New York City is putting $58.4 million toward an effort to protect its growing population of bicyclists.
On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a new plan that includes an accelerated build-out of citywide protected bike lanes, amped up NYPD enforcement of crash-prone intersections, 80 new staffers and new legislation. The plan, dubbed “Green Wave: A Plan For Cycling In New York City,” comes amid a startling rise in the number of cyclist fatalities on NYC streets.
On July 23, there were two cyclist deaths — one in Brooklyn and one in Queens — bringin the total number of biker deaths to 17 so far this year, a stark increase over last year, which saw 10 deaths in total.
The 17 bicyclist fatalities so far this year represent the highest number through July of any year since the launch of Vision Zero in 2014, the mayor’s office said. This year, 12, or 71 percent, of cyclist fatalities have been in Brooklyn, and eight fatalities involved cyclist interactions with trucks.
Recent studies show that 24 percent of adult New Yorkers ride a bike, with a half-million cycling trips made on any given day. Citi Bike bike share system recently announced plans to double its presence in NYC and triple its fleet by 2023. In the past three years the City has added an average of 62 bike lane miles per year, including over 20 protected bike lane miles.
The ciy’s goal is that by 2050, one out of every 10 trips in NYC will be taken by bicycle.
NYC protected bike lanes and NYPD enforcement: What to expect
Green Wave pormises to build 30 miles of protected bicycle lane annually, resulting in over 80 miles worth of new lanes by the end of 2021.
The majority of new bike lanes and infrastructure will be built in Brooklyn and Queens, where the majority of cyclist fatalities — 23 percent —have occurred.
NYPD officers will pay extra attention to speeding, failing to yield, blocking bike lanes, oversized trucks/trucks off route. Cops will also ramp up enforcement at the 100 most crash-prone intersections in the city.
Supervisors will discontinue the practice of ticketing cyclists at the site of fatal cyclist crashes, and will respond to collision sites to determine if the right-of-way laws should be applied.
Police will keep an extra eye on bike lane violations. So far in July, NYPD has doubled enforcement of cars parked in bicycle lanes and issued more than 8,600 summons.
Additionally, new legislation has cleared city council allowing cyclists to proceed on the pedestrians signal.
“When we came into office we promised New Yorkers we’d do everything we could to end traffic fatalities,” de Blasio said. “No loss of life on our streets is acceptable. With a dangerous surge in cyclist fatalities, we have to keep pushing the envelope and increasing our efforts. That’s what this plan is about. It’s a continuation of our promise. This time, specifically to bikers. We are here to protect you and we take that job seriously. We will not stop until we have finally reached Vision Zero.”