Streams

Transit Roundup

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's been a busy summer of new transportation initiatives, from the (delayed) bike share program to new rules about bicycle delivery, East River ferry service, speed limit "slow zones", and more. Kate Hinds, producer/reporter with Transportation Nation, discusses the latest transit news.

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Kate Hinds

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Comments [22]

Paul from Ridgewood NJ

I live in Ridgewood NJ, but I bike in NYC from time to time. I am almost 60, and have arthritic knees. I ride an electric bicycle that assists my pedaling (no manual throttle), but I also have an older electric bike with "twist-throttle", which is what you mostly see in NYC, an mostly, from what I observe, ridden by delivery people. I believe that electric bicycles are illegal in NY State by law (and I think NJ too!). However, I have read and been told that federal law countermands the state law, and that electric bikes do not need to be licensed at this time.

When ridden "properly", in my opinion, an electric bicycle should not be ridden as a "motorcycle", but as a version of a non-electric bicycle, with regard to speed. And of course, the rider should follow all the laws set for bicycle riders, regardless of how the bike is powered. Helmets and front/rear lights are a very good idea for all riders.

Since some electric bikes can go very fast indeed, perhaps a speed limit should be set for (at least) unlicensed bicycles of all kinds.

BTW the bicycle riders who complain about getting tickets for running red lights and going the wrong way on a one-way street don't have much of an argument. The law is the law, and it's not unreasonable when considering public safety.

And remember that bicycle riders can have the best of two worlds... getting off the bike and instantly becoming a pedestrian when needed is a big plus!

Jul. 19 2012 10:35 AM

Just a note to Zuke: electric bikes are illegal in New York State -- I thought I said "illegal" on air but maybe I swallowed the "il" part!

Jul. 18 2012 02:51 PM
rachel loonin from Philadelphia

Thanks for using the word Yucky during this report!

Loved it so much I blogged about it.

http://www.wholephamily.com/2012/07/reason-613-why-i-love-listening-to-npr.html

Jul. 18 2012 02:07 PM
AL

I am a recreational biker and occasional bike commuter. The cops periodically and unpredictably hassle bikers on Park Slope streets (tickets for running red lights, even if the "perp" has stopped and looked) and in Prospect Park.
In Kensington, where I reside, bicycle deliverymen routinely ride on the sidewalks, and the wrong way on one way streets. They never have lights at night. I have clocked an electric bike at 20 MPH on a sidewalk on Ocean Parkway. Aren't these illegal? I was struck by one at night-no light, wrong way on a side street.
Why don't the cops ever ticket these idiots? Are they being paid off? Has word come down from the Mayor or the Commissioner that delivery guys always get a free pass?
I'll believe the law will be enforced in Kensington when I see it-CONSISTENTLY. Please get these jerks off our sidewalks!

Jul. 18 2012 12:19 PM
meredith from nyc

People know to look out for cars, but bikes sneak up on people. Bikes are more dangerous than cars because they are small and quiet and zip in and out of pedestrian paths etc. Cars are large, make noise, are easily seen and of course--have lights on at nights! A minor detail!
Some bikers are always insulting walkers for walking into their path, but that's unfair. The Bikers are where they should not be, so to be safe, walkers have to constantly be looking around for bikers who don't obey rules. They don’t have to do same for cars, which are never on sidewalks, never drive wrong way, and stop for lights 99 percent of time. Minor details?

Bikers think they're different from cars, so should have a different standard of behavior, but the truth is bike collisions do end in bad injuries for both walker and bikers—and even deaths.

Jul. 18 2012 12:14 PM
John from NYC

From the New York Times in May 2011, here is an article regarding the bicycling/pedestrian environment in NYC "Aiming to Rein in the Anarchy on Two Wheels"

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/nyregion/wife-of-man-killed-by-cyclist-seeks-safer-streets.html

Jul. 18 2012 12:04 PM
bknativ from Brooklyn Heights

agree with driver who just called--problem is not the delivery bicyclists here in Bklyn--it's theprivate drivers who follow no rules/ cross intersections and turn corners against lights, use two lanes so they can "chat" while driving, and give the finger to drivers who have to wait behind them...Am fine with educating poorer, foreign-born bicyclists--how about educating (and fining) upwardly mobile, native-born bicyclists--in neighborhoods with bike lanes.

Jul. 18 2012 11:57 AM
David from NYC

Can we get the bikes all bikes in the bike lanes.
I work on Broadway and I can't tell you how many times I see riders
all over the place out of the lane,on the sidewalk ....
This whole project/idea is just more elitism from your great mayor

God save us all !

Jul. 18 2012 11:53 AM

Its obvious that the guest doesnt' work in lower manhattan. Food delivery bikes ARE the problem, especially during evening rush hour. I work in FiDi and food delivery bikes are all over the sidewalks and roads; they're a hazard for everyone down here. I actually don't mind the bicycle messengers - they're only in business between 8am-5pm and they at least keep up with the speed of traffic on the road.

Jul. 18 2012 11:47 AM
William Jordan from Harlem, NY

For bike share, the city should invest in bulk purchases (to bring the price down) of this inflatable bike helmet, which is easier for people to carry with them, and actually more effective in reducing rapid deceleration of the head on impact:
http://www.fastcodesign.com/1662525/trash-the-bike-helmet-try-an-airbag-for-your-head-instead-video

Jul. 18 2012 11:47 AM
zuke

Your reporter stated that electric bikes are legal in NY. Please inform her that she is incorrect.

