Standing Up for Cycling

by Lou.D. on March 17, 2014 - 12:55pm

Keegan Stephan is a resident of New York City who has been concerned with traffic issues in his community. He has spent a considerable amount of his time to make those issues much less of a problem. He is a cyclist in New York who has been trying to make cycling a much easier and safer activity within the city. To do this he takes part in many community building activities, showing the perks of being a cyclist.

In the event Occupy Sandy, Stephan provided the society who were taking part of it electricity generated by bicycles. He is also known to be a volunteer mechanic for Times Up, do deliveries with Cargo, host bike related radio programs and organize rides and garden clean ups. Stephan is most known for his involvement bike repair garden spaces in New York and with the Right of Way organisation.

Recently, Right of Way has made the headlines in certain news agencies for some of their actions in the streets of New York. They have spray painted bike lanes onto certain streets as a statement to the authorities of the city. The authorities see them as vigilantes and are quickly taking away the bike lanes for they had led to accidents according to certain news articles because they are hard to tell apart from real bike lanes. What they seek to achieve is making the government making safer and more bike lanes. The way the roads are currently displayed throughout the world a lot is dedicated for motor vehicles instead of for pedestrians and cyclist. Right of Way seek to change that, and like certain cities in countries like Netherlands it isn’t something that would be too hard to do.




Cycling anywhere, or walking is much more difficult now that it was in at any point in the past. For six years in middle school and high school, I ran track and cross-country, and my personal experiences on those teams can testify to this fact. Runners on the teams would occasionally be forced off of the road by passing vehicles. At other times, runners would have to interrupt their runs for as much as 10 or 15 minutes (completely ruining their pace and workout) to wait for all the cars to go past at an intersection or at a crosswalk, with the crossing sign and signal being of absolutely no use. In contrast, my father, who is middle aged, was able to bike anywhere as a teenager, occasionally going for rides of up to 50 or 60 miles in a day, with no such traffic problems. Many drivers would gladly stop and let a cyclist or runner cross the street, and he never once had to worry about being forced off the street and into a ditch by an inconsiderate driver. Things have changed, and definitely not for the better. It is definitely good to see that people are trying to make things more like they were then.
Your writing was good, and you were very clear in describing the article, but It didn't feel like you had any opinion on the matter whatsoever. It felt precisely like a news reporting, unbiased on either side of an issue. The only things I saw that could use any work were grammatical issues and some problems with sentence structure and punctuation. Overall, this was well done.

This article stuck out to me because my father is a cyclist and I know he has the same views as Mr. Stephan. The summer right after my dad retired from spending 27 years in our country’s Air Force he decided that he was going to attempt to complete a ride from Anacortes Washington State to Boston Massachusetts. During this ride he realized certain areas of our country that were more cyclist friendly than others. My father has also participated in many other events to raise awareness for the cyclists who want to be able to ride knowing that their safety is taken care of. One aspect of this article that stick out to me is the fact that Mr. Stephan lives in NYC, which is arguably the most condensed area of the United States. This shows that he is going to right to the source of where being a cyclist is the most difficult hoping to raise awareness for the rest of the country. Another aspect of this article that I would like to see more of is the perspective of the local government and common people who may not be cyclists. With these other perspectives I believe that we could see a more of a change come in the near future, due to the fact that all perspectives are on the table and can be worked out together.

I found your article interesting, particularly because I have a close member of my family who is an avid biker that I consistently worry about while he is cycling. He has been involved in more than one serious accident where he was hit by a car, but his passion has not been deterred. He spends hours four to five hours every single day, sometimes even more, riding his bike—often traveling across state lines. He is involved in many cycling groups, the most notable being a group called “Team 26” that formed to advocate against gun violence in honor of the 26 victims who were killed in the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Middle School in Newtown, Connecticut. This family member of mine actually lives in Newtown and has a son who is in the same grade as the young students who were massacred on that terrible day, so the disaster is extremely close to home for him. I am actually convinced that his biking activities increased significantly since last December, perhaps as a coping mechanism. Below you can find a link to the Newtown Bee, the local newspaper that reported on how “Team 26” just left arrived in Washington, D.C. from Newtown, CT on their ceremonial bicycle ride in tribute to the Sandy Hook shooting victims.
Keegan Stephan is doing a great service to cyclists by making others aware of the dangers of the sport. Bike lanes are making a presence in major cities across the United States, however a lot of work remains to be done in order to make it safer for riders. I hope that someday our society will take cues from the Netherlands and be more accepting of cyclists sharing the road with motorists.

