Law

Could COVID-19 Accelerate the NYC Biking Boom — and Help Fight Covid and Climate Change in the Process?

As any resident of New York City could attest, the sight of empty streets — and the absence of the city’s normal cacophony of sounds — was an eerie experience during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet while the city’s resolve was tested, things have improved greatly over the last few months. Some of the changes introduced by the pandemic, however, are likely to remain part of the city’s future.

Once such change was an increase in cycling.

Why the Cycling Boom May Be Here to Stay

As New Yorkers sought ways to enjoy safe, socially distant recreation, bikes became an appealing choice. Additionally, given the problems with disease transmission in enclosed spaces, many city residents also wanted to shift their commute away from mass transit. The result, according to the New York Times, was a 50% decrease in local air pollution during the worst of the COVID-19 shutdown.

A recent piece published by Columbia University’s Earth Institute argues that NYC officials should use this opportunity to double down on recent investments in cycling. In just the last five years, the city has added more than 300 miles of bike infrastructure, including 80 miles of protected bike lanes. Along with this investment, the Citi Bike bikesharing program has been a resounding success. It’s estimated that 800,000 New Yorkers are now cycling multiple times each week. By encouraging this growth in cycling, the city can help fight the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change simultaneously — while also helping city residents become healthier in the process.

Hurdles to Safer Streets Remain

Challenges to safer cycling, however, still exist. Cycling accidents have been rising sharply over the last year. The city saw 21 cycling fatalities in 2019 — a significant jump that led to street protests by cycling groups during the summer of 2019. Safe cycling advocates have been pressuring city officials to take a harder stance against distracted driving and other causes of fatal cycling collisions. These advocates have also been pushing for even greater investment in NYC biking infrastructure.

Yet while COVID-19 has encouraged many more people to get out and ride a bike, it has also stressed the city’s finances. As a result, millions in funds earmarked for safe streets programs have been trimmed from the city’s budget. This means local officials must do more with less to keep cyclists safe.

Overall, while much progress has been made, the sheer number of fatalities and serious injuries sustained by local cyclists each year is evidence that much work remains to be done.

Finding the Right Cycling Injury Attorney

At the Frankel Law Firm, we’ve been fighting for the rights of injured persons for more than 40 years. If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today at (212) 888-5100 or at https://frankellawfirm.com. All plaintiff accident and injury cases which are accepted for representation are on a contingency basis which means that there will be no attorneys fee unless successful. Given the coronavirus pandemic, we can arrange for a free consultation by Facetime, Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp. Please feel free to give us a call.

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