A new bike lane in the Queens borough of New York City has been the scene of so many crashes that lawmakers now want it removed, according to the New York Post.
Located on the westbound side of Northern Boulevard, the bike lane covers about one mile between 223rd Street and Douglaston Parkway. Since its installation in late September 2017, there have been 31 accidents in that area, according to the data from the New York City Police Department; at least 11 of those accidents happened in or involved the bike lane. According to local officials, the new barriers that came with the lane installation force drivers to make very wide right-hand turns around them, and they also must cross over the two-way bike corridor.
This bike lane was installed by the state’s Department of Transportation after a 78-year-old bicyclist was killed in an accident in the area last year. The local community board approved the DOT’s proposal for the lane in June but discovered that it would cause safety issues in July, so they asked the department to reconsider. The DOT has issued a statement regarding the bike lane, saying that roadway users need to get used to the new measures. According to that statement, ridership was already up in the month of November. The department, however, did not address the safety concerns that are now being raised about the lane in its statement.
Senator Tony Avella issued a letter about the bike lane to Polly Trottenberg, the state’s Transportation Commissioner, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Avella wrote that the bike lane installation created a “very dangerous situation” and that he has been receiving bike lane accident reports just about every week. Avella is asking that the bike lane be removed and that the sidewalk in the area be widened instead, which is the community board’s preference.
Bike riding is up in New York, according to Transportation Alternatives. More than 500,000 adults use a bike at least one time a month, as estimated by the state’s Department of Health. Bike lanes are a natural result of the increase of cyclists in the city, with New York City laying down more than 250 miles of such lanes since 2006.
Bike lanes can make bike riding safer for cyclists in many cases. Studies by the Department of Transportation found that traffic-related injuries and deaths in general drop when a bike lane is installed in an area. However, the bike lane needs to be properly designed and installed for those benefits to be realized as these structural changes can also cause traffic pattern issues that make the lanes unsafe.
The city’s transportation department has yet to address the call to remove this new bike lane in New York City, but lawmakers are planning to continue to call for it.
Bicycling is up across the country, and even with safety additions like bike lanes, accidents are still all too common. If you have been injured in a bike accident, contact an experienced attorney, like a bicycle accident lawyer Denver CO riders trust, about your case today.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Richard Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injury practice.