Cycling in New York City is far from a walk in the park. Nearly every bike route is fraught with hazards: traffic, pedestrians, construction, congestion, to name a few. Some places, however, are more dangerous than others.
Localize Labs recently published a report on the 12 most dangerous areas in New York City for cyclists and pedestrians. On the whole, cyclists are three times more likely than average to get struck by cars in these areas.
The winners spanned all five boroughs. They are, in no particular order:
- Downtown Brooklyn
- Crown Heights (Brooklyn)
- Bedford-Stuyvesant/Williamsburg (Brooklyn)
- University Heights/Fordham (Bronx)
- Lower East Side/Soho/Little Italy (Manhattan)
- Corona (Queens)
- Jackson Heights (Queens)
- Jamaica (Queens)
- Flushing (Queens)
- Ridgewood (Queens)
- Stapleton (Staten Island)
- Tompkinsville/St. George (Staten Island)
Among these, Williamsburg ranked the worst for cyclists, with more than 700 injured between January 2013 and 2018. The deadliest was Flushing, between Parsons Boulevard and College Point Avenue, with 12 cyclists and pedestrians killed in the same period. And the University Heights/Fordham area saw the biggest spike in accidents rates, especially around the Grand Concourse.
What makes these areas so dangerous?
It's difficult to pinpoint all the complex factors that contribute to accidents. However, in looking at these areas, some common themes emerge:
- Infrastructure issues: Poorly planned intersections, lack of bike lanes, few pedestrian crossings and poor road design can all pave the way to disaster.
- Congestion: Heavy traffic – whether vehicles, pedestrians or both – is perhaps the most common ingredient in the recipe for accidents. Bottlenecks around bridges, ramps and road construction can make an already volatile situation even worse.
- Visual obstructions: Bridges, support beams, elevated Subway and LIRR tracks, parked cars – these features make it difficult for drivers to see cyclists. Since drivers often don't see cyclists even when there's nothing but cornfields from horizon to horizon, any visual obstruction can make a big impact on accident rates.
When it comes to safe cycling, awareness is key. Take care when riding in these dangerous areas.