Depending on how long I take to write and post this blog entry, I may or may not have enough time to follow my advice. The advice is this – ride your bike, but leave earlier than you think. Don’t mess with “pushing it” especially if you have a job with a time clock, etc. and penalties for tardiness. We all know that many of us do foolish things on the bike when we are rushing. Sometimes it’s fun to bike quickly, but generally speaking, medium speed and no faster is a good clip for biking in the city, especially when there’s motorist or pedestrian interactions. On the greenways, I feel like it’s okay to go pretty fast. But in the city, it’s really okay to go four or five blocks and then stop for a red light. Why not? It’s not worth it to get squished so you could jump a light. So, to recap.
One week ago I was struck by a small cross-over SUV while riding through a green light in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Thank God I was barely hurt, but if but for a few minor changes, I could have been maimed or killed. I would like to use this post to remind readers, whether you are cyclists, walkers, car drivers, or a combination of above, to please err on the side of caution versus speed. There are may places in the city, particularly in Brooklyn, where a left turn arrow would make everything much safer and easier. Instead, people need to make aggressive or speedy left turns across intersections without (perhaps) seeing oncoming pedestrian or bicycle traffic.
I endorse expanding the number of left-turn arrows on streets such as Bedford Ave. and its many cross streets. But at the same time we improve the signaling for the drivers, we also need to consider the timing of certain signals to make crossings safer.
Part of the reason I was nearly killed last week was because I was trying to cross a VERY long intersection with little time to do so. I’m estimating 45 seconds in one cycle, perhaps less. This means, as a cyclist, I know that each time I cross Flatbush Avenue, I need to get out of my saddle and pedal fast to get across before the lights change.
The woman who hit me with her vehicle was very apologetic, but I urged her to please in the future take an additional half second before making a left turn to watch for oncoming walkers and bikers. I urge all readers to do the same.
Okay first product endorsement for something I haven’t bought. But this lights product looks really great, very creative design. We want people to be safer in NYC and all over the world on their bikes. Number one safety goal at night – be seen!
Thanks to Hilda Cohen for organizing a great event today in rainy Park Slope/Cobble Hill.
It was a combination bike swap and bike rodeo, and I played music. It was pretty darn cold, with light rain and drizzle the whole time. But I wore my fingerless bike gloves and found a corner under a tent, and played music.
Some songs from my playlist:
- Here Comes the Sun
- You are My Sunshine
- Old McDonald
- Daisy, daisy (A Bicycle Built for Two)
- This Land is Your Land
- Rottlin’ Bog
And many more. Because it was such gross weather, the crowd never grew large. But little clumps of kids, one, two, three at a time, wandered up to listen to the music and play along with a few simple percussion instruments.
I also had the pleasure of chatting with representatives from the following excellent organizations:
NYC DOT, NYPD Community Affairs Office, Bike New York, and Recycle a Bicycle.
Over $1100 was raised for the hosting PTA, and nearly 50 kids went home with brand new used bikes. Over 100 families participated, too.
Some of those kids will be the next generation of bicycle riders and activists in NYC!
Here I am reading a loud to kids at Juice Hugger in Crown Heights.
I love books and I love music, so this gig, “Sing and Read with Mr. Ben” has been great fun to do.
This same performance is available to be booked at other stores, restaurants, festivals, etc.
Mr. Ben can do reading and singing for small groups, too such as mom’s groups and parents groups. Get in touch with facebook: misterbenmusic