With the largest bike network in the nation, Citi Bike share availability and abundance of bicycle messengers, New York could be considered a cyclist’s paradise. However, the city’s high traffic and unpredictable drivers mean it is often a highly dangerous place for those on two wheels.
This was proven again last when the city experienced its first cycling fatality of the new year. According to a January 2 piece in Metro Media, a 26-year-old cyclist was killed in traffic on Third Avenue in Brooklyn. The cyclist, who was riding in a painted bike lane, was doored by a parked car, causing him to fall off his bike into traffic.
Is the city doing enough to protect cyclists?
A representative of Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit that advocates for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users in New York, says this death was avoidable. While there was a painted bike lane where the cyclist was riding, there was no meaningful protection against other vehicles.
“The city is throwing paint on the street and calling it a [protected] bike lane, which completely fails to protect a vulnerable bicyclist who is forced to share space with 5,000 pounds of steel moving at lethal speeds.”
New York has made efforts to better protect cyclists, adding 16 miles of protected bike lanes in 2018. Yet, transit activists insist more could be done. Some want the city’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities, to be more inclusive of cyclists and pedestrians.
While the city continues to grapple with bike safety, we encourage cyclists to take safety precautions. In the event of a collision with a vehicle, cyclists are often entitled to damages for medical bills and other costs. A knowledgeable attorney can help.