The SMH has an article on the increasing popularity of cycling in New York City - Wheels are in motion.
The decision to bring my bike with me when I relocated to New York City a year ago was more out of sentimentality than a belief that I'd be pedalling much. In fact, on previous visits I thought it was madness to cycle these streets, congested with cabs and cars, trucks and buses and pedestrians. A year on, I never imagined I'd have the chutzpah to cycle so much. But it's not me that's changed - New York is becoming a city that loves to cycle.
In the past six years, the number of cyclists in New York City has doubled. In the past four years, the number of people commuting to work by bike has increased by 45 per cent. And much is being done to accommodate them.
While walking down First Avenue near 64th Street - where bikes were once chained to parking metres, street signs and trees - I notice a proliferation of bike racks (four in one block). They're popping up all over the city; by late next year, 5000 racks will be installed in a program called CityRacks, which aims to encourage cycling for "commuting, short trips and errands".
In the past three years the Department of Transportation has built 320 kilometres of bike lanes across the city's five boroughs, taking the total to 1000 kilometres of bike paths, lanes and routes.
On 8th and 9th avenues and Broadway, the department has added North America's first protected on-street bike lanes, designed so the bike lanes are physically separated from motorised traffic. In fact, in recognition of the progress made to improve conditions for cyclists, the League of American Bicyclists designates New York as a "bike-friendly community" with the potential to become a great cycling city.
The New York City bike network is now a labyrinth of off-street bike lanes (dedicated paths), on-street bicycle lanes (painted green) and on-street bicycle routes (cycle with the traffic). They offer a rewarding and practical way to see New York, aided by the city's flat terrain and the grid system of streets that makes for easy navigating.