Jul. 18 2012 11:47 AM

what's the deal with the new stop signs on 6 1/2 ave?

Jul. 18 2012 11:45 AM
Mike from Brooklyn

As an avid bike rider in NYC for over 10 years and a bike delivery person on and off for the past 5, I think this is totally unwarrented. There are no specific accidents. I have never hit a pedestrian and non of my co-workers ever have.

These attempts to keep us safe is actually making us less safe. Cars park in the bike lanes. Assholes jog in the bike lane. Pedestrians just walk blindly through them. Why should we follow your laws when no one respects my foot wide lane. I have to spend all day dodging cars, pedestrians, other bikes, joggers, double parked entitled jerks. If you walk in my bike lane you should expect me to ride on your side walk.

Jul. 18 2012 11:45 AM
Alan

Though by the numbers delivery bicycles are far less of a danger to pedestrians than cars, delivery bicyclists do seem to be some of the least responsible cyclists on the road (and sidewalk!), and seem to be the folks you see riding at you the wrong way in the bike lane most often.

At the same time, the roads on the Upper East Side are disgustingly dangerous, with taxis driving at twice the speed limit and drivers parking in the bike lanes practically every block, forcing the bicyclists to merge in and out of the 50mph traffic, so I can understand why the delivery guys are tempted to take the sidewalks.

Jul. 18 2012 11:45 AM
scott


Another great idea aka ( tax on small business) from Nanny Bloomberg. Enjoy higher delivery food prices or a complete abandonment of the convienent service once the tickets start flowing.

A few real ideas for truly improving transportation in NYC:

Assign commercial delivery areas on each block for trucks. This will help elimiate trucks double parking to drop off needed goods at commercial establishments.

Eliminate the ridiculous bike lanes. They are minimally utilized, increase traffic bottle necks, and take away parking spaces from shoppers and locals. I ride a bike in the city and do not need a painted green pathway to get where I need to go.

Add mass transit to the east side of manhattan by taking one lane from both 1st and 2nd avenue and make a bus or rail system. The cost of doing so would likely be billions less expensive than the ongoing tunneling project.

Allow parking in alternate side parking areas immediately after a street is cleaned. Countless hours are wasted by people waiting in their cars for the alternate side parking rules. All this to avoid getting a $65 ticket.

Use tolls for road projects and not for real estate speculation.

Have all road work audited for corruption. There has been ongoing construction on houston street for 8 years. It makes me wonder where all the money is going.

On a side note, the $50,000,000 McCarren Pool Project should be audited. The average pool price per sq. foot is about $50.00. With that said, the nearly 40,000 sq. foot pool should have cost $2,000,000 to build. Doubling that sq foot estimate to $100.00 per sq. foot would have totaled $4,000,000. How was the other $46,000,000 spent?

Jul. 18 2012 11:44 AM

Most of the people I see zooming down the wrong way on a one-way street are your classic yuppies on their high-end bikes.

Why don't we hear of the older bikers driven out into the street by these selfish jerks?

Jul. 18 2012 11:43 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

When I was in elementary school, we had bicycle clinics to teach us the bicycle rules of the road. That's something that should be re-instituted and continued in schools as long as bicycles exist.

That said, I am one of those people who has had my foot run over by a bicycle messenger (in Manhattan) and I was pretty pissed that I couldn't report it because there was no way to identify the driver. Naturally, he ran over my foot as if it were merely a bump on the sidewalk and continued on his way. This needs to be stopped. They need to be educated and punished for injuring innocent pedestrians.

In addition, I live in Brooklyn and bicycle delivery people are constantly riding on the sidewalk, so I think the enforcement needs to extend to the outer boroughs. Why should I be at risk simply because I reside in Brooklyn? I pay NYC taxes and should be entitled to the same protection under City Council rules and regulations.

Jul. 18 2012 11:43 AM
ken from 6th ave greenwich village

What a coincidence.

Illegal delivery workers are biking the wrong way; all streets, all the time!

Jul. 18 2012 11:42 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I have noticed those "motor" cycles used by deliverymen being more and more popular. I thought they were illegal.

Jul. 18 2012 11:41 AM
RL

This could be a new growth industry - opening stores with helmet, gloves, etc. next to bike share locations. Govt' is always creating capitalism, so maybe this is the next big business.

Jul. 18 2012 11:41 AM
Sandra from bronx

I'm a biker AND a driver. I applaude your efforts! PLEASE put the Bike Share in place!!!

But how about TAXIS that NEVER signal when making turns or changing lanes--another horror of NYC traffic!!!

Jul. 18 2012 11:41 AM
Frustrated Resident from Manhattan

New York State Motor Vehicle laws prohibit electric bicycles from operating on any pubic streets in the State.

Yet, such electric bicycles are openly operated throughout Manhattan.

In my view, such bicycles present a real danger to pedestrians (they are fast and quiet, not subject to inspection (including of brakes) and are often operated without regard to traffic laws.

Is there a reason why the NYC Police Department appears to not be enforcing the NYS laws applicable to such electric bicycles.

Jul. 18 2012 11:11 AM

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