Photo by Dmitry Gudkov
M62 Protected Bike Lanes - PPW - Dmitry GudkovRiding the Prospect Park West protected bicycle lane is safe and convenient for all ages and abilities.
Every transition is a challenge and what I love most about challenges is that they are also an opportunity.
This past May, I spent an afternoon riding the protected bike lane on 9th Avenue in New York City. On a beautiful, upright Viva city bike, perfect for riding safely with my head up, I enjoyed spotting the new bike share stations dotting the protected lane. I quickly noticed the difference between riding on a narrow and unprotected bike lane, like on nearby 6th Avenue, to that of riding on a protected route. Even though I am confident riding in any city and on any street, my experience was exponentially more enjoyable on a protected bike lane.
As I pedaled throughout Manhattan, I thought of all the new riders who would be drawn to bikes because of protected bike lanes and bike share systems. This new infrastructure, rapidly expanding in cities across North America, ties directly to the vision of Momentum Mag in that many more people can and will be riding bikes as they learn that a bicycle is the most efficient, effective, and enjoyable way to get around.
Right now, many US and Canadian cities are facing the challenge of how to adapt to a significant increase in people riding bikes. I know that it will not be a seamless transition. Concerns became apparent as I spent two hours interviewing riders on the 2nd Avenue protected lane in the East Village. The drivers of personal cars, taxis, and delivery trucks were not always patient or alert while turning left through the protected lane. I witnessed many pedestrians stepping into the lane without looking for people on bikes. I also saw some bike riders ignoring red lights and riding in the wrong direction. While the protected bike lane has made the street noticeably safer, it’s clear that not everyone has adjusted to the new street infrastructure.
So what can we do to help our cities make the transition to bike- and pedestrian-friendly places? While infrastructure provides a push in the right direction, we must all learn to slow down. Life doesn’t have to move at our all too high speed limits. Let us lift our heads up and enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds of our changing cities. Let us show patience with everyone on our streets instead of viewing them as obstacles. And let us keep riding because the more people there are on bikes, the more visible we all will be.
I embrace Momentum Mag’s opportunity to promote, encourage, and inspire safe city riding while helping you find the products and services that will make your bicycle lifestyle easy and fun. Because bicycling is one of the best ways to get around, let us work together to help create more opportunities for others to choose to ride as well.
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