Data from the past year tells us that no less than 25 cyclists died in New York City bicycle accidents, the highest fatality toll in more than two decades. In response to this startling number, city officials are already taking action to prevent it from rising or reoccurring in the future.
With the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council, NYC will endeavor to create a whopping 250 miles of additional biking space. Modeled after several other cities that are taking similar approaches to improve cyclist safety, the plan will endeavor to modernize and connect the existing 1,250 bike lanes that currently exist throughout the city. However, of those 1,000+ miles of bike lanes, only 126 are “protected,” which means they have a barrier separating the bicyclists from other vehicles.
The new plan includes a $1.7 billion plan that will expand the currently patchy network of existing bike lanes throughout the city. By bringing city dwellers a consistent system of connecting lanes, Mayor Blasio and the City Council hope to significantly decrease this daunting death toll.
Mr. Corey Johnson, the City Council Speaker and chief proponent of the new bike lane plan, also has a larger plan in mind. He intends to push for a city-wide street update to improve the flow and safety of New York City traffic. The bill, called the Streets Master Plan, is currently awaiting approval by the Council.
As it currently stands, cyclists are often left without protected biking space as they weave through NYC streets, making them vulnerable to aggressive, distracted, or negligent drivers. NYC traffic is as infamous as it is problematic, so it’s no wonder that countless students and adults use their bicycles to get to school or work on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the current state of New York City’s streets leaves much to be desired for bicyclists, and even those who practice vigilant bike safety could be at risk of a serious accident through no fault of their own.According to the NHTSA, no fewer than 857 bicyclists were killed in traffic-related accidents in the United States in 2018. As one would guess, most bike accidents, an estimated 75%, occur in urban areas like NYC.