Specific Commitments From the City on Bike Safety

As part of today’s big announcement on bike safety improvements, the City is committing to undertaking the following actions. From the City’s press release:

Bicycle Infrastructure Improvements

  • Over the next three years DOT will install 200 miles of bicycle facilities with targets of 5 miles of Class I separated paths, 150 miles of Class II striped lanes, and 45 miles of Class III signed routes. DPR will also add 40 miles of Greenways in City parks over the next four years.
  • Accelerate the placement of outside bicycle parking racks citywide.
  • Begin construction of mountain bike trails in the South Park section of Fresh Kills, Staten Island. Complete construction of mountain bike trails in Highland Park and Cunningham Park in Queens.

Motorist and Bicyclist Awareness

  • Provide materials on bicycle awareness to new driver education and remedial traffic school programs.
  • Introduce programs to supply free bicycle helmets and instruction to all interested bicyclists in New York City.
  • Work with associations of bicycle riders, including delivery and messenger services, to improve bicycle safety among workers.

Investigation and Enforcement

  • Train more DOT accident investigation staff to ensure that all transportation fatalities are investigated in a timely manner.
  • Increase enforcement of laws against motorists who park or drive in a bicycle lane, and enforce traffic control obedience among motorists and bicyclists.

Legislation

  • Support state legislation requiring large vehicles to be equipped with cross over mirrors. These mirrors, commonly seen on school buses, increase a vehicle operator’s ability to see in front of the vehicle.
  • Support legislation to increase the fine for motor vehicles that park in bicycle lanes within city parks.
  • Explore the utility of legislation as a means to increase helmet use.

Improved Data Collection, Analysis and Reporting of Bicyclist Injuries

  • Train health care providers to better document contributing factors in medical records.
  • Add a question on bicycle use to DOHMH’s annual population-based telephone survey of adults to better track the bicycling population and monitor trends.
  • Reconcile bicyclist death information between DOT’s (Fatality Database), NYPD (Accident Investigation Squad) and DOHMH’s (Vital Records Death Certification) quarterly to better trackthe number of bicyclist fatalities.

 

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  • AD

    This is great news. Really fantastic. An increase in cycling benefits not only cyclists themselves, but also motorists who should see fewer motor vehicles in their way creating congestion, subway standees looking for a little less crowing on the IRT, and people who inhale air, who should benefit from an aggregate decline in particulates and carbon monoxide.

  • I second AD! This is great news. I really hope they follow through. One question though:

    Support legislation to increase the fine for motor vehicles that park in bicycle lanes within city parks.

    Why only within parks? I understand it might be tough to increase police coverage for all of the bike lanes, but if they could ticket them when they see them, people would have incentive not to block up the lanes on any streets.

  • Free helmets is a great idea. Potentially the city could use that as a way to lure people in for safety training and education.

  • I am very happy about all this news today, but have one negative thought (sorry) – too bad this is all about bike safety and not about transportation changes overall.

    End message: those weirdos who choose to bike need help staying safe; cars are still just fine and dandy. Where’s the encouragement to move people from driving to biking?

    But seriously, this is great news, and an important first step towards that. You need to have the infrastructure in place before you can start telling people they should be using it…

  • It’s step one and it’s a great place to start. You could easily triple or quadruple the number of cyclists pretty quickly with low cost and quickly achievable projects.

    Then they will start talking about BRT in a few months hopefully, then perhaps some better regional rail integration strategies and a whole lot of new services will start to come online in about 5 – 8 years.

    And about the safety part – this report shows pretty clearly that bike lanes matter and should be considered as much a part of the safety landscape as crosswalks for pedestrians.

  • alex

    As the statistics show that nearly all bicycle fatalities involve motor vehicles, I would have preferred to see more emphasis on awareness and enforcement of motor vehicle regs in addition to the laser-like focus on cycling issues.
    Also, if an un-helmeted cyclist is injured in an accident and cannot afford the medical expenses, who gets stuck with the bill?

  • Annon Y. Mouse

    Whoa, whomever did this…congratulations to the city, the advocates, the people of NYC, if much of this really happens the winners of NYC will be all of us.

