New York City is Experiencing a Cycling Boom. But How Safe Are Its Streets for Cyclists?

In many ways, New York City is an ideal landscape for cyclists, featuring a diverse mix of beautiful green spaces, historic buildings, miles of pavement and amenities on almost every corner. This is one reason why cycling has grown much more popular in the area in recent years.

Yet the sheer size of the city and the amount of traffic on its roads can also present a serious hazard. This raises a question: Can New York City accommodate its cycling growth boom while keeping riders safe?

To help evaluate the risks of the road, let’s take a closer look at the most recent data regarding cycling growth and cycling injuries in New York.

NYC cycling in 2018 — a snapshot

A good source for information about cycling in New York is the state Department of Transportation’s (DOT) 2018 “Cycling in the City” report, which offers a snapshot of both the popularity of local cycling and the work the city has done to promote it.

According to the DOT, more than 300 miles have been added to New York’s on-street bike network in the last five years. This includes a record 25 miles of protected bike lanes installed in 2017.

Overall, the DOT estimates that nearly one-quarter of all New Yorkers ride a bike at least once each year. Roughly half of those people ride a bicycle regularly. On any given day, there are roughly 460,000 bicycle trips occurring in New York City.

The DOT also estimates that there has been a 30-percent increase in the number of regular bicycle riders in the city since 2011, with Manhattan showing the largest amount of growth.

2017 cycling injury statistics

Because New York has experienced a veritable boom in bicycle use in recent years, it’s important to pay attention to the risks of the road. New York City makes a comprehensive effort to track all cycling injuries and fatalities each year. In 2017, the numbers tallied as follows:

  • Manhattan — 1,260 cyclist injuries and nine deaths.
  • Bronx — 451 cyclist injuries and one death.
  • Brooklyn — 1,691 injuries and ten deaths.
  • Queens — 913 cyclist injuries and four deaths.
  • Staten Island — 82 injuries and zero deaths.

Though New York City has grown safer for cyclists in recent years, many of these injuries and deaths are the result of the negligence of others. In order to maximize safety, it’s important to combine situational awareness with smart planning. For example, studies show that the overwhelming number of cyclist fatalities occur in or near intersections; cyclists should exhibit caution when entering and exiting intersections.

Additionally, the data shows that cyclists should beware when traveling adjacent to (or at a right angle of) a motor vehicle. These are among the most common situations for fatal cycling crashes.

By pairing smart safety practices with some basic caution, cyclists can help minimize the odds of a serious crash.

What to do if you or a loved one has been injured in a cycling crash

 A severe cycling injury can result in lifetime disability or death. If you’ve been victimized by the negligence of another, it’s important that you contact an experienced New York attorney with a track record of litigating complex injury cases.

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