Today’s news:

Assemblyman Joe Lentol wants a bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge

The Brooklyn Paper

Greenpoint’s Pulaski Bridge will gain a bike lane and lose a lane of automotive traffic if a North Brooklyn politician gets his way.

Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint) wants the city to install a protected bike route along the Pulaski Bridge in the hopes of making the heavily commuted link between Brooklyn and Queens safer for bicyclists, pedestrians, and runners.

“I’m not advocating for the pedestrians, I’m not advocating for the bicyclists,” said Lentol. “I’m trying to solve problems.”

Currently, bikes and pedestrians share a narrow sidewalk on the Brooklyn-bound side of the bridge, while motorized vehicles get three lanes in each direction. The tight space means that those on two-wheels often wend in and out to get around slower-moving walkers and runners.

It’s a recipe for disaster, bridge users say.

“The walkway is narrow and gets crowded at rush hour,” said Kristin Carney, who lives in Prospect Heights and rides across the bridge nearly every day to get to her job in Long Island City. “I always worry that a pedestrian will take an unexpected step to the side and we’ll collide.”

To make room for the proposed biking route, Lentol is calling for the city to eliminate one lane of Brooklyn-bound automotive traffic. He hopes the plan will have the added benefit of slowing cars as they enter the borough on McGuinness Boulevard, where the Assemblyman is calling for the installation of cameras to catch speeding motorists.

The bike boosters at Transportation Alternatives agree that a cycling lane is sorely needed on the Pulaski Bridge.

“There’s a growing number of bike riders over the bridge and more people walking,” said Caroline Samponero, the group’s director of bike advocacy. “There needs to be more space. The space that’s there now is too small and doesn’t properly accommodate them.”

Adding a protected bike lane to a drawbridge that often opens and closes may be tricky, but Lentol has faith that the city can make it happen.

“We have some pretty creative engineers in this business who should be able to figure it out,” said Lentol.

The city’s Department of Transportation did not immediately return requests for comment.

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Reader Feedback

Mike from Williamsburg says:
What a great idea! There is clearly too much capacity for the cars, making it uncomfortable for them NOT to speed. And the walkway's way too narrow.

It's a shame that Lentol feels like he needs to say “I’m not advocating for the pedestrians, I’m not advocating for the bicyclists." There should be no qualms in advocating for pedestrians and bicyclists. They are his constituents.
Oct. 22, 2012, 9:46 am
Brooklyn Walker and Rider from Brooklyn says:
Fantastic idea! There's plenty of room on the bridge to accomplish this since the auto lanes are generally clear while the bike/ped lane is packed.

And I'm okay with Lentol saying he's trying to solve problems. It's his job to advocate for his constituents, but it's also good to have a politician who's simply able to look a a problem and want to fix it, regardless of the passions it inspires.

Thank you, Joe Lentol!!!
Oct. 22, 2012, 10:27 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Great idea, now Assemblyman Joe, can bike to work, and every place else he goes. No more car Joe!
Oct. 22, 2012, 11:45 am
ty from pps says:
Wow, Or, you are a thick-headed one aren't you?
Oct. 22, 2012, 12:44 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Exactly how much is this going to cost? Also, this bridge does carry a lot of trucks on it, not to mention goes into an industrial area that isn't very safe for cyclists to begin with. I don't see why they can't just go slowly in the bike lane that already exists or just simply walk them. Is it really that difficult for them, or do they just make it hard? I wouldn't be surprised if the Pulaski Bridge starts getting into gridlock after losing a lane, and it has been proven that bike lanes do create gridlock as numerous studies have been shown in the past.
Oct. 22, 2012, 3:02 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Exactly how much is this going to cost? Also, this bridge does carry a lot of trucks on it, not to mention goes into an industrial area that isn't very safe for cyclists to begin with. I don't see why they can't just go slowly in the bike lane that already exists or just simply walk them. Is it really that difficult for them, or do they just make it hard? I wouldn't be surprised if the Pulaski Bridge starts getting into gridlock after losing a lane, and it has been proven that bike lanes do create gridlock as numerous studies have been shown in the past.
Oct. 22, 2012, 3:02 pm
by from gpt says:
This is a great idea, long overdue... it's been bounced around for a while now.

