New York officials announced in February its efforts to improve protection for the city’s bike lanes. The news represents a sign that the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) is following through on its promise to reinforce the 20 miles of currently delineator-protected bike lanes.
These lanes currently provide protection, but only through the use of plastic posts and lines of paint on the ground. The DOT intends to “harden” half of the 40 miles of delineator-protected bike lanes by installing concrete barriers.
Keeping lanes clear
For years, cyclists contend with vehicle drivers who consistently block bike lanes by driving in and parking on them. City officials say that by keeping the lanes clear through enhanced safety measures, cyclists will gain better protection.
Cycling advocates applauded the move – something that they have lobbied city officials to do for some time. The 20 miles getting attention are bike paths with high ridership, lanes adjacent to heavy vehicle corridors and lanes that have had a lengthy history of vehicle non-compliance.
Injuries, fatalities continue to occur
Cycling has continued to grow among New York residents. An estimated 773,000 New Yorkers regularly bike in the city, and 26% of the city’s residents – roughly 1.6 million people – ride a bike at least once during the year.
However, injuries and fatalities place a damper on cycling in the city. According to the DOT, nearly 5,600 people sustained injuries in bicycle accidents in 2020, and 26 bike-related fatalities were recorded. Brooklyn reported the most injuries with 2,122, followed by Manhattan with 1,449. The most fatalities occurred in Brooklyn and the Bronx as each borough recorded nine cyclist deaths.
Providing safer environments
Cycling is a reliable method of transportation embraced by thousands of New Yorkers. However, sometimes, it just is not safe due to the actions or self-centered, reckless and hurried drivers. Protection is the key, and the recent moves made by city officials may provide a safer environment for cyclists.