Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to make New York more bicycle-friendly have not always gone as smoothly as planners would hope.
The city has created more than 250 miles of traffic lanes dedicated for bicycles and enacted laws favorable to cyclists, but the lanes have created a backlash.
Some business owners protest the loss of parking spots, drivers argue that bike lanes slow down traffic, Hasidic Jews in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn say that young, female cyclists in scanty attire pose a religious threat.
Bowing to the opposition, police and transportation officials have cracked down on bicycle-related traffic violations, such as riding a bicycle someplace other than in a bike lane.
Cyclist and filmmaker Casey Neistat, for example, was fined $50 for riding in lanes intended for motor traffic rather than in a bike lane.
As a personal protest against the NYPD, Neistat made a video demonstrating why it’s not always possible for a cyclist to stay in a bike lane. With stunts reminiscent of a Jackass movie, a cyclist encounters such obstacles as trash bins, potholes, inattentive pedestrians, road work barriers, trucks, taxis and even a police car.
“Dear New York City,” says a message at the close of the video. “Ticket the people blocking the bike lanes. Not bikers. And give me my $50 back.”