And Tal, you're wrong in so many ways. On either side of the bridge, the roads are 2 lanes wide, it's only on the bridge that it widens to 3. So no gridlock will be created be removing a lane.

Removing a lane will hopefully also provide some speed checks to the cars and motorcycles coming over the bridge... people basically use the bridge to go as fast as they can, and then they come back into "normal" traffic pattern at unsafe speeds.

I've lived in the area for about 15 yrs and cross the bridge on foot, bike or car daily. The increase in pedestrian and cycling traffic in the last few years has been tremendous, really straining the capacity of the path, which was too narrow to begin with. And next year when the bike share program kicks in, it'll be a whole new level of bike traffic on there.

And btw, Tal, while there are industrial areas on both sides of the bridge, there are also thriving residential areas as well. The bridge needs to accommodate the needs of both.
Oct. 22, 2012, 3:18 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Next, a bike lane on the Kosciuszko bridge!
Oct. 22, 2012, 4:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The current bike path wouldn't have been a problem is cyclists didn't go so fast. I find it irony that same people who call for all other vehicles to have reduced speeds don't call for the same for bicycles especially when they probably fall into that group. I don't mean to burst your bubble, by, but this isn't the movie "Field of Dreams" where if you build it they will come when it doesn't work that way in real life. I'd say you have been watching too many movies to make a claim like that. Keep in mind that more motor vehicles use the roads compared to bicycles, so we should be thinking of the majority of the users, not the minority. Personally, I don't find an industrial area the best place to ride a bicycle especially when there are lot of commercial vehicles using them, which is the same reason why bike lanes on a major thoroughfare are a bad idea as well. As for the Kosciuszko Bridge, I would rather not place a bike lane there, because it's already gridlocked there, so placing a bike lane will just make it worse than it already is.
Oct. 22, 2012, 6:54 pm
ty from pps says:
I'm just glad the vast majority of folks read Tal Barzilai's inane comments and just chalk them up as the willfully ignorant drivel they are.
Oct. 22, 2012, 7:29 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Where I come from, personal attacks like what ty is saying is a path of the weak and cowardly, especially if you have nothing to debate or rebuttal with.
Oct. 22, 2012, 8:49 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- Where I come from, people who constantly say stupid things like you ride a short yellow bus.
Oct. 22, 2012, 10:11 pm
T from Brooklyn says:
What a shame that the Brooklyn Paper comment section has been taken over by Tal, ty, and Or.
Oct. 22, 2012, 11:24 pm
scott from park slope says:
The speed of Brooklyn-bound traffic on Pulaski bridge could stand to be brought down, and I say that as someone who only drives on it. McGuiness must rival Queens blvd for speeding and pedestrian deaths.
Oct. 23, 2012, Midnight
mike from GP says:
Can't wait for this!

And yes, the Kosciuszko bridge is slated to get a bike lane. Unfortunately it also getting more car lanes, which will generate more car traffic.
Oct. 23, 2012, 12:03 am
scott from park slope says:
A lot of world cities have extensive networks of protected bike lanes that move a lot of people efficiently. Montreal, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Beijing, to name a few. They're a great way to take pressure off car traffic and public transit both. Many of those cities have even less physical room than New York and they manage fine, so that's no reason to not do it here. Some of them, like Beijing, have far less money than NYC, so that's also no excuse.

Cyclists and drivers would both prefer such a system here because it is clearer and safer to completely segregate the different speeds of the two modes of travel.
Oct. 23, 2012, 12:10 am
galway from greenpoint says:
For 10 years I have thought they should do this plan, there is no need for 3 lanes of traffic and it will indeed bring down the speedsters. The pedestrian lane is too crowded and dangerous, especially for kids. Thanks Joe!!!!
Oct. 23, 2012, 9:12 am
Chris from Bushwick says:
Tal, it's obvious that you haven't crossed the Pulaski Bridge in a long time, and you make it clear that you live nowhere near it. Your opinion is rife with inaccuracies. We don't care what you think of it. You don't live here. Go away.
Oct. 23, 2012, 9:19 am
Kevin from Flatbush says:
Traffic volumes are so low on the Pulaski that many cyclists will take the right most general traffic lane to avoid the cluster-f**k that is the narrow shared bike / ped lane.

