Dear Bicyclists of NYC!
Today I moved from my BK sublet up to a friend’s place at Lex and 28. Doing so, I yanked my luggage into a cab to go up to the new place, and on the way, the cab hit a lady on the bike.
Now, the good news is – she did not die. But she could have.
I’ve been riding my bike since I was little, and I’ve always lived in at least semi-metropolitan areas, and I’ve also gotten into a couple accidents myself. Most of the time because of reckless behaviour, a couple times where it hasn’t been my fault – though I have to admit the times my own stupidity got me into something do outbalance the others.
Taking my bike around Berlin, I think I pretty much have a feel for how people on a bike behave. It’s not too different from how people in NYC act. One of the biggest misunderstandings is – you think that red lights never apply to you and you just keep going. All in all we do so much outrageous shit biking, violating every rule in traffic there is.
And it gets even worse when people who ride bikes don’t have a driver’s license, or have never driven a car – yet they bitch about people in cars all the time.
Most of us people on bikes (with or without a car/driver’s license) have absolutly no idea what we are dealing with. We don’t look left and right, but generally assume that people in cars will look out for us. I am not sure why that is so. And many situations – even when “nothing” happens – are so scary. Especially when you are on the other side of the table.
For example, all of the sudden there is a bike crossing in front of you, even though you are on a green light. Or, this is my favorite, at night time, people in dark clothes with no lights and reflectors. I don’t think people realize that they are indeed playing jeopardy by how they take part.
Today, the lady cut from between two parking buses (a 4 foot gab!) into the street. If she had looked to her left, she would have seen all the cars coming and – this is an assumption ;) – she would not have run directly into the cab. She obviously got away on the lighter side – probably with a fracture, but at least she did not loose her life.
Now, just so I don’t get run over by bikes tomorrow – I know that people in cars are not perfect either. People smoke, eat, phone, listen to music – they don’t pay attention either. And cab drivers are sometimes a particulary crazy bunch as well.
What I am trying to say is – don’t assume! You can’t shift all the responsibility just because you are “smaller” compared to a car or bus. Think about how people perceive and see you in traffic, and then try to stay on the safe side always. If that means you need to buy lights and reflectors for the bike, then do it. Or driving slower, just live with it. Just don’t play jeopardy.