Bicyclists: Biggest Traffic Hazard in NYC

Before you start going ballistic over the title of the post hear me out.

I ride my motorcycle to work everyday from Brooklyn to Chelsea. And as a regular user of the same streets shared by cars, bicyclists and pedestrians, my observation is that when it comes to disobeying the rules of the road, no one beats the bicyclists.

On any given day, 90% of bicyclists I encounter blatantly flout the traffic lights. 1 out of 10 will stop for them the way they should. All the others just zig zag past oncoming cars or go down the pedestrian crossings.

Another very common issue is bicyclists riding in the opposite direction of traffic in bike lanes. Just because there is a bike lane does not mean that you can ride in any direction in a one-way street. And when pointed out, bicyclists dont even realize that they are breaking the law.

Yes, I will be the first to agree that bicycling is environmentally sound. And that more of us should be doing it. All of that is true. But that is another topic for another post.

As much as bicyclists have a chip on their shoulder about using the streets with others, I would really like to see some sort of enforced discipline, because surely they are not a self-disciplined lot.

Every single day I see at least one incident where a bicyclist misses being a casualty in an accident. All because they did not follow the rules.

So in that circumstance, I am amused when these same bicyclist target the cars and trucks and motorcycle for their misgivings.  Cities will have traffic and cars and stuff. That is why they are cities and not suburbs or the countryside. So if you want to exist in the city, it would be nice to first follow the rules and then fight with fellow users of the same streets.


  1. Lekhni May 15, 2008

    It’s just NYC. No one follows the rules on the road – not the cars, the bikes or the pedestrians…

  2. arZan May 15, 2008


    Yes to a degree everyone breaks some or the other rules. But the point I am trying to make is that bicyclists do it more than most, and they are the most prone to accidents.

    If two cars hit each other, its usually a fender bender because of the low speeds. However the same is not the case with bicyclists who will surely have more dangerous damage.

  3. kamla bhatt May 27, 2008

    Reading your post reminded me of my NYC days. I escaped being hit by a speeding bicyclist more than once in the Chelsea area anytime I went out for my afternoon walks. What struck me was the difference in attitude between the East and West Coast (sounds sweeping, but at least this is what I have experienced) is how people are always in a rush to get somewhere and don’t seem to care if they nearly hit somebody or not. I often wondered why that was the case. Now that I am back in the bay area I notice how people at least wait for pedestrians when they are crossing the road, and let a bicylist get by if you are stuck in a narrow two-lane street.

    I wonder anybody sees that difference?


    kamla bhatt

  4. newyorkdude June 9, 2008

    You don’t understand something. Bicycles are a gift from G-d. Bicycle riders are just a tiny bit lower than angels. They are single-handedly saving the planet and making life better. There is nothing as holy as a bicycle. All traffic MUST stop and acknowledge the superiority of the bicycle. If they don’t they have no right to share the road with the bicycles. Get it?


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