Because traffic volumes are so low, this doesn't even hinder motorists at all. In all my times doing it I've never even heard a honk. They just go around.

And why don't cyclists just walk over the bridge? Well, because they're trying to get to work on time and shouldn't be forced to waste 10 extra minutes to walk over a bridge. That's just stupid. We'll walk our bikes over the bridge when motorists push their cars over the bridge.
Oct. 23, 2012, 9:50 am
cp from greenpoint says:
I understand Lentol not wanting to advocate for anyone - there is still a lot of industrial business in greenpoint - businesses that have jobs and pay taxes. Traffic will definitely be impaired by reducing the southbound lane.

And I somewhat agree with Tal - bicyclists dont have to ride like jerkoffs. And there is definitely more cars than peds/bikes. But what swayed me is the introduction of the CitiBike program. This will definitely introduce more bikes to the bikepath. And these people will likely be tourists / less sophisticated bike riders.
Oct. 23, 2012, 9:51 am
Rick from Pk Slope says:
Someone please answer this question. Why do cyclists refuse to stop for RED LIGHTS??? Answer please !!!!!
Oct. 23, 2012, 9:52 am
Kevin from Flatbush says:
Just when you thought all the crazy was coming from Tal, Beth from Park Slope comes in a really out-wack-jobs everyone. Way to raise the bar, Beth!
Oct. 23, 2012, 9:53 am
Rick from Pk Slope says:
This is a safety issue for all involved...not for or against cyclists...I would love an answer to my question...Why do cyclist at least 99.99999% not stop for RED LIGHTS ???
Oct. 23, 2012, 9:56 am
Kevin from Flatbush says:
cp from greenpoint

The bridge would still have 80% of its surface devoted to motorized traffic. I'm pretty sure that 80% is still a majority - a super majority, even.

Also, people commuting over this bridge on bike also pay taxes. They have graphic design and barista jobs to get to for Christ's sake!
Oct. 23, 2012, 9:58 am
ty from pps says:
CP -- Just as a point of clarification... bike sharing programs have not proven to be "tourist" programs. That is not the point. They are an extension of the transportation networks. Do tourist use the bike in Paris? Of course. But MOST users of Vélib' are folks that live and work in Paris. Same with Montreal. This is the intent of the CitiBike program too.

Bikes are not just toys for children and tourists. They are a real and legitimate and efficient form of transportation.
Oct. 23, 2012, 10:03 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Bikes are not just toys for children and tourists. They are a real and legitimate and efficient form of transportation Comrade.

FIFY
Oct. 23, 2012, 10:55 am
ty from pps says:
Jeesh. Bicycles are communist now? Seems like the subway and buses are far more pinko... no?
Oct. 23, 2012, 11:38 am
Ace from New Utrecht says:
Nobody in New York City is giving up their car in favor of a bicycle. In the case of New York City and its vast public transportation system, bicycles are toys. Toys enjoyed by suburban transplants. Not that's there's anything wrong with that. They should be used and behave like the vehicles they are, subject to all of the rules of the road (which is where they belong).
Oct. 23, 2012, 12:59 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
In terms of total communal dollars spent, the federal highway system is the most communist transportation.
Oct. 23, 2012, 1:13 pm
S from PPW says:
Nobody in New York City is giving up their bike or MetroCard in favor of a car. In the case of New York City and its vast public transportation system, cars are toys. Toys enjoyed by suburban transplants. Not that's there's anything wrong with that. They should be used and behave like the vehicles they are, subject to all of the rules of the road (which is where they belong).
Oct. 23, 2012, 1:30 pm
rick from Pk Slope says:
Why can't I get an answer? Why do cyclists refuse to stop at RED lights? Someone please answer this question!!!!!
Oct. 23, 2012, 2:25 pm
Oliver from Sunset Park says:
Ace - I'm a New Yorker and I gave up my car in favor of a bike. I don't regret it one bit. Not having to worry about parking alone is enough of a stress relief to make it worth it, but now I also actually enjoy and look forward to my commute.
Oct. 23, 2012, 2:36 pm
Oliver from Sunset Park says:
Rick - because it's not relevant to this article.
But, I'll try.

