The view north up Mercer Street. Total darkness after power went out. Empire State glowing in distance
NY biking post Hurricane Sandy
01 November 2012 16:40
In a city seemingly dominated by hipsters on Triumphs, city boys on Ducati's or BMW's and a handful of fairly loony, LED lit sportsbikes, the biker is still an outsider here in New York. It is in no way as mainstream as say Paris or London.
There are no bike parking bays, removeable license plates are the norm, roads are potholed through harsh winters, There are no couriers on ancient oily GT550's with estate agents signs for fairings. You do see the occasional biker meet and everyone will be friendly but the city just isn't geared for bikers.
So enter Hurricane Sandy, ripping apart transport systems, flooding homes and causing chaos. Right now a bike is just perfect, technically you can't weave between cars - 'lanesplitting' is illegal, but who cares when the traffic is this crazy, fallen trees, stray cables and a few feet of water wont stop us, especially the beemers.
This could just the situation to get more people on two wheels. A perhaps hidden and slightly surprising benefit has been the lack of traffic lights downtown, half the city has no power so it's every man for himself as far as traffic controls go unless NYPD have a cop out.
The surprise for me has been how courteous and cautious car drivers are when there are no lights. They drive 'defensively' just as bikers are taught to and it's a whole new world of motorcycling.
I'm personally hoping that when it all has calmed down Mayor Bloomberg (who is doing an amazing job) notices just how beneficial bikes can be, for his emergency services, for getting information and materials about, easing congestion and making New Yorkers just a little less grumpy. You can't ride a bike and not smile after all can you? Robert