On a bike across America: what you need to know when you sit on a bike - ForumDaily
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On a bike in America: what you need to know when you sit on a bike


“Our lax intellectuals and Jews are to blame for everything.”

- And cyclists.

- What does the cyclists have to do with it?

- And what have the Jews?

(Remark, "Black Obelisk")

The author of this text is a cyclist-violator with a huge criminal past. Living in Israel and buying my first, at the same time best, and, alas, untimely in the same place and the stolen 3 a year later, I did not bother to read the bicycling legislation.

And all because: a) came from the former USSR, where people are somehow more relaxed about such trifles as the laws are so ... uh ... "not serious" kind, and they walk quietly along the sidewalks, and everyone understands: it is because they want to live ; and b) when I bought my first bicycle in Israel, I still didn’t know Hebrew well enough to read the laws about bicycles on it.

All this resulted in the fact that during 4 years I was cutting through the roadway (which is not marked out for cyclists in Israel), without a helmet (!) And with a player in ears (!). Sometimes, when the traffic on the road was obviously dangerous, I was driving along the sidewalks. Including on the sidewalks of central streets, filled with people. I have never hit anyone, hurt or even scared anyone, but over the 4 of the year I still managed to formally break all the basic provisions concerning cyclists.

Except, perhaps, one thing: I did not spin the pedals in high-heeled shoes, this also can not be done. But I have never been fined and even noticed by someone in violation. I could just be friendly warned that yes, it would be good to buy a helmet, but you do not want it - it's your business.

The comparison with Israel is correct because the Israeli laws on the bike ride, adopted last year, and the American laws in this sphere, which have existed for the past few years, coincide in the main areas.

A helmet is obligatory, on the sidewalk it is impossible, on the roadway it is possible, but only on the right side, to follow the markings or the track, the player or mobile phone (headset) in the ears is strictly prohibited.

At least one hand must be on the steering wheel, you should not go "recklessly" (this is the official wording when writing out a fine, if you rush along the roadway, like mad). This is what the policeman is paying attention to first. But this is not the whole list.

Traffic regulations for cyclists

The state has its own rules of the road and legislation establishing the rights and obligations of cyclists. Online International Bicycle Fund There is a page with links to state servers containing texts of laws on vehicles in general and bicycles in particular.

So that the rules are always at hand, you can simply go to the nearest Department of Transportation (Department of Transportation), where you can take a brochure with the code of traffic rules (there are Russian-language publications in big cities) and, having opened the corresponding section, read the necessary data on cycling.

In addition, there is a section in the federal code (United States Code), the full text of which can be found in English here. This is a regulatory document for cyclists.

According to Bicycling Magazine, the most bicycle-friendly cities in the USA are:

1. New York, New York
2. Portland, Oregon
3. Tucson, Arizona
4 Seattle, Washington
5. Toronto canada
6 Austin, Texas
7 Denver, Colorado
8. San francisco california
9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
10. Chicago, Illinois

Worst cities for cyclists:

1. Boston massachusetts
2. Las Vegas, Nevada
3. Tampa, Florida

The degree of Bicycle-Friendly city is determined by a number of factors - the presence of bicycle paths, bicycle lanes, bicycle parking and, of course, the attitude of the authorities.

How to travel around New York


At the governmental Online there is a special section with a bunch of sub, in one which provides a complete list of laws and regulations that specifically apply to cyclists - both adults and children. On the site you can look at bicycle maps, see a list and contacts of people involved in transport problems in the government (bicycles are also their diocese). And such a site is not alone, there is another resource with a lot of data on parking, maps, safety, separately on the City Bike service and many statistical dataconcerning the bicycle theme of New York.

But it is de jure. A few words about the slippery de facto.

What can a cyclist in New York, and what not


Once we talked to the district police officer about the fact that a cyclist is really possible in New York, and which is impossible. In his opinion, colleagues begin to look closely at the cyclist when he is not just driving along the sidewalk, but going in zigzags, with great speed. However, if he is so on the roadway, then look at him even faster.

