The New York City Department of Transportation recently vowed to add 50 lane miles of regular bicycle lanes and another 10 miles of protected lanes to the city every single year starting in 2017.
“Cycling is being embraced by all kinds of New Yorkers,” said Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “It’s a real change of pace here.”
The agency stated that they plan to focus these safety efforts in areas with a high number of injuries and fatalities, including in three neighborhoods in Queens and seven in Brooklyn.
The number of bike paths in New York City has more than doubled over the past ten years. Back in 2006, there were approximately 513 miles of lanes, now there are approximately 1,133 miles across the city. An estimated 425 of the current lanes are protected by a physical barrier – the rest are marked out with paint lines. In 2016, the city installed a record 15 miles of protected lanes.
“We have only scratched the surface,” White added. “The difference between mere painted lanes that afford only a modicum of protection and protected lanes is very stark.”
Citi Bike, New York City’s bike share system first launched in 2013 saw its first fatality earlier this year when a rider was struck and killed by a bus in Chelsea. The program, which saw its busiest month to date in June when there were an average of 57,708 trips taken every day, a 19 percent increase from the same time in 2016, is committed to improving protections for their riders. Not only are they working to provide more biker-friendly space in the city, they are distributing free helmets and protective gear for delivery workers who use a bicycle.
“Drivers need to be aware of the vulnerability of bicyclists and drive in a manner conducive to bicyclist safety,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan. “At the same time, bicyclists must also obey the rules of the road and have the proper equipment to ensure their visibility.”