A Cycling City

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

What can NYC learn from Amsterdam about incorporating more cycling in its traffic flow?  Pete Jordan, author of In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist, relocated there and shares its bicycling history.


Pete Jordan

Comments [29]

Eyal from Harlem

Since changing the bike path infrastructure would take time, money and consensus, here's something that can be done easily: apply zero tolerance toward double-parking on a bike lane (i.e. making them a no-stopping zone).

Double parking in bike lanes creates a death trap for cyclists, since they need to pass the parked vehicle on the left, entering the car lane. In many places (CPW, Sixth Avenue and more) drivers double-park freely within the bike lane, thinking that they're not blocking the traffic.

This would include changing the way we think of blocks with bike lanes:

- Each bike lane block will be assigned a stopping area in attended vehicles can be parked for a short time;

- All vehicles, including taxis, will be allowed to pick up and drop off passengers only at the edge of the block or at stopping areas;

- Exceptions will apply only to emergency vehicles and delivery trucks (who should be still required to double park in the car lane, not in the bike lane).

May. 08 2013 03:58 PM
Justin from East Village

One thing I've noticed when visiting Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and other great bicycling cities is that there aren't very many cyclists wearing helmets--in fact, most do not. Has there been any research to suggest that they're any worse off for this behavior? I'm a heavy cyclist here in NYC, I don't wear a helmet, and I get ragged by folks all the time for this decision. I've ridden bikes my whole life, as have most of my friends, and in all of those thousands of bike rides I have yet to encounter the type of traumatic head injuries that bike helmets are supposed to protect against, even though my friends and I have had numerous accidents, some injurious--just not to the head. Now, I'm sure that in certain circumstances a helmet may afford some protection, but relatively speaking, how serious is this threat? I suspect there may be helmet hysteria in this country, judging by own lifelong experience as a rider, as well as these other municipalities around the world with longstanding bicycling habits.

May. 08 2013 11:09 AM
Burroughs Lamar from Harlem

I have ridden a bike in new york city for my entire 54 years and I am now so afraid to ride in bike lanes that I stopped riding around the city. The bike lanes are dangerous because you have watch for pedestrians walking across or standing in them and, watch for motorists exiting their cars. Finally, other cyclists riding the wrong way. I feel safer riding with traffic and seek out routes where I can avoid bikes lanes. it use to be a joy riding around manahattan. No more.

May. 08 2013 11:04 AM
RJ from prospect hts

I also find it telling that the mayor's bike-share program is set for a limited number of hours; i.e., from corporate job to lunch, say, and back--he has said directly that he doesn't want these bikes used for all-day touring or health-related reasons. This is the "health"mayor? I wonder if the top 20 cities list will take that into its calculations the next time it's compiled.

May. 08 2013 11:02 AM
steve from upper west side

HYSTERICAL -- a NYC cab driver calls in to complain about a lack of safety and courtesy in the streets... Now I've heard it all.

May. 08 2013 11:00 AM

I almost killed a cyclist last week. I opened a cab door and clipped her back wheel; had she not been wearing a helmet her head would have cracked open. She should have been decelerating for a stop light but wasn't. Until now I've hated cyclists because they are obnoxious to pedestrians. Now I feel threatened because I might accidentally kill someone. Cyclists should stay off the road. They should be forced to have insurance.

May. 08 2013 10:58 AM
Robert from NYC

One thing that should really be controlled and that is crazy bikers who ride on the sidewalks at high speed. This MUST be stopped somehow. If that requires licensing bikers then so be it.

May. 08 2013 10:57 AM
RJ from prospect hts

It sure would be nice if Mayor Mikey could sequester his contempt just a little bit longer ... He'll have plenty of time (and platforms, unfortunately) once he's out of office. Shame that the nouveau riche are so willing to forget their roots and assume the characteristics of the aristocracy so readily. Of course, it does give the rest of us plebes a direct image to chuckle at.

May. 08 2013 10:57 AM

thank Christie, the thief for more NJ cars on our roads.
Raise the tolls if they want our roads

May. 08 2013 10:56 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I've been to Basel, Switzerland a couple of times and have been very impressed by the amount of bicycling that goes on there. Outside any office building, one can observe 50 or more parked bicycles, presumably belonging to employees as well as messengers. However, the most impressive thing about it is that NONE of the parked bicycles is LOCKED or chained in any way. Can you imagine how long an unlocked bicycle would last in New York?

On the other hand, there are tram tracks all over Basel, and riding over and around them is dangerous.

Pros and cons everywhere you look.

May. 08 2013 10:56 AM
Bob from Brooklyn


May. 08 2013 10:55 AM
Robert from NYC

I had the same problem in Berlin, standing in the bike lane not knowing it was a bike lane and wondering why they cyclists were coming at me.

May. 08 2013 10:54 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Let's vote for a 500% increase in the gas tax!