As for sidewalks, I heard a funny thesis: “Well, we don’t fine women on sidewalks at all” - and I didn’t understand what it was, discrimination or privilege.

But again, these are the words of one policeman, by the way, supplemented by the fact that much depends on the personal qualities of the cop who watches the road: someone may not care what the cyclists are doing, someone has a good mood, and someone, on the contrary, is bad, and it is urgently necessary to fine someone. The human factor, in a word.

A lover of cycling from Brighton Beach, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “One day, returning from Bay Ridge at Brighton, I turned off the road onto a completely empty sidewalk. Drove behind Undercover, bibiknuli, stopanul, checked documents. And inspected the backpack. And there lay a bunch of unpaid fines. They punched me through the documents and took me to the police station, and from there to the SIZO for about a day. They took all the money, they said - then you can get it in the form of a check on Gold Street upon presentation of two IDs. ”

Car owners, in hating related to cyclists, themselves are also not angels. Once I was nearly shot down at a pedestrian crossing - that is, where I should have been silently skipped altogether. There were no injuries, slightly bent the front wheel and steering wheel.

As for bicycle thefts, this problem has no geographical boundaries. “Tell me, how often do bikes get stolen here?” I once asked another bike enthusiast. He said proudly: “Of course! This is already my eighth!”

Photo nyc.gov/bikesmart

Personal experience

Andrei Esichev, Long Island city (Queens):

“Well, I have always been a cyclist, only an amateur. And I never used a city bike in my life because I have my own Mountain biking. I've been driving around the city all my life. In Russia, here in New York. As soon as the weather is good. Every day, every other day. For a couple of hours. That works out to be approximately 15 miles per walk.

Since I am only an amateur, I don’t pay much attention to the laws. But I follow the rules of the road. For your own safety. I do not like helmets and reflective suits. Burning dimensions is enough.

As for Russia, riding on the sidewalks is not a problem there, since there are no bike paths. And, in fact, cyclists do not obey anything or anyone. In America everything is simpler. There are paths almost everywhere, even traffic lights for cyclists.

Territorially always food from Long Island City via Queensboro bridge in Manhattan. Basically, immediately heading to Central Park. Good road markings. I like everything. Or sometimes on the Brooklyn Bridge - and across home in Manhattan.

Naturally, I drove along large roads, I go and I will drive. Even if there is no track, keep to the right and everything will be ok. "

Andrei thinks that only deliverymen of provisions are driven around Manhattan. The rest are all amateurs, mainly in Central Park. The specifics of their work obliges them to ride dangerously. Everyone is waiting for food!

“The road to Brooklyn from Queens is really well-traveled. But that's Brooklyn. “Battered” - I don’t mean the markings, but the quality of the road surface.

Photos from the personal archive of the hero

I have no complaints about markup. Even if it is not, as I said, keep to the right. Not knocked down.

- Well, what do you mean “they won’t shoot you down”? Where is the guarantee?

If you constantly think about it and behave uncertainly, the chances of getting into an unpleasant situation increase. There is no guarantee. There is no exactly the same guarantee when driving a car, even if you follow the rules. The only time I was shot down, fortunately, there were no injuries. Got off easy fright. And it was in Russia.

Nobody ever made any comments about the lack of a helmet. I am aware of fines and punishments. But I try not to pay attention to it. You can't issue fines to everyone. Every second person rides without a helmet. And on the plus side, I feel uncomfortable wearing a helmet. Plus, I look like a loser.”

Andriy explains the advantages of the mountain bike by the fact that he is simply used to it and does not like road roads, with thin wheels.

“I can’t compare, I’ve never tried another one. But I find it quite a comfortable vehicle. As for thefts, I have a parking lot for bikes in my building. Therefore, I’m not afraid, everything is safe and under cameras. There was never any theft. Except for the theft of the “Eaglet” in the 3rd grade of school.”