I don't claim to speak for all cyclists, and some just ride like jerks (just like some people drive like jerks) but, in general the efficiency of riding a bike completely fails if you have to stop at a red light on every other block. Lights are not timed to work with the slower speeds of most cyclists, so you end up getting stopped a lot. So, when there isn't any conflicting traffic or pedestrians, most cyclists will employ the "Idaho stop", which means slowing down enough so that you can check the intersection for traffic and stop if necessary, but without actually having to put your foot down and come to a complete stop.

So, if there is traffic, then you stop, if not, you keep going.
Oct. 23, 2012, 2:42 pm
ty from pps says:
Rick --
Why do pedestrians *refuse* to wait on the sidewalk? Why do motorists *refuse* to use their direction signals? Why do motorists *refuse* to obey the speed limit?

Framing your inquiry as an "innocent question" is just douchey.
Oct. 23, 2012, 3:21 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
I second what you said, Oliver, but please don't feed the trolls. Mock them, fine, but don't feed them!
Oct. 23, 2012, 3:36 pm
rick from pk slope says:
Ty. I don't appreciate you calling me a douche...I'm asking an honest question ...now you could go —— yourself and I hope you get hit by a car the next time you pass a Red light you scumbag. And if you want to meet up let me know I'll be glad to slap the —— out of you. Big tough guy behind keyboard...
Oct. 23, 2012, 4:35 pm
rick from pk slope says:
Scott when do move to Pk Slope last week? Are you in that new area Gowanus lol which was South Brooklyn since 1646. Call me a name and I'll slap you with my —— you stupid jerk off...hope you get run over....
Oct. 23, 2012, 4:39 pm
ty from pps says:
Well, Rick... if you were asking an honest question, then Olive's response should *more* than satisfy you. But I have a feeling you are not satisfied, because you were not asking an honest question. You were making a statement about cyclists you have observed (and generalized / stereotyped), but phrased it as a question. Then got all pissy when no one wanted to play your little game.

Also, I didn't call you a douche. I said your tactic was douchey. I'm sure you're a nice enough fella (with clear rage issues)
Oct. 23, 2012, 4:43 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
'Idaho stops' make for those nifty white bikes chained to the stop light poles in NYC.

Pick the laws you like, but don't try to violate the laws of physics.
Oct. 23, 2012, 4:53 pm
Joe from South Brooklyn says:
Ty if I were you I would not —— with Rick...seems like you are always posting wise-ass comments and think you know it all...another Johnny come lately smartass...you are playing with the wrong people...Rick is a big guy in the neighborhood and knows everyone including all the hipsters and the editors of this paper he will find you if he wants too....
Oct. 23, 2012, 5:20 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Some of the comments I hear from the bike zealots are just as wrong, so I need to know where to start. Chris, I may not go on the Pulaski Bridge a lot, but I know that for being near an industrial park, a lot of trucks are there. Seriously, that attack on me was highly uncalled for, and makes me think how much little intelligence you have there. Kevin, the Pulaski Bridge isn't that long, so I don't see how walking your bicycles is really a problem. If you can't do that, then just ride slower. Either way, I see no problem with that, but you guys try to make it hard. S, nobody is forcing you to drive a car, so just stop with that, and I will accept what others use just as long as they don't tell me what I can or cannot use. Scott, those cities you mention have much smaller populations than NYC does, so it's apples and oranges to compare them. Oliver, traffic laws apply to all vehicles including bicycles be it traffic or no traffic.
Oct. 23, 2012, 5:21 pm
Rick from Pk Slope says:
Joe I can handle the situation,but thx for the help. I am being 100% truthful. Oliver these so called Idaho Stops do not solve the problem. Yes it is an answer to my question but not a valid one. And yes people cross against lights, cars don't use turning signals although I do. Not a perfect world but bike getting hit with car = biker losing everytime. So be my guest and keep passing lights and hope you're not the next biker to be killed.
Oct. 23, 2012, 5:26 pm
ric from Pk Slope says:
Joe I can handle the situation,but thx for the help. I am being 100% truthful. Oliver these so called Idaho Stops do not solve the problem. Yes it is an answer to my question but not a valid one. And yes people cross against lights, cars don't use turning signals although I do. Not a perfect world but bike getting hit with car = biker losing everytime. So be my guest and keep passing lights and hope you're not the next biker to be killed.
Oct. 23, 2012, 5:27 pm
Oliver from Sunset Park says:
Rick - my answer was valid. You wanted to know why cyclists run red lights - and I answered it truthfully. It may not be legal, but I'll remember that the next time I pass a car double parked or making an illegal u-turn.
Oct. 23, 2012, 9:01 pm
Rick from Pk Slope says:
Oliver,you are making this a car vs bike thing and I am not into that aspect of it...I am concerned I am going to hit a biker going through a Red light. You just don't seem to get it. It's not a car vs bike debate...
Oct. 23, 2012, 10:20 pm
mike from GP says:
I wish we could talk about the issue at hand -- the need for a more efficient and safe Pulaski Bridge -- and not get distracted by silly internet trolls and talk of red lights.

