New York City has over 1,200 miles of bike lanes throughout the five boroughs. These lanes are intended to keep cyclists safe, out of the way of cars, and off of sidewalks. A recent comprehensive study has found that the more bike lanes a city had, the lower the rate of traffic fatalities. However, the safety and effectiveness of these lanes depend entirely on the adequacy of the infrastructure and whether rules regarding bike lanes are properly enforced.
Types of Bike Lanes
On New York City streets, there are three types of bike lanes: Class I, Class II, and Class III. Class I lanes are physically separated from vehicles and pedestrians with some type of barrier. Class II lanes are marked with paint and are typically placed between a parking lane and a traffic lane. Class III lanes are shared vehicle/bike lanes that are usually marked only with signs. Most of the lanes in New York City are Class II and Class III.
Bike lanes that are separated from traffic with physical barriers are clearly more likely to prevent accidents. Class I lanes are the most effective at reducing crashes and injuries to all road users. Despite their safety benefits, the City has declined to focus on Class I lanes. Class II and Class III lanes present the opportunity for vehicles to drive into and even block bike lanes.
Enforcing Bike Lanes
Another important aspect of making bike lanes effective is the proper enforcement of rules regarding the lanes. The blocking of these lanes is a major problem in New York City. If a lane is blocked, it forces a bicyclist to put their lives in their hands and ride in traffic. The NYPD has pledged to strictly enforce bike lanes and ticket motorists who block them, however, it is often police cars that are blocking the lanes. The phenomenon is so prevalent that there’s even a Twitter account dedicated to cops in these lanes. The safety of these lanes is irrelevant if they aren’t enforced.
Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, you may want an experienced bicycle accident attorney on your side. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers injured in bicycle accidents. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.