Photo nyc.gov/bikesmart

Alexander, Bushwick

“Bicycle is an integral part of my life for more than 10 years, as the main means of transportation in New York and its environs - mainly Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan. Almost daily and year round. The infrastructure of the city allows you to be faster than a taxi or metro, of course, given the individual interest and experience.

Danger or ride safety is a matter of personal attitude for me. It’s absolutely not necessary that a man drives risky, and a woman is safe, I do not agree with that. I know enough women and girls on wheels. I know that there are people for whom New York looks dangerous. But for me, New York is definitely safer than any other city.

In the summer, I drive 200 miles a week. Previously, he worked as a courier on a bicycle, now I have another job. So, from a cyclist's point of view, I know the city.

Yes, and I had injuries too. Torn ligament, meniscus. You know, we always choose for ourselves who we should shove responsibility for - and I prefer to push it onto myself. It was my choice to go, and I received injuries because I was careless somewhere, did not look somewhere, did not consider something.

In general, there is a struggle between cyclists and taxis (this is a joke, in which there is some joke), an unofficial, unspoken war. It lies in the fact that when a taxi driver picks up a passenger on the right side, he will wear all the others, and cyclists first. "I see the goal (voting passenger), I see no obstacles." May inaccurately prune.

Cyclists can be compared to skateboarders in that you either like or don't like this type of activity. If you like it, you will understand the rules, subtleties, pitfalls, and you will enjoy riding, whether on a bike or on a skateboard.

If you don’t like something in the rules of this kind of life (otherwise you don’t say it), then it’s just not yours, accept it. ”

After one of the injuries, Alex returned to the 2 for weeks and continued to drive, as before, with pleasure.

“As for the tracks, or rather, the markings. This is a difficult question, especially if we are talking about Manhattan and its central places of high auto and human traffic, because - on the one hand, there are markings. And it should be. But on the other hand, in my personal opinion, markings enclosed by a parking line with double traffic lights in central places with crowds of people only increases the risk percentage for the cyclist.

Since pedestrians and parkers, seeing them as an empty place, create much more unexpected and dangerous situations than on a single stream of traffic.

Tracks created "for safety" leave a person more calm and less tuned in reaction and reflexes, which, in turn, is more dangerous. In any case, the presence of tracks should not reduce your personal attention. Safety is always first and foremost, there are no “invulnerable” ones, and you should not needlessly overestimate yourself in traffic or compare yourself with professionals.

Trucks do not stop, people gathering, in the parking lots you risk crashing back an open door in half a second. You can't know that this driver will now park on the road, then he decides to release the passenger, then he decides to go out himself, unload the trunk and talk to the passenger. All this is inaccessible to you knowledge, while you are in 10 meters, and all this comes as a surprise. And such areas I can call: this 1, 8 and 9 av, Grand street - everything inside Manhattan.

Yes, the traffic lights there change the signal every 20 seconds, and they are double, and no one can develop speed over 40 miles, and all this is necessary. But in the center of Manhattan, this traffic is meaningless.

Brooklyn - different traffic and different dynamics. However, it is also not worthwhile to imagine at once that you are completely safe and turn off reaction and attention.

In bad weather I prefer not to drive around. At least for long distances. In the snow, first of all, in the rain, the roads are slippery. But I would not advise using it as a reason not to drive.

The rule is this: if you really want it, then you will drive, gradually acquiring experience and special reflexes and habits. My wife, for example, rides an 3-4 bike once a year, and I cannot compare her skills with mine, there’s a completely different approach. For example, I travel from Brighton to Manhattan in an hour, and in 45 minutes - from Bushwick to Brighton.

Photo nyc.gov/bikesmart

Fines? It was the case. Reckless operating (reckless driving), the fare for the red light was discharged, for the lack of flashlights, for driving on the pavement and driving in the opposite direction of the avenue. Infrequently. It happens that a year without tickets.

Over time, it became more or less understood when they should be waited, when they should not. We receive a lot of attention from the police at the beginning and at the end of the month, these dates are somehow related to their quotas and reporting, so they write out a lot.

