Wednesday, October 27, 2010

DOT hands out free bike bells, asks everyone to be careful

Yesterday evening, reps from the DOT were along Second Avenue near Ninth Street... handing out bike maps and bells and stuff... and telling everyone — cyclists, pedestrians — to be careful....







I did not notice if they were on the other side of Second Avenue handing out the same materials to cyclists going the wrong way...

Here's a previous bike lanes thread here. (153 comments)

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

How much you wanna bet they paid something like $25 for each bike bell they're handing out? It would be just like government to do that. Even if they paid fair price, I don't want my tax dollars buying bike bells for people. How about putting that money toward something important...like healthcare? Hello!

Anonymous said...

Oh there's always the angry griper who thinks tax dollars are being wasted on this or that. Fact is, preventive services cost a tiny fraction of full care. That's why we get childhood immunizations. That's why we built bike lanes—to increase the number of people who can exercise by safely biking. (Hello, diabetes costs and costs of treating obesity are spiraling out of control.) So if just one bicyclist uses a free bell that prevents a collision with an uninsured pedestrian, that could save $25,000 to $50,000 in hospitalization fees that would ultimately be taxpayer-paid. And as for health care, plenty of money is going there starting in 2011, thanks to the 111th Congress.

ShutUpHooker said...

I'm sorry but I'm one of the dissenters when it comes to Bloomberg's attempt to turn NYC into some sort of European city.

I've been in NYC all of my almost 50 years and somehow Bloomberg has managed to make it worse for all bikers, pedestrians and drivers.

I do all three and these protected lanes are worse because blind pedestrians are glued to their crackberry & have become corridors for delivery assholes who are always going the wrong way.
As far as making cyclist obey red lights especially, good luck.
Not until cyclist and pedestrians are treated like asshole drivers for their bad behavior will it ever change.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, 9:09. I hate to break it to you but these bike lanes are built for the average person who might have diabetes. They are built for yuppies and posers who have time to ride bikes all over the city while the rest of us work. Do you really think the average person who works in a shitty office job or a McDonald's has time to ride a bike to work? Think about it.

chris flash said...

Big Nanny's "it's for our own good" law pertaining to bicycles in NYC requires that each bike have a bell and mirror and that each rider wear a helmet. Failure to comply can result in fines.

So, "for our own good," they've installed bike lanes in the most retarded location (alongside the curb, where pedestrians walk and cars open doors), and they're telling us like little children how to properly use the lanes.

Bike lanes are okay for novices and slower riders, but those of us who know better stay in the street, where it is much safer to ride.

We all know what's coming next: the city will soon tell us that we MUST use the bike lanes and that our failure to comply will result in fines.

This means more revenue for the city, which is what this bullshit bike lane campaign is REALLY all about.

"Do what we tell you to do or else you'll have to give us money" is NOT "for our own good!!"

Lisa said...

Yow - Chris Flash and I actually agree on something! Will wonders never cease!

Eric said...

Anon - "Do you really think the average person who works in a shitty office job or a McDonald's has time to ride a bike to work?"

I have a shitty office job, and I ride my bike to work because I can get up 15 minutes later. The subway takes too long and is unpredictable.

blue glass said...

yeah, me too, i actually agree with chris for once - the bike lanes are dangerous because drivers open their doors onto it. i've witnessed almost disasters many times.
however, if you ride all over because you don't like the lanes you make us walkers look 8 ways before we cross a street - that's left, right, front, back and middle (4 times), and on the sidewalk.
how would it be if cars owners could drive wherever they wanted?
license bikers. make them obey the traffic laws and give tickets. to pedestrians too (tickets, not licenses).

Brian Van said...

So this post relates how the DOT handed out free bike bells and legal information packets to cyclists, and this turns into a referendum on bicycling in NYC. Of course.

I'm not sure how much benefit we'll see from handing out bells in terms of public safety, but the law is the law, and I can't argue with an effort to put a cheap bell on any bike that doesn't have one.

I'd argue that bikes need air horns instead. Bells don't mean anything to cars, and misadventures with cars (especially turning vehicles who fail to yield) are one of the main problems with using the bike lanes for cyclists. But it's even worse with pedestrians... even though most people stick to the sidewalk, it turns out that you only need a couple of moronic pedestrians wandering in-and-out of traffic to turn a bike lane into a safety hazard. And, most alarmingly, they don't respond to:

Bells
Lights
Shouts
Screams
Brakes

The sensible thing nowadays is that whenever you see someone walking in the bike lane up ahead, you're better off treating them as an immovable lane obstruction and merging over to traffic. This is legal, of course, but it's utterly senseless. There should probably be a railing separating the sidewalk from the bike lanes to minimize these encounters, but that sort of thing was not in the budget for these slapdash lane installations. And that's the root of the problem - sturdy, well-paved, fully separated bike lanes with adequate signage (for all classes of commuters) and dedicated traffic signals would have been much better for everyone. Instead, corners were cut, we got these somewhat ineffective lanes instead, and it has only provided fuel for an already burning argument among pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists.

