I picked up the most recent issue of New York magazine the other day while shopping at Whole Foods when the cover caught my eye. I’m not one to sporadically buy magazines at the point of purchase for groceries but I couldnt help myself after seeing the words “Bikelash” plastered across the front. I would think its pretty rare that a bike lane lands a five page story, plus the front cover of any urban magazine, especially one from NY. The PPW bike lane did just that.
I would encourage anyone interested in the dispute over the PPW lane or just the growth of NYC biking in general to read the article. Unfortunately it is a little bit one sided, especially at the beginning where the author (although a cyclist) focuses in on the views of anti-bike lane proponents. It isn’t until the continuation of the article at the back of the magazine (pg. 91) that the good stuff is presented. One of my favorite quotes, written about the 9th ave bike lane, which was originally met with fierce opposition until tempers slowly dies down was this; “there is something infinitely joyful in putting foot to pedal, something intoxicating about not being bound to the whims of a bus driver or subway conductor or thick tangles of crosstown traffic. Whipping down the street, completely protected from the cars zooming by just a few feet away, may be the closest any New Yorker comes to flying” (Matthew Shaer). While not presenting anything factual to back up the need for bike lanes in NY, it is certainly an accurate testament to the feelings held by NY cyclists riding in a protected bike lane. Now imagine a world where those lanes no longer exist. Not such a pleasant dream when you’ve lost your wings.