Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

09 March 2017

As I Was Saying...

If you've been reading this blog, you know that I am, in general, not a big fan of bike lanes.  At least, I don't like bike lanes as they're (mis)conceived, designed, constructed, regulated and maintained here in New York, and in too many other US locales.

And I have another peeve about bike lanes--again, mainly about the ones here in the Big Apple.  One of my posts from a few days ago began with it:

One of the reasons I don't like to use bike lanes, at least here in New York, is that motor vehicles frequently pull in and out, and sometimes park, in them.

Well, wouldn't you know it...This is what I encountered while riding to work this morning:



A few weeks ago, a new bike lane opened on the north side of Hoyt Avenue, the wide boulevard that straddles the entrance to the RFK Memorial Bridge.  Traffic is westbound, one-way on the north side, above which the bridge's pedestrian-bike lane arcs.  (Traffic is eastbound one-way on the south side.)  The lane runs eastbound--in the direction opposite the traffic.  There are two rationales for that, I guess:  1.) The lane is intended, at least in part, to provide access to the bridge's pedestrian/bike lane; and 2.) The lane is "protected", meaning that there are pylons separating it from the motorized traffic.

Although the lane hasn't been open for very long, this wasn't the first time I've seen a vehicle parked in it.  Worse, I've seen a truck or van in the lane, and another motorized vehicle on the sidewalk: There are maintenance and storage facilities in the real estate around the bridge pillars. 

Woe betide the cyclist who unwittingly turns on to the lane: If both the lane and the sidewalk are blocked, there is no choice but to ride in the traffic lane--against traffic--or to make a U-turn back on to 26th Street, which is one-way. If the sidewalk is free, a cyclist can use it as long as some highway cop with too much time on his hands isn't looking to meet his ticket quota for the month.

For the time being, I think I will take the route I had been taking most days before the lane opened:  I will ride up 23rd Street to the south side of Hoyt Avenue, turn at 27th Street, cross under the bridge overpass and access the bridge's pedestrian/bike lane from there.

I must say, though, that in spite of the obstacle, I had a pleasant commute.  As you can see in the photo--which I hastily took with my cell phone--it was a beautiful morning.  And, when I stopped to take the photo a nice young lady named Rachel--who probably thought I was looking at a GPS or some other app-- asked whether I was trying to find something.  I explained what I was doing and told her about this blog.  And she told me about some rides that might start soon on Randall's Island, where she works--and through which I ride during my commute!

8 comments:

  1. Give that windshield some u-lock justice! Just kidding....maybe.

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    1. Don't think I didn't think about it.

      Good thing I don't act on everything I think!

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  2. i'd be tempted to apply that u-lock to the heads of the "engineers" who design such worthless and dangerous bike lanes.

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    1. That would be blatant abuse of a u-lock. It might shatter on something that hard and dense.

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  3. Mike and Phillip--I knew I could depend on you guys! ;-)

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    1. You only took the guy's picture. New York cyclists must be quite civilised. In Chicago there's about a 50/50 chance someone would have whipped out their pocket knife and taken his valve stems. Do you own a good sharp pocket knife?

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  4. A few days we looked at the proposals of the mysterious Mr Q, who we now know, thanks to Steve, is an engineer. If his inspiration was laws regarding motorcycles, the engineer who designed this cycle lane was most certainly inspired by Rube Goldberg.

    Leo

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  5. Phillip--I do indeed own a good sharp pocket knife. I prefer to use it for peaceful purposes, though.

    Leo--You're giving that engineer too much credit!

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