Midtown Bike Ban and the Growth of Bike Advocacy in New York

This evening in New York City, I joined other bike advocates to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the defeat of a proposed ban on bicycling on three major Manhattan thoroughfares. It was interesting to reflect on how much progress we've made and how far we still have to go.  While we still have a lot of the same problems -- arrogant drivers, poor pavement condition, few bike facilities, total lack of concern by police for safety -- there are a lot more people biking now and it's much safer. The story is that after returning from a trip to Europe in 1980 Mayor Ed Koch installed separated bike lanes on four avenues. But without any maintenance, enforcement or time to be tried, the bike lanes were removed after only a month. Then in 1987 the city was prepared to implement a ban on all bicycling on three avenues. It was the bike messenger community that led the long and difficult fight against the ban.

A very interesting history that provided a spark to bike activism in the city and helped start the path we are continuing today. And if any mode is to be scapegoated, why do we keep ignoring the one that causes all the terror and carnage?