THE BLOG

A Vote For Bloomberg And Bike Lanes

Jul 28, 2009 | Updated May 25, 2011

Mike Bloomberg et al got it right. Come on -- admit it. You have no choice.

While Mike Bloomberg is promoting his unprecedented third term, there are those who are vehemently opposing it. This, I do not understand. There is a very equitable procedure to insure someone doesn't remain in office too long. It's called voting. Yet if someone is doing a good job, I see no reason to replace him or her with anyone else. And there's one area in particular where Mike Bloomberg has provided a vision that is as revelatory as it is realistic. He may have lost on the commuter tax, but he hit it big with the addition of ubiquitously sprouting bike lanes. Keep it going Mike! It's just what we need.

New York is an ever-changing town and the time has come to accept it can no longer sustain the congestion it must endure to remain, well, New York. Just as the 18th century settlers moved uptown when the harbors became overbearingly crowded, today's Manhattanites need to escape and ease the tumult in any way possible while accepting and sustaining New York's hectic pace. The two-part solution is simple as well as practical. First, discourage cars from entering the city. (Actually, why anyone would WANT to drive into the city is beyond me. How many hours must these outer borough inhabitants sit in traffic before realizing that it is as enormously aggravating as it is inefficient). The next course of action is somewhat progressive in an old school sort of way -- dare I say European. That is to encourage New Yorkers to use bicycles as a form of transportation.

In the past, it was understandable why someone would not want to put their life on the line and into the hands of maniacal motorists. Riding a bike in the city among crazed cabbies, delivery trucks and Broadway bound tourists is not for the faint of heart. But with the new bike lanes being constructed throughout the town where the bikers ride near the curb and cars are parked outside of the lane, bikers no longer need to drive near cars, nor do they have to worry about parked cars opening doors or pulling out into a passing biker. They allow a clear, safe path for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike. Brilliant.

Of course, this leaves less room for traffic. GOOD! Some may think we need more road space to accommodate the influx of cars but honestly, isn't it time to admit we've reached our limit? People live here, ya know? Don't the citizens deserve less traffic, less noise, and less pollution? I understand that people need to get into the city but by discouraging cars by charging more for tolls, and using the money to improve the subway system, everybody winds up in a better place. And faster.

More bikers would also reduce the amount of cabs, or in the least make it easier to get one - especially at rush hour when they all inexplicably go off duty. (But that's a gripe for another time.) More bikers will also make for a healthier populace, which in turn may bring down health care costs. Imagine that - more prevention equals less need for more "cure."

One overriding issue which will need to be addressed is the registration of the bikers themselves. Should a bike riding license be necessary? Perhaps. If so, I'll abide. And there will need to be some restrictions. Obviously reckless riding should be treated as a violation. There are plenty of bikers who are a hazard and they should be penalized. The new lanes, however, will allow for easier access and I believe there will be fewer casualties.

There is one stipulation to all of this. I think New York residents who need a car to do business outside of the city should be able to apply for some sort of voucher that provides a discount for tolls. That's only fair Mike.

There will people who resist. There always are. When someone finds a solution to something, there's always someone else finding a problem with it. There are those who want to prevent more bike lanes. I say we need more of them.

We must come together on this and prepare our town for the oncoming age. We need it safer, greener and more efficient. And making biking a part of the city experience is an excellent first step. So let's all get on board.

Just, please, don't ask me to wear a helmet. It messes my hair up bad.