  • Matthew

    This happened because of tireless advocacy from the NYC Bike Coalition, starting with last year’s press conference at City Hall, where we first asked for this study. This is an amazing first step, and kudos to the coalition, but I’m waiting to see the improvements come to pass.

    How about that Houston Street Bike lane!!

  • ddartley

    Write to thank them.

    BUT-
    the plan includes support for legislation to increase fines for vehicles parked in bike lanes in PARKS. What about on STREETS, where it’s most important by far?

  • akiva herz

    Did anyone here about the woman hit by a bus while riding on the Hudson River bike lane today? Interested hearing more about what happened.

  • this is pretty good start, though there is always some forked tongued stuff.

    Enforcement of bike lanes in the parks would not matter if they would get the dumb cars out of the parks. To the critics however on lack of attention on street bike lanes, look up two bullet points..

    “Increase enforcement of laws against motorists who park or drive in a bicycle lane, and enforce traffic control obedience among motorists and bicyclists.”

    Enforcement really is what is needed. Problem is cars, delivery trucks, cops all park in the lanes without any consequence. That said, what’s that non-sense at the end about enforce obediance among motorists AND BICYCISTS”. Ah never can just be about the cars can it, bicycists are too blame. No matter that a stray car will kill someone. Does anyone have a figure for number of people killed by cyclists? You don’t have to answer that. Not saying cyclists shouldn’t obey the rules of the road, it’s just that they not at all the root of the problem.

    Also why all the focus on DOT investigating accidents, how about the police investigating some accidents?

    The focus on helmets is probably silly and will do little to protect cyclists from the real problems.

    But more lanes is great, and more bike racks would be a big win. Especially if they would start using some parking spaces for bike racks instead of gobbling up all the pedestrian ways. Oh wait, but that might mean 100 fewer parking spaces. Ok will never happen this time, but next round maybe we can get some.

    It’s relatively good news, but what is great news is that the pressure is getting to them!

  • Naomi

    While I am thrilled to see the City acknowledge the need for safer conditions for cyclists, I agree with those who point out that the report (or what we’ve seen so far) fails to point to the real threat to cyclist safety: cars.

    I am concerned about the seemingly-inevitable helmet legislation. This is a “blame the victim” approach to bike safety and would discourage cycling. Helmets don’t prevent crashes, and a helmet law would send the message that cyclists are to blame for injuries and deaths. Yes, cyclists must ride safely, but what about speeding drivers who double park and can’t take a second to look for cyclists before opening their doors?

    We have a huge problem with road rage in NY, and this will continue as long as the Bloomberg Administration doesn’t challenge the notion that motorized vehicles have more of a right to the road than bikes.

    As for the bike lanes, anyone who’s tried to use the much-heralded 8th Avenue bike lane knows that unbuffered lanes without enforcement do little to improve safety.

    So, like Will said, it’s a start, but we’ve got to keep up the pressure to get these bigger issues addressed.

  • d

    I don’t believe that helmet legislation or free helmet programs are “blame the victime” approaches to bike safety any more than seatbelt laws and “click it or ticket” campaigns are for drivers.

    We have seatbelt laws in this country not because the government is interested in saving lives but rather because the insurance industry is interested in minimizing their chances that they’ll have to dole out payments for life insurance or costly critical care. It’s the same with bike helmets. If there was as much insurance money to be lost from dead bicyclists as there was from dead drivers, the industry would back helmet legislation in every state in the union. If you aren’t wearing a helmet and get hit by a car and then require thousands and thousands of dollars in medical care, other policy holders pay for it in the form of higher premiums and deductibles. If you don’t have insurance, taxpayers pay for your care.

    Obviously bigger issues like bike lanes and cars in the park have to be addressed, but helmet laws may be one concession riders have to make in order to get more things on their public policy wish lists.

  • Patrick

    Great report, but my biggest concern is that it says nothing about prosecution of those who kill cyclists. The plans for improvements are great, but if you hit and kill a cyclist (or pedestrian) there need to be consequences.

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