... and:The Berkshire Eagle is an American daily newspaper published in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and covering all of Berkshire County, as well as four New York communities near Pittsfield. It is considered a newspaper of record for Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
Leonard Quart | Letter From New York: Cycling in the city:Pittsfield is the largest city and the county seat of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is the principal city of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Berkshire County. The population was 44,737 at the 2010 census. Although the population has declined in recent decades, Pittsfield remains the fourth largest municipality in western Massachusetts, behind only Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee.
In 2005, Farmers Insurance ranked Pittsfield 20th in the United States as "Most Secure Place To Live" among small towns with fewer than 150,000 residents. In 2006, Forbes ranked Pittsfield as number 61 in its list of Best Small Places for Business. In 2008, Country Home magazine ranked Pittsfield as #24 in a listing of "green cities" east of the Mississippi. In 2009, the City of Pittsfield was chosen to receive a 2009 Commonwealth Award, Massachusetts' highest award in the arts, humanities, and sciences. In 2010, the Financial Times proclaimed Pittsfield the "Brooklyn of the Berkshires", in an article covering its recent renaissance.
http://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/l ... ity,530962
Includes:NEW YORK — In the mid-1890s, New York was seen as the "Metropolis of Cycledom," home to 250,000 bike-owning citizens, ten cycling journals, 55 cycling clubs in Manhattan alone, twenty-nine cycling academies, and cycling racks everywhere from Madison Square Garden to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bicycles became a status symbol for the city's middle class, which was committed to buying the most expensive, luxurious and tasteful bicycle and accessories possible. Even though it was seen as a genteel, decorous pastime and riding extremely fast was frowned on, the reduction in the cost of bicycles brought a number of new young riders who rode wildly and irresponsibly.
Still, not many years later, the city's citizenry would abandon the bicycle as quickly as it had been taken up. In 1899, approximately 1.2 million bicycles had been produced in America — four years later, only half as many were made. Public interest waned, and the bicycle magazines and schools closed.
New York City spent the decades that followed embarking on a transportation policy that stressed mass and, later, automobile transportation, and completely ignored the bicycle. However, cycling culture was revived in the city about a decade ago. Today the bicycle, rightly or wrongly, is often associated with progressive values like environmentalism,
But clearly not every New Yorker sings the praises of bike culture. Many people I know who are in their 70s and 80s view bicyclists as a danger to themselves, especially badly-paid restaurant deliverymen on electric bikes, who seem to follow no traffic rules at all (Of course, their difficult job is totally dependent on how fast they can make deliveries). I am not certain that I can find statistics that bear out how many pedestrians are injured, but the fear and anger that pedestrians feel can't be blithely dismissed.
A friend in his mid-80s told me that he was knocked over by a bike going the wrong way in a bike lane on a one-way street. His feeling is that though cars may be more dangerous and the city's car traffic should be reduced, they mostly obey the rules of the road, while numbers of bicyclists ride illegally on sidewalks, ignore red lights as they race ahead of car traffic, and come at you out of nowhere at top speed with no apparent care for you as a pedestrian except as an obstacle. Another friend is even more critical of bicyclists. He sees them as "flouting traffic rules" like wandering into the main traffic area from designated bike lanes. He adds that "they are a menace to pedestrians and their actions threaten their own safety."
Folks riding with an electric-assist "tarred with the same brush" as the "Lycra Crowd"...Leonard Quart is Professor Emeritus of Cinema — CUNY and COSI; Contributing Editor, Cineaste; Columnist for Berkshire Eagle; and co-author of American Film and Society Since 1945 —4th Edition (Praeger).