Marist Poll: Two-Thirds of New Yorkers Support Bike Lanes

A new NY1/Marist poll adds to the public opinion research showing a substantial majority of New Yorkers favor bike lanes. The survey found that 66 percent of adult New Yorkers support bike lanes, a somewhat higher level of support than the 59 percent recorded in a recent Quinnipiac poll. So NYC bike lanes are not only more popular than God, they are almost as popular as Andrew Cuomo.

The Marist poll was a phone survey of 808 adult New Yorkers, while the Quinnipiac poll surveyed registered voters, who are more likely to own a car than the city’s general population. Marist also phrased their top bike lane question differently than Quinnipiac, asking simply: “In general, do you support or oppose bike lanes in New York City?” The Q poll phrased the question with more of a lead-in: “As you may know, there has been an expansion of bicycle lanes in New York City. Which comes closer to your point of view: A) This is a good thing because it’s greener and healthier for people to ride their bicycle, or B) This is a bad thing because it leaves less room for cars which increases traffic.”

Some points of interest from the Marist poll:

  • More New Yorkers want to expand the bike network (27 percent) than shrink it (23 percent), while a plurality (44) said the number of bike lanes should stay the same.
  • Support for bike lanes stands at 70 percent among people earning less than $50,000 per year.
  • Among Latino New Yorkers, support for bike lanes is at 72 percent.
  • More New Yorkers think cabbies and drivers are disrespectful on the road than think cyclists are disrespectful (78 percent and 53 percent to 46 percent, respectively).
  • A whopping 44 percent said even pedestrians are disrespectful.
  • More men want to add bike lanes (35 percent) than women (21 percent).
  • In Manhattan, a plurality of people (40 percent) want to add more bike lanes.

The percentage of people who want more bike lanes is an interesting number. I wonder how steady it is over time. Would we have found that about a quarter of New Yorkers actively wanted to expand the bike network four years ago, before DOT expanded it with hundreds of miles of lanes in a few years? Maybe less than a quarter? The assumption in the question is that the city will reach a point where people say the number of bike lanes is “just right,” but it could very well be that the growth of the bike network is increasing the appetite for more bike lanes.

  • Candidate

    Sixty-six percent? Bike lanes for mayor!

  • Marge Inovera

    Of course, the poll didn’t break out results for the two most important demographic groups: aged millionaire residents of Prospect Park West, and $1,000-an-hour attorneys employed by Gibson Dunn.

  • Albert

    Regarding the earlier Quinnipiac poll and its less clearly pro bike lane results—how could anyone even take a poll seriously if it uses basically inflammatory phrasing in its questions?

    To my mind, the important thing isn’t that the Marist poll “phrased their top bike lane question differently”—it’s that it phrased it scientifically and responsibly, unlike Quinnipiac.

    It’s interesting to read (on Wikipedia) that the Quinnipiac Polling Institute “became serious in 1994 when the university hired a CBS News analyst to assess the data being gained.”

  • Jeremy

    It’s interesting – 66% of respondents support bike lanes, but 67% don’t want the City to lay down any more.  My gut says that they’re waiting for those behavioral changes that cycling advocates have promised.

  • Larry Littlefield

    There was a CBS News van on PPW today, with someone interviewing an older man with a dog on camera.  I’d say the odds were zero that it was about this poll.

  • Larry Littlefield

    There was a CBS News van on PPW today, with someone interviewing an older man with a dog on camera.  I’d say the odds were zero that it was about this poll.

  • Smahon5049

    I am not against bike lanes.  I would say roughly 20% of bikes are in bike lanes in NYC.  The rest are on the street between cars and on the sidewalk.  Many ride in both directions.  I have been hit by bikes three (3) times in the last year and one half, and I am athletic.  Each time, they came between cars at a red light.  I was crossing on the green.  They came through and hit me in the middle of the street, and rode away.  Kind pedestrians helped me up.  The bikes have no ID, so they are free to do what they want.  They are just as reckless when I leave the City twice a week with my car.  They come from behind you in your blind spot just when you have a green light.  It’s unnerving.  It is time bicycles had a numbered license plate of their own for ID.  Right now, they do anything they want and ride away.  Then we have the restaurant delivery boys on bikes following absolutely no rules and riding as fast as possible.  This gets to be a big problem at night when it is difficult to see them especially in the rain.

  • Smahon5049

    I am not against bike lanes.  I would say roughly 20% of bikes are in bike lanes in NYC.  The rest are on the street between cars and on the sidewalk.  Many ride in both directions.  I have been hit by bikes three (3) times in the last year and one half, and I am athletic.  Each time, they came between cars at a red light.  I was crossing on the green.  They came through and hit me in the middle of the street, and rode away.  Kind pedestrians helped me up.  The bikes have no ID, so they are free to do what they want.  They are just as reckless when I leave the City twice a week with my car.  They come from behind you in your blind spot just when you have a green light.  It’s unnerving.  It is time bicycles had a numbered license plate of their own for ID.  Right now, they do anything they want and ride away.  Then we have the restaurant delivery boys on bikes following absolutely no rules and riding as fast as possible.  This gets to be a big problem at night when it is difficult to see them especially in the rain.

  • carma

    here is my opinion on how to expand the bike network.  do it on the smaller streets such as 8th street in manhattan, 82nd street in queens, w. 7th st in brooklyn.  in fact, make all these streets that are similar size bike lanes. why?  b/c you dont need to remove any parking.  there is still plenty of space to pass, and i would find it impossible for any driver to complain since you leave plenty of room to drive still.  plus unofficially, you are acknowledging a marked bike lane, and you narrow the road a tad bit that you can feel comfortable driving around 25mph which is a good speed for the smaller streets.

    by expanding too aggressively on major thoroughfares, you will have compaints from all sides.  cyclists who dont think they have enough space.  and drivers complaining you take too much away.

  • carma

    just to add.  queens needs a more expanded bike network to go to eastern queens.

    i was on skillman traversing to manhattan yesterday and i found how much easier it is than to complain about putting a bike lane on queens blvd.  the only thing they need to do is expand it all the way to eastern edges.  possibly along roosevelt ave.

    roosevelt can certainly accomodate an extra bike lane without hurting traffic or parking.

  • carma

    just to add.  queens needs a more expanded bike network to go to eastern queens.

    i was on skillman traversing to manhattan yesterday and i found how much easier it is than to complain about putting a bike lane on queens blvd.  the only thing they need to do is expand it all the way to eastern edges.  possibly along roosevelt ave.

    roosevelt can certainly accomodate an extra bike lane without hurting traffic or parking.

  • Andrew

    @463c5ab5eaad0990b0ebf3b3e49ce3b1:disqus License plates are obviously the solution.  Because drivers, who all have license plates, never ever ever break the law.  I’ve never ever seen a car run a red light or speed.  Drivers always patiently yield to pedestrians when making turns and when stopped at stop signs.  They certainly never nudge pedestrians out of the way by threatening to kill them if they don’t wait or move faster.

    Fortunately, we have a proactive police force to ensure that the laws are enforced.  On the rare occasion that a driver violates a traffic law, the police are sure to issue the driver a citation so that he learns his lesson.  And when a tragic accident causes the injury or death of a pedestrian or bicyclist, the police make sure to carefully examine all of the evidence to determine whether criminality is suspected.

    Thank goodness for license plates!

  • Eric McClure

    And don’t forget the licensing of firearms — fortunately, that’s eliminated nearly all gun-related deaths in the U S of A.

  • Anonymous

    Smahon, do you really get hit by bikes once every six months on a regular basis? This strains credulity, and implies you should at the very least visit an optometrist at your earliest convenience.

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