Fines related to bicycle violations are no less than for motor vehicles. Demonstration of speed skills to red in the presence of the police can range from $ 100-200, depending on the situation.

I don’t wear a helmet for everyday use. Only for racing. It is clear, in general, that all the rules and, in particular, the rule about the helmet, are written for safety, and it is also clear that there is a difference in the perception of the helmet to beginners (they often take them) and already rubbed bicycle wheels. I don’t wear a helmet because I have a contract with shampoo (laughs), well, I like it when my head is not in a helmet.

Yes, they hit me several times. On Canal str., Bowery, Manhattan Br. Well, here I am ready to repeat: any of your torn bundles are inattention and disorder, in most cases it is your personal responsibility. Once there was a case - in Manhattan, not even in Brooklyn: The driver cuts me off, I shout to him in Russian, on the machine he burst out: “You, b *** b, where are you going?”. And he opens the door and also to me, in Russian: “Where are you going where?”

And taxi drivers shot down. Driving along the edge of the avenue - and the taxi driver can calmly make a turn to 90 degrees to the left, completely ignoring you.

Therefore advice:

Pay attention to the taxi drivers who will pick up passengers in the territory of your movement.

Did they realize that it was their fault? Well, sometimes yes. Conscious. And then they left. The taxi driver is not particularly worried about the bicycle.

How do I feel about City Bike New York? The appearance of City Bike, although it happened late, is a big plus. Quite bulky, but with three fairly effective speeds.


Used himself sometimes, yes. For tourists and those who are great need occasionally - a normal thing. And, by the way, about tourists. Tourists from Europe - for example, from Amsterdam, where they have much more humane rules in relation to cyclists, and paths, and parks, and in general everything is different - in general, then they fall into the difference of mentalities, and attitudes to cyclists, and in the end some time do not fully understand what is happening.

In general, the more you ride, the longer, the more mileage, the more you change your attitude to the road, to traffic. If I had not traveled or traveled the first two weeks, the attitude would have been different. I cannot compare the spouse's attitude with my own, she goes much less often, and it’s normal that she has another one.

If I break something, then I am under my responsibility: I’m not trying to harm anyone, no matter how it looks. ”

Cycling, according to Alexander, turns into a philosophy over time. “A moving object in a system of other, randomly moving objects. This is a direct analogue of life. In addition to physical activity and the vehicle, it has become an additional way to work on yourself.

The most expensive my fine I received for the pavement in Brooklyn. I went on the sidewalk because the road was blocked. Well, this is true, because the sidewalk is still alien territory, and the police react to Brooklyn more than sidewalks than in Manhattan, because they nevertheless understand that there is more space on roads in Brooklyn, and this is just too audacity to drive along the sidewalk there.

Stolen in parts, and a couple of times - the bike itself. In which areas? Ha. In all! Parking under the house I do not, led hanging on the wall of the house in Bushvik. They removed the wheels in the center on 57, the seats several times, they stole a bicycle for a long time in Manhattan on 24 str and Park av and in Bushwick.

In small things they steal crackheads in order to take them to the nearest store for a dose. More serious guys drive a van with plasma autogen. Leaving it outside for a long time, or especially overnight, is not worth it. We must not forget: everything that can be twisted is income for someone. In New York conditions, the most reliable means is a chain Kryptonite, if possible, it is necessary to fasten to the pole, passing through both wheels and frame. It sounds difficult, but it is completely embodied.

Without a doubt, New York offers a ton of opportunities, bike trails and events, and is also rich in the subcultures of bike couriers, bike gangs, street racers and others. For those interested, I can recommend visiting the only track remaining in New York during the summer - the velodrome Kissena in Flushing Queens, where amateur and semi-professional races take place on weekends. ”

Read also on ForumDaily:

How to drive a bike in New York. Xnumx tips

Personal experience. How to travel cheap in the USA

Miscellanea SDA cyclists New York Educational program life in new york
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