Daily Bike Forecast — by Bike Snob NYC

April 3rd, 2018: Four Out Of Five Doctors Agree

Be prepared for rain today:

Tuesday Weather

Tuesday A 50 percent chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 45. East wind 7 to 13 mph.

Tuesday Night A chance of rain before 9pm, then patchy drizzle with a chance of light rain after 9pm. Patchy fog. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a temperature rising to around 51 by 5am. South wind 3 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Sunrise: 6:36am

Sunset: 7:23pm

Between today's rain and yesterday's slush don't even think of getting on your bike without fenders:

Bike Lane

Because those pools of standing water are only going to get deeper:

Bike Lane

Melting snow also means lots of debris in the bike lanes, which in turn means increased likelihood of flat tires for you.  So I'm issuing a Flat Tire Advisory:

Flat Tire

Not only are there more tiny sharp objects out there for you to pick up, but the wet will ensure they stick to your tire long enough to work their way in there.  Make sure you bring flat fixing supplies, or at the very least know the location of the nearest bike shop.

Those issues aside, everything should be passable by now.

Of course, as we saw yesterday, the one bike route that becomes less passable the better the weather gets is the Brooklyn Bridge, and Streetsblog has more on this past weekend's unprecedented early spring congestion:


The city could provide immediate relief by repurposing a traffic lane for bicycling on the bridge roadway. DOT has rejected that option, citing potential traffic impacts in downtown Brooklyn as the primary obstacle to a roadway bike path.

But the agency only modeled the feasibility of a path on the Manhattan-bound side of the bridge. A path on the Brooklyn-bound side of the bridge would presumably affect traffic less, since the evening rush hour is more dispersed. Whatever the impacts on car traffic may be, the plight of people walking and biking should take precedence.

Wait a minute.  So they don't want to put a bike lane in the roadway because it might cause traffic?  Well what do you call this???

Maybe it's time to revert to this configuration:

Brooklyn Bridge

Speaking of pedestrians coming last, Governing (I never miss an issue!) takes a look at the Florida bridge collapse and the self-driving Uber death in Arizona:


Arizona has seen a recent surge in pedestrian fatalities. The number of walkers who died jumped from 197 in 2016 to 224 last year. In a one-week span shortly before the Uber crash, 10 pedestrians were killed in the Phoenix area. A recent report showed that Arizona had the highest pedestrian death rate, per capita, in the country.

The Uber death came just three days after the collapse of a pedestrian bridge in Miami killed six motorists. The Miami tragedy raised a different set of questions about pedestrian infrastructure, but with a similar underlying concern: Was the massive pedestrian bridge being built for the convenience of pedestrians, or for the motorists who traveled under it?

Spoiler alert: it was the second one.

As for all those deaths in Arizona, the director of the Arizona Governor's Highway Safety office basically puts it down to everybody being stupid idiots:

Alberto Gutier, the director of the Arizona Governor’s Highway Safety Office, says the biggest change he’s seen is just the sheer number of people on the road, whether they be drivers or pedestrians, as the state’s population has grown.

But he also sees lots of problems in people’s behavior.

“The problem is that people don’t cross in the crosswalk. People looking at their stupid phones. They’re crossing the tracks of the light rail [in the Phoenix area] after they get off, going between cars” in the middle of the block.

At the same time, though, drivers are often so eager to turn right when the light changes that they forget to look for pedestrians, Gutier says.

“We have dumb, stupid, idiot drivers."

So he's dispatching cops on bikes to do some "selective enforcement:"

Gutier’s office recently secured funding to start “selective enforcement” actions in more than 20 cities in Arizona’s major metropolitan areas. He wants cops on bikes, especially, to confront people who cross streets illegally, although motorists will also be included. The goal, he says, is to change people’s behavior, not to give them tickets.

I wonder if that's the same funding Honolulu is using to underwrite its bike crackdown.

Either way, Gutier is apparently a big fan of our Vision Zero initiative:

But Gutier says he is also impressed by the work of New York City, where he once lived, to prevent pedestrian deaths. New York City is one of the most aggressive in rolling out Vision Zero. Like other safety campaigns, Vision Zero relies on public education and aggressive enforcement of certain traffic laws. But the biggest difference is its emphasis on building safer infrastructure, so human error doesn’t lead to human deaths.

I'd hate to break it to him, but yesterday as I rode in the protected bike lane on Vernon Boulevard someone was driving a livery cab in it complete with Vision Zero bumper sticker, so the problem isn't so much human error as it is human indifference.

Anyway, between our refusal to alleviate overcrowding on the Brooklyn Bridge for fear of taking space from cars and our insistence on building flimsy bridges over motor vehicle traffic instead of calming it, it's clear that we've got some strange ideas about cycling and walking.  And if you're wondering where these ideas are coming from, look no further than our celebrity doctors:


Here's what Drs. Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen said about bike lanes to an advice-seeker in their syndicated column:

I recently read about how bad it is for you to walk through street-level air pollution. My wife and I regularly get in 10,000 steps a day in New York City. The air can be pretty bad, and over the past few years, ride-share car services have added more than 55,000 new cars to the streets. (I know this is happening in other major cities as well.) Add in well-intentioned, traffic-strangling bike lanes, and traffic is now at a virtual standstill as it cranks out harmful emissions. Should we reduce our walking? — Marty S., New York

Apparently, the law of unintended consequences has come home to roost in NYC — the city thought ride shares would reduce the overall number of cars, and bike lanes would help make folks healthier. They figured wrong, and instead New Yorkers face increased air pollution and congestion. (Lebron and the Cavs recently had to take the subway to Madison Square Garden from their hotel because above-ground traffic was such a nightmare that they were concerned they wouldn’t make their court time.)


I'd love for Dr. Oz to identify the bike lane that caused this medical emergency he witnessed firsthand.  

Oh yeah, that was a good one:

The cyclist was riding up Sixth Avenue alongside the cab when the motorist tried to make a left onto 49th Street about 11 a.m., the cyclist said.
"I told him, 'Stop,'" said the cyclist, who banged on the hood. "He gets angry. He honked his horn and accelerates."

The cyclist said he was then knocked onto the hood of the cab, and was carried along as the cab swerved up onto the sidewalk.

A doctor blaming bike lanes for congestion and poor public health is the 21st century equivalent of this:

Those were the days.