David Byrne on Bicycling in NYC

Transportation Alternatives' Noah Budnick and David Byrne prior to the Manhattan Borough President's "Manhattan on the Move" conference, October 2006.

Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne writes about his 30 years of cycling in New York City on his website.  Byrne is an avid bicyclist, and an alternative transportation advocate:

I have been riding a bicycle in New York City for almost 30 years! For transport, not for sport. At first there were only a few of us. Loners, losers, maniacs and nerds. Some of the members of Talking Heads used to make fun of me and say I was going to turn into Pee Wee Herman.

Over the decades things have improved in New York for cyclists — a little. Now there is a wonderful bike path up the Hudson that runs almost the entire length of Manhattan. I use it to commute to and from work. Now there are markings on some streets indicating imaginary bike lanes (imaginary because the traffic and pedestrians often ignore the markings) but they are there in spirit, at least. Someday they will be taken seriously, I have no doubt — when gas hits $10 a gallon.

Now Paris is embarking on a bicycle plan that should make New York envious. A collaboration between business and civic affairs than may just work, as both the city and Deceaux can benefit. Bikes as a means of local transport has worked elsewhere; the mayor of Bogota, Enrique Peñalosa, relieved traffic congestion AND made his city more livable by converting streets to bike/pedestrian use and by adding dedicated bus lanes. Of bike lanes he said, “If an eight year old kid can’t ride on it safely then it isn’t a bike lane.” I don’t remember Paris having very many bike lanes, and the drivers adopt a “survival of the pushiest” approach, as I recall, but that may be changing.