Your post does a good job a highlighting a person who has the drive to fix a problem they feel passionately about. I support Stephan’s want to make the streets of NYC safer for bicyclist and other pedestrians. As a former runner, I understand that the roads are not shared well between motorist and pedestrians. Stephan’s approach of informing the community on the benefits of bicycling is a good start at making the public aware of the problem at hand. However, I feel the information you presented about Right Away and their problem solving does the opposite. Creating their own bike lanes where there is not properly designated areas provides more issues. Bike lanes are supposed to be designed to provide room for the motorist and bicyclist; this takes more planning than just taking room away from motorist. These impromptu bike lanes have the potential to cause more harm to both motorist and bicyclist. I agree with Stephan’s push to provide bike lane is important, but I also believe it must be done correctly and in a safe manner for all.

This post really stuck out to me because my father is a big cyclist who loves to ride out on the roads. My family and I often worry about his own safety when he rides, but thankfully he has remained safe on the roads thus far. One cycling related incident, however, greatly affected my hometown in the summer of 2012 when a teacher from my high school was killed on her bike. This woman was riding on the shoulder of the road when an impaired driver swerved to where she was riding and struck her. Tragedies like this really make me worry about my father’s and any other cyclist’s safety, as this is an activity that is enjoyed by so many men and women throughout the state. I think that Right of Way has good intentions to make cycling safer throughout New York, but the organization needs to be very careful as to not create any potential hazards by going against the authorities in their fight for greater cyclist safety. The government needs to work along side these organizations to maximize efficiency when it comes to dealing with the ways that cyclists are managed on the roads. As a driver, I completely understand the hazards some cyclists create on the roads when they ride extremely close to cars and cannot keep up with the flow of regular traffic. I often feel nervous when I see cyclists riding alongside cars for their and my own safety. I hope that the authorities and organizations such as Right of Way can reach an agreement to create safe conditions for both cyclists and motorists on the roads. Some grammatical issues within the article hinder the flow of this piece but could easily be fixed with some slight editing. Overall, I think this article makes a great point and brings necessary attention to the point of creating safer conditions on the roads for all participants.

I agree with that this country needs to improve people’s experience of cycling. As a student in Brockport, I ride across campus, to bank or to Walmart, and I really can’t say that I had a good experience. First, there is only road for vehicles and sidewalk for people, I either ride on sidewalk and risk hitting other people or ride on driveway with the risk of hit by a car. Second, there are not many streetlights on the road; it makes cycling become more dangerous. Finally, after visiting New York city, I can only imagine an even worse cycling experience in the city, there is not much place for you to lock your bike, and as a sign of big city, there is so many people and cars which makes me feel that cycling won’t make me move faster than walking or taking public transportation but brings me the troubles of lock it and avoid traffic.

Walking and cycling is very popular around the world. People in NYC use cycling and walking as their main source of transportation every day. What stuck out to me in your article is how Mr. Stephan and the Right of Way organization painted bike lanes onto streets in NYC and the government took them away. Individuals operating motor vehicles almost always believe that they run the road and cyclists need to get out of the way when they are driving by. Since sidewalks are mainly for individuals to walk, cyclists mainly use the side of the road to ride on. As a child I used my bike to go everywhere, some days I would ride my bike up to 20 miles around town. One day my friend and I were riding next to each other on the side of the road when our bikes hit and I fell into the road in front of oncoming traffic. This experience brought to me the feeling that riding your bike on the side of the road isn’t safe. Even though individuals like Mr. Stephan and the Right of Way organization are taking steps to receive notice on the importance of cycling and how improvements to roadways need to be made to create a safer riding environment, the government is still not taking notice to the situation entirely. The government should take more notice to the importance of a safe riding environment for cyclists and create more bike lanes on the side of roads.

I completely and totally agree with everything in this article. I am an avid bicycler myself from bmx to road rides to mountain biking I love to be on two wheels. I also drive my truck around 20,000 miles a year and have had many close calls with bicycle on the streets as many areas around me do not have bike lanes. I think that if the city does not want the lanes on the street they should allow bikes on the sidewalks. Many cities have sidewalks and bikes often travel at less than 15mph. If the city cannot handle the bikes on the roads or they do not have space to widen the roads the bikes should be allowed to ride elsewhere. Bike safety is very important as cars often weight over 2,000lbs and travel at speeds above 30pmh. When cars and bike collide the results are often very poor for the bicyclist. For this reason bikes needs to either have special lanes or be allowed on sidewalks for their safety and the safety of the motorists on the roadways. For my personal reasons this article stuck out to me and I agree with it very much, more needs to be done for bicycle safety and more people and lawmakers need to be aware. GO Keegan Stephan!

