It is no secret that the number of active bikers in Manhattan has increased since Mayor Bloo
mberg’s implementation of CitiBikes in 2013, but what is it really like to ride between the chaos of New York City traffic?
Shawn Jones, a 24 year old bike courier, can give one a good idea of what it’s like to travel on two wheels amid New York City’s yellow cabs and black ubers.
The merging of two popular food delivery companies- Seamless and GrubHub- in 2013 has given many individuals easy access to online and mobile ordering. While ordering food may feel as easy as the click of a button, delivering food is a much more complex process when bikes do the job faster than cars.
After almost two years of delivering food to various destinations in Manhattan, Jones has become used to the reckless drivers that he shares the road with. During this time, Jones has stayed out of accidents by riding between cars rather than in bike lanes, which drivers normally don’t pay attention to.
On average, Jones does 15 to 20 deliveries a day, each of which takes around 20 minutes. He finds himself biking around the city for both business and pleasure, because he thinks “it’s nice to stare at all the cars sitting in traffic and think, ‘haha.’” Like many other people who deliver food or parcels on bikes, Jones enjoys not being restricted by traffic while still being able to move through the streets efficiently.
Daryl Williams, a security guard for Credit Suisse Bank on 24th and Madison, says that there are constantly people passing by on bikes, whether they are biking to work, or biking for pleasure. In the years that he’s watched bikers ride through one New York City streets, he hasn’t seen any major accidents occur.
Nonetheless, many bike couriers have said that they’d like to improve the safety of bike-riding in a city as busy as Manhattan. “I think maybe drivers ed should include how to maintain the safety of not only pedestrians but also bikers,” says Jones.
Jones has noticed that with an increase in bikers in NYC, some drivers are being more attentive to bike lanes, while others less so. Citi Bike users have revealed that prior to the implementation of this new bike system, they were skeptical of biking in the big streets where cars are constantly moving around them, but felt safer after knowing that there would be more bike users joining them.
“I feel like Joseph Gordon Levitt in that movie Premium Rush– every moment I’m riding my bike I’m thinking of which way to turn and how to get to my destination in the shortest amount of time,” says Shawn Jones.