23 June 2010

The New Cyclist

I have such mixed feelings about the numbers of people newly out riding their bicycles now that there are so many nice bike lanes in the city, and now that it's warm and dry outside and the sun stays out nice and late.

It can be wonderful to be part of a flock, or perhaps better, a school of little fish swimming among the bigger vehicles on the roads.

But oh, the disregard for the laws of nature.

I'm not going to claim that the messengers, the fast-food delivery guys, or the lycra-clad fleets of the past always followed all the rules of the road. But at least they paid attention while they were ignoring them, and usually gave the impression of making the effort to save their own skins and avoid harming those around them.

(Yes, I have cycled in lycra. Yes, I have also in this city been a pedestrian and a driver, not to mention the pusher of a stroller. And I am convinced that all of the groups of people who use the streets and the sidewalks can do so in harmony, if everyone pays a little attention.)

Yesterday, I encountered in a bike lane on Ninth Street a woman with no helmet, riding the wrong way down a one-way street, and texting.

Along with all those wonderful new bike lanes, maybe it would be a good idea for the mayor to run an ad campaign recommending helmets, and common sense, to the people using them.