I found this post to be very interesting. I found it neat that they were trying to make New York City a safer place to cycle and ride bikes. I do cycle in the summer months and I do find it a bite frightening when the cars come close to me. However I do not live in a city but rather a suburb, but still face the problem with cars and my safety. Having gone to New York City quit a few times I do notice that the streets are very narrow and not much room for cars themselves much less an added bike lane. So I can imagine that there would be many biking accidents. I agree with making a safe place for cyclists but not in the busy and crowded streets of New York City. They should make a special lane in Central Park or on the less busy roads or simply drive to a place that is open to cycle that is not busy.

This article jumped out to me because I am an avid environmentalist and believe cycling is an excellent alternative to driving. When I was a kid, if I wanted to go to a friend’s house or get some ice cream in town, I would ride my bike or walk. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I feel like kids don’t walk, bike, or skate to places anymore. I find it sad because it was such an important aspect in my childhood. It made me more independent and let me learn how to navigate. As a kid, I also remember my dad biking to work during the summer or on a nice day instead of taking the car. He would have to get up earlier, but he said he loved the way it relaxed him and made his day that much better. I think if cycling were encouraged more, kids and adults would be more inclined to bike or skate to their destinations rather than drive. I agree with the article in that more needs to be done to provide safe and clear bicycle and pedestrian lanes so that people can feel safe when using them. I also liked how the article highlighted Keegan’s volunteering efforts and how putting a positive outlook on cycling will help encourage others to start cycling themselves.

This article caught my attention because as a teenager growing up on long island despite having "bike lanes" I still rode on the sidewalk and end of peoples driveway because I was afraid of getting hit by a car. I constantly had to watch behind me the times I did have to ride on the road in fear of being hit by a car. While being forced on the sidewalk because of the inconvenience of the bike lanes I had to constantly stop because of people walking on the sidewalk and looked at as a burden in a way. Many drivers now tend to be texting or talking on the phone while driving making it more dangerous. What if someone on a bike was texting or talking on their bike in their little tiny narrow bike lane provided to them. Despite agreeing something must be done about bike lanes, I disagree with painting bike lanes because it resulted in accidents which could have been prevented. I enjoyed reading your article and I wish you had included your own opinion more on the topic.
Here is an interesting and somewhat funny video about bike lanes in NYC by Casey Neistat who received a $50 dollar ticket for not riding in the bike lane in New York City. He protests by crashing in the many obstacles people create in the bike lane.

Great write up on an issue that is often overlooked and pushed to the bottom of the barrel. I live in the country where the roads are up for grabs between cars, trucks, bikers, runners, and cows so I do not fully relate to some of the cycling issues. I enjoy biking, travel a lot, and I am a member of a few different groups and organizations. However, my interest in this article had to do more with the organizational aspect rather than cycling itself. I found it interesting how Keegan Stephan rallied around an issue that he found important. He dedicated himself to the issue at hand and acted upon it. His involvement in the various organizations that support cycling is paramount for exacting any type of change. I always find it inspiring to witness the action behind a group movement. There are many groups born out of conversation and discussion that never fully materialize because they do not take that next step.
As you’ve mentioned, The Right of Way group seems to be pushing the envelope in terms of action. They are infringing on the laws of the city and bucking societal norms. Actually, they could be viewed as a subculture as they are beginning to define their own set of rules, norms, and beliefs. I would be interested to here you elaborate more on the cycling movement as it pertains to The Right of Way group. They sound like they are operating at a higher level of organization than some of the other groups. The other groups seem to be offering supportive and informative types of services while they have taken it a step further.

This article caught my attention on how there is a gradual decline in cycling. Cycling before the age of automobile was a very good form of movement , even after the advancements of cars it has not lost its recreational values.However the unavailability of space is gradually killing cyclists as the years go by. Motorists are taking over the little cycling space we have. Growing up in New York i used to bike a lot to visit my friends despite the dangers maneuvering around cars and trucks even now it has become more dangerous because there are more cars. Cycling is a good healthy way of life which also keeps our body in shape and taking this away to for cars is just letting us loose a big part of an enjoying lifestyle and preserving it would aid in keeping us healthy for a long time

About the author