So, what's the next step? Please write the DOT and ask for a separated bike lane on the bridge! http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/maildot.html
Oct. 23, 2012, 11:17 pm
Irvine Appleby says:
This is a promising prospect to reduce traffic congestion in that area. This will also lessen or totally prevent bike accidents which is a more dangerous risk than car accidents due to the limited protection. If this is for the good, then surely the people are supportive of it.
Oct. 24, 2012, 6:39 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Rick -- traffic lights were created to slow down pedestrians and bicycles for the benefit of motor vehicles.

Cyclists disobey them because they are immoral and a theft of public space.

Now tell me why drivers also do not obey them in huge numbers.

"Motorists run 1.23 million red lights in New York City every workday, according to a 2000 report by then NYC Comptroller Alan Hevesi."
Oct. 24, 2012, 1:07 pm
rick from pk slope says:
Boof WTF are you talking about ? Do you know how to read? It's not a tit for tat debate. I am on the road all day and never see cars pass through red lights and I see 1000's of cyclist's do it.Still your stats up your ass I go by what I see will my eyes not with what politicians say, maybe you should try it sometime. Seeing is believing. Do you deny you see cyclists passing red lights all day long? Are you on the road all day long. Are you still riding a skateboard like the other 30 something kidults? Wake up or should I say grow up.
Oct. 24, 2012, 2:13 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Rick, I feel the same way about how these bike zealots tend to act. I tend to find traffic calming something that would only work in theory, but not in practice. In reality, reducing travel lanes creates more traffic than it reduces. I find it an irony that cyclists complain how about how motorists are always flouting the laws by exceeding speed limits and disobeying traffic lights and signs when they are doing the very same acts themselves. Do they ever practice what they preach, or do they really mean for others and not themselves? I never see why cyclists can't follow the rules just like everyone does despite calling for everyone else to do that when they don't. Overall, just leave the bridge as is especially when trucks are using this constantly, and I don't see how the Kosciuszko Bridge can get any either when it's actually on a major highway like the BQE where bicycles can't go anyway. As for boof, that report is from 12 years, and that number could be smaller now, though there is a chance of that data being fudged, which many agencies or even groups have a history of doing for decades to get their way.
Oct. 24, 2012, 3:14 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
What's the difference between "Traffic Calming" and "Congestion"?

a Two Million Dollar Study!
Oct. 24, 2012, 5:06 pm
TY from Slope says:
Rick Oshea, right?

Numerous studies have show that over 1,000,000 red lights are run by cars EVERY DAY in NYC. Even if every cyclist in the city ran a red light, it wouldn't add up to 1,000,000.
Oct. 24, 2012, 9:18 pm
TY from Slope says:
Rick Oshea, right?

Numerous studies have show that over 1,000,000 red lights are run by cars EVERY DAY in NYC. Even if every cyclist in the city ran a red light, it wouldn't add up to 1,000,000.
Oct. 24, 2012, 9:18 pm
TY from Slope says:
Rick Oshea, right?