But there are things that the community can do to help make up the gaps. That would be worthwhile, especially considering how many commercial/retail deliveries are traveling by bicycle, as well as commuters and neighborhood traffic. It's a difficult but solvable problem. And it's not going to get any better with people taking out their personal grudges on the general public. (Do you know how silly it sounds when people say that they've run into a couple of cyclists who were rude or mean? Yeah, newsflash, there are a lot of rude and mean people all over NYC, we all have to deal with them. Let's not allow them to cloud our decision-making skills)

chris flash said...

Go figure....

Anonymous said...

Screw the bells, they're too tinkly and easily not heard. I'm getting one of these sonic air horns for boats. http://safetycentral.com/so911pesaair.html

Jill said...

Bells might be more effective than pamphlets, which was the last thing they were handing out.

glamma said...

completely agree with chris as well. everything the city does these days is to ultimately raise $$$$$$$$$$$ in one way or another, if you can see behind their smoke and mirrors.
wish i saw this post yesterday though b/c i could definitely use a free bike bell.

Chris said...

chris flash: There's no law requiring adult cyclists to wear helmets in NYC.

RatherBeBiking said...

Goggla, a clarification - the old bike lanes had (and still have) a big problem with dooring - in many cases, there simply might not be enough room on the street to get all cyclists out of the door zone at all times. Maybe you're noticing it more now since the bike lane is more visible from the sidewalk?

I agree with your point about using the bike lanes - Chris, do you understand the confusion you add for pedestrians who are already having a problem adapting to the new layout by riding outside the lane because you're too much of an "expert" rider for them?

I've been riding in the city since I was 14. I've worked as a messenger and commuted almost exclusively by bike since then. I like to go fast on my bike - but when I'm on 1st and 2nd avenue, I use the bike lanes and slow down if the situation requires it. You should try it sometime.

Just because it's not an improvement for your riding style and level of experience doesn't negate the benefit of a lane that novice riders feel safer in and is likely to get more people riding their bikes.

RatherBeBiking said...

LOL @ glamma's post..

"Yeah, I completely agree.. smoke and mirrors... it's a conspiracy... the government is a lie... but I sure could have used a free bike bell!"

RatherBeBiking said...

Sorry for the triple post, but you also don't need a mirror on your bike to ride in the city. Sorry if you were being sarcastic, I missed it.

OWR said...

Actually they should have had a large poster of a Baseball Bat up to forewarn the riders what happens if the 'go nice' hand-holding treatment fails (as it will in this fair-city)

Ant said...

OWR,

You're such an angry dick. Why don't you ever add anything to the conversation but hate and violence?

They should hand out bells to warn others that you're nearby. I hate that I share a neighborhood with you. Have an accident.

chris flash said...

To RatherBeBiking:

I still am a bike messenger (and proud of it!) Though I occasionally ride in the bike lanes when traffic is too tight or at a stand-still, I'm not going to use the bike lanes when I am stuck behind slow bikers.

The new bike lanes are simply in the WRONG place (alongside curbs where vehicles drive, park, open doors and where pedestrians walk.) Don't tell me that you don't see this every day! (Just yesterday, I saw a huge truck making a delivery to a grocery store was parked in a bike lane.)

With bike lanes kept where they were (alongside cars parked at the curb), pedestrians don't have to look out for bikers and cars in two crossing locations.

As for the "law," my statement was based on the anti-messenger/biker crackdown by cops years ago, wherein they gave tickets to bikers without bells, mirrors and helmets. Silly assumption on my part that such laws really existed....

RatherBeBiking said...

Well, I think we can respectfully disagree about the arrangements of the lanes. Though from all the slower, newer riders I know, they prefer the new orientation.

Then again, most of the 18-25 year olds prefer the old ones - but they also ride a lot more recklessly than others.

OWR said...

Ant, they call you that cause you're brain-power is equivalent to an Ant's?...Yes I have some anger in me. Grow up on Avenue D with the low-lifes and get harassed and mugged as a kid because of my color and ethnicity and yes that does cause anger. Did you encounter any of that in your childhood, you shnook?
Anyway, yes I am angry about the civic disregard that I see all around me in this city usually by the losers from other areas who came to NYC to vent out all of their rage (quick check on the bicyclists and see other than the delivery people how many are native New Yorkers?) by disregard of others.
I promuise scumbag you will have an accident (Hopefully causing death/dismemberment?) long before I do cause I wAS blessed/cursed to survive the worst and still keep going. You, I know, wont be able to do it, Ok, 'Ant(testes)?'

RatherBeBiking said...

OWR - See a therapist. That is all.

OWR said...

I do, he agrees with me and is surprised I havent acted out on you miscreants/lowlifes.

Anonymous said...

9:42 think about what?

I work 50 hr a week constrction job. I ride my bike because it halves my travel time. Speak for yourself.