One More Bike Commuter on the Streets of NYC

I've been lobbying a number of friends and acquaintances in New York start commuting by bike, and I finally have a success story.
My partner moved to Brooklyn last summer from New Haven. Although he was excited about moving to the city and getting rid of his car, he kept his motorcycle and insisted on using it for his daily commute from our Red Hook apartment to his job in Chelsea.
I tried to convince him that a bike commute would be an easy, and relatively traffic-free jaunt across the Brooklyn Bridge and up the West Side bike path. The weird thing was, it wasn't that he wasn't a cyclist - he'd been a serious biker since high school and he used to commute to work in New Haven most days by bike, but for whatever reason it just seemed easier to take the BMW.
Then last week he got pulled over by a cop for lane spitting. He was incredulous. Even cars lane split in New York when the have the opportunity (and lane splitting is in fact legal in some states and much of Europe). Suddenly, there wasn't much advantage to having a motorcycle if he was going to have to sit in traffic like every other motorized vehicle.
The realization that his 30-minute motorcycle commute was about to get a lot longer finally got him to try out his own muscle power. And to his surprise, pedaling to work only took an additional five minutes each way. And now he doesn't have to come home and ride the trainer in our living room to get his daily exercise.
Reflecting on what it took to shift in my partner's commuting choices got me thinking that maybe good bike infrastructure isn't enough to motivate some New Yorkers to trade in their motor vehicles for bikes. Perhaps the only way we'll convince some folks to try out biking is if we make commuting into Manhattan by motor vehicle more timely and more expensive.

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