Numerous studies have show that over 1,000,000 red lights are run by cars EVERY DAY in NYC. Even if every cyclist in the city ran a red light, it wouldn't add up to 1,000,000.
Oct. 24, 2012, 9:19 pm
rick from pk slope says:
Ty I give up you are a total —— ....its not car vs bike...you are one dumb mother*&%ker....the issue is bikes passing Red lights... it has nothing to do with what cars do.....when out are on a gurney on way to hospital if your lucky and not the morgue I hope you think of me...keep passing Red lights and have a nice life jerk off ...
Oct. 24, 2012, 10:16 pm
rick from pk slope says:
Ty I give up you are a total —— ....its not car vs bike...you are one dumb mother*&%ker....the issue is bikes passing Red lights... it has nothing to do with what cars do.....when out are on a gurney on way to hospital if your lucky and not the morgue I hope you think of me...keep passing Red lights and have a nice life jerk off ...
Oct. 24, 2012, 10:16 pm
rick from pk slope says:
Ty I give up you are a total —— ....its not car vs bike...you are one dumb mother*&%ker....the issue is bikes passing Red lights... it has nothing to do with what cars do.....when out are on a gurney on way to hospital if your lucky and not the morgue I hope you think of me...keep passing Red lights and have a nice life jerk off ...
Oct. 24, 2012, 10:16 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
Hahaha.

That's right. Drivers never run red lights, never speed and never kill people.

And traffic lights are still immoral.
Oct. 25, 2012, 8:49 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Traffic lights were created to slow down pedestrians and bicycles for the benefit of motor vehicles. So the so system is built on inequity.

Fix that, then let's talk.
Oct. 25, 2012, 8:50 am
boof from brooklyn says:
*whole system
Oct. 25, 2012, 8:51 am
Rob from Williamsburg says:
Hey Rick~
This was in the NYTimes a few weeks back. It answers your question succinctly.

THE rule-breaking cyclist that people decry: that’s me. I routinely run red lights, and so do you. I flout the law when I’m on my bike; you do it when you are on foot, at least if you are like most New Yorkers. My behavior vexes pedestrians, drivers and even some of my fellow cyclists. Similar conduct has stuck cyclists with tickets and court-ordered bik- ing education classes.
But although it is illegal, I believe it is ethical. I’m not so sure about your blithely ambling into the intersection against the light while texting and listening to your iPod and sipping a martini. More or less.
I roll through a red light if and only if no pedestrian is in the crosswalk and no car is in the intersection — that is, if it will not endanger myself or anybody else. To put it another way, I treat red lights and stop signs as if they were yield signs. A fundamental concern of ethics is the effect of our actions on others. My actions harm no one. This moral reasoning may not sway the police officer writing me a ticket, but it would pass the test of Kant’s categorical imperative: I think all cyclists could — and should — ride like me.
I am not anarchic; I heed most traffic laws. I do not ride on the sidewalk (O.K., except for the final 25 feet between the curb cut and my front door, and then with caution). I do not
salmon, i.e. ride against traffic. In fact, even my “rolling stops” are legal in some places.
Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group of which I am a member, points out that many jurisdictions, Idaho for example, al- low cyclists to slow down and roll through stop signs after yielding to pedestrians. Mr. White e-mailed me: “I often say that it is much more important to tune into the pedestri- ans rather than tune into the lights, largely because peds jaywalk so much!”
If my rule-breaking is ethical and safe (and Idaho-legal), why does it annoy anyone? Per- haps it is because we humans are not good at weighing the dangers we face. If we were, we’d realize that bicycles are a tiny threat; it is cars and trucks that menace us. In the last quarter of 2011, bicyclists in New York City killed no pedestrians and injured 26. During the same period, drivers killed 43 pedestrians and injured 3,607.
Cars also harm us insidiously, in slow motion. Auto emissions exacerbate respiratory problems, erode the facades of buildings, abet global warming. To keep the oil flowing, we make dubious foreign policy decisions. Cars promote sprawl and discourage walking, contributing to obesity and other health problems. And then there’s the noise.
Much of this creeping devastation is legal; little of it is ethical, at least where, as in Man- hattan, there are real alternatives to the private car. But because we’ve so long let cars dominate city life, we take them, and their baleful effects, for granted. The surge in cy- cling is a recent phenomenon: we’re alert to its vagaries.
But most of the resentment of rule-breaking riders like me, I suspect, derives from a false analogy: conceiving of bicycles as akin to cars. In this view, bikes must be regulated like cars, and vilified when riders flout those regulations, as if we were cunningly getting away with something. But bikes are not cars. Cars drive three or four times as fast and weigh 200 times as much. Drive dangerously, you’re apt to injure others; ride dangerous- ly, I’m apt to injure myself. I have skin in the game. And blood. And bones.
Nor are cyclists pedestrians, of course (at least not while we’re pedaling). We are a third thing, a distinct mode of transportation, requiring different practices and different rules. This is understood in Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where nearly everyone of every age cycles. These cities treat bikes like bikes. Extensive networks of protected bike lanes pro- vide the infrastructure for safe cycling. Some traffic lights are timed to the speed of bikes rather than cars. Some laws presume that in a bike-car collision, the heavier and more deadly vehicle is at fault. Perhaps as New York City’s bike share program is rolled out, these will become the case here.
Laws work best when they are voluntarily heeded by people who regard them as reason- able. There aren’t enough cops to coerce everyone into obeying every law all the time. If cycling laws were a wise response to actual cycling rather than a clumsy misapplication of motor vehicle laws, I suspect that compliance, even by me, would rise.
I choose my riding style mindful of my own safety and that of my neighbors, but also in pursuit of happiness. Uninterrupted motion, gliding silently and swiftly, is a joy. It’s why I ride. And it’s why Stephen G. Breyer says he rides, sometimes to work at the Supreme Court: “The advantages? Exercise, no parking problems, gas prices, it’s fun. An automo- bile is expensive. You have to find a place to park and it’s not fun. So why not ride a bicy- cle? I recommend it.” I don’t know if he runs red lights. I hope so.

