I know that you're all used to me writing blogs about dating but I'm taking a brief respite to write a blog about another topic that provides an equally endless source of frustration in my life -- biking in New York City.
We all know that New York is a magical place to visit. The sights. The smells. The energy. Unfortunately, it can also be an incredibly crazy, hectic place, especially if you're from a destination that tends to be more... mellow.
Tourists, I'm talking to you.
One of a dying breed of "native New Yorkers," I'm from Brooklyn originally and I've had the great pleasure of continuing to call New York my home for most of my adult life. But I have to say, dear tourists, you're cramping my style.
About a year ago, I got really into biking. I totally nerded out -- got the clip in shoes, the jersey, the padded shorts and gloves -- the works. And I've come to understand that being on a bike, around people who don't know how to navigate NYC, much less Central Park, is one of the most terrifying and treacherous experiences of my life.
After getting into a pretty bad crash a few months ago, and continuing to see absolutely no change in pedestrian etiquette, I decided to take it upon myself to write up a few easy rules to being a good tourist in this fair city. We love you. We want you here. But you gotta look where you're going!
1. Bike lanes are for bikers. Walking paths are for walkers. Driving lanes are for drivers. These specific lanes exist for a reason. Bike lanes for instance exist so that BIKERS can navigate the streets safely. They are not meant for pedestrians to avoid the sidewalk traffic. Or for pulling your car over to the side of the road. They are for bikers. Stay out of them if you want to return to your country, limbs intact.
2. GET. OFF.YOUR.PHONE. Simple. Stop looking at your phone while you're walking in the midst of a crowded park. It's just common sense people.
3. Look before you cross the street. It's just common sense. You wouldn't walk into oncoming car traffic, right? So why do you have no qualms about walking into the street when a bike has the right of way????
4. Take a bike lesson. Or two. Or three. Heck, even 100. Just don't attempt to learn how to bike in the middle of an incredibly crowded park during peak hours. And by that I mean that if you don't know how to bike before crossing the threshold between street and park, you should probably stay out of it.
5. Respect the rules of the road. I used to be a passive pedestrian. Bobbing and weaving in and out of various lanes. Not looking where I was going. Flailing my elbows every which way. (ok maybe not that bad but still, I basically didn't look where I was going). Now that I'm a biker, I stay in my lane. Look straight ahead. Mind my bags and my elbows. Cross when it's my right of way. Why? Because being on a bike, clipped in, going 15 -20 miles an hour on a crowded street, requires an incredible amount of focus. Not only do we have to abide by the same rules as cars (despite the fact that cars are often the reason we're in danger to begin with) but we also have to ride over treacherous unpaved roads and pay twice as much attention as anyone else because neither cars, nor pedestrians pay attention to biker safety. So I think it's my duty to abide by the rules of the road whether I'm walking or biking or even driving (which thankfully doesn't happen often for my sake and everyone else's).
Ok everybody. I think that's about it. Not so tough. To recap, don't text and walk, look where you're going, stay in your lane, learn to ride a bike and respect road rules. That's it. If you can handle that, we will be extra excited the next time you visit the city.