New York and its Bikes June 10 2014

Neal Reed is working on a photo documentary that shows the impact of bikes on NYC streets. A true New Yorker who combined his passion for cycling and photography. 



When did you develop a passion for photography and what influenced you?


 I developed an interest in photography when I was in college at Pratt Institute in the 60’s. I was heavily influenced by the Vietnam War photographers as well as Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, etc...


 What is your project about and when did you start to portrait it?


 The concept started in August of 2013 as a photographic essay on the Citibike program and evolved into a photographic essay/social documentary on the effects of the increase in cycling (and the introduction of bike lanes) on the city of New York.



Why did this arouse your interest?


 I spent many years and hundreds of miles a week on a bicycle training for bike racing. This was done in a period when NYC, and particularly the cars and other traffic, was not very kind to cyclists. As I walked the city in the last couple of years with my camera (I call it wandering), I was fascinated by the changes I saw happening in the patterns and  behavior of traffic as the number of cyclists and bike lanes increased.



What kind of impact do the bike lines and the city bike share system have on New York?


 I see a compromise occurring between the cyclists, pedestrians and cars - trucks - buses.  Each group seems to be increasing its respect for the other. I still see conflicts (after all this is New York), and close calls, but gradually, as the numbers of cyclists increases, this level of acceptance and respect for each other and the traffic laws we all must live or die by, also seems to be increasing.


How will the New Yorkers commute in future?


 Well, in my humble opinion, if the Citibike program can achieve some measure of financial sustainability and viability, and the city continues to try to find ways to protect the riders and others who choose alternative forms of transportation and commuting, then I foresee more and more people choosing alternative forms of commuting of which cycling will be an important part.