Randy Cohen was the original writer of The New York Times Magazine’s “Ethicist” column and the author of the forthcoming book “Be Good: How to Navigate the Ethics of Everything.”
Oct. 25, 2012, 10:14 am
TY from Slope says:
Good job, Rick Oshea. You tell people to "grow up" and then swear at them.

Just like you do everywhere you comment!
Oct. 25, 2012, 10:40 am
Chris from Bushwick says:
Tal, you know the Pulaski Bridge for being near an Industrial area? Sure, that's true, but it's also near a quickly-growing residential area that's seen a huge spike in pedestrian and bike traffic as residents cross between Greenpoint and Long Island City to access business and transit.

Again, you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. I don't pretend to know about Pleasantville and don't attempt to make uninformed opinions about the issues there. I'd ask you to do the same.
Oct. 25, 2012, 11:13 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Chris, regardless of their being residential property, that area is still predominately industrial. You can try to spin it in any or form, but it's industrial nevertheless. One thing that makes that area unique is that it's probably the only one in NYC to have a subway stop in it, which many others don't seem to have. BTW, that industrial park is considered more part of East Williamsburg rather that Greenpoint. Still, cyclists rode on that bridge slower or just walked them, they wouldn't have that problem at all.
Oct. 25, 2012, 4:15 pm
rick from pk slope says:
Rob I'm not a hipster I don't text and I don't have an IPod you can't be more wrong...Ty funny you call me O'Shea who the f is that,,,lol not me...I just don't wanna kill a biker who goes through a Red light an have o live wit that....Rob if you have that much time to type all that —— all I can say to you is get a life....and don't rid in front of my car....
Oct. 25, 2012, 11:26 pm
rick from pk slope says:
Guys let's all go have beer ....on me.....
Oct. 25, 2012, 11:42 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- So, they should just make the bridge restricted to commercial traffic only... and everyone else can walk across the bridge. Private vehicles too. Drivers can push their cars across the bridge. Then there won't be any problem and the industrial traffic won't be disrupted in any way.
Oct. 26, 2012, 1:02 am
Chris from Bushwick says:
Tal, you're digging yourself further into a hole. The northeast reaches of Greenpoint are "considered more part of East Williamsburg?" You really do have absolutely no idea what you're talking about!

