We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dan Hanegby, who was killed by a bus driver this morning while riding a Citi Bike on 26th Street in Manhattan. This crash is the first fatality in Citi Bike’s four-year history of over 43 million miles traveled, but it could have happened to any cyclist.
Sadly, Mr. Hanegby’s death shows the dangers of designing streets only for motor vehicles. When he was killed, Mr. Hanegby was simply trying to do what every New Yorker does daily: commute to work. His preventable death points to the dangers of an outdated street network that puts the convenience of drivers above all else. In the era of Vision Zero, we know that good street design - design that prioritizes the most vulnerable street users - is the proven way to prevent crashes and save lives.
The City’s own Vision Zero crash data makes the problem and the solution crystal clear. Cyclists aren’t killed when they have infrastructure that meets their needs: Since 2013, no cyclists have been killed while traveling within protected bike lanes. Queens Boulevard, long a notoriously deadly route for cyclists, has seen no fatalities since it was redesigned to include protected bike lanes. On the contrary, in the current design, there is room for a lane of parking on both sides of one-way 26th Street - yet no allocation for cyclists. This is despite the fact that the street is a popular route for cyclists riding crosstown from the West Side Greenway. New Yorkers want safe streets. A recent Penn Schoen Berland poll of NYC voters found that 73% support adding additional protected bike lanes to city streets, even if it means losing parking.
As the City’s transit system continues to decline, more New Yorkers will choose cycling as an efficient, affordable, and indeed generally safe alternative. This is good for New York City, but it shouldn’t be up to cyclists to protect themselves. A connected, protected bike lane network is what will save lives, and the City must act urgently to prioritize our most vulnerable street users over the storage of private cars in public streets.