Give a biker a break already. I am not kidding. I am a very unhappy biker right now.
First of all, we bikers are doing a bunch of good things. We are being healthy by biking. We are being environmentally friendly by biking. We are leaving parking spaces open for people with cars.
So why can’t you leave us alone?
My boyfriend and I have been biking, biking, biking all day long. Everywhere we go we are harassed. First a construction worker told us that we could not lock our bikes up by “his” construction fence. This on Chambers Street, which has been one lane for a year now. My boyfriend says they are clearly being paid by the hour, not the job. There are no bike racks anywhere in sight.
“Where am I supposed to lock it then?” I asked him.
“You can’t lock it anywhere in the city other than a designated bike rack,” he replied.
Yeah, right. There are no bike racks anywhere nearby. In fact, there are hardly any bike racks anywhere in the entire city, and when there is one there are always too many bikes already locked up to be able to lock yours up too. Apparently locking up on a street sign or fence is illegal.
Okay, now let’s talk about the laws. We bikers have to abide the same rules as car drivers. We cannot go through red lights, or go down one way streets the wrong way. We cannot ride on sidewalks. So what do we do when we are on a one lane road, being beeped by trucks and cars who want to pass us? If we hop onto the sidewalk we get screamed at by pedestrians, especially those in wheelchairs who seem to particularly hate us.
A few minutes ago I was riding my bike in Soho on a quiet street, in the bike lane by the way. There are tons of bike lanes now in the city, but still no bike racks. Go figure. Anyway, a big fat SUV came by and started honking his horn continually at me because he wanted to pass me. Hello? I was “in” the bike lane. Give me a break already!
Yesterday my boyfriend went through a red light because nobody was coming and a police officer stopped him and threatened to give him a ticket. When he told this to a friend earlier today his friend said that he was also stopped by a police officer who asked him for his driver’s license. By the way, if the police ask you for I.D. while you’re on your bike, just tell them you don’t ride with your I.D. Otherwise they will probably fine you or give you a ticket.
People steal our bikes too. They puncture our tires, steal our children’s brand new gleaming wheels. You know what? Maybe I should just leave my bicycle unlocked and let them take it so they can get beeped at, yelled at by construction workers, warned by police officers and lectured by cranky pedestrians.
I just want to ride my bike in peace. It is a gorgeous day. I want some fresh air, some sunshine, a bit of exercise. Please leave me alone. Why can’t people just mind their own business anyway? I am serious when I say that I have to move to California. New Yorkers have just gotten way too nasty again. It shouldn’t take something as horrific as 9/11 to get the city folk smiling and being nice again, should it?
You only live once people. Breathe. And zip your lip.