.
Many of the two wheeled menaces in NYC are delivery people for local bodegas, and take-out Chinese food joints. These people are often under pressure to make deliveries as quick as possible; often riding recklessly through pedestrian and automobile traffic. The danger from these delivery people (besides that they’re predominantly illegal aliens) has recently escalated due to the sudden arrival of electric or “green bikes” that many establishments have begun to use throughout NYC. These bikes take most of the physical strain off the delivery man, but put the rest of us in greater danger than ever. The electric bikes are much heavier than the traditional human powered bike; they are faster than the traditional human powered bike; and they are deadly silent. You cannot hear these bikes bearing down on you! It’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt or killed by one of them.
Although the bike delivery people are probably more dangerous, it’s the casual “save the planet” liberal yuppies and bohemians that are more irritating. Like the pious Prius driver, these buffoons feel entitled to the road because they’re morally superior to the evil combustion engine user. What spurs their equal disdain for pedestrians is another question altogether. Just as children instinctively know when they are the parent’s favorite, and act accordingly, bike riders also instinctively understand that they are the chosen ones of our politically correct establishment – the quintessential teacher’s pets.
There’s no doubt that the progressive establishment is slowly but surely attempting to discourage citizens from using the automobile. This is being done through the discredited pseudo-science of climate change or global warming. To convince those of us who reject Al Gore’s teachings, they do everything they can to prevent energy exploration and production here at home in order to eventually make driving an extremely expensive activity reserved for the wealthy elite.
The bicycle as the main mode of transportation in the United States of America is a very disturbing scenario to those of us who still hold on to the belief of American exceptionalism. America’s major cities looking like Shanghai or Ho Chi Minh City? If you believe I’m overreacting, I suggest you read about the EU’s (European Union, for all you Obama voters) plan to ban cars from all EU cities by 2050. Read one example here.
The day I see Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama riding through the streets of New York on their extra-wide seat bicycles is the day I join the movement. Until then, leave me alone and keep your stupid bikes off my sidewalks and out of my face!