I have a terrible cold and my head feels ten times too big, so this post may seem crankier than I intended it to. Please bear with me!
Yesterday I was pretty shocked when I read this article in the NY Daily News, about a Dutch tourist who was pulled over by the NYPD for wearing a skirt while riding her bike in New York, since apparently such activity is “very disturbing, and it’s distracting the cars and it’s dangerous”.
Here is an image of this crazy criminal –
Photo courtesy of A Cup of Jo
As I wear skirts while riding my bike here in Copenhagen every single day, I was shocked to hear about this occurrence in New York.
But, as things often do, biking in the US this week was about to take a turn much for the worse.
My amazing and lovely mother set out for a bike ride through our small Oregon hometown on Saturday, only to be hit by a car while biking down Main Street. Thankfully (I truly cannot express this enough), she is now safe at home recovering from the accident with a cracked rib and a lot of pain medication.
I tell you these stories because I am scared. Scared that in only a few short months, I am returning to the US to finish my bachelor’s degree, and I fully planned on biking back and forth to class each day. Scared that if I follow through with this plan, I will end up in a situation like the lovely Dutch tourist, my wonderful brave mother, or perhaps even worse.
In Copenhagen, biking is something I rarely give a second thought – unless that thought is “Hmm, maybe I’ve had too many beers to bike home” or “Does my back tire need more air?” Biking is like walking, breathing, speaking – it’s natural, smooth, simple.
And I cannot stand the fact that it is so impossible to feel safe and comfortable when biking in the US. Whether on the busy streets of New York City or the quiet streets of my liberal hometown, biking in the US is simply not common or encouraged enough and it therefore becomes unsafe. I’m not talking about mountain biking or biking for sport – the bicycle is a fantastic daily tool that should be utilized — no matter where you live, and whether you’re wearing a skirt or not.
As scared as I feel at this moment, I know that I will be biking in the US next year. I will wear a helmet religiously and I will make absolutely sure that I don’t put my trust in the actions of the drivers around me. Eye contact, slow speeds, safety first.
And fucking hell, I will be wearing a skirt!!!!!!!!!!!