Love ’em or hate ’em, bicycles – and bike lanes – are here to stay in virtually every neighborhood in New York City. And more are on the way, which will come as bad news to the many New Yorkers who rail against bicyclists, bike lanes, and bike-share stations as dangerous to pedestrians, disruptive to cars, and a drain on scarce parking space. Many co-op and condo boards, on the other hand, have realized that bike storage rooms are increasingly seen by residents as a must-have amenity.
The city now has 1,133 miles of bike lanes – more than double the number of a decade ago – and New Yorkers are averaging 450,000 daily bike trips. About one-fifth of those trips are by commuters, making this home to more bike commuters than any other city in the country, 6sqft reports.
An article in the New York Times cites Brooklyn’s Hoyt Street as a specific example of biking’s popularity. On a recent evening, 442 bikes traversed the street in one hour as compared with 331 cars. This was more than triple the 141 bikes counted in the same hour in 2011. Last Wednesday was “the highest single-day ridership of any system in the Western world outside of Paris,” reports the Citi Bike bike-share program, with a staggering 70,286 trips.
The de Blasio administration has set a goal to build at least 50 miles of bike lanes per year, and a new action plan will help guide that rollout through 2022 – with 75 of the those bike lane miles to be built in one of 10 priority districts. The districts encompass 14 percent of the city’s bike lane network and were home to nearly a quarter of all cycling deaths and serious injuries between 2010 and 2014.
And now for the counterintuitive news: as bike ridership has soared, fatalities and injuries have decreased. Cyclist fatality rates, measured in the number of deaths per 100 million bike trips, has dropped by 71 percent when comparing five-year windows from 1996 through 2015. The reason? The expansion and improvement of bike lanes, for one. For another: “It’s believed that in cycling that as you get more cyclists on a roadway, motorists start to notice them more and it becomes a real virtuous circle,” says Department of Transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. “As cycling has risen here in New York, the number of fatalities has stayed flat.”
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