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Is New York City prepared for the increase in bike traffic?

Over the next few years, New York City will undergo something of a transformation as more bike lanes are added to city streets and bridges, and city officials roll out a new bicycle-sharing program. However, while this plan is being lauded by both proponents of alternative transportation and environmental advocacy groups, others are worried that the growing number of speeding bicyclists will lead to more pedestrian accidents.

To illustrate, a recent study by researchers at Hunter College revealed that almost 500 pedestrians a year are injured by bicyclists in New York City - a number that could potentially balloon with the steady increase in bicycles.

While the aforementioned increase in bicycle lanes is being matched by the addition of pedestrian only lanes in many locations, some are wondering if this will be sufficient.

"While the city has been setting aside a number of pedestrian zones, these don't address the problem found at lots of street corners ... where both cyclists and pedestrians frequently fail to keep to their own assigned lanes," said Henrik Krogius, an editor for the Brooklyn Heights Press.

One location where city officials are routinely running into problems despite the presence of clearly defined bicycle and pedestrian only lanes is the Brooklyn Bridge walkway, which the Department of Transportation has said more than 4,000 pedestrians and 2,600 bicyclists cross every day.

In fact, pedestrian-bike accidents continue to persist at this location despite the fact that "pedestrian safety officers" have been installed to keep traffic moving smoothly.

"There are so many tourists who just don't know," said one bicycle commuter. "First, the walkway is badly designed. Second, you can't expect tourists to constrain themselves to one side of the bridge and bikers going 40 miles per hour to constrain themselves to the other. I'm surprised no one has been killed."

Advocates for the bicycle expansion point out that the while the number of bicyclists in New York City actually increased by 50 percent from 2007 to 2010, the number of bike-pedestrian accidents fell by 15 percent.

They are also offering an informational campaign designed to encourage both safe and respectful bicycling.

What are your thoughts on the expansion of bicycle riding and its impact on pedestrians?

Stay tuned for further updates from our New York traffic law blog ...

If you or a loved one has received a speeding ticket, don't just dismiss it.

Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle "Biker/pedestrian safety becomes a growing concern" Sept. 28, 2011

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