Are Bike Lanes Making New York City Safer?

Explore:  Bicycles Bike Accidents

The new bike lanes in New York City have generated controversy. Drivers hate them, and many pedestrians have stories about near-misses with reckless, rude bicyclists. Are the bike lanes a menace, or are they a good step toward improving transportation in this congested city?

The city spent $11 million to make 255 miles of bike lanes, with a 13 percent increase in daily bike use as of last year. While riding a bicycle has its own health benefits, a city study found that streets with bike lanes have 40 percent fewer accidents involving automobiles, bikes, and pedestrians. Although this seems counter-intuitive, the presence of bikes appears to slow down all traffic. There was also a reduction in bicycle fatalities, even with the big increase in bicyclists, from 26 in 2008 to 18 in 2010.

There have been pedestrians who were hurt — or killed — after a collision with a bicyclist. Still the greatest danger to someone walking or cycling in New York is a distracted or drunk driver, or a car or truck that is speeding. Anyone riding a bike in the city must understand and follow traffic laws and safety procedures. Pedestrians and drivers, in turn, need to be more aware of two-wheeled vehicles. Cars, trucks, and city buses that block bike lanes put cyclists at risk.

New York still has a long way to go to be truly bike-friendly. Bike use is predicted to keep increasing, given the population density, so the sooner we all get used to the bike lanes, the better.


Topics:  Bicycles, Bike Accidents

Published In: Personal Injury Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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