Pedestrians and drivers in this city have hated each other for years, but it seems that the city's bicyclists get the brunt of hatred from both worlds. In "A unified theory of New York biking," Reuters blogger Felix Salmon theorizes that cyclists get such hatred because, though they are vehicles, they are treated as pedestrians. But that may be both the bikers' and the drivers' faults.

Salmon explains the standard "pedestrian-motorist encounter," in which both parties must keep to their clearly defined paths, and "When they do interact, pedestrians take advantage of the rules of the road: a red light, for instance, means that the cars have to stop, so pedestrians can cross against them. Pedestrians trust the motorists to follow the rules, and most of the time that’s what happens." However, when bikes are thrown into the mix, things get complicated. He writes:

Bikes can and should behave much more like cars than pedestrians. They should ride on the road, not the sidewalk. They should stop at lights, and pedestrians should be able to trust them to do so. They should use lights at night. And — of course, duh — they should ride in the right direction on one-way streets. None of this is a question of being polite; it’s the law. But in stark contrast to motorists, nearly all of whom follow nearly all the rules, most cyclists seem to treat the rules of the road as strictly optional. They’re still in the human-powered mindset of pedestrians, who feel pretty much completely unconstrained by rules.

Of course, it's not just the bikers who break the rules. Cars use bike lanes as parking spots or left-turn lanes and pedestrians jaywalk, but Salmon reminds New Yorkers, "Bicyclists aren’t like pedestrians: we’re much faster, we can’t stop quickly, we can’t navigate as adroitly, and it takes a lot of effort to slow down and speed up again, compared to the effort expended in just moving at a constant velocity." However, there is something bikers could do to calm the waters. According to statistics in Jeff Mapes’s book Pedaling Revolution, "as many as a third of all bike accidents involved simply riding against the flow of traffic." Stick to your lanes, and maybe we can all be friends one day. Or not.