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Knickerbiker: Identity of commuters broadens


Biker Credit: Rj Mickelson/amNY

You don’t have to be on wheels to see the changing face of cycle commuters in a city where bike transportation has risen 109 percent during the past four years. The images are online in dizzying numbers.

“I think, in a lot of ways, cyclists are invisible,” said the Upper East Sider who for the past four years has posted anonymous, candid photos of city bikers on his Flickr photo stream, BicyclesOnly (that’s his Twitter handle, too). “Putting them out there helps people feel like they’re part of a growing group of cycle commuters.”

The photos run the gamut, from women in suits on folding bikes to bundled-up commuters steering weather-speckled mountain bikes.The images lend a sense of identity to a group that has been subject to a controversial police ticketing blitz related to reckless riding behavior.

“I think it’s about finding a balance that we haven’t had before,” said Caroline Samponaro, director of bicycle advocacy for Transportation Alternatives. As the flow of cyclists on the city’s bike lanes grows, Samponaro’s new Biking Rules! campaign is reminding two-wheelers to (above all) yield to pedestrians and be respectful.

“I’m not interested in trying to present an edited image of what a bicyclist should look like,” said BicyclesOnly.

Laudable efforts to imbue riders with a sense of shared responsibility mean that image need not be edited.

Max J. Dickstein (@Knickerbiker on Twitter and mdickstein[at]am-ny[dot]com) is amNewYork’s bike columnist.

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