And this doesn't even matter. The approach roads - which the exact same traffic uses - have two lanes in each direction, yet the bridge has three lanes in each direction. It's overbuilt and there's no need for the additional lane. This is common sense, and the many neighbors who attended a community workshop sponsored by the Assemblyman agree. You're not a neighbor. Your input is unwanted. Go away.
Oct. 26, 2012, 9:20 am
rick from pk slope says:
East Williamsburg another made up neighborhood,,,, for real estate purposes.... and to get you idiots to think your not in Bushwick...what a joke...I really feel sorry for you people....call it what it is....
Oct. 26, 2012, 9:33 am
ty from pps says:
Rick, sweety darling, you do know that almost all neighborhood names in NYC are "made up" for real estate purposes, right?
Oct. 26, 2012, 11:28 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Chris, the idea for more lanes was so that there wouldn't be a any gridlock for vehicular traffic. However, you bike zealots love when they are in gridlock so that you and your great mayor friend Bloomberg can help promote congestion pricing by creating that very gridlock. Not all roads and bridges are meant for bicycles, so stop trying to demand more when you hardly even use what you already have. The only reason you want them is because you aren't the ones paying for them since those using bicycles aren't required to pay any fees compared to all other motorists. Until you start agreeing to having your bicycles licensed, registered, and insured, then you can demand for further infrastructure, but you will all go against it, because then you will be caught more easily when you used to get away with hit and runs in the past and even the present.
Oct. 26, 2012, 2:31 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- Why o' why does your ignorant little brain keep saying STUPID things like "because you aren't the ones paying for them since those using bicycles aren't required to pay any fees compared to all other motorists."

It is NOT TRUE.

EVERYONE pays taxes. Everyone. The tiny amount of money collected from registration fees does almost nothing to support the city infrastructure. It just doesn't. But you're going to keep saying the same stupid, misinformed things because you have ABSOLUTELY NO CAPACITY to allow truth and fact influence your dumb thoughts.

And, guess what... I own a car. I drive. I pay registration and licensing fees. I demand infrastructure for bicycles! What?! Wait. Huh? Can I do that?!

Yes, yes. I know... Where your from... blah blah blah. Just stop embarrassing yourself with your ignorance.
Oct. 26, 2012, 3:01 pm
Chris from Bushwick says:
Tal, there's never any gridlock for vehicular traffic on or off the bridge. In fact, the excessive capacity has caused a rash of pedestrian deaths because of speeding. You would know that if you had ever used the Pulaski Bridge or knew anything about it.

And oh my God, Tal, your "bicycles aren't required to pay any fees compared to all other motorists" line is precious! This bridge is maintained by the NYCDOT, which relies on revenue not from gas taxes or DMV fees, but from sales, income, and property taxes... which everyone pays, regardless of their mode of transportation.

Of course, you know all this, because we've told you this time and time again. But your mind can't seem to process it, because you have an obsession with a minute issue in a place where you have no business being. Look, we know addiction is difficult to break... but please, get off the Internet and go seek some psychological help.
Oct. 26, 2012, 3:12 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
You guys really need to take chill pills and stop drinking that Haterade you love so much. I take it you never heard of taxes for infrastructure. Anything that involves it requires many of the fees that us motorists pay for. BTW, it's us motorists that are providing most of the funding to help you ride your transit for almost nothing, which is why I plan to say at the MTA hearings to raise the fares to make you guys in paying your fair share. In the end, we motorists do pay more for just about everything that has to transit. Just leave the bridge alone already! Does just about everywhere need a bike lane? Knock it off with the personal attacks and just go back to that fanatical website known as Streetsblog where your kind is more welcomed for saying something so insulting. Believe it or not, there are a number of taxes and fees that we motorists pay that go towards your great transit that none of you ever have to worry.
Oct. 26, 2012, 7:09 pm
tal from pps says:
I promise to take a chill pill when you promise to stop typing MISINFORMED and willfully IGNORANT statements. EVERYTHING you stated above is just blatantly false. Period.
Oct. 26, 2012, 7:37 pm
ty from pps says:
by the way, that was a typo with my name above... but I'm sure that will help you with your conspiracy theory that I am the author of all of the comments on this entire website.
Oct. 26, 2012, 7:50 pm
Chris from Bushwick says:
Tal, your bumbling statement made no sense. You're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts, and you don't seem to realize that.

I'm sure your statement to the MTA will sound equally like the rantings of a madman, and will be rife with lies and inaccuracies.

Why, exactly, do you hate us? Did a bunch of people without cars beat you up and take your lunch money as a kid? Again, I think we need to get deep down into the psychological roots of your sad obsession with making it less convenient for people without cars to get around a city that you don't even live in.
Oct. 29, 2012, 9:31 am

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