Daily Bike Forecast — by Bike Snob NYC

October 12, 2017: How Not To Be Seen


(Bryant Park)

Wow, it's going to get below 70 degrees, break out the light jackets!

oct 12 weather

Thursday Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 67. Northeast wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.

Thursday Night Mostly cloudy during the early evening, then becoming clear, with a low around 52. Northeast wind around 14 mph.

Sunrise: 7:04am

Sunset: 6:20pm

And congratulations to everybody who participated in setting the human protected bike lane world record on Tuesday night:

Of course a few dozen of those people thought they were joining the line for the new iPhone, but nobody needs to know that.

Meanwhile, it's not your imagination, bike summonses are up:


Cyclists who feel that they’re being ticketed more lately are not completely wrong. As of Oct. 1, the NYPD issued 23,452 bicycle summons so far in 2017, according to the department. That’s up from 18,991 summons issued over the same time period in 2016.

"Not completely wrong" is how people begrudgingly say "right" when referring to cyclists.

As to why so many summonses, seems like everyone's got a theory:

Bike messenger Corey Hilliard said there have been “the sweeps every change of season by the NYPD for the last decade I have lived and worked as a messenger in Manhattan,” but an increase in novice riders may be making things worse.

“The influx of electric-assist bikes and indifferent yuppies and tourists on Citi Bikes have unleashed a new havoc in the melting pot of 9 million bodies trying to get from point A to point B,” he said. “The new influx of riders who ride recklessly, unable to notice pedestrians or safely navigate the streets legally in the presence of the police, causes a spike in complaints about cyclists.”

That's a heady mélange.

Speaking of more bikes on the streets, the Wall Street Journal reports on "safety concerns" as ridership increases:


I was unable to read the article as I left my WSJ log-in credentials in my other pants that I don't own, but I did watch the accompanying video and it's my pleasure to summarize it for you.  It begins:

Snapshot 10:11:17, 4:23 PM

"Bike ridership is rising in US cities, and that means it’s more important than ever for cyclists to make themselves as conspicuous as possible to both drivers and everyone else on the road."

Here’s another way to phrase that: “Bike ridership is rising in US cities, and that means it’s more important than ever for drivers to watch out for cyclists."

Or if you really want to be bold: “Bike ridership is rising in US cities, and more riders on the road means they’re more visible than ever.”

Safety in numbers, don’t you know.

But that's not where they're going with this, and next we see a guy driving while looking at his phone:

Snapshot 10:11:17, 4:26 PM

Who almost backs into a cyclist:

Snapshot 10:11:17, 4:26 PM 2

The conclusion?


This would have helped how?


Snapshot 10:11:17, 4:28 PM

"If you put a taillight not just on the seatpost but on the bicyclist’s feet, on their ankles or heels, then that upward up-and-down motion is very recognizable, very useful by approaching drivers as well."

I’m all for lights, but we’ve got to wear them on our ankles now too?  I can think of only two other situations in which people are supposed to take such extraordinary measures while simply going about their business.  One is when walking in the woods during hunting season:

Snapshot 10:11:17, 4:34 PM

And the other is when encountering a bear:

Snapshot 10:11:17, 4:36 PM

So basically, our society expects the at best same level of accountability from drivers as it does from people walking around with guns looking for things to shoot at, and from bears.


But wait, riding a bike is even more like a wilderness encounter than you ever imagined:

Snapshot 10:11:17, 4:42 PM

"Wearing a fluorescent jersey doesn’t make a cyclist significantly more recognizable than a cyclist wearing a black jersey.  Drivers might notice the color, but are not able to distinguish it at a distance from, say, a traffic sign."

Really, even dressing like a road work crew doesn't work?  So how are we supposed to share the road with these easily confused creatures?

Snapshot 10:11:17, 4:48 PM

Oh come on:

Snapshot 10:11:17, 4:49 PM

No way I'm wearing those.

Cue the scientist:

Snapshot 10:11:17, 4:51 PM

"The eyes and the brain work together to help us recognize that pattern of motion to know that it’s not just an ambiguous stimulus, that’s a person."

Incidentally, can I interest you in my latest t-shirt design?

Snapshot 10:11:17, 4:53 PM

Not available in fluorescent, because apparently it doesn’t matter if it's just your torso.

And the last words of the video are:

Snapshot 10:11:17, 6:27 PM

"Of course drivers need to pay attention, that’s easy to say and hard to accomplish—"

And then it just stops abruptly, like too many bike lanes in too many places.

If we're so hard to see, you've got to wonder how they even manage to ticket us.