Ten blocks away and an hour later, I’d buckle my helmet, leave my apartment in Fort Greene, and make a mental note. What a beautiful day for a bike ride.
This is the devil’s bargain of riding your bike in New York City. It’s a glorious activity, right up until the moment when you get killed. “For me, cycling in NYC is 75% value, 25% burden,” Neistat, the filmmaker, hypothesized in an email to Thrillist. The upshots are many -- it’s convenient! Cheap! Fun! Healthy! -- and the downsides are few. But they’re also severe. You can die out there, and people do.
75/25 may be an acceptable gamble for some New Yorkers (Neistat: “That's a far better ratio than the subway or a taxi”), but riding a bike in NYC shouldn’t be a gamble in the first place. It shouldn’t be scary, or confusing, or expensive. “On the most basic level,” mused Samponaro, “the bike is a great way to take pressure off the [transit] system.” It’s inexpensive to both the city and citizenry. It's easy. It's sustainable. And of course, at its best, cycling transcends simple utility; it can be a thrilling experience. New York City should be the best biking city in the country. We’d all benefit -- pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists.