New York City to Get 250 Miles of Protected Bike Lanes

This is part of a plan to increase the safety of cyclists in the city.

Nov 16, 2019

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Bicycling is a great way to exercise and to go green at the same time. That’s why more and more people are leaving their cars at home and biking to work

Special bike lanes are a way of life in big European cities like Utrecht and Amsterdam in the Netherlands as well as Copenhagen in Denmark but many American cities have not yet embraced the trend. With the growing popularity of bicycle riding in New York City – 24 percent of adult residents and rising according to the city’s Department of Transportation – the lack of bike routes has been problematic but that is changing.

New York City just passed legislation on October 30, 2019 that will greatly improve the bicycle infrastructure in the city and the safety of its cycling citizens. At least 250 miles (402 kilometers) of protected bike lanes across the city will be built by 2026.

The new legislation was introduced by speaker Corey Johnson after a series of tragic bicycle accidents occurred this year and is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Green Wave plan for cycling in New York City.

“The piecemeal way we plan our streets has made no sense for far too long, and New Yorkers have paid the price every day stuck on slow buses or as pedestrians or cyclists on dangerous streets, Johnson said in a city news release. “We need faster buses, safe streets infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, and more pedestrian space.”

The plan $58.4 million plan calls for legislation like the one that just passed, enforcement, new design, and education to make the city’s streets safer for cyclists. The first part of the plan is due by 2021 and includes the installation of at least 30 miles (48 kilometers) in the first year followed by 50 (80 kilometers) in the second.

Bike priority districts in Brooklyn and Queens, where most of the accidents occur, will receive bike lanes at a faster rate. There will be ramped up law enforcement for high risk activities like speeding and blocking bike lanes by the New York City Police Department at the 100 most crash-prone intersections.

“No loss of life on our streets is acceptable. With a dangerous surge in cyclist fatalities, we have to keep pushing the envelope and increasing our efforts. That’s what this plan is about. It’s a continuation of our promise. This time, specifically to bikers. We are here to protect you and we take that job seriously, the mayor said in the news release.

While improved bicycle infrastructure is one aspect of the new plan, the legislation also calls for making the streets safer for all users by improving mass transport, and access for people with disabilities.

The new legislation will help but there is a long way to go before New York City’s cyclists and pedestrians have the same priority in road use as other countries but it is a good start.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.