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Cyclists: Bike Lanes Are No Joke

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Clowns took to the streets of Manhattan Sunday in an effort to deliver an important message of respect between motorists and bike riders. NY1's Cindi Avila filed the following report.

Close calls happen in the city's bike lanes all the time, that's why a group of bikers gets together once a month to educate drivers.

Don't let the clown make-up fool you, this month the ride takes extra meaning in light of three deadly bike accidents during June. That includes the death of Dr. Carl Nacht, 56, who was traveling in a bike lane at the Hudson River Greenway and 38th Street when he was hit by an NYPD tow truck that reportedly failed to yield to the biker.

"Because it's in the news and if people are aware of how dangerous it is to be a cyclist — I know because I ride everyday — that the bike lanes not being clear is a really scary thing," said cyclist Barbara Ross.

One of the hazards the bikers are trying to warn drivers about is something as simple as opening your car door into a biker. Bike lanes were really made for the bikers to ride safely, but drivers who park too close or in bike lanes put bikers in danger.

"They are endangering every bicyclist who could get killed going around them," said biker Marilyn Horan.

While we were out with the bikers, they caught a driver parked in the bike lane.

"Well I knew I shouldn't be here, but I figured I'd only be a minute or so and then I'd be gone, but otherwise I shouldn't be parked in the bike lane," said the driver.

This man who only wanted us to refer to him as Charles did move when this group asked him too. He said he usually does watch out for the bike lanes, and most other drivers we spoke with concur.

"Sometimes people might disrespect it by driving over them, but it's not often I see that. I think people for the most part respect it," said another driver.

Some drivers we talked with though said some of the blame lies with the bikers themselves, at least the ones who ignore the bike lanes.

"A lot of bikers don't use them, you see couriers coming down the wrong way on the streets," said another driver.

- Cindi Avila
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