I am and have been for some years a pretty avid commuter cyclist. New York City is a great place for cyclists but it also can be dangerous. Since I work remotely the ability to get around the city is paramount; I find the best way to do this is on my own two wheels, generally.
But there are challenges; like everyone else on the streets of NYC.
I live uptown in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem. Whether I head north or south there are always going to be pedestrians and fellow cyclists and competitive cyclists and delivery cyclists and busses and garbage trucks and cars. Lots and lots of cars. But for most of NYC, just like there are prescribed travel lanes on the left and the right side for automobiles, so too are there bike lanes throughout a large part of the five boroughs. These bike lanes come betwixt generally the parked cars which sit next to the curb and the travel lane for vehicular traffic. Sometimes the bike lanes are even found between the parked cars and the curb which further insulates you from traffic.
Which, for me, as a cyclist, is great. This means that I can travel freely along with my fellow cyclists in the correct direction for traffic, unencumbered by the noise and distractions around me. Unless one of others on the road decides to dishonor this agreement.
Like cars who decide to idle where they should not be.
Or taxis or livery drivers who are dropping off or picking up, oblivious to what’s around them.
Or garbage or delivery trucks who are just doing their jobs, but still are blocking a free travel zone.
Or anxious pedestrians who are trying to minimize the time spent crossing the street when the lights change.
Or even fellow cyclists who decide that they will come directly at you without regard for the flow of traffic or the arrows pointed on the road itself.
As a cyclist in New York I am something of the lowest common denominator in this equation. Police and emergency vehicles appear to rule the roost followed closely by other vehicular traffic. Pedestrians always have the right of way, so even though they are smallest in size they are greatest in number. Cyclists get something of a bad rap as we are neither motorized vehicle nor individual pedestrian. Cars honk at us, people wave their arms at us if we pass too close, yet we are always the ones who need to cede if challenged.
I got to thinking about this the other day while I was out on my bike and I realized the parallels in business. It’s important to act honorably. If you are providing goods or services to someone they should always be the highest quality available. If you become aware of a customer getting short shrift it’s important to speak up; it reflects poorly on you if you don’t. If you have made a commitment to another you need to see this through till the completion of your agreement; no one respects someone who doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain.
We are not a perfect species; we all have our own foibles. And yes there are even times when a car pulled over into the bike lane may have a perfectly understandable reason for being there. But if we all try to do what’s right by one another; on the roads of business, on the cycling pathways of New York City and on the roads of life, we all will be much better for it.