May 25, 2012 — New York City ranks #8 on Bicycling’s Bike Friendly Cities, the only eastern state in the Top 10. New enterprises that focus on a biker-friendly city have improved the ranking, although many more changes are necessary to supplement the Big Apple’s transportation infrastructure. The number of bicycle owners is expected to soar with the ever-growing popularity of alternative transport.
It’s not uncommon to see a cyclist surge the wrong way down a one-way street. The need for cycle safety traffic signs, like this one from BicycleSigns.com, is becoming more and more necessary on the streets.
According to the New York City Department of Transportation, biking has grown in popularity in the last 5 years. In fact, NYCDOT data suggest that the number of cyclists who bike daily in New York rose 28% between 2008 and 2009. Since then, the city has begun work on implementing biker-friendly legislation. Bike lanes are first on the list of needed changes, giving commuters the opportunity to cycle to their next destination. But like other initiatives, which have met with varying amounts of opposition, the new bike lanes have the city is already feeling the repercussions of a lack of available parking.
Motorists and cyclists have long competed for street space, but the increase in their numbers carries with it a rise in logistical and safety considerations. The sheer size of the population and the extent of congestion in the urban metropolis make adding bike lanes and bike racks an urban planning nightmare. A recent Quinnipiac University survey of residents across the five boroughs found that 51% opposed adding bike lanes in their neighborhood. In Manhattan, however, 52% of the residents surveyed supported new bike lanes. In addition, an overwhelming 79% of Manhattan residents thought a bike share program was a good idea.
This July, NYC Bike Share will launch CitiBike, which will allow people to rent a bike for an errand, a commute, or a day trip. Stations will be located all around the city with an additional 10,000 bikes expected to be found on New York City streets in the coming months. Similarly, MyAssetTag.com has just launched a free bike registry, BikeGuard, the first registry to provide free asset tags for every bike, and access to an international network of cyclists. Environmentally-friendly and health conscious initiatives like a national bike registry and large scale bike share program reflect a large national effort to increase bike usage, for infrequent and avid cyclists alike.
The increase of cyclists also leads to safety concerns, making further legislation and its enforcement necessary. This is especially important in a city whose population doubles each day with an influx of commuters and tourists.
Signs like these are found across the US in biking friendly cities where officials and residents are attempting to trade motor vehicle transportation for a more environmentally-friendly option. (Via BicycleSigns.com)
While programs like BikeGuard™ are meeting the needs of riders, attention must be paid to the safety and protection of all the travelers, reminding bikers that they too hold responsibility on the road. New York is a city where it is necessary to bicycle in traffic, so high standards for the safety of riders must be maintained. It is important to acknowledge the usefulness of bicycle transportation in such an overpopulated and urban area and to find a way to best utilize city space and resources to support bike programs.
- K. Howitt