Cab drivers in NYC only seem dangerous until you become a passenger. Then, when you've availed yourself of the protection of one of those seemingly indestructible yellow auto-boxes, the weaving, speeding, and stopping seem more game-like than risky. Throw on top the phone calls and the radio playing and the fine displays of affection towards less masterful city drivers and we're talking about one of the best-run shows in NYC (no offense, Spiderman on Broadway... seriously, none) all for the super-bargain base price of $2.50 for the first quarter mile and an arm and a leg from there on (flat rates to JFK and La Guardia).
It's when you're in these NYC cabs that you realize the true danger lurking... the bikers. New Yorkers are no Lance Armstrongs, referencing of course his bike mastery rather than his court perjury. We all THINK that we can hop down Lexington, in rush-hour, in the rain, after a few beers, with tight suit-pants on... but a good lawyer would know at least to seek the advice of a lawyer before doing so.
From within the cabs, we see how this relentless, chaotic, yet mysteriously coordinated two-wheel army can make a mid-day, titanic crosstowner seem more like a circa 1970's wooden coaster car, and that's even with indecipherable biker hand-signals.
We cab passengers have most certainly won round 1. But rest not, for from the darkest depths of Mordor moves an army of likes unseen since the Dead Men of Dunharrow. Yes lawyer-of-the-concrete wilderness, the dawn of a new war is upon us, innocent cab-folk.
You may have seen the installations; you may have heard the commotion; you may have noticed your unsightly neighbor in the local road-runner store sampling generally inappropriate spandex apparel. And on the 6th day when the sun did rest in the west, this army of two-wheelers grew 6,000 strong - attorneys, beware.
In a recent interview, a member of this new movement said, "I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like." Alright that interview did not actually take place but still, Freddie Mercury and the gang may have inadvertently provided the carbon-footprint-friendly fuel for what is sure to be an all out war. As I vaguely recall learning in law school, where there's danger, there are lawyers.
In all seriousness, I question the durability of this program. I can imagine the second a serious injury takes place, hordes of people aiming their liability arrows at people so far up the city and cit i ladders that even the Wilpon's get nervous. I can envision New Yorkers, by the hordes, questioning whether other seemingly more serious problems are not in fact due to the sudden prevalence of untrained bike commuters. I am certain the result will be lawsuits, lawsuits and more lawsuits. And so I legitimately wonder if in the end this experiment will clear the streets or be laid to rest.
Proponents say it works in Montreal. Well, this is not Montreal (mainly because they have better smoked meats) and that city's success is not viral. Will we accept the bumps and bruises likely to plague the program and its participants in the early day or will we litigate NY away from bikes, for the eternity of upper-earth?
None can say. But fellow New Yorker... choose your cab wisely as this battle shows no signs of stopping, and defense is the best offense.
Want to know more about bike law in NYC and other please? Check out the Lawline (a division of FurtherEd) course catalog!