Biking has always been a huge part of New York City culture. Cycling is a way of life for many New Yorkers, as it is an affordable and fast way to transport around the city.
DID YOU KNOW? According to transalt.org the first bike path in America was opened in Brooklyn, New York in 1894. This just shows how integral biking is in New York City alone.
In New York City, on any given day, more than 200,000 people are biking on city streets. According to the Department of Health, more than 500,000 adult New Yorkers use a bike at least once a month. While cycling is a great transportation alternative for an array of reasons, it can also be dangerous- not just for cyclists but also for pedestrians.
Cyclists and motor vehicles are obligated to follow the same rules and regulations on the road. Some cyclists, however, forget that they are held to the same standards as motor vehicles because bicycles seem less dangerous than motor vehicles. This is a dangerous misconception as data shows that bicyclists, although not as often as motor vehicles, do get into accidents involving pedestrians. According to the Department of Transportation, in 2017 315 pedestrians and 88 bicyclists received serious injuries from bike collisions. This data reveals how important it is for bicyclists to follow the rules of the road to help protect their own lives the lives of the pedestrians they share the road with.
Are you a NYC cyclist? Check out this list of easy ways to protect yourself and others from accidents and serious injuries:
1. Ride in a straight line.
Weaving in and out of traffic can be dangerous because motor vehicles may have difficulty seeing you. Just as motor vehicles may have trouble spotting you, you may not notice pedestrians crossing. Staying predictable and following the traffic pattern can prevent serious injuries.
2. Always look both ways multiple times.
Taking a moment to carefully look back and forth, and back and forth again could be the difference between life and death. Looking back and forth is always important, regardless of where you are, but there are certain areas in the five boroughs that are known pedestrian/cyclist danger zones: Broadway Street in Manhattan, Woodhaven Boulevard in Queens, Flatbush Avenue and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, and Bronx’s Fordham Road and East Gun Hill Road.
3. Wear bright colors and stay visible.
This is especially important at night because drivers and pedestrians may have difficulty seeing you if you dress in dark clothes.
4. Don’t wear headphones.
Hearing what is happening around you is important, whether it be the sound of an oncoming vehicle or someone yelling “watch out!”. Hearing these warnings can prevent you and others from sustaining life-threatening injuries.
5. Don’t ride distracted.
Talking on the phone, listening to music, daydreaming, and using GPS are distractions that are just as dangerous for bikers as they are motor vehicle drivers. Remember that just because you are not driving a motor vehicle does not mean it is safe to ride distracted.
6. Stop Shoaling!
New York City is one of the busiest cities in the world. The hustle and bustle makes it easy to forget about certain curtsies and rules of the road, or in this case bike lanes. “Shoaling” is when one cyclist darts past other cyclists at a red light to get ahead them. Because shoaling typically involves unsafe speeds and unpredictable movement, shoaling can easily create a hazardous situation for cyclists and pedestrians.
As fellow New Yorkers, our team at Jacoby and Meyers knows firsthand how dangerous New York City streets can be. We hope these tips will help keep you and others safe on the road. If you were injured in a cycling crash through no fault of your own contact us today.