Even if you’re not familiar with the term “shoaling,” it’s likely you’ve witnessed NYC cyclists practice shoaling.
When a cyclist darts in front of other cyclists at a red light, either to stop in front of the other cyclist or to cruise through the light, they are guilty of shoaling.
Some credit the influx of “shoalers” to the advent of Citi bikes (a popular rent-a-bike service that allows users to rent a bike for short periods of time, ideal for tourists visiting a new city). NYC commuters who depend on their bicycles as a means of transportation now share the road with countless tourists, who aren’t necessarily the most experienced cyclists and are typically unaccustomed to navigating NYC on two wheels.
According to NYC Dot, there were more than 60,000 bicycle related injuries that occurred in 2016 in the five boroughs. The majority of bicycle related injuries occurred in Brooklyn (approximately 19,000 injuries). The majority of fatal bicycle crashes occurred in Queens (65 fatal crashes).
Cycling through busy NYC streets could almost be considered an art form. If you’re new to the city and/or urban cycling carefully consider when and where you’re riding (i.e. it’s a good idea to avoid busy streets during rush hour, like Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn and Grand Concourse in the Bronx).
To prevent serious injuries from occurring NYC cyclists are encouraged to refrain from taking risks, like shoaling. Unfortunately, often times responsible cyclists are injured due to reckless drivers and pedestrians. Certain driving behaviors, such as speeding and driving distracted, have created dangerous conditions for cyclists throughout New York.