Who’s right: the pedestrians or the bicylists?
In the wake of a recent death in Central Park, the result of a collision between a walker and a cyclist, the question has centered on who is responsible for preventing such accidents -- the cyclist speeding down the parkway or the pedestrian stepping out, often obliviously, into what has essentially become an urban velodrome.
The answer isn’t even close.
Last month, I’m proud to say, I ran my fifth marathon, this one in Long Island. To prepare for that race, and for all the ones that came before it, I’ve run hundreds of miles, almost all of them on city streets and many of them in Central Park. In the process, I’ve watched up-close the ongoing battle between bikers and joggers for a tiny slab of Manhattan to call our own.
I can’t count the times I’ve been grazed by a bicycle slicing by me at five times my speed, been forced into a game of chicken with a helmeted cyclist in the pedestrian lane on the Brooklyn Bridge, been cut off by a rider ignoring a traffic light and weaving through pedestrian traffic.
It seems to me like something less than a fair fight: me, in my shorts and sneakers, versus someone in sleek designer tights, a helmet, and a steel vehicle going well above the speed limit.
Recently, I started biking in the city for the first time, usually an eight-mile trek from home to work and back. I get the thrill; I tell people it makes me feel like a 10-year-old kid again.
But let’s not be confused about where the responsibility lies here. I don’t know whether speed bumps or speed limits or some other kind of licensing is order. But I do know which of the two factions in this debate needs to do some serious soul-searching about how it moves around this crowded place.