New York residents and visitors alike often use bicycles as a means of transportation throughout the city. Whether it’s for work, pleasure or exercise, bikes are a healthy and environmentally friendly way to get from place to place. However, bicyclists put themselves at risk every time they hop on their bikes.
The dangers of NYC cycling
One New York woman can certainly attest to the dangers of biking in NYC. 49-year-old Jennie Jo Marine is a bike messenger in the city and has been for nearly 20 years. During her time working from her bike, she has been in countless accidents.
Slamming onto windshields, getting sucked under vehicles and running into open car doors are only a few of the ways that Marine has landed herself with serious injuries. Sometimes, those injuries prevent her from working. However, not as many cyclists in the city are as lucky as Marine.
In fact, the death toll for bicyclists in the city reached a total of 29 in 2019. This number is an unfortunate all-time-high for New York. But why did these numbers reach this height in the first place?
Safety issues in the city
For years, bike safety has been subpar in New York. Bike safety advocates have been pushing for faster progress when it comes to safety implementations and laws, but they don’t think the measures that have been taken have done enough.
For example, with the ever-increasing number of people who have started biking, there aren’t enough bicycle lanes to keep cyclists safe in busy traffic areas. With an inconsistent bike lane network, it can be frustrating and confusing for bikers who have to jump back into traffic when a bike lane suddenly ends.
Luckily, a new initiative to target bike safety will take place over the next five years. It includes adding more bike lanes where needed and increasing law enforcement in dangerous zones.
How can NYC bicyclists protect themselves?
In the meantime, New York bicyclists can take these proactive measures to protect themselves while navigating the busy streets:
- Always wear a helmet and other protective gear
- Don’t bike with headphones or earbuds in
- Avoid using your phone or other distractions while cycling
- Keep to a safe speed
- Double-check your surroundings when entering busy traffic zones
- Map a route so you know when bike lanes will be available