May. 08 2013 10:53 AM

We just got back from Amsterdam yesterday, and we rented bikes. One thing we noticed was that cars were much more polite to bikes, and would follow them at a slow pace if it was a tight space.

May. 08 2013 10:53 AM
Nancy from Manhattan

Holland also makes it hard and expensive to get a drivers license and those who have licenses have often had the cost subsidized by their employer.

May. 08 2013 10:53 AM
Julian from Manhattan

I've got nothing against Citibike. However, in my neighborhood, the installation of the racks is needlessly coming at the expense of residential parking (in the street). There are many ways these racks could be installed. They could, for example, be placed on some of the islands that have been created next to the bike lanes, which would actually be the most sensible location. To my knowledge, there were no community board or other hearings about this before the racks were installed. It is the same, "action by edict" approach that has marred the installation of the bike lanes as well.

May. 08 2013 10:52 AM
Judy from nyc

Amsterdam is great for the cyclists but terrifying for a pedestrian!

May. 08 2013 10:52 AM

I think if the buses in your city has a rack in the front of it it's pretty progressive...
Actually Ithaca, Montauk and Portland have buses like that...We in nyc waayyyy behind, in transit alternatives...

May. 08 2013 10:51 AM
Marco from Manhattan

Having lived in Amsterdam I can tell you that there is a completely different culture with respect to transportation. People, drivers and cyclists, obey traffic laws...people don't run red lights, or go the wrong way in bike lanes. New York City streets are basically a war zone.

May. 08 2013 10:51 AM
Larry from Brooklyn

NYC will never be a contender for top cycling city. Our streets are almost entirely devoted to cars/trucks. We cannot even provide buses with physically separate dedicated lanes (no one really pays attention to the painted ones) let alone for bikes. It's very dangerous to ride here- there is no respect for cyclists (who themselves often ignore rules). Until the city gets serious about limiting cars & trucks, bike are not a serious alternative for most.

May. 08 2013 10:50 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Americans are definitely not going to embrace biking because Americans are lazy consumers.

May. 08 2013 10:50 AM
Robert from NYC

We can have a great bicycle city when everybody, EVERYBODY, i.e., cyclists, pedestrians, drivers, whomever respects the rights of others. So we will NEVER get there, we're Americans and have no regard for the person next to us. We're all more important than the next guy!! LOL

May. 08 2013 10:50 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Here's an idea! Let's make taxis illegal! Many of these taxi drivers and car services are a menace on the streets. They are expensive, inefficient and clog the streets with the massive numbers.

May. 08 2013 10:48 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Amsterdam is small and they don't have big ass highways running through it.

May. 08 2013 10:46 AM
oscar from ny

At first glance the bike racks appeared foreign and everyone looked in intrigue, later we all read that these blue bikes with a bank logo where popping all over the city, many food vendors were displaced and many sidewalks cramped. We have come to a time where corporations fairseemenly occupy the space of this city and appropriate anything of value, these corporations are philanthropist only of themselves, they pray on the public and are like locust consuming anything in their path.
There was a time back some years ago where I saw many ppl opening bike shops all over the city, many new ppl to ny started buying, trading, riding...I feel kinda sad for these small bussiness, how can these ppl compete with a Goliath of a corporation, camouflaging itself as help and rescue, showing us the way by dropping on us anything that can take our money,..

May. 08 2013 10:40 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Increase the tax on gasoline to reduce needless driving and encourage car pooling.

May. 08 2013 10:31 AM

What’s with the war on the bike lines?
Why is it that the people in larger cars (taking up more space than they should) have more right to public space than walkers & bikers?
Oh maybe a customer might want to stop instead of whizzing by? Don’t bikers spend?
Oh right maybe a delivery once a week? Selfish storeowners should be put out of business

May. 08 2013 10:17 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Bike sharing is fantastic and I hope NYC embraces cycling as a transportation alternative. But CitiBank is a terrible, awful, no good bank.

May. 08 2013 09:16 AM

Hi, I was born and raised in Amsterdam and moved here when I was 27. Everybody has a bike in the Netherlands (not just in Amsterdam and other larges cities) and every age group bikes. It is a form of transportation; groceries, work, school, etc. Visit any school and there is a parking lot full of ......bikes (no cars). When you learn how to drive (in a car) you'll be taught how to deal with bikes in traffic (check your right mirror when making a turn, check before your open your cars doors so no bike will ride into your door, etc.) Bike paths everywhere, not just lanes, but separate roads for bikes. I can keep going on and on about what a bike means in this country, but I think you get the point.
The Netherlands is a small country and most things are accessible by bike; you can bike from one town to another. The US is of course different in terms of distances, but there should be a better infrastructure for bikes, especially in large cities, town and villages (where there are often not even sidewalks).

May. 08 2013 09:05 AM

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