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Streetfilms: Biking is the Way to Beat Coronavirus (If the Mayor Would Help)

It’s not the expansion of cycling that causes the epidemic of crashes. It’s the lack of cycling infrastructure, the persistence of bad driving, and the proliferation of assault cars that do. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

This is the new bike lane symbol.
This is the new bike lane symbol.
This is the new bike lane symbol.

Cyclists to mayor: Biking is the best way to get around town — so please do more to make it safe.

After Mayor de Blasio asked New Yorkers to bike to work this week to reduce the spread of coronavirus, Streetfilms auteur Clarence Eckerson hit the street to talk to riders, and the subtext was that they love cycling, but don't appreciate that the mayor told people to ride, but then did not add capacity during the crisis.

"The infrastructure is not accessible to all," one woman cyclist says on the film, as footage shows blocked bike lanes.

Another rider adds, "It's kind of infuriating for elected politicians, who get driven everywhere, to say, 'Yeah, take a bike!' Well, we have a lot of kids who can't do that and don't feel safe."

A third female cyclist, who had just entered Queens via the 59th Street Bridge bikepath, said the roadway was "crowded."

"There needs to be more space," she said, referring to extensive coverage of the boom in cycling that has made the existing infrastructure "very dangerous and only going to get worse."

The film was published hours after Transportation Alternatives called on the mayor to make immediate improvements to the bike network to handle the crisis — just as the city did to encourage cycling and reduce car traffic during last year's United Nations General Assembly. It also comes as cyclists are reporting huge increases in biking this week.

City Hall said it would not carry out TransAlt's demands, saying that the mayor's multi-year Green Wave plan is currently being implemented as promised.

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