This NYT story of green nimbyism in some of the most liberal locales doesn't surprise me. Self interest often transcends noble principles. But the issue of bike lanes, which is one of the examples in the piece, is a complicated one for me. Let me first say that I'm a fan of bike lanes and I support them. But I've also come to loathe the behavior of many bicyclists. Here's why. I live in a Brooklyn neighborhood not far from the one featured in the NYT story, and we've had a popular bike lane for years. It runs along a side road that also shares space with a bus route. This particular bike lane is quite busy with bikers during the morning rush hour because it links up with another bike lane on a main avenue that then provides pretty much a straight shot to the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, which is the destination of the daily biker horde. Everyday when I walk my two small children to school I cross the exact street where these two bike lanes intersect. And everyday I have to be on high alert for bicyclists that don't stop at the red light when I'm crossing with my two little ones. Some stop at the red, but many others weave around pedestrians, barely braking. It makes me nuts. I have to admit that I've stifled the occasional urge to stick out my arm like a clothesline when some of these speedsters ignore the red light and zip past me and my kids. Some bike lane proponents have counseled patience:
The fact is that changing the fast-paced culture of New York is going to take time. As more people start making use of bike lanes, the average speed of cyclists is going to slow down, cycling is going to become safer, and both drivers and pedestrians are going to be more aware of the cyclists with whom they are increasingly sharing precious macadam. We just need to have a bit of patience.
I have not seen evidence of that in my neighborhood and my patience has worn thin. I still support bike lanes but I reserve the right to curse out those bicyclists that endanger the lives of my two boys during their daily walk to school.