In Amsterdam, everybody is taught to ride a bicycle while balancing a wheel of Gouda. In Tokyo, the parking lots by the train stations are crammed with two-wheelers and more than a few inebriated commuters. Why can’t New York City do better than that? Rumor has it that a shadowy four-wheel organization called CAB (Citizens Against Bicycles) is to blame, but the local DOT, Department of Transportation, erects so many barriers that bicycling around town is a rolling nightmare.
Here’s the latest DOT bulletin:
- New cycling lanes will be constructed throughout all five boroughs, to be completed by 2025 or 2035, whichever comes last.
- The lanes are to be a minimum of two inches wide to accommodate skateboarders, scooter users, roller-skaters, hitchhikers, and truckers unloading merchandise.
- Lanes are to be open weekdays* 6:30-6:45 a.m. and reopened 4:45-5:00 p.m.
- *Excepting Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays
- A charge of $5.00 per axle (in tokens) will be charged at tolls every twenty blocks, with EZ Pass accepted in the left-hand lane. If there is no left-hand lane, that’s a darned shame. $5.00 tokens available for purchase by standing in line at the MVB (Mechanical Vehicle Bureau) somewhere on Canal Street.
- To be discussed: a high-occupancy vehicle lane for those riding someone on the handlebars or back rack.
New Regulations Concerning Traffic Flow
- All two-wheeled traffic must obey local traffic laws:
- Saluting when passing police precincts
- Reducing speed to 5 m.p.h. around the mayor’s house
- Coming to a complete halt at the end of Manhattan island
- The transportation of firearms, explosives, flammable solvents, backpacks, or pocket change is expressly prohibited.
- Cyclists carrying over 10 pounds of freight will be rerouted through the 47th Street Underground Passage, to be completed by 2037.
- Cyclists traveling at over 15 m.p.h. will be issued a warning on the first offense and be harnessed to produce power at the Con Edison 32nd Street plant after the second offense.
- Wheelies, track stands, and riding with no hands are allowed only in the Fun Lane between 14th to 23rd Street along 9th Avenue.
- Right of way: All cyclists must yield to:
- Trees and parking meters
- The inevitable
Other Cyclist-Related Ordinances
- Yearly inspection is required of all bicycles by standing in line for ten hours at the MVB. Valid inspection stickers must be prominently displayed on cyclists’ foreheads at all times.
- Bike messengers and other two-wheeled agents of commerce must wear appropriate attire:
- Logos that properly advertise the entrepreneurial but hip spirit of the city
- Spandex that reaches mid-thigh (not including artistically ripped shorts and wearers with truly stunning physiques)
- All bikes are to be parked in designated areas, to be designated by 2025.
- All bicycles must be outfitted with a bell or klaxon horn, reflectors and/or shiny baseball cards wedged in between the spokes.
- All riders must be fully acquainted with “Rules of the Road for Lesser Vehicles,” 2011 edition.*
- *Currently out of print. Contact MVB for next available printing.
- Cell-phone use while riding is prohibited except for hands-free devices (not to be confused with statute regarding riding with no hands).
- All bicycles must be human-operated.
- First-time violators of any of these rules are subject to confiscation of one wheel, with a second wheel removal for serial violators.
Rulings on Quasi-Bikes
- A unicycle is not a real transport system. Only jugglers may ride them.
- Tandems will be tolerated only on Sundays in Central Park, to be ridden by couples in committed relationships.
- Recumbent bikes may be ridden only by horizontal citizens.
- Mopeds and other silly throwbacks are to be traded in for electric bikes from China.
- Any bike with three wheels shall be deemed a tricycle and justly ridiculed if ridden by someone over age seven. Any bike with four or more wheels will not be tolerated at all.
- What is the sound of a bicycle with no wheels? Keep ignoring the regulations, and you’ll find out.