Bike Snob NYC Shows You How It’s Done


One of the keenest and most unforgiving observers of bike culture in this town, in all its glory and absurdity, is the blogger Bike Snob NYC. A couple of weeks back, he posted a chronicle of his bike commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan that had me shaking my head in recognition at every turn. Read it and weep through your laughter.

Photo: Bike Snob NYC

  • ddartley

    Friends, really, what is the use in getting angry about people parking in Class II lanes?

    Class II lanes, while they’re CALLED “bike lanes,” are of course no good for riding in.

    I mean, when are we going to accept that and move on to REAL ideas for improving cycling?

    Be at peace with it. Those lanes DO serve one purpose for cyclists, i.e., they narrow the road, so they help keep cars’ speed a little lower. But THAT’S IT.

    Other than that, THEY ARE LOADING ZONES/DOUBLE PARKING ZONES. Okay? That’s what they are. And even if all the cops in the world WANTED to, they couldn’t stop the lanes from being used that way.

    Let’s just be glad they slow cars down a little bit, and stop being mad at the people who park in them, because it’s a waste of energy.

    Ugh, I could go on and on with my suggestions of how to ride on streets that have these (always blocked) lanes, and my idea for an improved bike lane design, but I’ll spare you all this time.

    (other than all that, it was very clever writing, but unfortunately, it’s mere entertainment.)

  • moocow

    Is the person in the photo riding her plastic bike the wrong way? Read some more BSNYC, check out Bike Lane Salmon.

  • Steve

    Dart, we’ve talked about this before. In my view, on-street class II lanes are inefficient and unsafe at speeds higher than ~10 MPH, but they are safe and efficient for those moving at slower speeds–especially beginners, kids and seniors. At 5-8 MPH, the dooring hazard in the typical on-street lane is manageable, and the separation from traffic, especially with a buffer, makes many bicyclists more comfortable. many bicyclists will make modest detours in order to use lanes, which results in a concentration of the bicycling population and a resulting “safety-in-numbers” effect. This effect is enhanced by the signage and striping which leads at least some motorists to watch for bicyclists. And there are the general traffic-calming effects you mention. For all these reasons, on-street lanes are a valuable part of the bicycling infrastructure and government (and ordinary people) should do what they can to kep them clear of double-parkers and other hazards.

  • Steve

    P.S., DoT cites the double parking problem in on-street lanes as a reason for having built he 9th Ave. cycle track–so there is a use in getting angry about lane blockage, DoT may take note and respond.

  • George

    Bike Snob’s post is a sad commentary on the state of urban biking in NYC. Yes, cycling is on the upswing, it’s sloooowly getting better, and there are a few greenway jewels. But for me, it’s too little, too late. After 8 years I’m moving away, I can’t take it.

    Let’s face it: These sorts of daily violations will continue for the foreseeable future. The vast majority of New Yorkers have a short memory, and breaking the law is sooooo convenient.

  • Re: #3,

    the problem is that the class ii lanes don’t really work for anyone. they don’t make reluctant cyclists feel safe enough to start riding (and they SHOULDN’T), and as you mention, the dooring risk makes them fairly useless for more experienced riders who would prefer to ride faster.

    if the only purpose they serve is to point out their own limitations and prod the city to build more cycle tracks, seems like a circuitous way of getting to that result.

  • cms

    why do we assume that bike snob is a he?

  • Sarah Goodyear

    I guess it’s possible bike snob is a she, but if you read the blog enough, there are little clues (talking about a race and saying “the other guy is passing me,” etc.), plus a sort of guy-centric vibe, that point strongly to maleness. If anyone knows otherwise, please do tell.

  • Hannah

    He’s a he. See the December 2007 Bicycling magazine for a photo and interview. The question remains, who is he?

  • Dave H.

    I’m glad BikeSnob points out the hazards posed by other bicyclists as well as by motorists. Riding the wrong against traffic should be neither allowed (which it isn’t) nor tolerated!

  • ddartley

    Funny, I don’t remember ever talking about this stuff before…

    Okay, seriously, and this goes for Dave H.’s comment #10, and a million other sentiments by a million other people on all sides of these issues:

    I just don’t see meaningful enforcement of most/all traffic rules ever happening in this town without revolutionary changes, so I think planners, engineers, designers, and bloggers all would make better use of their energy if they sought changes that the assumption that two things will always be constants in NYC: i) scattered bad behavior by all street users and ii) a total lack of enforcement.

  • flp

    scattered bad behavior, ddartley??? hardly! that is why we need to keep griping about the lack of enforcement even as constant as you may believe it is. i see no need to accept YOUR assumptions. where would we be if galileo and those other brave souls continued to accept the ASSumption of geocentricism?

    in the meantime, let’s see what you have to say when you get hit and runned (or whatever) one of these days. oh, sorry, you won’t be able to day much if anything it at all! (sorry to sound so harsh, but….. sometimes its like a war out there).

  • Dave H.

    Or: SOME rules are generally followed and enforced when infractions are noticed by the police. Running red lights in a car is one or driving the wrong way down a one-way street in a car are examples (double-parking, on the other hand, is not).

    For these rukes there’s not just vertical enforcement (police vs. citizens) but also horizontal enforcement (citizens v. citizens). It’s just considered unacceptable to do certain things. I think it is about time for biking the wrong the way in bike lanes be considered one of these – both in terms of horizontal and vertical enforcement.

  • ddartley

    flp, it seems you quite miss my point, and I quite miss yours, because it’s not entirely clear.

    But the burns I’ve sustained from your flaming are worse than any injuries I ever expect to get while on my bike–because I ride out in the road where motorists and pedestrians can SEE me. And I do that because of their bad behavior, scattered all around me.

  • flp

    ddartley…. i may have misconstrued your words. it seemed that you believe that the two assumptions you listed should always be considered constants in NYC, but i am not clear whether you believe we should just live with them or if we should seek changes to them. if you think we should just live with them, then i think you are incorrect.

    perhaps your sentence should read : …. make better use of their energy if they sought changes TO the assumption that two things will always be constants in NYC …… ?????????


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