With the recent enforcement of red lights in Central Park and elsewhere around the city, could cyclists be pushed out of a once perfect training arena? This is the question many of us are asking, or at least thinking. We’ve seen red light crackdowns before but nothing like the current episode.
Many of us have kept quiet in the hopes that the police will settle down and once again begin to turn their attention elsewhere. With the warm weather approaching and race season getting closer by the day, many are thinking it is time to speak up.
A main obstacle in this battle is what to say. It is a law that cyclists must stop at red lights in NYC. The penalty for a violation is $270, that’s the law. Because we have been able to ride with care, often slowing down to make sure nobody is around, then proceeding through lights, we have never had any major opposition to lights in Central Park. Many of us are runners and we appreciate the job they do at trying to slow down cars.
There are 17 traffic lights just on the lower loop of Central Park. It will be impossible to train, or ride with any ease if these laws are continued to be enforced. So what are we to do? Changing the law seems unlikely.
Adrian Bijanda, a New York City based triathlete and editor of www.travlete.com has developed a potential solution. He created a Facebook page: Concerned Cyclist. He is hoping to gather support and persuade the city to switch the traffic lights to flashing yellow from 4:45- 6:45 am. This would allow cyclist to continue to train in the park while continuing to ride safely.
I have mixed feelings about this solution and about the decision to take action. On one hand, yes something needs to change. It is unsafe to have riders slowing down, stopping, or worse- circling while other riders are passing by. On the other hand, creating this to be more of an issue may be a slippery slope. As I was riding this morning, I passed a woman that looked like Mary Wittenberg of New York Road Runners. If she and her organization were to fight the proposed suggestion of yellow lights, the cyclists would certainly fail. If the cyclists were to band together and then fail, the laws would most likely continue to be enforced due to the heightened public awareness of the issue.
What do you think about this situation? Do you have any ideas of how cyclists can continue to train in such a populated city? As a runner, would you oppose morning-time blinking yellow lights in Central Park? Please click HERE to express your opinion to the mayor.