In the busy neighborhoods throughout the Bronx, bicyclists often feel as if they face danger on every road and at every intersection. As traffic increases, the hazards of distracted drivers, impaired drivers and negligent drivers seem to combine to create a deadly atmosphere. Fortunately, city officials can make numerous improvements to the area to enhance the safety of New York cyclists.
While traffic needs as a whole often dictate the steps city engineers can take, there are several enhancements to consider, including:
- Traffic speed controls when possible: The priority of city planning will be to ensure traffic can safely move around the city in the most efficient manner possible. When possible, however, they should take steps to ensure proper speed controls are in place. Whether this means speed bumps, bolt-down speed cushions or reflective warning signs, the city can take steps to slow down traffic.
- Appropriate lane width: While necessity might control a significant portion of the decision in these matters, planners must consider bicycle lane width when dividing the streets. Whether too narrow or too wide, the riders face a different set of dangers including dooring, cyclists passing other cyclists and vehicle encroachment.
- Physical separation: Many busier roads require not only a painted bike lane, but physical separation between the bicycles and motor vehicle traffic. The barriers that engineers use to separate the traffic should be polyurethane, heavy-duty plastic or flexible rubber bollards. Many individuals might think that a steel or concrete barrier could be safer still, but these hardened barriers can lead to a collision with the structure itself.
Due to their general lack of protective gear, bicyclists tend to suffer devastating injuries after any type of collision with another vehicle. From broken bones and head trauma to town ligaments and spinal cord damage, a bicycling accident can result in catastrophic damage.