An Interactive Map That Collects the Wisdom of NYC's Cycling Masses

Illustration for article titled An Interactive Map That Collects the Wisdom of NYCs Cycling Masses

Though the ridiculous media fuss about CitiBike—and its all-powerful bike lobby backers—intensified this weekend, there was also one bright spot: The New York Times unveiled an interactive map that lets users add their own tips and warnings to fellow riders.

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The map invites cyclists to add ten-word blurbs to a map of the city. They range from practical advice (“Avoid Brooklyn Bridge unless it’s early or late”) to jokey (“Williamsburg Bridge is a drag strip for Category 6 racing”). You can also toggle onto a secondary mode, which pulls data from the popular GPS tracking app, Strava, to show which routes are most popular amongst users. There are already plenty of different mapping options for cyclists who need directions, but this interactive grants us access to a secondary layer of information: all of the tips and tricks that, normally, take years of experience to amass. And, as thousands of new cyclists flood the streets, a service like this is incredibly useful.

The map comes on the heels of an op-ed published by the NYT a few weeks back, which critiqued the lack of viable smartphone apps for the average bike commuter. It seems that the paper’s Graphics Desk wasn’t content to wait for someone to develop a good interactive map—instead, they did it themselves. Check out the map here, and for in-depth advice, head over to WNYC's Bike Advice project. For more mapping goodness, there's a beautiful CitiBike heatmap here.

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Illustration for article titled An Interactive Map That Collects the Wisdom of NYCs Cycling Masses
Illustration for article titled An Interactive Map That Collects the Wisdom of NYCs Cycling Masses

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DISCUSSION

CommonVices
CommonVices

From what I've observed of NYC cyclists over the years, the most prevalent bit of commonly shared "wisdom" seems to be:

"If you see a pedestrian with the right of way trying to cross the street, don't hesitate to just keep barreling down on them. After all, being a cyclist means that you get to conveniently cherry-pick which traffic laws apply to you at any given moment. Red lights and cross-walk signs are just fun suggestions, the actual direction of traffic is purely optional, and a dinky little bell should be all the warning fellow human beings need to jump aside and narrowly avoid having a spandexed asshole collide with them at 20mph. Oh, and you should absolutely feel free to take your bike on the subway. That doesn't make you an inconsiderate prick at all. It's not like there's some magical service that tells you if it might rain that day or anything..."