Riley Walz

The bike lane

September 12, 2020

I moved to NYC a few weeks ago and have been biking almost everyday, usually at least 10 miles. I've mostly just been riding for fun, but also bike to get groceries, library books and do other errands.

I've adjusted well to riding in a city. At first, I was shocked by how other cyclists handle the road (mostly food delivery bikers). Mostly everyone goes through red lights, some more cautious than others. Of course I go through the occasional red light, but only after looking both ways many times. I'm never in a hurry to get anywhere, so I'm not rushing like other people.

I've had a couple close calls, mostly with cars turning left and not seeing me about to cross the intersection. I totally understand why this happens; 99% of the time there are no bikes, so the drivers get accustomed to not looking. While on an 80 mile ride to Newburgh, I got tapped by a driver that passed me on the left, turned into an angled parking spot and cut me off. I wasn't even in the city, instead a quiet village 30 miles north. I was completely fine and so was my bike, but it made me think that a lot worse could happen in the city, a much more chaotic and louder place.

I wrote about bike lanes for a public speaking project, and read many Gothamist and Streetsblog articles about bike safety. Just a few days ago, Sarah Pitts was cycling in Brooklyn and was struck and killed by a bus at a notorious intersection. A reporter covering many of the tragic cycling incidents tweeted the next day:

Cycling in New York is not always safe, like a lot of things in life. I really resonated with this tweet because my mom is just like this, always telling me to be careful and I always say I am. But who knows?