I rode my bike yesterday for the first time since the fall. It was a sunny Sunday with a biting wind, but I warmed up as I rode. I was reawakened to the ease with which I could travel to other neighborhoods and complete errands. Bicycling is definitely the fastest way to travel around the parts of Brooklyn I go to, but it does not feel like the safest.
There are other North American cities, like Vancouver, that are doing a great job creating bicycle infrastructure that not only make traveling the city easier, but also much safer. They have many protected bike lanes where bicyclists do not mingle with automobiles, among other simple and helpful street design aspects.
Although bicycle infrastructure is getting better in New York City, the bike lanes that I see in most parts of Brooklyn are unprotected. I ride the streets with the risk that a car door might open into my path at any moment or that a reckless car driver will hit me. These are not the types of things that a bicyclist need worry about on the way to work or the grocery store, nor should car drivers, pedestrians, or public transit riders fear for their lives as they commute.
Not only is bicycling an important mode of transportation, but it also creates healthier people. I did not realize that I was exercising as I rode my bike yesterday until I got off and felt my heart beating faster. The prospect of traveling to some of my favorite places by bike as the daylight and temperature increase is exciting, but I know that I need to buy certain items, like a mirror and a backlight, just to know that I am little safer as I travel.