After 17 Deaths in 2019, New York Has a New Bike Safety Plan

Vision Zero has tragically failed 17 people on bikes in New York City this year, and Mayor Bill de Blasio couldn't stick with the status quo any longer.

2 minute read

July 26, 2019, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

New York Bike Signage

William Perugini / Shutterstock

A spate of cyclist fatalities in New York City inspired city officials to announce a large new bike infrastructure and traffic safety program whit week, reports Willie Hu.

The tragedies leading up to the announcement need to be respected. Hu starts the story of thusly:

Things could not get much worse in early July after three cyclists were killed in just over a week on the streets of New York City.

But they did. Two more cyclists were hit and killed on Tuesday — one in Brooklyn and another on Staten Island — and another struck on Wednesday morning in Queens was reportedly in critical condition.

That brings the year's total to 17—already seven more deaths than 2018. In response to growing pressure from advocates, Mayor Bill de Blasio, also a candidate for president, announced a  $58.4 million bike safety plan, called the Green Wave [pdf]. The Green Wave plan "will try to make cycling safer by rapidly installing more protected bike lanes, redesigning intersections to make turns safer for cyclists and hiring 80 new city transportation workers dedicated to bike improvements," writes Hu.

"Under the new plan, the city will increasingly focus on creating a citywide network of protected bike lanes; currently the city has 1,243 miles of bike lanes, of which 480 miles are protected, meaning barriers physically separate cyclists from vehicles," adds Hu.

Earlier in the year, a single death by a cyclist on a rented bike in San Francisco inspired that city to remove on-street parking and create a protected bike lane on Howard Street. Perhaps every city has its limits. More coverage on New York's Green Wave plan is available in a separate article by Amanda Luz Henning Santiago.

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