Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Rant On

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In an effort not to make snarky comments about dead assistant principals or the two journalism college… dandies – spiky platinum blonde hair with white tie against white shirt, natch – wandering my school looking for a scoop, I will vent by listing the sorts of people who irk me when I commute by bike… by category. Of course, I’m being selfish, but who cares?

Cars

  • Yellow cab drivers who use the bike lane to idle and jabber
  • Yellow cab drivers who, given plenty of space, slow down to your speed for the specific purpose of giving you an earful for not using the bike lane
  • FUV* drivers that use one-way streets as drag strips
  • Jersey drivers in FUVs that take up 100% of a lane
  • …wearing horse-blinders
  • …and still drift between the lines
  • Jersey drivers who pay attention to the lights, not the traffic
  • Jersey drivers in general
  • Drivers that use the bike lane as turning lane
  • Livery drivers who match your speed and ride alongside only to cut you off when turning at the intersection or changing lane
  • Livery drivers who do random three point turns on major thoroughfares against the light
  • Regular drivers who think they can do that as fast as the liveries
  • Brooklyn drivers in cars that would pay a mechanic’s college tuition hurtling down a street to cut you off before you reach the intersection
  • Brooklyn drivers in cars that would pay a mechanic’s college tuition thinking that the answer to speed bumps is better shocks
  • …and higher suspension
  • Drivers who yell because you didn’t run the red light, forcing them to wait for you to get up to speed
  • Drivers who yell because you did run the red light, forcing them to shift trajectory

Bigger Cars

  • Delivery van drivers who only know full go and full stop
  • Access-a-Ride minibuses whose drivers think they’re in subcompact rally cars, begging the question as to whether their clients were handicapped before their service was requested
  • Panel truckers who use the bike lane as parking
  • Panel truckers who use the bike lane as loading zones
  • City buses that cross three lanes in a deep scoop to hit the bus stop, forcing you onto the sidewalk
  • Chinese Bus Co drivers who must’ve put nitro in the gas tank, considering how often they weave and gun it
  • 18 Wheelers that back into an avenue

Pedestrians

  • NYU students who jaywalk looking the wrong way
  • Columbia students who see you approaching then stop directly in your path
  • Suits who get out of taxis on the traffic side
  • Suits who hail taxis twenty feet from the curb
  • Suits who jaywalk without looking because they don’t hear a car coming
  • Suits on cellphones who break into a run while crossing for no reason
  • Hotel porters who leave carts in the bike lanes
  • People who use bike lanes as extension of the sidewalk
  • People who slowly walk four abreast on bike paths
  • Dateline moms who LOUDLY EXCLAIM that they will CALL the COPS because you RAN a RED LIGHT in an empty intersection

Other Bikers

  • Critical Mass
  • Biking activists in general
  • Guys on fixed speeds for whom braking is something scrubs do
  • Take-out delivery guys who bike on the left side, meeting you head on
  • Yuppies on road bikes with earphones on
  • …riding on the left side, meeting you head on
  • …after ducking out from behind a parked panel truck

In short, NY traffic in general.

*Fuck U Vehicle

  • Author:
  • Published: Mar 16th, 2009
  • Category: Meta
  • Comments: None

This and That

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There could be a rant about the counterproductive methods of Critical Mass, the Bike Clown Posse or cyclist activists in general (who are, to a man, all nutcases above and beyond their pedestrian counterparts).

There could also be an insinuation that such is far too limiting a subject when Mexico’s declared an actual war on drugs (with actual fighting) or how Pakistan’s imploding, but without focus the blog would lose its voice.

There could thus be a rant about alternative school methods – Charters and other public funding of private education – and how they work in the political short term but fail to address the problem of universal public eduation as a whole.

But right now there’ll be a nod to a general malaise over lack of focus at work, as handily illustrated by this comic from Subnormality.

Or this.

Brooklyn Bikers

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Robert Sullivan on the NYTimes argues for bikers to reach a higher level of “civility” to show good faith in Bloomberg’s recent travails concerning favorable bike policies. I agree on principle, but not how he envisions it.

For starters, it’s clear that Sullivan and I are different types of bikers. As in an earlier post I made, I pointed out the different habits of Brooklyn and Manhattan traffic flow and thus biker attitude, and I believe Brooklyn is affecting his view more than Manhattan.

Now, let me get the agreements out of the way: Yes, I do believe the new bicycle infrastructure is succeeding in a number of ways of separating bike traffic and car traffic, and one of the unfortunate side effects is that bike traffic is paired with the much slower (and less regulated) foot traffic. Unfortunately, I would have to disagree in how this came about: Sullivan thinks the bike lanes are a generally good thing. I don’t. Read the rest of this entry »

You’re Not Helping

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I, in my years of bike messengering and commuting via bike in Manhattan, have developed many strong opinions on helmets, bike lanes, traffic laws, activists and public image in general. I know that my take on the matter is a mishmash of conflicting views (that I self-servingly liken to a microcosm of the city itself) and justifications that don’t work beyond their intended audience.

For instance, I wear helmets sparingly because I feel I’m not as aware, aurally, of my surroundings when I have one on (that, and the aerodynamic shape of certain helmets – especially with the little plastic bill in front – seem to ensure that they’d crack on impact anyway) and if I’m to be broadsided by a crosstown bus I’d prefer avoidance than mitigation. Read the rest of this entry »

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