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Friday, February 17, 2012

Op-Ed: Why Bike Messengers Don’t Like Bike Lanes [Metro Focus]


Kurt Boone has been a bicycle messenger for more than 15 years. He is the author of “Asphalt Warrior,” a memoir about his life as a messenger in New York City. You can see his work at www.kurtboonebooks.com
The messenger industry in New York City is a serious — if not dead serious — multi-million dollar business. Running in and out of bumper-to-bumper city traffic or hopping on and off subway lines to crisscross the city during rush hour requires some skills when you’re on a bicycle.
Kurt Boone has been working as bicycle messenger in New York City for over 15 years. He is also the author of “Asphalt Warrior,” a memoir about his life, and a producer for “The Messenger Poet Show." Photo Courtesy of John Sarsgard
I’ve been writing about messenger life for the past 10 years. Through this work, I have interviewed a number of bicycle messengers about their thoughts on the city’s new bike lanes.
Bicycle messengers have always been scrutinized for how they ride in traffic. The police keep a keen eye on messengers and give them tickets for violating the law. One of my fellow messengers quit being a bicycle messenger because he had too many tickets.  Now I see him on the streets doing messenger work on foot.
In the last five years, the city has designated a lot of streets for bicycle lanes. These new bicycle lanes have created quite a controversy, usually between bicycling advocates who support the lanes and motorists who stand in opposition.
But all us bicyclists don’t stand together. Most of us bicycle messenger don’t like the new lanes at all. We prefer to ride with the flow of traffic.

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