Over the last five years the New York City Department of Transportation has implemented some of the most innovative public space enhances that the city has seen.
While there are as many opinions as there are New Yorkers, there have also never been more facts available regarding the impacts of changes to our streets.
New York City’s streets are getting safer as more people are biking
- New York City’s bike network has increased by more than 400 miles, including more than 300 miles over just the last five years. Despite the four-fold increase in bike riding over the last decade, serious bike crashes remained flat, representing a 73% reduction in risk to riders.
- A landmark pedestrian safety study in 2010 found that streets with bike lanes are 40% less deadly for pedestrians.
- According to traffic fatality data, no pedestrians were killed in crashes with bike riders in any of the last three years. In that time, 441 pedestrians died after being struck by cars.
- Streets with protected bike paths have seen some of the most dramatic reductions in injuries for all users, not just bike riders.
- The bike lane on Columbus Avenue saw a 58% growth in bike riders while car crashes resulting in injuries dropped by nearly 20%. The community board that requested that bike lane recently voted to double its length, better connecting it with other parts of the city’s bike network.
- Bike lanes on Ninth Avenue helped reduce injuries by as much as 58%.
- Crashes with injuries went down by 63% on Prospect Park West while ridership doubled and tripled.
- Traffic injuries were down by as much as 21% on First Avenue as ridership increased up to 177%.
New York City is not Paris
- Citi Bike will use the same equipment used In London and Washington DC, where there have been 25 million rides without a single traffic fatality, and cities have seen lower crash rates on bike share bikes than riders using their own bikes.
- Unlike Paris, New York City has had the benefit of five years of unprecedented and investment in biking infrastructure, establishing the continent’s first protected bike paths. Paris had no such sustained period of building bike infrastructure or New York City’s years of increasing ridership when it launched nearly three times as many bike share bikes in their first year as New York City plans to have at launch next week.
- Citi Bike has an aggressive safety campaign, with the cardinal rules of the road printed right on the handle bars, on the station kiosks and in multiple languages on kiosk screens when signing up. The bikes are built for stability, not for speed, they have always-running lights and bells and all-weather drum brakes.
- Bike share will also provide the first-ever direct line of communication with bike riders, allowing the bike share company to reach riders with emails and other correspondence about bike rules and safety.
- DOT has given away more than 75,000 free bike helmets and is stepping up helmet giveaways this summer while Citi Bike offers helmet discounts to new members and Bike New York increases “learn to ride” classes across the city.
New York has no additional legal liability with bike share
- New York City has no additional legal exposure related to bike share legal claims and other cities with similar bike share systems have had no lawsuits against them.
- The contract with NYC Bike Share specifically indemnifies the City from legal claims. Just as they are with personal bikes today, Citi Bike riders will remain liable for their behavior and the NYC Bike Share is responsible for maintaining the system.
- NYC Bike Share’s parent company has faced no lawsuits in other cities where it operates. New York City nonetheless requires that NYC Bike Share carry insurance proportional to the size of the system—five times the coverage required in Washington DC and Boston—and they remain liable for any judgments or settlements against them in excess of the insured amounts.