This column is an indirect response to another Soapbox column, “The bicycle purge of 2018,” T&V, Oct. 26, in defense of e-bikes.
By Billy Sternberg
Quality of life misdemeanors vex me. I saw a young guy’s dog almost get hit by a car because he was multitasking, running on the sidewalk with his dog by his side. Where is this guy from, I wondered? His dog doesn’t know to look both ways at a red light when his master stops abruptly. But, I wondered, would the driver have stopped had he hit the dog? The driver’s priority is a fare. The problem was the master’s mindlessness.
Before he got to the intersection, however, had the dog’s leash blocked or tripped a senior or mother with a stroller, he may have said, I’m sorry.” A basketball coach told me that if I was sorry about something I wouldn’t have done it.
But that guy probably endangers his dog every weekend. Manhattan has become a mobile play land between bikes, skaters, scooters, runners and dogs on long leashes while their masters are texting, watching videos and playing games while yelling at their kids to slow down and watch for others doing the same.
Some are going with the traffic, staying to the right. Most ask for trouble, thinking they can go any which way.
I saw two speeding bicycles run their front wheels’ head on into each other at full speed. They both flew up into the air and fell to the street. They got up, said they were sorry, fist bumped, and rode on their (wrong) ways. I saw the crash coming: as one bike sped uptown in the downtown lane on Park Avenue South, the other blew through a light on to 20th Street, making his right into the guy speeding uptown.
The next day I’m at the 6 train waiting to swipe, maximizing my transfer time for the bus back. When the train pulled in, a woman pushes a scooter towards the car I was entering. She looked uptown but rolled her scooter downtown.
She, too, must have been from out of town because, like Eli Manning, she got blitzed. Late arrivers and others rushed up and back for the most convenient car. In going against the grain, she almost hit my ankle.
Thoughtless people come from here, out of state and other countries. While crossing Second Avenue I was hit by a Nissan SUV’s side view mirror making a right as I neared the First Avenue bike lane. The guy rolled his window down and, with a thick Middle Eastern accent, begrudgingly admitted he was sorry. His apology was smug. I told him what he could do with it.