Statement of Caroline Samponaro, Deputy Director, Transportation Alternatives:
“In just five days, four cyclists in New York City, three of whom are women, have been struck by reckless drivers in serious incidents. Three of these New Yorkers were severely injured and remain in critical condition; one woman has been killed.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that he plans to double bike ridership by 2020. He clearly understands, and Transportation Alternatives agrees, that bicycling is a salve for congestion, pollution, public safety, and overcrowding in a rapidly growing city.
However the promotion of cycling is a false promise without the expansion of the protected bike lane network to keep up with cycling’s growth. All four New Yorkers who were struck were forced to ride on streets without protected bike lanes.
An August report by the Department of Transportation found that cycling in New York City is growing faster than employment, transit ridership, or the population. (Safer Cycling: Bicycle Ridership and Safety in New York City; August 2017)
Despite this boom, the de Blasio administration only plans to build 10 miles of protected bike lanes in the next year. Annually fixing 0.16% of New York City’s streets to be safe for cycling is woefully not enough.
That same report found that the vast majority of cyclist fatalities occur on streets without bicycle facilities. Without a dramatic increase in the buildout of bicycle lanes, New Yorkers will continue to be killed.
It is unignorable that three of the New Yorkers who were struck in the past five days are women, especially since women make up only 35% of New York City’s cycling population. The D.O.T.’s August report found that, looking at bike share riders in particular, women ride more often where there is a complete and connected network of bike lanes. In response to this finding, they pledged to consider “strategies to increase the number of women who cycle and narrow the gender gap in cycling.”
This week’s incidents underscore the necessity of that pledge. The data is clear: Cyclists are safe in bike lanes; More women ride when there are bike lanes. Mayor Bill de Blasio, build a city where all cyclists are safe to ride.
Thus far this year, 13 men and 2 women have been killed bicycling in New York, a total of 15 cyclist fatalities, compared to 18 at the same point last year.”