Is there anyone in the city more entitled than a biker? They’re saving the environment, keeping down health-care costs, enjoying the out-of-doors, beautifying the landscape as their taut bods coast by, and willing to tell you about it in multi-page odes and/or diatribes about the joys and sorrows of getting around on two wheels. According to Reuters blogger Felix Salmon, there is indeed a class of citizen more entitled: “evil bike salmon,” who ride the wrong way in a bike lane. This nefarious breed of ne’er-do-well, first identified by Bike Snob NYC, has reached “pandemic proportions in New York.” In a 2,867-word screed detailing his “unified theory of biking in New York,” Salmon recounts the salmons’ manifold offenses.
1. They have no justification for their misdeeds.
What justifies bike salmoning? Nothing.
2. They make bad parents and role models.
Recently I saw a mother in her late 20s, riding down Avenue A with her toddler in a bike seat on the back. The mother wasn’t wearing a helmet, but she was wearing iPod headphones. And she was salmoning, which actually takes some doing on a two-way street like Avenue A: she was riding north, but on the west, southbound, side of the road. And she did this for a few blocks.
Now think of the message that mother was sending to any cars travelling south on Avenue A. It’s unambiguous: “I act like a pedestrian, I follow no rules, I don’t care about you, and you just have to navigate around me.”
3. They make it hard for cars to see non-salmon bikers, such as Felix Salmon, as legit.
“Every bike salmon constitutes an utterly gratuitous confrontation and escalation in the war between bicyclists and motorists. Whenever a motorist encounters a bicyclist riding towards them on the street, that only serves to confirm in their mind that bicyclists aren’t proper road users, aren’t worthy of their respect, and certainly can’t be trusted to play by the same rules that govern cars. Bicyclists are an obstacle, an inconvenience — something which really shouldn’t be on the road at all.
Even lazy two-foot walkers like ourselves think this sounds problematic.
A unified theory of New York biking [Reuters]