David Byrne on Bicycling in NYC
Transportation Alternatives’ Noah Budnick and David Byrne prior to the Manhattan Borough President’s "Manhattan on the Move" conference, October 2006.
I have been riding a bicycle in New York City for almost 30 years!
For transport, not for sport. At first there were only a few of us.
Loners, losers, maniacs and nerds. Some of the members of Talking Heads
used to make fun of me and say I was going to turn into Pee Wee Herman.
Over the decades things have improved in New York for cyclists — a little. Now there is a wonderful bike path up the Hudson
that runs almost the entire length of Manhattan. I use it to commute to
and from work. Now there are markings on some streets indicating
imaginary bike lanes (imaginary because the traffic and pedestrians
often ignore the markings) but they are there in spirit, at least.
Someday they will be taken seriously, I have no doubt — when gas hits
$10 a gallon.
Now Paris is embarking on a bicycle plan that should make New York
envious. A collaboration between business and civic affairs than may
just work, as both the city and Deceaux can benefit. Bikes as a means
of local transport has worked elsewhere; the mayor of Bogota, Enrique
Peñalosa, relieved traffic congestion AND made his city more livable by
converting streets to bike/pedestrian use and by adding dedicated bus
lanes. Of bike lanes he said, “If an eight year old kid can’t ride on
it safely then it isn’t a bike lane.” I don’t remember Paris having
very many bike lanes, and the drivers adopt a “survival of the
pushiest” approach, as I recall, but that may be changing.