Cyclists in New York City aren’t as legion as they might seem. Despite a “boom” touted by City Hall and The New York Times, the number of citizens who bike to work remains a minute fraction of all commuters. According to the US Census, 3,599,786 New Yorkers get to work by means other than cycling, while the DOT reports that just 45,800 commute by bike.
Yet, to mollycoddle this racially and gender-distinct elite, the city expanded bike lanes from 513 miles in 2006 to 1,133 today. This, of course, comes at the expense of the polyglot masses. It means 1,133 fewer miles for cars to maneuver. It means less room for delivery vehicles and emergency vehicles to park. It means turning lanes that baffle pedestrians, motorists and cyclists alike.
Yet, after warping the entire pattern and fabric of movement to funnel motorized conveyances through ever narrow spaces, City Hall has the chutzpah to growl about “congestion.”
Hilariously, the Dale Earnhardts of the handlebars turn into colicky babies over every minor impediment to their progress. They tweet their rage whenever a bike lane is blocked by any of the inevitable nuisances — like utility digs, construction and fire trucks. You know, the things most New Yorkers deal with every single day while taking it in their stride.
Fury’s in their blood, as was true of the guys who wished me death by dump truck over my last bike lane-bashing column. Bring it on, boys! But spare the women and children.