As cyclist injuries have increased in the Bronx by 30%, many advocates and elected officials are clamoring for more protected bike lanes.
According to Streetsblog, “in areas of the city with good bike infrastructure, injuries are down by far greater percentages. In Manhattan below 59th Street, for example, cyclist injuries are down 35% so far this year. In Brooklyn North, they’re down 15%.”
Marian Jones, of Bronx organizer or the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, noted these injuries might be preventable if there were more bike lanes. Jones told the Bronx Times there is a is a huge disparity between Manhattan and the Bronx as the Bronx has only 3 percent of protected bike lanes, while about 50% are in the city.
“We actively advocate increasing cyclist safety in the Bronx, which means fighting for more and better, protected bike lanes,” Jones said. “It is the city’s job to make sure everyone can get around safely, and when it comes to the Bronx, they are failing on that.”
Former Bronx Chairperson of Transportation Alternatives Kevin Daloia also spoke about the need for safe bike lanes.
“Again, a bike lane offers no physical protection or barrier between a person on a bike and the one to 12 ton vehicles on the road,” Ranells said. “So it’s not just a matter of a bike lane, it’s a matter of a protected bike lane.”
Councilman Fernando Cabrera is not only on the transportation committee, but is also a bike rider. The lawmaker stressed that as much as he enjoys cycling, it can be dangerous in the Bronx.
Bike lanes, like most things in the city, the Bronx is given the short end of the stick, he said.
“The city always gives priority to Manhattan,” he said. “The Bronx gets left for last. You don’t have enough bike lanes in the Bronx.”
According to the lawmaker, there is not only a need for bike lanes, but drivers and cyclists need to respect each other and there must be more NYPD enforcement.
With COVID-19 and people being shut in for so long, he feels more people will now want to ride a bike than take overcrowded public transportation. But, if there aren’t safe places to go, then it is not a viable option.
Often the creation of bike lanes causes the removal of parking spots, so he understands why drivers can get upset. He hopes there is a way that this can be avoided.
“The city is not in the business of building more public parking,” he commented.
As the only borough where cyclists deaths have increased, the lawmaker stressed that there must be change.
He plans to meet with Department of Transportation Borough Commissioner Nivardo Lopez in the near future to discuss how to improve biking in the Bronx.
Cabrera added that instead of the DOT deciding where to put bike lanes, he would prefer it consult with residents.
“Government is here to serve the community, not the other way around,” he said. “I believe the DOT is trying their best. I think they have good intentions.”
A DOT spokesperson said the DOT understands the need for more bike safety in the Bronx and is actively working to add to the 214 miles of existing bike infrastructure.
As of December, there are 23 cyclist fatalities, with eight in the Bronx.
Here is a list of its Bronx based bike projects:
- Protected bike lane and bus lane at Edward L. Grant Highway is completed
- A protected bike lane and bus lane University northbound to Tremont is almost completed and southbound will begin in spring 2021.
- Bike lane markings have been installed on Macombs and some concrete work is wrapping up shortly.
- Conventional bike lanes were also added to Harding Ave, East Tremont, Bergen Ave, 147th St, and 148th Street
- A protected greenway connection was added at Bronx Park East and White Plain Road.