Hey, Empire State Building, Maybe You Can Sound the Alert About How Dangerous Brooklyn is For Cyclists

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For the third straight week, cyclists are being injured in Southern Brooklyn at a disproportionate rate to the rest of the city — further highlighting the area’s need for safe bike infrastructure.

On the plus side, cyclist injuries citywide fell for the second-straight week, with just 19 injuries citywide in the week ending on March 29, compared to 69 injuries in the same period last year, according to just-posted NYPD statistics.

But riders in Southern Brooklyn continue to be in the crosshairs even as car traffic is dramatically reduced due to the coronavirus crisis. Last week, eight of those 19 injury-causing crashes to cyclists, or 42 percent, occurred in the 13 precincts of the NYPD’s Brooklyn South unit. Four more cyclists were injured in the 10 precincts of Brooklyn North.

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By comparison, only four cyclists were injured in all of The Bronx last week, two cyclists were injured in Manhattan and one was injured in Queens — meaning that Brooklyn accounted for 63 percent of last week’s cyclist injuries.

For the year, citywide cyclist injuries remain up 7.7 percent, according to the NYPD. In Brooklyn, injuries are up 28 percent, and in The Bronx, cyclist injuries are up 61 percent.

But the Bronx’s overall numbers are lower than Brooklyn’s, with 92 cyclists injured in the Boogie Down this year, compared to 269 in Brooklyn.

Last week’s 12 cyclist injuries in Brooklyn comes after two consecutive weeks when Brooklyn led the city in injuries. Two weeks earlier, 48 percent of all cyclist wounds were suffered in Brooklyn, a pattern that continued.

“This is the predictable result of community boards standing in the way of safe streets,” said Transportation Alternatives spokesman Joe Cutrufo. “It’s a clear cause-and-effect relationship, and it’s really a shame because these injuries can be prevented.”

State Senator Andrew Gounardes, who represents Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst, also saw two “needs” in Southern Brooklyn: “Vision Zero Design standards and a cultural and legal shift to actually hold reckless drivers accountable.”

The map of this year’s crashes in Patrol Borough Brooklyn South (annotated by Streetsblog) shows clusters of crashes in areas where there is virtually no bike infrastructure beyond a few sharrows.

annotated bike map

Compare that map to the city’s official bike map, below. As you can see, the triangle below Green-Wood Cemetery, bounded by 37th Street, Macdonald Avenue, 86th Street and Fifth Avenue offers no protection for cyclists:

Only lines in green are true protected bike lanes. Blue lines are painted lanes. Purple lines are sharrows. Brown lines are nothing.
Only lines in green are true protected bike lanes. Blue lines are painted lanes. Purple lines are sharrows. Brown lines are nothing.

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