The Ride, Week 6
I rolled past a major milestone this week: commuting via bike for all five work days! I’m very happy that finally happened. The weather was perfect, I didn’t have to go anywhere after work that required a subway and I didn’t travel out of town.
The one thing killing me this week was allergies. The grass pollen is out in force and it hit me hard. Strangely it affects me worse on the way home rather than going to work. At least allergy season doesn’t last forever and it’s supposed to rain this weekend so maybe that will diminish the pollen count a bit. Regardless, I’m not going to let itchy eyes stop me from keeping on the bike.
Two cool things happened this week as part of Bike Month. Thursday was The Great NYC Commuter Race. Three participants traveled from Sunnyside, Queens to Columbus Circle in Manhattan, which is 4.2 miles. The eighth annual race pits a cyclist, a subway rider and a taxi driver against each other. Once again the cyclist won covering the distance in just 20 minutes, 15 seconds. The subway rider was next (35:16 and $2.50 in fare) and the taxi (47:11 and $30 in fare).
Transportation Alternatives also unveiled the Biking Rules website. The site is a new street code for cyclists following the simple principle that our responsibility to others on the street increases in relation to our potential to cause harm. The idea is that cars/trucks must exercise the utmost responsibility, that bikes should exercise care and follow the rules of the road and that pedestrians always get the right of way.
This mostly makes sense to me. I am a believer in following the traffic rules that cars have. I stop at signal lights and stop signs, I give pedestrians their due in crosswalks and on shared paths (like where I ride along the Hudson River), I ride following traffic. Unfortunately a lot of bikers, like a lot of pedestrians, are out for themselves. I’m one of the few bikers I’ve seen that stops when you’re supposed to. And I see a lot of cyclists ignoring traffic flow, both in traffic and in bike lanes. It’s no wonder bikers have a pretty bad reputation.
But for T.A.’s rules to work, pedestrians do need to take some responsibility. They need to not carelessly wander into bike lanes or use them for sidewalks. Sure, pedestrians can run some one over like a bike can, but it’s everyone’s responsibility to make the roads/sidewalks/bikeways safe for everyone.
It will be interesting to see how the new street code is accepted in the weeks to come.
As for my own ride next week, it looks like there’s chances of rain every day next week. I’ll be watching that carefully though because I would like another perfect commute week.