If you have ridden a bicycle in New York for years, you probably have noticed that there are more bike lanes in the city than there used to be. From 2000 to 2017, the length of New York’s bike lanes more than tripled. Among the newer lanes are about 200 miles of protected lanes that better separate riders from motorized traffic. The city says it will add 50 more miles of protected bike lanes each year.
This is part of a national trend of improving bike-friendly infrastructure — at least, in U.S. cities. According to National Geographic, Americans only take about 1 percent of their trips by bike and 87 percent by car or truck. But outside of suburbs and rural areas, it’s a different story. As cities like New York, Washington D.C., Seattle and Chicago continue to provide more lanes for riders to commute safely, the number of regular riders tends to go up.
For example, in the late 1990s, only about 1 percent of D.C. residents traveled by bike. After about 20 years of adding bike lanes, the city now has about 5 percent of residents who regularly commute by bicycle. One expert predicted that Washington could someday be comparable to Frankfurt, Germany, where 20 percent of residents ride.
Bike accidents are still happening in NYC
Life for riders is getting better in New York thanks to the new bike lanes. But even riding parallel to auto traffic present some risk of a bicycle accident. Whenever a rider must go through an intersection, there is the chance of someone running a red light or trying to turn without watching out for bikes first. And people in parked cars next to the lane can open their doors without looking and cause a severe “dooring” collision.