A few weeks back I was riding my bike at the point where Nassau Ave becomes Berry St on N.15th Street in Williamsburg and was going against traffic ON the bike lane when I was swiftly pulled over by a nice cop lady who proceeded to lecture me about its being illegal to ride against traffic. I tried to explain the one way change over where exactly at that point Nassau and Berry switch directions and I needed to go just one block AGAINST traffic continuing ON the bike lane to turn on N.15th onto where Kent Ave turns into Franklin St (you confused yet?) She explained whether or not I was on the bike lane it’s illegal to go against traffic. I told her I felt more safe going on the bike lane than not, whether or not I’m going with traffic or not. It thus became pretty confusing because she didn’t have much details about what exactly was the law and what the ticket fine would be.
Then Angel sent the link to this video of some dude getting a summons for riding WITH traffic NOT on a bike lane. Cop told him it’s illegal. Even though it’s not. So I presented this to twitter and facebook and have received informative feedback on what you can and cannot do. If you’re on any street with a bike lane and you’re not using it, you’ll get pulled over. If you see the bike lane, use it. EVEN THOUGH, there are cabs and people and double parked trucks, construction cones, deep potholes and the occasional hot dog cart rolling on the lane where there should be nothing but bikes riding it. As the video emphasizes, it’s ridiculous and unfair to subject bikers with summons and obnoxious ignorant behavior from the authorities when we do our best to stay away from harm including dangers faced ON the bike lane.
Reading the official rules of the road I ride my bike in full paranoia now as I still don’t have a bell on my bike, nor do I wear a helmut and keep two ear plugs in my ears for music and conversating on the phone. I do have lights installed although I forget to use it half the time and feel the blinking brightness is more distracting than what the peace of the dark night has to offer.
In the end I won’t be fighting the summons I received and this will by my lesson learned; don’t take shortcuts and always ride with traffic, even though you felt safer on that bike lane going against traffic seeing nothing was in the way to cause harm or injury.