Rise of Bicycles in NYC

Historically, evaluation of cyclist activity in New York City was centered on counting the number of bicycles entering and exiting the core. However, cycling has grown and matured dramatically as a mode of transportation since the first counts were conducted in 1980. New Yorkers are using bikes for a much wider variety of trips, making it even more difficult to assess bicycle use in the City. In an effort to better understand the widening breadth of cycling, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) partnered with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to include several questions about cycling in DOHMH’s annual Community Health Survey. Beginning in 2009, and expanding in 2013, these questions shed light on how frequently New York City residents cycle each day, each week, and each year, as well as for what purpose they bike. The recent introduction of DOT’s Citywide Mobility Survey provides another important data source to better understand the transportation choices of New Yorkers.

By focusing on the cyclist and not the trip, these surveys provide a more holistic approach to quantifying cycling activity, especially when used in combination with national surveys, ongoing bike counts, and Citi Bike. Researchers say that in order to bring down the number of cycling deaths, cities need to have a complete network of bike lanes, with as many separated from cars as possible. Building a new bike lane can take weeks or months, and the process can be delayed even further when communities resist these efforts. Polly Trottenberg, the city’s transportation commissioner, told NPR that the city is taking the necessary steps to prevent future deaths and that the circumstances the city is facing are not unique.

  • We are all facing a lot of the same challenges,” Trottenberg said, referring to Vision Zero cities in the U.S. “Years where we see fatalities go down. Years where tragically we see fatalities on the rise. Dealing with all the demands on our roadways.

As time progresses, Uber and Lyft as well as big-box trucks (fueled by the booming e-commerce industry) together pose added dangers for cyclists and strain an already over-congested system.  With more people cycling than ever before, setbacks are leading to accidents. According to the NYDOT, the number of daily bike rides more than doubled between 2012 and 2017. Today, nearly half a million cycling trips are made every day.

Since more people are choosing to cycle for a variety of reasons, concerns about their impact on the environment, frustration with public transit and desire to improve their physical health. The city has also been instrumental in encouraging people to bike, including the massive rollout of Citi Bike shares.  Over the past few years, the city has on average built 62 miles of bike lanes each year — the largest increase anywhere in the country. But, in a city with more than 6,000 miles of streets, fewer than 1 in 5 has a bike lane.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle accident, the right attorney will help face the legal challenges under the laws of New York which require specific knowledge and experience as it concerns the rights of bicyclists. Attorneys at 1-800-HURT-511 have years of experience representing victims of bike accidents and their families in all 5 boroughs of New York City and beyond.

At the beginning of July, after 15 cyclists had been killed, the New York Police Department announced a two-week crackdown on policies that protect cyclists. During this period, the police department reported that 5,673 summonses for vehicles parked in bike lanes were handed out — a 96% increase compared to the same period last year.  After the 17th cycling death this year, Mayor de Blasio announced that over the next five years an additional $58.4 million will be targeted to building more bike lanes and providing better enforcement in high risk areas.