Next Halloween: suggestions for all street-users

October 31 is the one night each year when the streets are guaranteed to be a mess. Random routes are closed for parades. Kids in costumes are darting out in the middle of blocks (sometimes, sad to say, led by their parents). Adults are stumbling everywhere from skeleton juice or Ecto Cooler, paying little heed to official signals.

So why were there so many cars out last night? It’s not like Halloween came as a surprise.

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Certainly, some people needed to be on the road. But whether necessary or not, using a car does not entitle you to priority – especially not on this night. Plenty of drivers failed to understand this, and I saw some aggressive behavior as a result.

On a quick ride around Park Slope at 6:30, I saw the following:

- at least eight cars u-turning
- at least four rights on red, and one left on red(!)
- one guy who, impatient that the driver in front of him wasn’t blocking the box, passed him on two-way Sixth Avenue, only to block the box himself, which contributed to the …
- interminable honking

Then on Citi Bike around Union Square around 9:00 (doing this was my own mistake, I admit in hindsight):

- two near-doorings from impatient taxi-riders
- three cursings from people stumbling into the street at mid-block
- lots of weaving between idling cars, because they were taking up more than the allocated lanes and there wasn’t enough space for me to pass
- interminable honking

Man, the police could have had a field day last night – and earned back some of that money taxpayers foot so that children (both real and wannabe) can dress up in car-free peace.

Some thoughts on how things can go more smoothly next year:

Drivers: don’t drive if you don’t absolutely have to! Treat the hours of 5:00-9:00 as you would a blizzard. You’ll go about as fast, anyway.

Parents: don’t jaywalk with your kids! I know they’re impatient to get to the next piece of sugar, but it’s best to avoid impatient drivers and aggrieved cyclists.

Cyclists: leave the bike at home! You won’t be able to pass on many streets, for one, and kids won’t be looking out for you – especially not the drunk adult ones.

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